Monday, November 24, 2014
I'm still working my way through exploring some of the parks and hiking trails around this area. Since Arlington alone has something like 77 parks this will take me a long time LOL. Some are bigger parks and some are small. Veteran's Park is especially dedicated to the Vietnam Veterans. It is pretty big for a park here, and has paved trails, two parking areas, and also has some hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. I think I read that this is only one of two Arlington parks that have the horseback trails. Arlington is part of the much lager Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, so that's just the part in Arlington and doesn't include any of the other cities here in the 77 parks.
I went last week on one of the good days we'd had to visit this. I'd been a couple of times before but not with my camera. I have my cell phone camera all the time but it's harder for me to take pictures with it. I like my regular digital camera with a viewfinder I can look through.
I went to the second parking lot to park, which is about 1/4 mile on the highway from the main entrance.
This is one of the paved paths leading from the parking lot up to a group picnic area in the second parking lot.
The area is kind of shaded but there are several picnic tables under this area, and a large grill at the top of the little rise from the parking lot. There are also several trails that lead off from this area to hike or ride.
This has the beginning of one of the trails. I didn't go down the trails this time, but have a couple of other times a little ways.
This looks down from a little behind the grill to areas below that are more wild and have the network of trails.
There is also a Disc Golf Course spread out over the park and this is one of the places by the picnic area. I've never seen disc golf played. It doesn't use a ball like regular golf and no regular golf is allowed there.
This looks down on that parking lot from up the little hill.
As I go back down to the parking lot and off to the left of the last picture is a xeroscape garden that I go through.
There is also a composting area there that I didn't go through. I would like to see some of these plants in the spring.
This is where the paved sidewalk joins the main one going past a pond and over to the first parking area and memorial.
Then up to the memorial. It was around noon so I had trouble getting anyplace where I could get a good picture because of the sun.
There are 2 rows of blocks from the outside of the circle leading up to the memorial and also blocks going around a lot of the circle with names of soldiers who died in the Vietnam war that were from Texas.
More group picnic area and also this parking lot.
There is a large grassy area in that area too with a wildflower area and also 3 different softball areas. Too many pictures to post LOL. The wildflowers are dried up right now because we've already had our freeze but I hope to see it in the spring.
Around this whole area is a paved walkway that continues. Altogether, the area just around that part of the park is about a mile, not including the xeroscape garden or the other parking area. Some people out but I imagine on weekends it's much busier. This was a weekday.
I took this picture of a sign looking back the way I came as I walked around the park. Horses are not allowed in the picnic/softball/wildflower area inside the walking track but are allowed outside the walking track in the park.
I went on up the small hill and then came to an area where the paved trail went on (which I did this time) but a dirt trail for hiking, biking, and horses branched off from it. I haven't explored that area yet but will. The hiking trail I went on during another visit went off from the other parking lot.
I continued around the park on the paved walkway. In a few areas I could look up and see parts of the picnic area.
Then I came to the end of that trail near the picnic area.
From there I didn't take any more pictures because I went back up the hill, back by the pond again, through the xeroscape garden and back to my car in the other parking lot. There is a lot to explore there!
Hope you have a great week!
Friday, October 31, 2014
Now for the good changes. My son told me when I got discharged they wanted me to go to their house to recover until I could eventually get my own place. They found an outpatient therapy center about 15 minutes from their house that they got me to Monday – Friday for 2 months until my insurance ran out of coverage for therapy. I went from 9 to noon and had an hour of physical therapy, and hour of speech or occupational therapy, depending on the day, and an hour of a couple of different computer programs to help my skills each day. I was still using a walker when I first went since my balance has been affected. By January 1st I decided I didn't want to use it anymore since I was using it then more when we went out. At first I also used it in their open downstairs area, but not in my room upstairs. I had started going for walks outside with my walker, first a few blocks and then further. I must have looked a little crazy walking down the streets with my walker!
