Rideau Camp And Mayflowers

Yesterday Attila and I arose early, packed Tank, ate a hearty breakfast, and drove off towards the camp early in the morning. It was a glorious day! The journey to the camp took us though a landscape lush with green grasses, and there were even a few trees that looked as if the buds were about to burst.

Upon arrival my first task was to get a camp fire going in the fire pit. Luckily Attila had dragged a dead pine tree over near the fire pit, during out last visit several weeks ago. The branches were brittle and dry, broke easily, and made perfect kindling. The fire started on the first try. The rest of my day was spent burning the pine boards that had been under the back deck at Mist Cottage, and collecting and burning fallen branches from around the perimeter of the clearing where we spend our time at the Camp. I even grabbed the rake and spent fifteen minutes raking crushed stone, which was quite a chore, some of the pieces of stone are four or five inches in diameter, and quite heavy.

On a walk down the driveway to our pond I collected fallen branches, which I burned in the fire pit. Along the way I enjoyed the Mayflowers scattered at the side of the drive, and off into the bush. There were also clumps of bright yellow Coltsfoot in and around the end of the driveway, near the pond. All day we were serenaded by the frogs in our pond, the one by the road, and the two further back on the property. The ponds dried up over the course of the summer last year, as it was a very dry year. This spring the ponds are full to capacity, and full of life.

Attila felled three dead trees that we had marked last autumn, and released a fallen dead tree which was caught up in the branches of living trees at the perimeter of the open area. He worked on releasing more logs from the log pile, digging them out and throwing them into sorted piles by size, so that he could easily stack them when they dried out a bit, later in the spring. As well, he moved a few barrels worth of crushed stone into the area we marked out to be covered with stone and gravel. We will work on this project slowly, moving a little bit of crushed stone every time we visit the Camp, and eventually the job will get done. We are hoping it gets done before the weather is nice enough to go camping!

DSCF0561 Here is what is left of the original towering pile of logs. Attila fished out another four or five dozen logs from the pile of dirt show here. The wood at the forefront of the photo will be burned in the fire pit after it dries out a bit more. To the right the pile of crushed stone can be seen, it will be getting smaller as the weeks go by.

With so many restrictions on my diet, it is difficult to find food to consume for portable picnics. We decided on homemade hummus, sodium-free, with low sodium crackers for me, and pita bread for Attila. Commercial bread has too much sodium in it for me to be able to eat it, and I haven’t ventured into making my own, not yet anyway. I brought my homemade low-sodium, low-sugar, low-cholesterol muffins as well, for snacks. And I always keep a handy small container of walnuts and chocolate chips in Tank, just in case we hit a low energy situation, which happens from time to time when we are working all day in the outdoors.

When we arrived at the camp the driveway was partially flooded with less than an inch of water from our adjacent pond. Upon investigation, it was discovered that leaves and dead branches had collected at the outlet to the stream, keeping the water level high. Attila spent an hour or so with the rake, clearing the channel, and by the time I went for my walk down the driveway, the water level had gone down by several inches, leaving the drive high and dry.

DSCF0564 I am always delighted to the core of my being to see the Mayflowers in the spring! Growing up, my Mom would take us into the bush to search for them in early spring, what a wonderful memory that is, and the feelings of wonder have never left me. Mayflowers were harbingers of barefoot summers spent playing in the bush around the perimeter of our farm. What lucky children we were!

I was dismayed to find, near the fire pit, that some trespasser on a dirt bike or ATV had done a “donut” at the edge of area of crushed stone, and had torn up the soil, leaving a deep rut about ten feet long. We are now talking about putting up a gate at the end of the driveway.

And oh yes, last but not least, I got my first black fly bite of the season, along the hairline, behind my right ear. Little devils!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Monday 24 April 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 2.4°C
Dew point: -2.7°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: NNE 20 gust 29 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I hate this bizarre policy of protective exclusion, because it effectively writes me off the page.”
Sara Gruen, Water for Elephants

I have borrowed this as an audio book from my local library, and am listening to it as I crochet. The above statement was made by a 90 or 93 year old man in a nursing home, of his family, who don’t tell him things because they don’t want to upset him. The not telling upsets him a lot.

