Reconnecting

Yesterday I attended my first appointment, an assessment, with the physiotherapist. I didn’t like the feel of the physical building, just something about it that felt, well, aggressive. Then I discovered that the clinic shares facilities with a small gym. That explains it, there is an air of pushiness to the place, and gyms strike me as places that encourage the push. While perhaps that is warranted at a gym, it is not a great energy for healing. So that is one strike against the place, a physical plant issue.

The physiotherapist came out to greet me with a smile, she was young, and friendly, and not aggressive in the least. I liked her. So that is a strike for the place.

She asked me if I had brought shorts with me, no one had mentioned that I might need them during my initial call to set up the appointment. Another strike against the place, an administrative issue.

She went through the assessment efficiently, and kindly. She explained what she was doing as she went along. She asked for permission to touch me, when she needed to touch my body. More strikes for the place.

Her assessment made sense, she taught me two knee exercises to build strength around my knee. She printed out a sheet outlining the exercises, and wrote a few notes on it based on my questions. Very professional, and great “bedside manner”. More strikes for the place.

When I tally up the strikes, and weigh them as what is most important to me, this clinic is acceptable, and it is close by. I wouldn’t rave about the clinic settingj, but I would rave about the physiotherapist.

I began with the exercises last night. I was shocked, truly shocked, by the weakness in the injured side of my body. I have been babying this knee for quite a while, without thinking, and my muscle strength and tone have deteriorated significantly as a result. I know this because I do the same exercises with the uninjured side of my body, and the difference between the two sides is shocking.

I have postponed further visits to the physiotherapist until I have been to the Orthopaedic Clinic for the assessment there. If I need surgery, I will need all of my health coverage benefit for the post surgery physiotherapy. When the benefit runs out I will be done, as we have no financial means of paying for it ourselves. I explained this to the physiotherapist, and to the administrative person who processed my payment. I had to pay for the appointment myself, and must apply for reimbursement.

The visit to the physiotherapist, and the exercises, force me to centre my attention on my body. This is a tough thing to do, as I suffer from various forms of chronic pain. My method of dealing with the pain is to universally disconnect from painful sensations. That means that reconnecting with one source of pain means reconnecting with all of them. Yikes is all I can say!

Hopefully my brain will soon train me to “localize” the pain sources; to disconnect from some, while remaining connected to my knee and leg area. Fingers crossed!

Sunshine! It was very cold here this morning, but it was tropical compared to the temperature at the country house! Attila is going through another phase where he must get up at 3:00 a.m. to fire the masonry heater, then get up again at 6:00 a.m. to close the damper and get ready to leave for work. During these spells the country house can be quite chilly during the day. Attila is not there during the day. I am glad I am not there! If I was I would be wearing long underwear, layers and layers of sweaters, a down vest, a scarf, and gloves, just to keep from getting chilled. I can do it, I did it for over ten years. I would still be doing it, if it weren’t for the isolation in the bush and cabin fever, which are the reasons I am staying at the little house in the city.

I am reminded of my Grandmother, when she was in her seventies, during harsh winters. They heated their house with wood, it was cold at night! Granny wore a balaclava to bed at night, which was a great idea! I remember thinking how clever she was, figuring out how to stay warm!

I had a busy day, managing to get around with Tank, doing errands. I filled Tank’s tank with gas, for the first time this month. It wasn’t that low, but I wanted it topped up. I bought a few items at the discount store, things on Attila’s list. After the discount store, the last stop was the grocery store. Resisting the temptation to buy more fresh vegetables, the list was followed, milk, coffee, soda, olive oil. Then it was home for lunch.

The afternoon was spent at the laundromat. The wet laundry was carted home and now festoons the furniture and every available flat surface. It will be dry by morning, ready to fold and store away.