My son said I could go anywhere I wanted, whether I stayed in that area or went to a whole different one. Just please not to go back where I was and my I was doing so much care for my grandkids. And to take care of the grandkids was also somewhat helping my daughters, neither of which was working. I also got to go for 6 weeks to California because someone else paid for it. Otherwise I couldn't have done it. There I spent the time with a wonderful friend and her husband and son who were so good to me. She is an avid hiker and even leads some hikes. We went for short hikes a number of times there. I got to spend several days at Newport Beach, where her husband's family has a house that they take turns sharing. I went to Catalina Island with them, to the San Diego Safari Park with her, to Kauai, Hawaii where they have a condo they frequently rent for vacations, and to Yosemite Park and then over the mountain from there to Devil's Postpile near Mammoth Lakes, CA. There was also other things we did and I saw amazing things I didn't think I would ever see! It was awesome! When I got back I had my apartment lined up in Arlington, TX to move into. I got my car in February brought by carrier also from Silver City, and passed the test for my TX licensing. I had to take a driving test since I put on the application I'd had a stroke, but I passed and all legal! License plates too. I'm now in a one bedroom apartment that I really like over here. I'm only 3 ˝ hours from my middle son and his kids in OK. I found a church home very involved in missions both here and abroad. I am going to volunteer hopefully for their food bank or whatever they need if I can't get in there. I have been exploring areas around me. I can't do near what I used to do, and I get very tired. But I do as much as I can, even when it's really hard sometimes but worth it. I do my stretching every day, and strength training 6 days a week. Upper body one day, lower the next with Sundays a rest day from exercise. I work daily on exercises to improve my right hand and arm that shake a significant amount, and my balance which is not good but better than when in the hospitals. I work the fine motor skills daily too through different ways I learned in the therapies I have been to. I have amazing friends on SP that I am in contact with on my computer almost every day. I'm very happy over here.
Before the stroke, I had prayed a lot for God to help my daughters get on their feet and get out of my house. Instead I had a stroke. I don't believe God caused the stroke because I don't believe He sends bad things on me. But I do believe sometimes He lets them happen because He has a bigger plan in place. He knew the amazing changes waiting for me over here and things I would experience and do. There is a plan for my life. Things did not happen the way I thought they would, but things are much grander than if my plan had happened. I lost a great amount of things that may be in Silver City at my daughter's house that she has now. I know they were at one time she said but I don't know if she still has them. But it's about 800 miles one way and I can't go get them and furniture isn't that great and I know she's using that stuff. I really don't want any of it. There are a few movies, some papers, some books, clothes, etc I would like to have but most of it has been replaced by me or someone else and I'm doing fine. My needs are pretty simple but I do have to have my laptop and internet, which I have. Because my oldest son is such a "techie" he got a few clothes, my purse, and my laptop when he went there before he got to the hospital I Phoenix the first time. Because of flights and time he couldn't take much.
Life is really good for me now. I'm disabled because of some results from the stroke but my life is still full. I couldn't handle the things I did before, including the full time job then. I miss people there but know that what's best for me is to stay away and let them work out things without leaning on me, and also without me enabling my daughters because of the grandkids. They're managing and I have been in contact with them by phone. The youngest I hear from a lot more by text and I don't know if the oldest has a phone now since she is in a city 2 hours now from my youngest. For a while they lived together. But time will heal any remaining wounds I believe for us. My 3 sons are much easier to reach and 2 of them especially I either talk to or text weekly or more. Oldest is super busy but he's close.
It's just so amazing to me the changes that have happened and how awesome they have worked out. Far beyond my dreams!
This picture I took of myself earlier this week at a park I was walking in. There is a stream behind me but I don't know if it'll show up. The picture that is used with my login name was taken by me in July this year. Just so you can see I'm doing better than the picture in my last blog. And my hair has grown back in! I color it because I didn't like the shade of gray hair that grew out on me. Some people look really good with gray or white hair and I love it. Just not on me, at least not now. Anyway, don't be afraid of change because it usually bring amazing things if not immediately then down the road! We don't grow if we don't change.
Friday, October 31, 2014
I woke up early this morning and was going to go back to sleep but the things that happened over the past year have been going through my mind. There are really rough times in this blog, but also good things which outweigh the rough so read both blogs to get to the positive and the whole picture. But to tell the story I have to tell it all. Besides, even if no one reads these it is therapeutic for me.