Walking On Air

Every day it has rained, all week long. We have our “April Showers” that hopefully will “Bring May Flowers”. The temperature has hovered between 5C and 10C, chilly in the damp.

I have yet to get back out for a walk on a consistent basis. I find myself reluctant, and always have a reason, such as cold rain, wet hair from the shower, finishing a project before heading out… it is always something. The somethings vary, but the fact that they appear daily is a sign of inertia, perhaps even resistance. After doing a bit of soul searching, it seems that the public parade aspect of the walk is what makes it difficult to engage.

On Wednesday morning, while contemplating this issue of resistance, something the cardiologist said during the recent consultation, came to mind. He mentioned an elliptical machine, that it was low impact and might be an option for someone with arthritic knees, which would be me!

After looking at the local offerings of elliptical walking machines, it became obvious that the $1200 to $11,000 price tags on the things would be a problem, not to mention the size of them; Mist Cottage is small. After looking around at local sources, the net was cast further afield, and ended up including amazon.ca. There an elliptical walking machine was on offer for $143, the shipping free with Prime, and most of the reviews were positive. It had a small footprint, and was very simple with few bells and whistles. Without thinking, I ordered the machine, and it was on its way.

On Thursday afternoon, the very next day, the elliptical walker was delivered to our door. It was easy to assemble, and both Attila and I played with it for a bit. I decided that overdoing it would be foolish, so I confined myself to playing on it for only five minutes on Thursday night. It reminds me of walking on air. It will be best to proceed slowly, let the muscles adjust slowly to a new routine.

Today I found myself anxious to give the thing a try again. Before breakfast I had a streamed movie playing on the iMac, and was happily walking on the machine while watching the film. The timer was set for ten minutes, enough time for the muscles to begin to adjust to the new routine. Again in the afternoon the movie was started up, and the a second ten minute walk ensued. That is enough for one day. My knees seem to be handling the experience without a problem. I am, however, experiencing a mild stiffness in my lower back, and my less than optimal arm, so limiting the experiment to two ten minute sessions was well advised.

As I was walking on the machine my mind wandered a bit. I thought about what this machine would have seemed like from the perspective of childhood; it would have been an exciting toy. Perhaps that is how I will perceive it now, as long as the adventure proceeds with caution, so as to avoid any pain or strain.

When I woke up this morning it was with the realization that I am happy, right now, at this particular juncture; a feeling to savour.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

8°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Friday 21 April 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 8.0°C
Dew point: 5.8°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: SW 12 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.”
Robert Frost
1874 – 1963

Spectacularly Unspectacular

Easter weekend was very kind to us this year. We decided to stay home and work on the yard and house, because in a few short weeks we won’t be spending our weekends at home, we will be at the Rideau Camp.

On Friday, the day Attila had off work, he raked the entire yard, and trimmed a lot of the dead organic matter from last winter. I removed sheets of plastic that had wintered in bunched up balls under the back deck, hideous! One of them had been sprayed by a Tom Cat, so you can imagine the smell. It was bagged, and along with the yard waste and a large bag of garbage that had hung around all winter, it was loaded into Tank for a trip to the dump.

Friday we got word that Luna and Janus and Imp and Elf and Tink were going to make a flying visit to the area to see all of us before their flight to Amsterdam. They will be living in Amsterdam for three months, the whole family. This news inspired me to undertake spring cleaning. After all, two crawling babies and three active children need a clean space to cavort in. They all arrived late in the afternoon on Sunday, and stayed for an hour or so. Then they headed off to Terra’s house, which is very large, to spend the night.

