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A Tale of Two Bike Rides Among Other Things

Hello, everyone. Gee, I feel like I should re-introduce myself since my blogging has been on the down-low lately. But, yeah, I don’t really want to do that. While my blog is about me, it’s not entirely about me. Take from it what you will.

Firstly, there is better living through drugs. The Gabapentin I was prescribed does seem to reduce my neck pain to a more manageable level. I’m still trying to get away with as minimal a dosage as possible, mainly because I don’t like being drug-dependent, but then there is that quality-of-life thing to think about. Case in point: one of the “side effects” of Gabapentin is it reduces anxiety. To feel less anxious and more calm seems hard to come by naturally these days.

Although I don’t want to be drug-dependent, I’ve also started taking Excedrin first thing in the morning. The dosages of acetaminophen and aspirin do not reduce any of my arthritic pain (although it did do wonders when I recently had one of the worst headaches of my whole life). The caffeine does get me a slight boost when coupled with my morning tea, but here’s the real reason I take it: My 98-year-old mother has been taking Excedrin regularly for years. We had a little conversation about that.

Mom: “I got up about five-thirty and took an Excedrin and went back to bed. Then I was got up again and I took another.”

Me: “Why? Did you have a headache?”

Mom: “No, I just like taking Excedrin.”

Me: ?

Mom: “You know I don’t drink coffee.”

Me: “Oh. So, instead of having a cup of coffee in the morning, you take an Excedrin.”

Mom: “Yes, yes, I guess I do.”

Did I mention that not only is my mom 98, but she’s also the healthiest one in our family? Some might argue that there’s no causal effect of Excedrin on my mother’s health, but I’m taking it anyway.

Before I go any further, I want to talk about Ukraine … just a bit. Here’s some good news about ways people are helping. Maggie from From Cave Walls recently shared three stories which you can read here: John Howell also shares a heartwarming story along with a spot-on haiku here:

Another source of support is coming from book publishers:

The Ukrainian Book Institute, now with the support of the Federation of European Publishers and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, has reiterated its request for help from the global publishing community to raise money to publish and distribute Ukrainian-language books for the several million refugees who have fled Ukraine after Russia’s invasion nearly a month ago. Donations can be made online.

Finally, friend and fellow blogger Luanne Castle has been sharing creative finds from Ukrainian sellers on Etsy. Etsy makes it easy to find beautiful downloadable art from Ukraine:

You know I love to knit so I was thrilled to find sock knitting patterns. Not only did I purchase a few patterns, but I think I made a friend. Vicky from DC13EcoFriendlyLife, located in Kharkiv, Ukraine, gifted me a free knitting pattern just because I bought a set of patterns from her.

Now the bike rides.

I went on two bike rides recently. One on my Peugeot road bike. It had been a long while since I was on that bike. I can only take it out on paved roads, not the rugged, rutty, stony, grassy trails of the refuge. So, after two days of steady rain, I jumped at the opportunity to go for a bike ride with my husband. We got a treat when we stopped at the St. Marks City Park.

Gobble, gobble.
Pecking away.

According to my Merlin Bird ID app, these are “wild turkeys.” They didn’t seem wild to us as we were able to get very close to them. In fact, while we were admiring the birds, a hawk swooped down and startled all four of us. I imagine that, when he got close enough, the hawk realized that he couldn’t haul away a bird this size. But the drama was enough to make the birds head back to the safety of the trees.

On the way home from the bike ride, my husband (wanting to avoid rush hour traffic) suggested having dinner at the Wakulla Springs Lodge. We walked the grounds for a few minutes after dinner, enjoying the Golden Hour. I wish I had taken some photos but I only have this one:

A stately White Ash tree at the Golden Hour

A few days later, we went on another bike ride, this time to the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. I am so grateful for that refuge. It really is a heaven on earth. Wildflowers, lilies, and thistles were in abundance. Enjoy!