One year ago today, October 31, 2013, I got up early and went for a walk for a few miles. I got home, and helped get my 3grandkids (1 by youngest daughter and 2 by older daughter.) ready for school. My daughters had a lot of problems and I was trying to make sure the grandkids were taken care of. Long story but I'll leave it at that. After they got ready, I drove the 3 grandkids to the elementary school where they go. A 4th grandchild, who was almost 14 then, also lived with us but was out of town. We were supposed to leave right after I took the younger ones to school. She was 2 hours away in a different city and was getting out of a treatment center there. I felt okay that morning. When I got home from taking them to school my oldest daughter said she was almost ready. I went to get some cottage cheese from the fridge to eat quickly before we left. I turned again to the fridge and opened in and suddenly got hit by very severe dizzines. I remember I couldn't even let go of the door of it and could sit or lie down. I had to ask my daughters to help me. Then I got really sick every time I tried to move or open my eyes. I thought it would pass in a few minutes. I felt a slow headache creeping from the back of my head up to the top. I thought it was my position because I often had problems like that. But this was worse than usual. I tried to move a little to stop it but it didn't help. My daughters kept asking me if I wanted them to call an ambulance but I said to wait. One told me I couldn't drive that 2 hour one way drive. After about 10 minutes when it didn't go away I told them to call 911 and tell the operator I wa having a stroke. Somehow I knew that although I didn't have the drooping on one side or speech problems or other typical signs of a stroke. Once the paramedics got there (we lived in a small town about 5 minutes from the hospital where they were stationed) I remember one telling me that my blood pressure was some 260 over something (never remembered the bottom number) which was extremely high for me. After that I don't remember anything.
I woke up a few days later and I was in Phoenix, AZ in the hospital. It was 6 ˝ or more hours by car from where I lived in southern New Mexico. My oldest son was there with his wife. They had come from Texas over there. I have vague memories or that time. I don't know if it was the stroke or the meds or both. I was on heavy painkillers as well as all the other meds they had me on. I had a tube in my head to drain blood since I had a brain bleed with the stroke. Apparently if I had been flown to Albuquerque instead of Phoenix I would have had a drainage tube from my head to my stomach to drain off fluid which would have been much longer, if not the rest of my life. It would have caused much more complications with incontinence, infections, and other things. But the ER doctor in Silver City, the rural town I lived in, knew about what was being done in Phoenix. I had hair about to my shoulder blades and often wore it in a pony tail. There was a good sized patch cut very very short for the drain tube to be put in but the rest was still as long. Until the drain came out they couldn't wash or comb it and had tied it out of the way with some hair ties. It was matted and ugly. The drain tube came out after 11 days. I have to have frequent CT scans before it came out. They always did it between about 1 am and 5 am. Why do they have to wake you up in the middle of the night to take you to CT LOL? Once the drain came out I asked my son and DIL if they knew of someone who could cut my hair but they didn't. But a nurse happened to be in the room that said she could do it for me. So I had it cut really really short to even it up. I didn't want anyone to try to comb or wash my hair long because it was so awful and it made my head hurt just to think about it. I did get accidentally called a man a few times by techs until they realized I was a woman because my hair was so short. I had colored my hair for years and now it was gray because it was so short and just the roots. Here is a picture taken then of how short it was!
See how short it was! I also didn't want part of my hair long and part almost gone. This picture was taken to send to the school counselor at my grandkids elementary school because she and I had several conversations about the kids. The last day they saw me I took them to school and everything seemed okay and by the time they got home I was gone She wanted a picture to show them and reassure them. The day after the tube came out I was moved from intensive care to the next step down. Still had a private room in the step-down room which was nice! I had to walk with a walker then and could barely get around. It was a major job just to go to the bathroom! I had therapy in my room some and they made me get out and walk with the therapist in the hall which seemed so major. I was still very dizzy and nauseous then and turning over in bed was also a major task. Amazing how we take the simplest things for granted!
When I was going to be moved from that room to another area for inpatient therapy that was more intensive, my son asked if I could be moved to Dallas which is about an hour from where they lived, instead of so far away. My DIL has worked as a flight nurse on helicopters for a medical service, and by then was a nurse practitioner. They finally agreed, and on November 21 I was moved by commercial airline from Phoenix to Dallas since she came to be with me and take care of me on the flight. I was in the brain injury hospital from Nov 21 until release on Dec 3rd. I did get a 6 hour pass for Thanksgiving and my son took me to his in-laws' house for dinner. That was very nice. I had about 4 hours a day of therapy there with physical, occupational, speech, and recreational therapy. I was never sure when they would get me from my room. They had a schedule, which changed daily but I didn't have one. But it was still nice.
