Archives for posts with tag: MS

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Day One in Rome must have been a bit of an adjustment for my sweet, patient, globetrotting friends. From the second I clunked out the door my eyes were filled with the spectacle of light and texture and the astonishing age of ancient stones  – and I did not want to miss a single inch of it.

Our street, Lisa, Paolo and Max

Our street, Lisa, Paolo and Max

I probably took 45 minutes just to get to the end of our block – and not only because of the cobbles (have I mentioned the cobbles??) I couldn’t roll five feet without stopping for photos, and I’m pretty sure that is not the usual rate of exploration for my friends. But no one rushed me, and in fact we all found our rhythm – Max ranging ahead to scout, Paolo a bit ahead subtly directing Vespas and cars around us, and Lisa – well she was behind me. I have a feeling she didn’t mind too much (after the shock of slow wore off). I’ve seen the photos she took, and they are amazing.

So we snailed, and discovered, and uncovered details that quick movers might miss. Like the lions on the lintels.

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And street art.

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And….. coffee.


So the poor scoot, made for malls – not battlefields, ran out of battery and one of my fears was faced on the first day. I don’t know why I worried, Max was a skilled and careful pusher and we made it back. I was perhaps a bit shaken and stirred, but so incredibly full of wonder, I couldn’t have cared less.

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Never will I forget the first day I was somewhere else,  somewhere so far from home… somewhere as amazing as Italy.


This summer on the coast has been spectacular, and I have relished every minute of it, but of all the seasons I have to say I love Fall best. As a Person With Multiple Sclerosis (aka PWMS) summer can be a bit torturous depending upon the big, warm sun. I like to fill my eyes and my skin with light and warmth every second I can, but if I miscalculate and the heat rises… well I am flattened. Like a bad pancake, weak wobbly and yucky.  And that is no fun. So it is a bit of a dance every day to take advantage, carefully, of summer’s intensity. But Fall, now this is my time. Days are shorter, but the air is soft and crisp. Here we can sometimes spin it out for months, and many a day will be bright with sunshine – minus the high temperature, though it can get very pleasantly warm. Perfect I say. So Ella and I went for a little jaunt to Davis Bay to check out the day, the first day of many to come before the rains… we hope.


Scented wild roses are sending out their last buds, and all the big rose hips are turning colour.



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I snapped some shots, and nipped some buds and returned home to my sunny deck for an afternoon of sketching – no wobbling or retreating inside from excessive heat. Supremely lovely.

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Ella, although born in the Caribbean, appears to be adjusting quite nicely to the Sunshine Coast. Good girl.





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I have not felt so happy in a long, long time.

All my life I have had animals. Dogs when I was a skinny kid racing around the pine forests of the BC interior. Cats when I lived in the West End of Vancouver. Cats that moved with me to the Sunshine Coast, lived on a boat and then in an Airstream Trailer, and that lived to be 21 years old. Then a Jack Russel Terrier. And Now Ella.

I had no fence for Sammie the Jack, but when he was young I could still walk the beach, and the woods, and we learned to leash up for a pee in the big back yard, because he would bugger off if didn’t. Bloody Jacks. So we lived with no fence.

Then came Ella, 8 months old shelter dog, still filled with puppy-ness, but the strength of a full grown dog… and chaos ensued.


The thing is, she is a sweet smart pup, and not one thing is her fault, but for all my ways, my carefully crafted strategies for making my life with MS seem not so bad – I crashed – because I could not care for her.

So, due to circumstances, she was to go to Dog Daycare for 10 days, at a time when she was just getting settled in her first real home ever. Because I couldn’t do the essential things, like take her out for a pee or toss a ball to get her puppy energy out – and toxic pup energy was translating to fights with Sammie – so stressful. And so demoralizing.  So she left.

The house was so quiet. And it wasn’t right.

Allan and Joyce at No Pawblems are the best animal caregivers I know, and she would be safe and secure, but she needed to be home. I missed her.

So a fence came to be.


I don’t even know how to thank Robert, it chokes me up to think of it, but he knew I needed it quickly, and he did it. This temporary fence will eventually be re-configured to surround the whole big property, but to be able to have Ella back right now, and for me, her and Sammie to be safe and together, this magic fence… put up in an afternoon…  is perfect.


And they played. Peed. No leash, no yanking, Pure dog happiness. Pure person happiness. I sat on the porch, in the sweet sun of the afternoon, and watched them until they wandered up to come into the house for their dinner.

As I said, I have not felt so happy in a very long time.


Ella softly woofs in her sleep.

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…that I love what I do, even though I sometimes – actually often – don’t know why I do it.

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…that I love where I live…


even though it is not perfect…

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it is perfect for me.

And I have learned that perfect is gone forever from me in its physical manifestation, yet oddly enough..

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… I have acquired so much more

worth sharing.

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…because today was a day of extreme tides and wild wind.


When the weather settles, should make for a super sunny beachcombing day… and I might even take the Dog’s new ride. We have a ShopRider accessory.



So now, when the rascally Jack gets to be too much to handle, in he goes.

And look at all that space for picking up … stuff…!

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…but to me it says “Downton Abbey”. Or maybe “After Stonehenge”. You see, with the various shenanigans of a naughty MS body, I tend to have a lot more sit still time to endure than the average person. So I line up stuff (OK I pile it randomly..) on the table in the living room and hope that it inspires me to pick it up and draw it while I am otherwise vegetating in front of the TV. It eases my self-imposed guilt and irritation at not being able to do something more energetic.  So far, so good. I have some great sketches to show for watching a show. Except when I have any of the Art Documentaries involving Waldemar Januszczak  …I can’t take my eyes off that guy. He is Genius.


Some mornings you wake up and you just know the day isn’t going to go the way you want it to. MS symptoms can still cause trouble, even after a procedure. Your head feels funny, your hands are all tingly, and you know you have to lay low. Some days, laying low is OK. But today you become all pissy because you are supposed to do a thing which you really wanted to do but can’t.

What to do. You have no patience for a bad mood.

Well. You get out your camera and get really really close to some screamingly pink Gladiolas you bought yesterday. Stuff the lens in, focus on that colour, it has to elevate your mood. But the tungsten kitchen light is making the pure petals all orangey. Which would be fine if you wanted orangey. But orangey isn’t doing it for you today.

So you know you could fix it in photoshop but that is not always the best. Instead you look more closely at the camera buttons and…. there it is. The WB. White Balance. A whole new tool to play with.

Immediately, the pinks are properly pink and good photo things follow. The day has improved dramatically and you are still just standing in the kitchen.

The colour is doing its job.

Then. A phone call. The friend you cancelled on this morning drops by. With a book. A signed Camilla Gibb book. Camilla Gibb is the author you had to miss at the Writer’s Fest because of the MS altered day issue. Your friend tells you all about the event in detail, making you feel like you had been there (minus the discomfort of feeling icky in public) and leaves you the book which is inscribed by the author “To Sheryl…with Best Wishes”

Some days don’t go the way you want them to. They go so much better.