It was a pleasant and uneventful day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

The Country House
-26°C (-14.8F)
Date: 7:00 AM EST Tuesday 20 January 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -25.6°C
Dewpoint: -28.0°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: WNW 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -30

The Little House in the City
-16°C (-3.2F)
Date: 5:00 AM EST Tuesday 20 January 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -16.1°C
Dewpoint: -19.2°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: NW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -22

Quote

“Success is following the pattern of life one enjoys most.”
Al Capp
1909 – 1979

Routines

Routines are important to me. Life can get very complicated with my anaphylaxis, and our multiple properties, so anything that streamlines recurring tasks is welcome.

One routine I have had to forego is a daily walk, until now. At the country house I made huge efforts to get out for a walk, but the barriers eventually wore away my determination. I could not develop any kind of routine for walking at the country house.

The spring and summer brought black flies and mosquitoes, and not just a few. Going out of doors meant wearing protective clothing. Walking in protective clothing is not enjoyable, and it is uncomfortable when the body begins to generate heat from the exercise. Heat from exercise attracts even more of the blood sucking insects. It became a chore to don all the protective gear for a truly uncomfortable experience. I simply stopped being able to make myself do it.

The autumn brings hunting season. The “bite” here is a lot worse than that the blood sucking insects. Hunters actually hunt on our land, so going for a walk is risky business, one never knows if one will be “mistaken for a swan”. This is not paranoia, just after we moved to the country house a woman, a seasonal cottager, was shot dead by a hunter while she was out for her walk. It wasn’t near our house, but the lesson is transferrable to anywhere that hunting is practised. I cannot make myself go for walks during hunting season.

The winter brings snow, which is ploughed into very high snow banks. It also brings ice, which is slippery. It also brings snowmobiles, which charge up and down our street at high speeds. I would not have a chance, if a snowmobile came upon me, around a corner, at high speed. I am not nimble enough in my senior years to leap almost my own height to get onto the snowbank, and out of their way. There is no other avenue of escape on the narrow country road. I cannot make myself go for walks in the winter.

Walking has always been my exercise of choice. Walking is something I love to do. So, this winter I am taking advantage of being at the little house in the city. Here there are sidewalks. Here there are few biting insects. Here there are no hunters with guns. Here there are no snowmobiles on the sidewalks, or ATVs for that matter. So far this winter the roads and sidewalks have been clear of snow and ice. At the little house in the city I can develop the routine of daily walking, with few interruptions due to environmental conditions.

My health will slowly improve due to my ability to go for a walk.

I am not the only senior out there walking! During my walk I see at least a half a dozen other seniors out walking, some with dogs, some with their life partner, some by themselves as I am.

Another benefit I enjoy at the little house in the city is that the people are friendly. To smile at a passing stranger costs nothing, and the people in this town spend their smiles freely. Every morning that I have been on a walk someone has said “good morning” to me.

At the country house we have few neighbours, and their combined greetings can be counted on two hands… and that is over an eleven year span of time. In the shops in town, I am not treated as a valued customer, because I am not a valued customer. The shop keepers cater to the wealthy seasonal people, low-income locals are not considered valuable customers. The one exception is the local grocery store, the staff there are friendly to all, the store is kept open over the winter as a courtesy to the local residents, which is very much appreciated. The liquor store and beer store might also be friendly, but since I don’t need to shop there I do not know. As for the rest, I haven’t had a good experience yet, as a customer or as an employee.

Attila experiences the country house location in a completely different way than I do. That is due to several factors. He is a white, well educated, male, this goes a long, long way to garner acceptance in provincial Canadian society. Another factor is that he has a decent employer, and his hard work is appreciated. This is unusual anywhere. Another factor is that Attila enjoys many of the people he meets through his work. Since his employer treats him as a valued employee, the customers treat him with similar consideration. The country house location is not toxic for Attila, quite the opposite.

I had a good day today. I went for my walk, following a tip yesterday from Randy, wearing two pairs of socks and securing my laces carefully. I experienced no pain during the walk, and the blister did not bleed!

