Royal Poinciana’s Inspirational Beauty


He who plants a tree plants a hope. ~Lucy Larcom

The first time I viewed this magnificent tree in bloom I was in awe. The year was 1977, and I had relocated to Palm Beach County. Forty-two years later, my reaction is the same. The royal poinciana tree, also known as the flame or flamboyant tree, has orange/red petals and a yellow and white center. It can grow forty to fifty feet in height, and often the umbrella shaped crown is greater in width than the tree’s height.

Although I do not have a royal poinciana on my property, I enjoy several views within a couple minutes of my house. My daily walk in the neighborhood is punctuated by the dazzling flowering beauty during May and June. How’s that for spring time in Florida?


Photo Credit:  Linda A. Mohr

Parkinson’s Foundation Free Genetic Testing and Counseling Study

On May 30, 2019, I attended the Parkinson’s Foundation New Frontiers in Research and Care community educational event. Meeting in Palm Beach Gardens four miles from my home made it a “must see” event.

Dr. Anna Naito serves as a Director of Research Programs at the Parkinson’s Foundation national headquarters in Miami, FL. She has been involved in PD research for over ten years. While earning her PhD in neuropharmacology from the University of Southern California, she researched dopamine pathways in the brain.

What is PDGENEeration?

Dr. Naito is now responsible for leading the Foundation’s flagship program to offer free genetic testing and counseling through the PDGENEeration five-year study. It will provide genetic information that will lead to improving care, expanding research and accelerating enrollment in clinical trials. The objective of PDGENEeration is to offer free genetic testing and counseling to all people with Parkinson’s. In the spring of 2019, six pilot studies started in the Northeast, Midwest and West coast with 600 people. The $1500 free test for seven mutations is scripted by a movement disorder doctor. Genetic counselors are available. During the expansion phase, the goal is 15,000 total participants in five years across approximately fifty Center of Excellence and Parkinson’s Study Group sites.

Genetic Study Steps

    1. Schedule appointment if eligible
    2. Have blood drawn as well as clinical and cognition evaluation
    3. Test blood which will take six weeks
    4. Follow-up report with doctor
    5. Complete survey on your satisfaction level and how it changed your care

A sign-up list was provided for those of us in South Florida who were interested in being notified about future free testing in 2020. (Yes, I signed up!)

What About At Home Genetic Tests?

Audience questions related to 23andMe home test. Dr. Naito emphasized you should definitely share results with your doctor. However, it only tests for two mutations—LRRK2 and GBA and does not offer a clinician and genetic counseling. The comprehensive PDGENEeration study tests for LRRK2 and GBA plus five other common PD mutations and provides clinical and cognition evaluation by a movement disorder specialist and counseling by a genetic counselor.

Contacting PD Foundation

To learn more about the PDGENEeration, visit here.  Or call 1-800-4PD-INFO.

The Foundation is recruiting 600 participants to enroll in the 2019 study. For more information regarding their need and your eligibility, please email [email protected].




Grandma’s Teachings: Honor Loved Ones on Decoration Day

Red Poppy–Symbol of Sacrifice and Remembrance

I am a part of all that I have touched and that has touched me. ~Thomas Wolfe

My most precious memory of my grandma, Charlotta Estella Seyb Mohr, is spending countless hours by her side at an impressive round oak pedestal table with animal claw feet. I adored her and enjoyed spending time at her home in rural Missouri. That was real easy to do since she  lived about a mile where I grew up.

Family life centered on the heartbeat of the house. What she taught me remains part of my being. I close my eyes, and the table turns into a flower shop on Decoration Day (a day dating back to 1868). We tour her beautiful gardens and pick fragrant spring flowers such as peonies, poppies, irises, snowballs and bleeding hearts. Grandma prays nature will hold the rain for the weekend to preserve these fragile flowers. We make a list of loved ones whose graves we will visit and adorn. Then we arrange the flowers in vases and buckets.

Always Honor Your Loved Ones

“Always honor your loved ones,” she says. I learn that red poppies symbolize remembrance of those who have fallen in war. Grandma’s faith sustained her after losing her mother at age two and her younger brother in World War I at age twenty-two. I choose pink peonies to memorialize my great-grandmother Charlotta. Red poppies blaze on my great-uncle Rupert’s grave.

The Why Behind Red Poppies

When I was older, I learned more about the significance of the red poppy. In 1918, Moina Michael bought a bouquet of poppies and handed them out to businessmen at the New York YMCA because of the poignant effect the poem In Flanders Fields had on her. She asked them to wear the poppy as a tribute to the fallen Americans in World War I. She led a campaign that designated the poppy as the official flower of The American Legion in 1923.

During World War I, American soldiers were buried in the pastures and on the battlefields of Europe, where bright red poppies grew wild among the fresh graves. While caring for the wounded near one of the battlefields, a Canadian doctor, Lt. Col. John McCrae, jotted down these opening lines: “In Flanders fields the poppies blow/ Between the crosses, row on row. . .”

