I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be,
but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see.
— Douglas Pagels

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 29, 2005 - The Life I Knew - Gone.

Quick "before" video of Beach Blvd, a couple miles from my house...

During Katrina at my Aunt's house...before it got really bad. Her house was damaged (that tree she was begging to not fall, did), but little did we know at the time that a couple miles south was completely and utterly devastated, including my home.

These videos are my initial reaction to the aftermath...shock...disbelief...couldn't say much more than "Oh my God" at the time.

I had to keep turning off the camera to dodge debris in the road. I also (not on video, mind you) got yelled at and threatened by a man who thought I was a "tourist". I yelled back at him that I lost everything too, and offered him something to drink.

Beautiful Washington Avenue in Pascagoula torn to shreds...you wouldn't believe the huge houses that used to adorn this road...all of them, gone.

My hometown was an unrecognizable war zone. Everyone homeless and living in their driveways. People standing among debris that used to be their homes, standing guard with shotguns, fighting, looting, dying of dehydration...it was a freaking nightmare. Something that you would see on TV. It didn't seem real, but it was our new life for a very long time.

There was no water. No power. No food. No gas. No phones. The National Guard, the Red Cross, and FEMA arrived 11 days later. Everyone was so sick and exhausted by then, we were just grateful to finally see them. The National Guard gave us MREs and water. The Red Cross drove down the streets of Pascagoula and handed out brown bag meals. They had great brownies.

I have nothing nice to say about FEMA, so I won't say anything at all.

I want to sincerely thank all of the volunteers from all over North America that came to our aid and selflessly served my often-forgotten city. Folks from Ontario Canada, West Linn Oregon, Mesa Arizona, rural-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania...all over. I received a blanket from a quilting guild in Indiana, and it was the only blanket I owned for over a year. Because of Amish, Mennonite, and Baptist groups around the country, my family has a roof and four walls again. I can never say thank you enough.


You gave us hope again.

I'm bawling my eyes out with appreciation four years later.

We will never forget what you've done for us.

Believe that.

God bless all who suffered because of this monster called Katrina. God bless all who gave in response to it. And God bless those who suffered AND gave, in spite of it.

The Mississippi coast is strong. The Mississippi coast will be revived. We are overcoming this storm one day at a time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What a week

Was very sick today...couldn't even keep juice down. I hope whatever the problem is has passed, and I'm very thankful that it wasn't a school day or a work day. I can't afford to miss either one. Hoping I feel much better tomorrow because I do have a small class in Biloxi.

School is in session! Thursday's class was canceled but my instructor had an art show on campus so I made sure not to miss that. His work is incredible...left me speechless. I had a similar feeling when I went to Florida in 08 and saw my teacher trainer's work on day one of my certification. It's good to know that the one teaching me knows what he's doing, because I definitely...DEFINITELY...DON'T! I'm very nervous about these drawing classes but trying not to dwell on my disabilities...OR THE FACT THAT I ALMOST FAILED ART IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. Yeah...let's not think about that.

I've been so frustrated with the college bookstore, because while they have my art supplies, they have not unpacked them and made them available for purchase. Say what? Class is in session, here...you're killin' me, people! I've gone to Hobby Lobby for some of the stuff and will go to Michael's on Monday to see if I can find the rest. I'm a little OCD about things being "right", so I've been pretty aggravated about it, especially since I'm nearly broke and won't get the grant money for another...I don't know...two or three weeks? Art supplies or groceries? I'm having to choose.

Things have been so frustrating lately, but somehow it will all work out.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Blurry and crooked as heck, but.........

I just finished a 16 x 20 version of Sunset Aglow, my favorite Bob Ross painting. I will be teaching it in a special all day class on Saturday.

(I'll be glad when I can get a decent camera someday! Santa, are you listening??? LOL) :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August 15th

My sister is a married woman. The wedding was on Dauphin Island at the Estuarium. It was nice, albeit, a bit stressful at times. I suppose all weddings are. She did great, though, and had the time of her life. Was great to see her have such a lovely day.

I regrettably had a rough time. My feet gave out and I broke down in tears during family photos. We couldn't finish them and that really upsets me. Relatives brought me food, drink, and medicine. My brothers helped me walk and my brother's girlfriend wheeled me out to the car in a wheelchair when we left. I appreciated everyone's help.

While I have good days and bad days, I'm still in a full blown attack of Periodic Paralysis. I relapsed 11.5 months ago and have grown increasingly weak ever since. Docs don't know what to do for me, as all they see are the numbers on my bloodwork reports, which don't matter. It's not a numbers game, it's a transport defect. I can't say it enough. They just flat out don't understand the condition. Seems like nobody does except those who live with it, and it has been only through time, trial and error, and research. What it boils down to is that my muscles and nerves do not have the electrolytes necessary to withstand any kind of activity. It's like two equally charged magnets being put together...they don't work. They go opposite directions. And the harder you try to force the two magnets together, the harder they rebel. My muscles and nerves are the same. They function via electrolytes and without them, there's no "charge" so to speak. They literally depolarize and can't move. People ask me why I don't get a pain pump or physical therapy or other treatments, and I really don't know how else to explain that all of these things are not only irrelevant, but potentially dangerous. If you have a spinal injury and force your spine to move, you risk further damage. My muscles are in the same boat when I try to make them do what they do not have the ability to do. Without electrolytes to support and sustain the muscles and nerves, they simply can't work and forcing them to do so only makes the situation much worse. Pain is not the reason I'm disabled...it's the literal inability of my body to function properly. The pain is nothing more than a side effect...it's like having a charlie horse in the entire body and at times I feel like I am going to die.

The judge told me at the ceremony that I'm too young to be dealing with such a disability. No kidding, but no one should have to live with it, regardless of age. I usually try to take it in stride, but lately, I'm just sad and tired and I don't want to be like this.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

To Do's of the Week

Tonight: Catch up on blogs (seriously...I haven't forgotten about all of you...promise!)

Monday: Art therapy at United Cerebral Palsy; put away clean laundry (for the love of organized chaos...I'm so tired of tripping over these baskets!)

Tuesday: Art projects for charity...as many as possible!

Wednesday: To Biloxi to pick up the rest of my stuff from Hobby Lobby, then to Moss Point for Art With Heart meeting

Thursday: Art projects, Art With Heart kids class

Friday: Wedding rehearsal

Saturday: Katie's Wedding! (Please God, let my clothes fit...)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hot off the presses...

Or still on the easel? Ok whatever. :) Just finished!

Rolling Hills, Bob Ross painting #1301, no changes

16 x 20 stretched canvas

I will be teaching this one on Saturday...can't wait! I hope my new students don't hate me for springing this one on them on their first day...ha! It's not as easy as it looks!!!