Later in the day I gathered together all the unused items that have accumulated over the last five years here at the little house in the city. There are two piles of items, clothing for the Salvation Army store, and building materials for the ReStore. I visited the Salvation Army in town, but it was closed until next week. So I took myself off to the grocery store for milk, and came away with three bags of groceries. Bacon was on sale, so I bought a few pounds, and I also bought myself a treat for New Year’s Eve. Attila and I will be spending New Year’s Eve together, via FaceTime, and I wanted a treat for the celebration. I eventually settled on cashews. I love cashews, but they cost the moon! Still, they are better for me than the other alternatives I was considering, which were sweet or salty.

After returning home from the grocery store I started a batch of chili. I used the remainder of the first batch of baked beans I canned. I enjoyed a bowl for supper, set aside two helpings for another two suppers later in the week, and froze five more servings in the freezer.

I seem to be settling in, here at the little house in the city.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-8°C
Date: 8:00 PM EST Tuesday 30 December 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -7.8°C
Dewpoint: -13.9°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: NNE 7 km/h
Wind Chill: -12

Quote

“Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable.”
Brenda Ueland

WeMe

Sunday, December 28, 2014

I have decided to call a phenomena in my life WeMe.

During December Attila and I were able to spend a lot of time with one another. It was wonderful. The month of December flew by. We lived within each other’s sphere of energy, connected in so many ways.

This morning the connectedness altered, Attila and Mist drove away into the north, leaving… me. Suddenly I wasn’t operating in a we environment, but a me environment.

WeMe is a disorienting experience. The initial sadness and sense of loss is difficult. It mellows out though, particularly after Attila and I begin our routine communication by telephone and FaceTime.

After Attila and Mist drove off, I had a good long cry, then I got to work. I started cleaning the house from top to bottom. I cleaned out a closet, washed the floors, chased down all the balls of fluffy cat hair in the corners, and moved the furniture.

And so it begins, the big winter of me. Attila has no more vacation time, and will be working six days a week in the north. Overnight visits in the winter are not feasible. He will have at least two two-day breaks between now and April, and we are hoping the weather will be fine for travel on those rare events, so that he may visit the little house in the city. This arrangement is not what we had planned, it is just what evolved, as our best laid plans took on a life of their own. Life is like that, mostly just coping with the forces of “nature”.

We just spoke on FaceTime. The weather at the country house was mild and sunny when Attila arrived. By the time we spoke, around 8:00 p.m., there was a storm blowing in, and already over 1 1/2 inches of snow had fallen. I miss Attila, but I am not sorry to miss that snow!

Monday, December 29, 2014

After chatting with Attila over our morning coffee, via FaceTime, I ate a breakfast of cinnamon oatmeal with dates. Over the course of December my diet descended into decadence, forsaking my morning oatmeal for pancakes and bacon, and commercial cereals of various kinds. Now it is time to revert to my regular and healthier diet, which consists of homemade oatmeal for breakfast, a lunch that includes vegetables, a light supper, and a “treat” of fruit juice and soda during the evening. I drink a lot of water over the course of the day. This is all kind of boring I suppose, but food is dangerous stuff for people with anaphylaxis, and having dependable food is far more important to me than variety. Routine menus free me from stress, fear, and time consuming planning.

Attila awoke this morning to a world of white, I opened the drapes to a black, brown and grey landscape, with a skiff of snow here and there. Fortunately the snow at the country house was scant enough that shovelling was not required, making Attila’s morning a lot less stressful.

Over the past ten years, during the winter, Attila would build a morning fire and head out for work, leaving me to close the dampers at the end of the burn in the masonry heater. This year, for the first time, I am not there. The upshot is that Attila must rise at 3:00 a.m., begin the firing in the masonry heater, then head back to bed until 6:00 a.m., when he must rise again to close the damper, and prepare to go to work. This will require some adjustments in his sleeping patterns.

Here at the little house the Heat Pump continues to provide almost all the heat for the house. We have had the heat on, at 10C when we are not here, and at 20C when we are here, which I have been almost all of December. I turn the thermostat down to 16C before retiring for the night, as this is my preferred sleeping temperature. The fuel in the oil tank is at the same level as it was in October, so we have used very little fuel oil, perhaps none. Thus far, I am unable to detect if and when the oil furnace is engaged.