The American Legion Auxiliary is recognized as the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Thousands of crepe paper poppies made by disabled and hospitalized veterans are given out for donations to benefit disabled veterans.

Photo by Bob Fehringer, USTRANSCOM/PA

Video Reading of In Flanders Fields

In 2015,  Legion Magazine and Leonard Cohen released  a powerful video reading of In Flanders Fields on YouTube to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the poem by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. Cohen’s voice is accompanied by stirring imagery from the First World War and helps me to understand what my two heroic great-uncles experienced.

In Memory of My Great-Uncle Rupert Seyb


My great-uncle, Rupert Carl Seyb, enlisted in Sanborn, South Dakota, on June 5, 1917. He served as a private in Company F, 350th Infantry with American Expeditionary Forces. He died from influenza in Naix, France, on February 23, 1919, at twenty-six years, two months, sixteen days. He is buried at Saint Paul Cemetery near Kahoka, Missouri.

Honoring his place of death, Naix, France

Rupert Seyb Memorial Card

Rupert C. Seyb Grave Stone

In Memory of My Great-Uncle Carl Roasa


My great-uncle, Carl A. Roasa, was inducted into the Army/Marine unit on July 5, 1917, in Kansas City, Missouri. He served overseas from May 20, 1918, until January 17, 1919, where he died in France of pneumonia at twenty-two years, ten months, eight days. His parents, Albert and Laura Roasa, bought land, planted trees and started Granger Cemetery for the burial of Carl Albert. He was the youngest of six children including five boys and one girl. I read in Carl’s war records that his mother was notified of his death. Although I never met my great-grandmother, I can picture her receiving this devastating news of her beloved son, and my heart breaks.

Carl A. Roasa’s Grave Stone

Carl’s memorial card included this beautiful James Whitcomb Riley poem:

I cannot say and I will not say
That he is dead—He is just away!
With a cheery smile and a wave of the hand,
He has wandered into an unknown land,
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there.
Mild and gentle, as he was brave
When the sweetest love of his life he gave.
Think of him as the same I say:
He is not dead—He is just away.

A Soldiers’ Memorial was established near the Scotland County Courthouse in Memphis, Missouri, in 1923, led by the Betsy Ross Club. Other organizations joined forces including Home Guards, Order of the Eastern Star, and Mothers of Soldiers.The names of the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice from the area were chiseled on the memorial pillars. The honor roll of twenty-five soldiers includes Carl A. Roasa. The engraving reads “In memoriam to the boys from Scotland County 1914 ~ World War ~ 1918, they gave their all for liberty and democracy.”

Soldiers’ Memorial

Honor Roll

Although I am not in Missouri this Memorial Day weekend, I will visit the Granger Cemetery as well as the Saint Paul Cemetery later this summer.  I pause to reflect on what my two great-uncles’ service and their ultimate sacrifice mean to my life, and I am deeply grateful.

In my mind’s eye today, grandma is watching me arrange pink peonies.

“Your bouquet is breathtaking,” she says.

“Thank you grandma!”



Termites, Parkinson’s and Executive Function

It’s always something.

~Gilda Radner

Termites are big headaches in Florida. As a general rule, termite season is in springtime, when the weather warms up enough for termites to “swarm”. They emerge from their mature colonies in the hundreds or thousands to establish new termite colonies. When they do, it is one of the few times when homeowners can easily see these normally hidden insects. I would find them flying around the kitchen in the evening. The counter top would be covered with larvae hatching and wings.

The effective way to get rid of them is to tent the house and have it fumigated. You can attempt to just treat the affected areas with injections. The problem with that method is the termites move around. They have lots of choices with an open wood beam ceiling in dining and living room and antique furniture. We had some beams treated a few years ago, but it did not get them. We also discovered powder post beetles were feasting at our house. The beetles were in the kitchen cabinets or beams above them. Although they do not swarm, they leave sawdust clues on top of the ceramic cook top. Powder post beetles compared to wood termites are slow eaters and will take many years for them to destroy an area. Tenting has been on the “A” to do list, but not eagerly scheduled!!

My Executive Function–No Problem

The tenting project is event coordination! This really means it deals with cognition. One of the most common cognitive changes associated with Parkinson’s is executive function. These functions include making complex decisions, keeping multiple things straight, organizing tasks and doing tasks in specific sequence. I am blessed that I do not have issues with executive function. I had to work out an acceptable schedule with the exterminating company depending on their tenting commitments, the vet for boarding Chauncey, Grace and Maggie Mae keeping in mind the business is closed on Mondays, Joe’s travel schedule and my doings. Then I had to make hotel reservations. That was just the beginning!

Why Does It Cost So Much?

