The Emptiness of Space

Writing, I hope coherently, is helping me maintain an internal balance.

“By virtue of that intactness, we have been able to make great bounds in what we can learn from them [artifacts, plates, teapots] about who made them and how they were used.”
Source: ARTfix Daily

Interesting how in our current culture professional (non-domestic) careers can be made looking into who used plates and teapots.

Another cold snap has arrived, and is predicted deepen so that Saturday night the temperature will drop to -28C here, and colder to the north. Sunday should bring warmer temperatures and more snow. While this is going on, the eastern seaboard of North America is being battered by severe winter weather conditions:
“The storm strengthened Thursday into a “bomb cyclone,” the dramatic name for what happens when a storm’s pressure plummets as it explosively intensifies. Though forecasters said this storm was among the most powerful ever observed on the East Coast, much of the cyclone actually remained in the Atlantic Ocean as it lashed the coastal states.”
Source: The Washington Post

Yesterday I gathered strength, downed a quick breakfast, and drove to the city to the walk-in clinic. I have needed to do this for months, since October really. There should have been a follow-up ultrasound to check on the significant gallstones, and the cyst in my kidney. I also want a CT scan of my head, to eliminate the possibility that I have an aneurism. The doctor was one I had not met, quite efficient, relatively friendly, and he will see that appointments are made to have the tests done.

When I came out of the walk-in clinic, which is downtown, I had some time left on the parking meter. It was an opportunity to walk around the area and explore. Just around the corner from the clinic was a shoe store selling well made shoes. The black slip-on walking shoes, purchased more than 15 years ago, have holes in the uppers, they are wearing out. Having a very high instep, most shoes will not fit, the foot will just not go into the shoe. There was but one pair of slip on shoes in the store that suited, both liked and ticking off all the buttons when it came to function. The size needed was not in stock, has been ordered, and I will be called when they arrive at the store, so that actual fit can be determined. They are expensive, well-made walking shoes, to be worn for many, many years, god willing. If they last as long as I want them to, they may outlive me.

Things here at Mist Cottage remain difficult, for both of us. Talking continues, revelations abound, life is an unexplored jungle, full of beauty and danger. Sometimes I forget to wear my pith helmet. Sometimes Attila hands it to me. Sometimes I hand him his.

Listening to music has been a welcome relief. It is then the energies from those I’ve loved, who are gone but not lost, come to me. Alone ceases to have meaning.

My crocheting continues to wait for me by my easy chair, ready to hold my hands. I have yet to manage enough focus to read my books, giving it a try every so often, to see if the cloud of confusion has lifted, if my eyes can see through the surrounding density.

The morning is moving on without me, I must eat, something I frequently forget to do just of late. Thank goodness a hearty soup sits in mason jars in the refrigerator, and a batch of fortifying Chocolate Cherry muffins sits on the kitchen counter.

The morning, arid, desiccatingly cold, has offered up sunshine. Funny old world.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-21°C (our thermometer say -25C, and it is close enough to the house to be a little warm)
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 5 January 2018
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -20.8°C
Dew point: -26.5°C
Humidity: 60%
Wind: W 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -29

Quote

“True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision.”
Edith Wharton
1862 – 1937

“the emptiness of space outside the vagina”
An out of context quote from the song “The Waters” by Shakey Graves. I like it because as a stand alone statement, thinking about birth and life, it sheds light on the introspection of women, and that men seek reunion.

Resistance!

Today, this afternoon to be exact, I am to have pap smear.

This event has become more stressful as I age. I have many fears. What if my gastrointestinal issues decide to blossom while I am on the table? What if bit of that horrid white paper escapes all cleaning efforts? Really, I think if I were a doctor this would be among my least favourite types of patient visits. I never used to worry about these things, now I do, and wish I didn’t.

But really, if I look at this resistance a little more closely, it is really about being tested, and the reality that I might fail the test, that makes me want to avoid the whole procedure. But I won’t avoid it. This afternoon will find me stripped down and in a gown, heels in the stirrups. Oh the inglorious road to maintaining good health!

I wish there were little treats for adults at the doctor’s office, like the children’s lollipops, that would reward the visit!

Next week is another body tune up week. I will wear a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours. I will have a mole removed and biopsied. I will have a skin tag removed that is preventing me from wearing the brace for my arthritic knee. The following week I see a cardiologist to discuss all the tests done on my heart, and the state of my blood pressure levels. I feel like a science project! But I am grateful. I am able to get these necessary tests done through a walk-in clinic, although I do not have a family doctor. The doctor at the walk-in clinic seems to be guiding me through a thorough tune up!

Why do old people talk about their health so much? Well, if you use an elementary level of logic it would be easy to understand. As you get older it is more and more work, for most people, to maintain good health. And it is hard work, with a lot of challenges to be met and mastered. Luckily, I have fairly good karma when it comes to talking about health issues. I was a listening ear for my Granny when her health was failing, and have been consistently respectful of health related confidences shared. I always wanted to be able to get old, it was something I wanted to live long enough to become. My observation was that indeed, some lucky souls carried good health around with them like an invisible halo, but most people did not, do not. They are not that lucky.