Looking at the long range weather forecast for the little house in the city, I can see that the overnight temperatures will be falling below -7C with some regularity. The Heat Pump will not attempt to heat the house when the exterior temperature is below -7C. So it looks like the oil furnace will be put to work for the month of January, at least during the night. We are still waiting to see what the next hydro bill looks like, as it will reflect a period when the heat was turned on over the entire billing cycle.

I have been sitting here thinking how fortunate is was that we experienced our intense winds on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The wind ripped several shingles off the roof. So, on Christmas Day Attila got out his ladder, grabbed his hammer and set to work. I would be in a bit of pickle if this had occurred while Attila was in the North. I am sure though that Lares would have come to the rescue, in case of emergency. It is difficult to admit to myself, but my days of climbing up on the roof are over, otherwise I could fix it myself.

It was a sunny, breezy, cool, and beautiful day. I managed to get out for a walk. I developed a blister on my heel during a walk last week, and the blister is still sore, not completely healed. A cloth bandaid helped protect the wound, but I needed to pace my steps carefully and slowly. After my walk I had a light snack, before taking Tank for a drive downtown. I had to buy postage to mail some forms, which I accomplished. Parking Tank is an intimidating procedure. Luckily I found a perfect spot about two blocks from the Post Office, one where I could drive into the parking spot, and drive out again, without having to back up, or risk practising backing up, near other vehicles.

The rest of the day was spent taking care of administrative tasks online, gathering ingredients for making Chili, which I plan on cooking tomorrow.

The sunshine today has been a real mood lifter.

Bottles. Attila collected these bottles, spoon, and the tin can at our camp. Vintage 1890s to the 1940s, these bottles, spoon, and tin can might have been used in the day-to-day life of my Granny and Grandpa, or their neighbours, people they knew, people who shopped at their store, picked up the mail at their Post Office. The railroad tie nail (spike) is from the J. R. Booth’s Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway, or OA&PS
BottlesChristmas2014

Worldly Distractions

Weather

1°C
Date: 9:00 PM EST Sunday 28 December 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 0.8°C
Dewpoint: -4.3°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: W 13 km/h

-3°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Monday 29 December 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -3.1°C
Dewpoint: -8.8°C
Humidity: 65%
Wind: NNW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -7

Quote

“I have seen flowers come in stony places
And kind things done by men with ugly faces
And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races,
So I trust too.”
John Masefield
1878 – 1967

Merry Christmas

Peace and joy to you and yours!

A special Merry Christmas to my Mom, down in Florida, hope you have an enjoyable, sunny, and warm day Mom!

Merry Christmas to anyone who visits here today, so glad of your company!

Attila and I are enjoying a quiet morning, as the wind whips the clouds along at high speed just outside our door. The sky is streaked with clouds this morning, with an occasional hint of blue. After the solid gray skies over the last few weeks, this is positively cheerful!

Our Christmas cheer consists of food, food, food! Attila received small items of delight, such as olives and kippers. I received a set of antique bottles, collected from our camp lot, cleaned and wrapped just for me by Attila.

We are enjoying each other’s company, being warm, watching Mist sleep in Attila’s chair, and anticipating our Christmas feast.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5°C
Date: 8:00 AM EST Thursday 25 December 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 99.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 4.8°C
Dewpoint: 1.5°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: WSW 45 gust 71 km/h

Quote

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Home(s)

There is an odd sweetness to the quiet days alone here at the little house in the city. Attila and I miss each other’s presence, making every interaction over the computer something we look forward to, and every chance we have to be in the same place, at the same time, a special event.

I first noticed this “odd sweetness” of distance with one of my first boyfriends, when I was thirteen years old and was obliged to spend two weeks with my family for summer vacation (oh to be able to do that again!). At that age, the boyfriend was a big deal, and after a few days away I wrote to him, describing the “bittersweet melancholy” that I felt at not being where I wanted to be. He ridiculed the use of that phrase, it was a bad relationship. But the sentiment, although completely wasted on him, was one that I have experienced off and on over the years, and I am experiencing it again right now.