In the process of the ambulance my glasses got broken. I had a lot of trouble with my eyes because of the stroke and dizziness but it was also made worse by not having my glasses. I did have my computer prescription glasses, but I had so much trouble I couldn't use them much. Between leaving the hospital and checking into the hospital in Dallas was a short window once we landed but enough to get my eyes checked by a doctor not far from the hospital and get new glasses which I got a couple of days later when my DIL picked them up. I could only wear them for a little while, but then as time went on I was able to wear them more and it was so good to be able to see clearly again!
Monday, October 27, 2014
This is a walk I've done a lot of times, including this morning. But these pictures were taken last spring, when I was still deciding about moving to Arlington TX from my son's house in North Richland Hills. Both are part of the whole Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. My son's house is about 25 minutes away from Arlington. This park is about a mile or a little more from my house. It is a short .40 mile trail and most people (me included) do it at least a few times. It is used pretty frequently but not by a lot of people at once. There is a larger park about a mile and a half from me, called River Legacy park that has about 8 miles of paved trails, playground, some dirt bike and hiking on dirt trails, and picnic tables for individuals and bigger group areas that are reserved (just the group areas are reserved. Twice when I was there on a Saturday I ran into races being run there. It is very popular and always busy with bicyclists, walkers, runners, skaters, and anything else that is not motorized (except horses). Lots of people walk dogs there too. I've also been there a lot of times but the Crystal Creek Trail is not used with the heavy load and much quieter there. I never see any bikes because it's too short, but do see runners, walkers, and lots of dogs on leashes. Maybe I'll do a blog about River Legacy Park another time.
Crystal Canyon is right off a busy side street and across from a large apartment complex, but when you start walking the trail you don't feel you are in a city, but I feel more like the forest service trails I walked in New Mexico. This is from the sign at the beginning. It has a lot of little benches along the way and a slight incline but not much. It also has some interpretive signs along the way about plants, animals, and other interesting facts of the area.
There is a nice wide trail to follow all the way through but not paved. That's fine with me though. It goes in a circle and you can go either way. This is the beginning of the trail when I headed right this time.
This is the first interpretive sign and talks a little about the crystals that were found there.
There is a small stream that winds near the trail in some places and 3 little footbridges cross it as I go along. The middle bridge is exactly halfway around from when I measured it with my mileage program on my phone. Sometimes water runs, and sometimes there is just sporadic standing water or none. We are in a severe drought here.
This is the first bridge a little way in.
The trail continues to meander and here is one of the little benches
This is the 2nd bridge, which is halfway. You probably can't see it in the SP picture but on the larger size on my computer you can see the bench right past the bridge.
One some of the curves little retaining walls are built to keep the ground in place.
Another retaining wall and an interpretive sign. This one is on the fauna in the area. I didn't take pictures of all of them.
This is the last little bridge and the parking lot is just up ahead.
When you get here you can hear the cars along the 4 lane side street again but it's on the other side of the trees. On much of the trail you can't hear it at all. Less than 1/2 a mile but a cute little trail and feels like being away from the city. I often either have people pass me on the trail or meet them coming from the other side a few times in one trip since some people just wander it but I think the majority are using it for fitness and so do more than one lap around. Usually by the 3rd lap I need to stop and rest for about 5 minutes, then go further. After the first rest I need more frequent ones than at first LOL. Early, about 6 or 7 am, this is used more than in later in the day because of people getting some exercise in before work. Then I might run into 8 or 10 people total. Some days I just see 1 or 2. But you never know when you will see someone there. I went really early during the heat of the summer, or went walking anywhere for that matter, by about 7 am or it got too hot. Then it was about 75 or 80 already and humid. Now it's still been getting hotter than normal for this time of year, but not as humid and I can go a little later, like about 9 or 10 unless it's a really cool or overcast day. Saturday we reached 91 degrees. Today was supposed to be 87 but then tomorrow down to 75 and in 70's the rest of the week where it is supposed to be.
Because I've walked there so much I don't take my camera to this area usually. I do however have my cell phone with me all the time and if something really unusual was there I could use the camera on my phone to get it. The same with the River Legacy park here. When I first went to either one I took pictures. And if I go to a new place, or one I dont' go often, I take pictures. Except for the 2 zoos. I usually take my camera every time because the animals do different things and each zoo has some babies and they are so cute and do change fast. The Fort Worth Zoo has 2 elephants that are just over a year each and a month apart. It also has a baby ape that I love to watch. The Dallas Zoo has some cute chimpanzee babies. Both zoos have a few more besides those too, but those are the main ones I really enjoy seeing learn new things. The Fort Worth Zoo has a fenced long yard where they run a cheetah certain days of the week for about 1/2 hour or so. Otherwise he's in his normal area. He's a little over a year old too, and has a companion on his runs that is a black Labrador retriever dog that is also just over a year old and they've been raised together since they were just 6 or 8 weeks old. They are such close friends!