Atamasco Lily (Zephyranthes atamasco)
Purple thistle (Cirsium horridulum)
Where there be thistles, there be bumblebees.
Coastal Mock Vervain (Glandularia marítima) A big “maybe” on this one. My otherwise reliable iSeek app simply could not give me more than Verbena Family classification.
Southeastern Sneezeweed (I kid you not.) (Helenium pinnatifidum)
Southern Dewberry (Rubus trivialis)
Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)
Blue Flag Iris (Iris Virginica)
Raji (Felis catus)

Categories: life

Tagged as:

Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

37 replies

  1. Great post, Marie. You will find that drug dependence goes a long way in improving the quality of life. Go with it. I hope you are taking that Excedrin with food. Empty stomach and meds are a bad combo. Thank you so much for the kink to my Friday post. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gorgeous photos, Marie. Can anything be cooler than a Peugeot road bike? hahaha I have no idea what that is, but it sounds so European-elegant. Thanks for all the help Ukraine tips, too. It sounds like you are really settling into the retirement life. Hope the coming week ahead is a good one for you and for all humanity and animals.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Me too. My favorite kitty was Mikey. Of course, I love all the others but he was my Snuggle Bunny. I’m determined the Raji will one day earn the nickname Snuggle Bunny 😉


  3. I’m really happy to hear the Gabapentin is helping you, Marie. That’s great news. My father takes it and gets some relief. He and I both take Tylenol daily for our backs, but I might give the Excedrin a try. I’m not sure if it would be too rough on my stomach. I loved your photos today! They make me want to get outside and explore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jill! Being out among wildflowers does wonders for the soul, although the bike ride does compromise my neck. Thank goodness for Gabapentin 😉 Excedrin has 65 mg of caffeine and 250 mg each of acetaminophen and aspirin, and it hasn’t been rough on my otherwise sensitive stomach. I hope it works for you!


  4. Oh Marie, what a cozy Sunday afternoon post. Filled with new friends and photos (I’m especially partial to those purple thistles). And even an appearance by Raji!
    I remember when I was a youngster and discovered quite by accident that thistle flowers were not sticker-y but soft and fluffy and even had a subtle scent.
    BTW: **I** know the prestige and quality that is called Peugeot!!! But then I was raised in the town where the Red Zinger Classic was founded and would watch them zing by during the race through our neighborhoods in the 70s! (Not sure how it is now).
    Happy to hear your meds are enabling you to take those bike rides.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laura! Oh, I just love thistles. I think there are at least two varieties at the refuge. We’re planning to go back on Monday. The blooms were just getting started last week. I know nothing about Peugeot except the name, and it still makes me laugh to say my bike is a Peugeot. Now, that must have been fun to watch a bike race in your neighborhood!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I lived in Kansas, thistles were considered pernicious weeds. If you found them in your yard you were to call the thistle removers who came and killed them and hauled them off. If you did not do so, you could be fined.

        Perhaps there are different varieties? What do I know about thistles except that Eeyore eats them.

        Lovely photos.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What a catch-up post, Marie–drugs, bikes, Ukraine, flowers, and Raji!

    I laughed about the Excedrin and your Mom. Who knew that was the key to good health and long life? 🤣

    Thanks for the info about Ukraine. I gave to some theaters, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like your photo of the white ash tree. It’s stunning. I love that your mother doesn’t drink coffee in the morning and instead takes an Excedrin. That is priceless. Is there any logic to this, btw? Or is she just living her life as she sees fit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I think you nailed it. My mom lives life as she sees fit. She likes taking Excedrin, doesn’t think she needs to explain why she likes it. She just does. I haven’t told her yet that I’ve started taking it, too, but I think she’ll get a kick out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Marie, I found today’s post both enchanting and informative. Oh, if I could get through the rest of my life taking only Excedrin! But like you and many others, I’m a purchaser and supporter of Gabapentin and its manufacturer; I have been since the 1980s. In fact, when I started taking it its brand name was still alive and well, Neurontin. Loved to hear how perky your mom is and her age. Made me want to continue on and see how far I can get.

    Thanks for all the interesting and helpful links tied to the Ukrainian crisis. Also, I appreciated everyone’s comments about those links as well.

    As always, I enjoyed vicariously enjoying a ride on your Peugeot bike. Who knew Peugeot made a bike too? Not me! The photos of the wildflowers were beautiful and added a touch of spring to my Pacific NW yes-it-was-a-drippy-day. And last but not least, a shout out to Raja, the handsome marmalade striped tabby cat!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great photos as usual, Marie!
    Something must be working for your mom to be 98! Maybe I should take Excedrin too. I usually have to have at least two cups of coffee to wake up properly.

    Liked by 1 person

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