I have a secret weapon! When I go to all of these appointments, and will find myself sitting in sterile waiting rooms, I can take out my crochet hook, and a ball of yarn, and lose myself in colour and movement. Crocheting is such a source of pleasure and focus that it can mediate the coldest social environments. Today I carry red with me into the fray.

I am just thinking that I would love to be funny and clever about going in to have a pap smear. But if funny and clever aren’t what I feel, then funny and clever is not what I write. I don’t feel funny and clever; and unfortunately I have little talent for joking about the things that I find disturbing. I love to read funny and clever descriptions of the experiences I find distasteful, but it isn’t in me to write them with any sincerity. I am no comedian.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Friday 31 March 2017
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.0°C
Dew point: 1.1°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: ENE 25 gust 36 km/h
Visibility: 10 km

Quote

“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning… a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.”
Joseph Campbell
1904 – 1987

In my case writing, genealogy, food science, crochet… and sitting in the bush whenever the sun shines and the warm breezes blow.

Christmas Celebrations

I decided to try discontinuing my high blood pressure medication altogether, after successfully reducing the dosage back to the original low dosage I had been taking. Within 24 hours my blood pressure had skyrocketed. So I decided that the medication was working to a limited and inadequate degree, and that I would be better off taking the original low dosage. I began taking the medication at bedtime, and in the morning my blood pressure was a little bit lower, but still higher than it needs to be. It is a work in progress.

My appointment at the walk-in clinic two weeks was fruitful. My blood pressure was borderline high when the doctor took it. He thought my nuclear heart test looked normal, but didn’t touch on much about it. I didn’t pursue it because I am more concerned about getting my blood pressure down, and stabilized. We discussed a few things, I brought my daily blood pressure readings to show him, and he decided I should see a blood pressure specialist. The appointment will be requested by his office, and they will call me to schedule the visit. I am relieved, and I am hoping that the specialist is someone I can work with!

In the meantime I continue with my low sodium, low sugar meal plans.

I did slip a little bit this past week and weekend though! Terra had Attila and I, and Luna and her family over for our Christmas celebration last Thursday night. It was the only time Luna could commit to travelling to Terra’s house. We had a lovely time with the five Grandbabies! Luna’s three seemed to like the books we got them Christmas, and they definitely liked the cash. Terra’s two are too young to be aware of gift giving, but they are old enough to love having all the family there and celebrating together. We have seven grandchildren now, five of them belong to my two daughters, and two of them belong to Attila’s daughter. We had a lovely chicken dinner, cooked by the very busy Terra, who even found time to decorate two Christmas trees! Attila and I said goodnight relatively early, as Attila had to be up at 5 a.m. the next morning to be off to work.

On Saturday we travelled to join in a celebration of the season with my Mom, which my Sister-The-Youngest-Girl held at her house. It was lovely! We had a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings and lots of scrumptious vegetables. My Mom made delicious muffins that were safe for me to eat, a real treat. It was great to see my Mom, Brother-The-Middle-Boy, both of my sisters and their partners, and one of my nieces and her fiancé.

My Mom made a quilt for my bed as a gift and I just love it! Last night I slept under it, so cozy and warm. It is red and white mostly, a Christmas theme, bright and cheery and beautiful and so precious. Mom also knitted me a second knee warmer for my arthritic knee, just in time, winter arrived with a flourish last night. My sisters gave us each a bowl, we use the large Corelle bowls instead of dinner plates for most of our meals, and we needed more to accommodate our “dishwasher lifestyle”. We even got to give away our 1961 Electrolux vacuum cleaner. My niece and her fiancé just bought their first house, and didn’t have a vacuum cleaner of their own. They are both engineers, and really gave the built to last machine a good looking over, enjoying the technology. They needed a vacuum cleaner, and we needed to move the Electrolux to new home, it worked for everyone.

We stayed overnight at my Sister-The-Youngest-Girl’s home, as did my Brother-The-Middle-Boy, and we had a lovely breakfast together before heading back home. My Brother-The-Middle-Boy lives along our route home, so we gave him a lift home. It was wonderful to see where he lives, he lives in downtown Toronto in a lovely building, which is very conveniently located so that almost anything he might need is within walking distance. After we waved goodbye to my brother, Attila took a wrong turn and we became lost. we spent about 40 minutes touring the streets of Toronto, before finding the 401 again, and continuing on our way home.

It was snowing when we started out on our journey home, and continued to snow. The roads were wet and visibility was good, with the exception of about a 50 km stretch of highway that was ice covered as sleet hammered the windshield of the car. We proceeded at a snails pace and made it to the other side of the weather, where the road became merely wet, and the sleet became snow once more.