If I had my preference, Attila would be here with me every day, at the little house in the city, so that we could live our quiet days together. We enjoy each other’s company, this is why we decided to share our lives. That we are apart, by this strange circumstance that we call our lives, is temporary, at least we hope it is!

Attila, at the country house, will enjoy an afternoon Christmas celebration at his workplace today. There will be copious amounts of good food, and much cheer. Since he has no allergies, he can eat anything he wants at these events, and so enjoys them very much. They are not much fun for me, so I do not feel I am missing anything, although I was kindly invited. He will work again tomorrow, and then his Christmas break will begin. Since freezing rain is in the forecast, Mist and I do not know when he will be able to join us for Christmas.

Mist and I are settling in here at the little house in the city. When Attila returns to the country house after Christmas, he will be taking Mist with him. There will not be nearly so much visiting between us for the remainder of the winter, so she will not need to make the trip again until next autumn, when we will have some vacation time once more. She settled into the little house very quickly when we arrived here, so I have my fingers crossed that she will settle quickly and comfortably when she returns to the country house. Attila is missing her!

When Attila drove down on Saturday he brought my winter work boots. I have two pairs, both safety rated, as in previous work environments I needed to wear safety boots. Both pairs are leather, and had been sitting downstairs at the country house, unused for the past five years or so. Leather does not fare well in non-ventilated areas, so they were covered by a thin layer of mould. Today I spent quite a while washing them, interior and exterior, as well as washing the laces. They are now tip top and ready to go.

To celebrate the refurbishment of my old work boots, which fit well and make for easy movement, I decided to go for a walk. Going for a walk is something I have been meaning to do since I arrived here at the little house in the city. I walked about a mile in total, which I managed without pain or incidence. When wearing “new” footwear I don’t think it wise to overdo things, and end up with blisters. The walk was a perfect length, my feet were comfortable, as was my back. These boots are good for walking.

A recent request generated from one of my web sites had me busy for a little while, setting things up. Sometimes the requests for inclusion come in frequently, and sometimes they do not. It had been a while since I had a request, so it took a little bit longer than usual to get things done, as I was relearning a few skills.

I have been thinking that recently I have taken very few pictures. I did not even take pictures during our family Christmas event. So I got the camera out and tried to persuade Mist to pose for me. It is like talking to a deaf cat, it was talking to a deaf cat! The camera, in its wisdom, kept shining a red light on my subject, before snapping the picture. Each time I pressed the button the red light came on and Mist, disgusted, looked away.

Mist, disgusted. She is showing her feelings about the red light on the camera.
MistDec22 2014Meh
Mist in low light. Not a great photo, but the best she and I could come up with.
MistDec22 2014
We haven’t much in the way of Christmas decorations. Our little tree was a $5.00 sale item, wire and plastic, that came with lights that have ceased to function. We have a few Christmas baubles hung in the windows, and lights.
XmasLightsDec22 2014
What I like best though are the cards, which we have strung on the old dresser, and the framed gifts from Luna and the Grandbabies. On the left is this years gift from Luna, an embroidered piece of burlap, entitled Gramma and Grandpa’s Paw Paw Patch, with a button from a garment each of the Grandbabies wore as infants. Attila and I had the Grandbabies in our car last summer and we all sang Paw Paw Patch together, just as I had with my Mom when I was a kid. We all loved it! On the right of the dresser is a framed picture of the Grandbabies with Santa Clause, which was our gift last year. Elf made the frame for us, which was very special.
XmasDec22 2014Cards

Worldly Distractions

Weather

FREEZING RAIN WARNING IN EFFECT
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT IN EFFECT
-3°C
Date: 4:00 PM EST Monday 22 December 2014
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -2.7°C
Dewpoint: -4.7°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: NE 20 gust 31 km/h
Wind Chill: -9

Quote

“Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”
John Howard Payne
1791 – 1852