Hope you enjoyed my short trail which is good for a walk to get some cardio of some type in. I have lots more pictures of lots more places over here!
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
I'm going to try doing this again. A few weeks ago I was going to do a blog about a different nature preserve but couldn't get pictures to upload and gave up.
I've been exploring some of the different areas in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. I live in Arlington of that metroplex. This place is in Plano, TX, which was about 45 minutes from me. I'd never been there before and found it on the web. It's a beautiful place with picnic areas, playground, paved trails, and also some unpaved natural trails. I went there this past Saturday. I would like to go again but on a weekday when it's not quite as busy as the weekends or evenings.
Leaving the picnic area for the trails
Taking off from the paved trail onto one of the unpaved more natural trails. Not near as many people but I still ran into quite a few, or had some pass me. Right is to the Open Field Trail and Left is to the Pond Trail. I took the left fork.
The pond was really small.
Shortly after that the trail joined up with the paved course again.
But then after being on the paved trail just a short distance I found another dirt trail to follow called Coyote Ridge Trail
Saw lots of these little white flowers, yellow flowers, and some red small berries on trees. Never did find any wildlife, including coyotes, anywhere though.
Then from that trail I came to the Outer Loop Trail and followed it for a ways.
Then I came to another intersection of trails. I continues on the Outer Loop Trail instead of following the Old Road Trail.
After I went for a little ways on the Outer Loop Trail I came to a place where it ran right next to the paved trail for a short ways. But then they veered off in separate directions again and I continued on the unpaved trail.
This trail followed the edge of the preserve and in a some places I could see the fence that was the border. After going through a lot of thicker trees I came to a place with some trees and some grass, not as thick as before for a while.
The trail curved here and still followed the outer edge of the park.
Further down the trail I saw this cement formation with a water main on top. I came across several as I followed the trail. Good place to sit and rest and watch people go by.
After a brief rest I followed the trail some more. A little bit of hills but not much compared to what I was used to in New Mexico.
I branched off yet again from the Outer Loop Trail to the Trestle Trail, figuring they would probably merge later. There was a number of places it turned out where I could get back on the Outer Loop Trail.
This went by a railroad track and a little steam before I rejoined the other trail.
I was following the stream for a little bit then went on another little trail that took me back to a portion of the Outer Loop Trail again.
Then I left the Outer Loop Trail again because it was going to go further than I had energy to go so I took the Prairie Loop Trail to cut back toward the beginning. I was getting tired by this time since it doesn't take near as much as a year ago to get me tired. Then I saw that I was coming to the overlook that was listed on the map. I had no idea it was such a nice area and went to check it out.
Got back on the paved trail and too it up to the top deck. Very nice way up to the upper deck.
I left the overlook and went down one of the two paved roads (the shortest LOL) back towards the beginning.
It took me about 20 minutes (I was walking slow by then, of course with my trusty walkng pole) after I left the overlook to get back to my car. I passed some of the cut offs to trails I had been on.
It was very pretty out there and the temps got up to about 80 that day so not too bad. Beautiful day for hiking. I did a little under 3 miles according to my Charity Miles app on my phone. It had a number of different charities you can pick from and the charity will get 25 cents for each mile you do walking or running or 10 cents a mile for each mile riding a bicycle. What I do may not be much but over the course of the year it adds up for just doing what I'm going to do anyway. Before I had a stroke I often did 3 to 5 miles each day but a day when I do 3 miles now is a rarity, even with stops to rest and walking slower than I did back then. Wounded Warrior is my favorite charity on the app, but they have a bunch of others too of all different kinds depending on what your passion is.
I really have to do more blogs on the places here in Texas I go to. I did a lot more before I moved and have to get back in the habit again. I almost always have my camera and I have pictures of almost every place so I don't have a reason not to post some. I had a request from someone who wants to see what Texas looks like these days.
Hope you enjoyed seeing this.
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