It snowed all night here, and it was still snowing this morning. Attila arose earlier than usual this morning, leaving himself time to shovel out the driveway. By 8 a.m. the snow plow had gone by and left quite a pile of snow across the end of the driveway. At 9:00 a.m. I was out in the great outdoors with my trusty snow shovel. I started to clear the end of the driveway, and was delighted when our neighbour headed towards me with his snowblower. He cleared the end of the driveway with ease, leaving me with only a few small fiddly bits to complete. I shovelled the walk to the front door, and the deck at the front of the house, then decided I had better take a break. The snow was wet and heavy. A few hours later I headed back outside to use a broom to remove the snow from the top of Iris the trailer, and Tank. It was a good workout!

By the time Attila had arrived home from work, most of the areas where the snow had been cleared were completely bare and dry, it had been a mild day.

This afternoon I baked croutons, and this evening I made a batch of squash muffins, which are my pumpkin muffin recipe, but squash has been substituted for pumpkin. It feels pretty satisfying to eat a muffin and know you are getting almost a whole serving of vegetable!

This Christmas Attila wanted a real tree. I wanted an artificial tree, but agreed to a real tree for several reasons. The most important reason is that having a real tree means more to Attila than having an artificial tree means to me. Another reason is that the real tree will be picked up at the roadside for recycling, and will not need to be stored in this tiny house. And the last reason is that we hope to find an artificial tree on sale after Christmas, something within our budget.

We drove around town tonight, after we purchased our groceries for the week, looking for someplace to purchase a real Christmas tree. The NoFrills had none, Canadian Tire had none, Walmart had none… we were beginning to get worried as we were running out of places to look. Then we drove by the Metro grocery store, and they had beautiful trees for sale, a bit pricey, but we figured that if we wanted a tree we had better take what we could find. So after bringing our groceries home, Attila went back to the store for the tree.

The Christmas tree is sitting in our living room, and the smell of the pine is deliriously wonderful. We will let it sit quietly in its corner overnight, to allow gravity to bring the branches down to their normal position. Tomorrow night we will decorate the tree.

I love that I am going to share the living room with a sweet smelling tree for the next few weeks!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 8:32 AM EST Monday 12 December 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.2°C
Dew point: 1.2°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: SSW 23 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Efficiency is intelligent laziness.”
Anonymous

Monkey in the Middle

I spent the day yesterday at the walk-in clinic and the pharmacy.

This was the third different doctor I have seen at the walk-in clinic. After reviewing possible lifestyle changes to be made, and determining that they have all been made, this doctor wants to add another medication. I filled the prescription and I am thinking about taking it. He had not heard of the information I brought in with me about my cholesterol lowering medication causing an increase in blood pressure, and he did not think that there was any possibility that I might have an adrenal tumour, one of the factors listed by the Mayo Clinic that might be responsible for increased blood pressure; he listened to me and dismissed these concerns. For high blood pressure the Mayo clinic advises adding medication after medication, so that seems to be the logic he is using, more drugs. When I took the prescription in to the pharmacist, she pointed out that I was allergic to the medication he prescribed, after I had carefully gone through the whole allergy thing with him, it doesn’t inspire trust. The drug store consulted with the doctor and he then prescribed a completely different sort of medication. The information sheet for this medication states that if you have a heart problem you should not take the medication. Again, this does not inspire trust. I am putting off taking it until after I go in for the heart tests that the doctor recommended and is setting up. I don’t think I have a heart problem, but life is full of surprises, and the test results will affirm that there is nothing to worry about in that department.

I requested a flu shot at the doctor’s office, and he told me that they could not determine if my allergen was in the solution (bogus, not true, lazy or scared not sure which) and that I would have to go to the drug store to try and get the shot. Again, this does not inspire trust.

When I got to the drug store they wanted me to go to the hospital to get the flue shot. Shit!!! Monkey in the middle health care. I have been through all of this before, every single year I have to spend hours and hours and hours of upset trying to find someone who can read a @#&$%^$ label!!!! The hospital told me last fall that they don’t give flue shots, there is no use going through all of that again and wasting their time and mine. So I refused to get up off the chair at the drug store, I sat there and just kept talking, calmly, in a friendly manner. Eventually they gave me the spec sheet and it listed the non-medicinal ingredients. We went through them, we talked about them, we read through them a second time, a third time, I recited all the chemical names given to my allergen, we read through the non-medicinal ingredients again. My allergen was not in the flu shot. Eventually, after much urging and insistence on my part, they gave me the shot. I stayed in the store for a good 15 minutes to ensure that there was no reaction, said a friendly goodbye and finally headed for home.

My blood pressure may be high when I arrive at the walk-in clinic because I know I am heading for a difficult experience. Next time I will call ahead to see what doctor is working in the clinic, and if the doctor I saw yesterday is there, I will wait for another day to visit. Attila and I have been very lucky over the years, to have wonderful Family Doctors. Our luck seems to have run out.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

12°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Saturday 5 November 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 12.2°C
Dew point: 7.7°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: WSW 13 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Every increased possession loads us with new weariness.”
John Ruskin
1819 – 1900