It was a lovely visit. When Tink asked me to read her a story, it was the perfect opportunity to read to all my Grandbabies one of the books I bought with them in mind. The story we read together is called “The Night You Were Born”, by Nancy Tillman. I love this book because it celebrates every new life, not within the family context, but within the context of the universe, of being a living entity on planet earth. This book welcomes all new human life, not just those who are lucky enough to have a family to welcome them into the world, it is very inclusive. And so there I sat, reading those beautiful words to those bright young souls, that told them the story of how precious they are in the universe. Imp and Tink sat on my left, Elf sat on my right, little Sunny sat on my lap, and Sky listened from the other room, happily ensconced on his Grandpa’s lap. Elf and Tink listened with bright eyes, Imp sometimes gazed off into the distance, as she is known to be introspective at times, Sunny in her frilly dress was intent upon touching the pages, perhaps having a little taste, and Sky could be heard commenting in his own language as his Grandpa held him. How sweet is was when after reading this part of the story,

“So whenever you doubt just how special you are
and wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
listen for geese honking high in the sky.
(They’re singing a song to remember you by.)
Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)
Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen closely… it’s whispering your name again!)

we whispered each child’s name. It felt like my brother, my Granny and Grandpa, and my Aunts, were crowded around us and silently whispering their love into those beautiful names.

Monday morning saw Attila off to work, and me driving Tank to visit Terra’s house, for a shared breakfast with my daughters and their families. I enjoyed listening to them talk amongst themselves, and enjoyed playing with the Grandbabies, all of them. The Grandbabies enjoyed an Easter Egg hunt out of doors, filling their Easter Baskets with the treats they found scattered and hidden all over the yard. The morning flew past, and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye. We will not see Luna, Janus, Imp, Elf, and Tink for quite a while, today they catch their flight to Amsterdam, where they will live for the next three months before returning to Ontario. They are all very excited to be going on such an adventure. Terra and Lares and Sunny and Sky were preparing to attend an Easter Monday family get together at Lares’ uncle’s home.

Today was a day of comparative leisure. I baked Squash Muffins. I washed a load of laundry and hung it outside on the line to dry. I worked on my book. I worked on my crochet project, a cotton cover for my Obus seat. Attila arrived home and we enjoyed a dinner consisting of chicken, potatoes, carrots, and green and yellow beans. Because it is light later into the evening, Attila is out in the yard levelling a flower box that had settled crookedly over the winter. I have cleaned the kitchen, and now written this entry.

We have had a spectacularly unspectacular Easter break.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

10°C
Date: 6:00 PM EDT Tuesday 18 April 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 10.1°C
Dew point: -3.9°C
Humidity: 37%
Wind: SSE 7 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“For never before in story or rhyme
(no even once upon a time)
has the world ever known a you, my friend,
and it never will, not ever again…”
from On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

Home Sweet Home

There it is, today was the last in a long succession of doctor’s appointments. Home sweet home at last!

The doctor’s appointment today was interesting. The removal was almost painless, and the doctor was very sure there was no cause for concern. As anticipated, the most difficult part of the appointment was finding a place to park. I had visited the area via google earth beforehand, and located four parking lots and garages that were within a walkable radius of the clinic. I was hoping to park on the street, but there were no available parking spots there, so I made a few turns to visit the closest parking lot. There was one spot left, and a good reason for it. The entrance to the spot was so close to the adjacent building as to almost block entry, It took a 42 point turn to get the car positioned to get into it. I managed it though, and paid for my parking tag. It was much easier getting the car out again, because the adjacent car had left before my return, so I had lots of room to maneuver.

After the heads up from Eileen (thanks Eileen!) about the antibiotic ciprofloxacin (fluoroquinolones include ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin-Levaquin, pefloxacin, and norfloxacin), that had been prescribed at the emergency department for my UTI, I decided today to ask the doctor at the clinic for an alternative prescription. Reading the FDA document, and a National Health article on this drug I have to question the wisdom of prescribing it for something as minor as a UTI! These side effects are serious indeed, as Eileen gently, and thankfully, communicated.

The doctor questioned me about not wanting to take ciprofloxacin, he seemed a bit reluctant, but in the end he did provide me with an alternative prescription for Macrobid. I didn’t end up getting it. The pharmacist let me know that the new prescription contained my allergen, so another alternative would need to be found. The pharmacy was in the clinic, so the pharmacist went and had a chat with the doctor. The upshot was a prescription for fosfomycin, which is apparently not as effective as ciprofloxacin, but does not carry the risks of serious side effects that ciprofloxacin does. The brand name of the medication I ended up with is Monurol, it is a single-dose powder that is mixed into water, and drunk all at once, on an empty stomach. I took it as soon as I arrived home, as the evening unfolds I shall discover its effectiveness, and any side effects. I note that it is two hours after taking the medication, and the edge is off the symptoms. It is a positive sign.