A few days before the tenting date, the company owner brought by the contract and preparation instructions. Somehow, someway there was miscommunication, and the contract did not show treatment for powder post beetles. Well that takes ten times the amount of gas and possibly longer for gas to disappear. Normally with just wood termites, the tent goes on one morning, comes off the next morning and house is cleared for occupancy on third morning. Plus we have a no access crawl space and that was going to require extra attention to test for gas. Of course, the treatment for termites and beetles was more expensive and went from $1740 to $4376! So he had to return to office to get new contract typed up. But the staff was  gone for the day, and it took another day for that document to be finalized. Meanwhile I had to re-contact the hotel and vet to see if extending our accommodations was possible if needed. I started to look forward to our “termite getaway” and gathered up a stack of reading materials for poolside.

Preparing House for Tenting

We had to prepare the house. Joe spent many hours/days on the outside trimming vegetation away from foundation of house. He moved potted plants and decorative items.

Potted coleus plants at entry were moved

Window liner box of flowers lifted out

The day before evacuation all food items except canned goods had to be put in special plastic bags provided by company, double bagged, twisted and folded down tops and secured. That also included refrigerator and freezer items and the bags set back in refrigerator. My housekeeper helped me bag up the pantry. All my medications had to be removed from house and taken with me. We also had to slightly open every cabinet door and drawer about an inch throughout the house to help with the gas elimination.

Evacuation Day

On the “E” day, we had to be out of the house by 8:30 a.m. with suitcases and the three fur babies! I gathered up my clothes for packing the evening before, but I waited to bring out the suitcase until we had captured each cat and placed in carrying case. They are so intuitive when their routine is about to change and will hide under beds or crawl inside box springs. Today was not the day to tear a bed apart. Been there–done that! Whew!! Now you know why I really want to sit by pool and read and do nothing for the rest of my life!!

Always A Story

Convenience was at the top of my list in selecting our hotel accommodations. The hotel was just a couple miles from house and the vet was across the street from hotel. Buffet breakfast, parking and WIFI were offered free. We had a five-minute walk to a French cafe we love. Plus the hotel served dinner. The off season hotel rates were in effect. That’s the good part. The bad part was our room was literally the next to last one to be cleaned. Despite my best effort to get into the room early, that did not happen. The hotel offered to put us in a different room, (a smaller room), but for the same rate I’d already paid. What a deal! Since done online, they could not/would not change rate. So we waited and waited. We were both exhausted. We sat in small lobby for a while, but a hotel TV screen kept showing a lady relaxing in a luxurious bed. I couldn’t stand it!! Sitting in a shaded area by the pool provided a calmer respite.

After lunch we  drove by the house to see how it looked. Warning signs had been placed on the house.

Warning Sign

A slow drip of water was left on Christmas palm tree to help protect it. It’s the tree in the middle to right of vehicle. The  black olive tree on the far right in swale next to sidewalk was treated for termites last summer. Our arborist is trying to save it.

View from across street

Well, finally at 2:55 (5 minutes before check-in) our room was ready. When we got to the room, the door sign indicated Palm West Suite which I had not booked. I had reserved a regular room with a king bed. But we had a spacious bedroom, bath, plus a huge room with sitting and sleeper couch at one end and dining/kitchen at other!! What’s that saying…good things come to those who wait!!

During our stay, something was constantly not right or working. The staff seemed accustomed to operating this way, and apologies were not given. There were key card issues on multiple occasions. We asked for a non-skid bath mat the first evening . We were informed the housekeeping supervisor was off duty, and we would probably have to wait until the next day! Someone eventually brought us a mat the same evening. The restaurant door was stuck shut for breakfast one morning and a patron saw us trying to get in and helped us. He even informed the staff, but no one rushed to fix it. The business center was located next to a housekeeping closet and elevator and was so noisy that Joe gave up on it. The morning we had to request late check-out while we waited to hear if we could return to house had to be negotiated. New key cards had to be issued since they automatically stopped working at 11 a.m., but no one told us. The phone in our suite did not work. Someone came to look at it, tried another phone and decided AT&T would have to come out which they never did!

Back to Normal–Sorta!

Friday at 7:55 a.m., the tenting company called to say we were cleared to return! Yippee!! The process I described above was reversed. Except with food sacked up, you saw that the entire refrigerator needed to be washed down. Now when did I last do that? Well, probably, never!! So each shelf and drawer was removed and washed. I also cleaned and reorganized my pantry which is like a walk in closet with lots of stuff (including a bag of powdered sugar expiration July 2010!!) There are six shelves on two of the four walls, and you need a ladder to reach top shelf. I took the challenge to declutter. I donated a trunk load of serving items to my favorite thrift store.

Time to unpack refrigerator contents

I have lived on my street since 1980 and every house has been tented, some more than once. People often wait until they are ready to sell or in our case, just can’t stand it any longer. A few years ago the house behind us had a major renovation stalled when the contractor discovered a load-bearing wall was dangerously infested with termites in the middle of demolition!

Well, there you have it. Just part of Florida living ranking just below hurricanes for things I could do without! ​