The only thing I noticed about the weather today was the wind was chilly, and that wearing a parka to the appointment was the right choice.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

7°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Wednesday 12 April 2017
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 6.9°C
Dew point: 2.1°C
Humidity: 72%
Wind: WSW 19 km/h

Quote

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803 – 1882

That is why posers steer clear of me, I am lacking in credulity. They hate that.

Exhaustion And One More Day To Go

This morning I awoke at 2 a.m. in considerable pain. It was abdominal pain. I assumed it would pass, so I paced, I sat on the throne, I paced. The pain went on and on, and then it got worse. By this time Attila was up for the day and getting ready for work. We pulled out of the driveway at the same time this morning, 6 a.m., Attila on his way to work, and me on the way to the emergency department at the hospital.

My hospital visit was a good one. My blood pressure was elevated, but since I know now that it will be like that when I go to the hospital emergency department, it was of no particular concern. They gave me pain killers and muscle relaxants intravenously, which took about thirty minutes to kick in. Blood was drawn, blood sugar was read, a urine sample collected. And after all that, the nurse covered me with a warm blanket and I fell fast asleep, for two hours. My problem was a UTI (urinary tract infection). I’d suspected this for weeks, but thought I had conquered it with cranberry juice and lots of fluids. I was wrong. They sent me off with a prescription for antibiotics, which I immediately filled at a local drug store. The whole adventure was done and dusted by 10 a.m. Fasting was required for the ultrasound, and by the time I arrived back home from the emergency department it was too late to eat, or drink anything but water. The appointment in the city for an ultrasound and bone density test were scheduled for 2 p.m., but I needed to leave the house by 12:30 p.m. to get there on time.

I was very tired by the time I had to leave to drive to my appointments, and kept myself awake by reciting rhymes and talking to myself. Not only had I not had much sleep the night before, I hadn’t eaten since suppertime yesterday, AND I hadn’t had my morning cup of coffee. The hardest part about the tests was drinking three glasses of water before leaving home, and trying to park in the city lot while distracted by my bladder, which was under considerable strain by then, considering I have a bladder infection on top of everything else. I was grateful that the violent sneezing portion of my cold had abated, that would have added a whole new level of stress to my parking efforts. Thank goodness for small mercies.

By the time I had made my way home again, I was exhausted. As I was unlocking the door to come into the house, Attila drove into the driveway, and we walked in together. He looked as bad as I felt, the common cold is still affecting him. We are both exhausted.

Attila says this cold is making the rounds where he works. Its characteristics are violent sneezing, persistent cough, runny nose, and significant eye irritation. One of Attila’s coworkers had to stay home from work with this cold last week, because his eyes were so irritated that it affected his vision. My eyes were very bad for one day, and have slowly been recovering.

It looks like we will attempt to have an early night tonight!

Tomorrow I have another Doctor’s appointment in the city. This time a pesky mole will be removed and biopsied. The only thing that concerns me about the visit is where to park the car! We aren’t that familiar with the city yet, and downtown parking is hard to find in busy traffic, with impatient drivers and aggressive pedestrians everywhere. Still, it has to be done, and eventually we will get used to it, and be able to find our way around with confidence!

Hopefully tomorrow is the last of this recent round of tests. Next are the doctor’s visits for the follow up after the results are received. I have my finger’s crossed that they all come back within the normal range!

If the weather was nice today I would not have noticed it! I think it was relatively nice, warmish, cloudy, with some rain. When I walked out to the car, to go to my appointments, the birds were singing and the breeze carried the faint scent of blossoms. I also noticed that our lungwort is up and beginning to bloom.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

9°C
Date: 6:00 PM EDT Tuesday 11 April 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 9.2°C
Dew point: 8.5°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: NE 13 km/h
Visibility: 16 km

Quote

“I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I’m gonna put pins into all the locations that I’ve traveled to. But first, I’m gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won’t fall down.”
Mitch Hedberg
1968 – 2005