Remembering

Today I am remembering the wonderful opportunities I had as I entered into my PhD studies. I was offered awesome scholarships to study with amazing people at the: University of Umeå, Sweden; the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia; Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts; University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario; and UCLA, Los Angeles, California. I have kept copies of all of those wonderful offers. In the end I would have had to leave my children behind in Toronto, had I wanted to take advantage of any but one, Toronto, of these opportunities. The Toronto offer, which was the weakest and worst choice for me, and for the children, was the only one I could choose if I wanted to keep my children, a conclusion I came to after weeks of heart rendering exploration of possible solutions. Legally I could not leave the city with them, and there was no one else to take care of them while I was away. The ex didn’t want them to leave Toronto, he had lawyers, yet he had no interest in taking care of them, nor would I have considered him a good choice even if he had been willing to invest some of himself in their upbringing. Sometimes I think “what if”, but who knows what lay behind each door. It would have been good for the girls if I had been able to follow my dreams, but such was not to be. These were opportunities that don’t knock twice, by the time the children had grown, there were no opportunities, my dreams were gone.

It was during the time of making these life decisions that I adopted the pen name Maggie Turner, and have used it ever since. Before I began to write my online journal in October of 1999, I had already been using this online moniker for years in online venues, and it flowed into the online journal seamlessly. Even though my dreams had died, I carried on with the life left to me, using the blog to speak my mind, and explore my thoughts. Maggie has been an invention as much as any life is an invention. There are huge ugly bits left out of my Maggie writing, lest anyone entertain the notion that my life is, or has been, ideal. I am of the school that seeks to celebrate and strengthen what is good in the world, without forgetting what is not good in the world. There is much to celebrate, if one ignores the popular notion of success in our society.

And so I come back to sitting in front of this keyboard, looking out the window at the leaves playing in the breeze, the bees visiting each and every bloom on the bright, cheery Scarlet Runner beans that grow up our backyard fence, and it is so very good to be here, to have hands to write with, thoughts to share, and people that I love.

I visited the drop-in clinic yesterday for a follow-up appointment about my high blood pressure. Two weeks ago the doctor doubled my medication. On this visit we determined that it didn’t work, my blood pressure is unchanged, still unacceptably high. The medication has been doubled again and I go back again in three weeks for another assessment. The doctor decided that it is probable that there is an underlying health issue causing my blood pressure to remain high and resistant to moderation by medication. I went in for a blood test this afternoon, and had to leave “samples” as well. With any luck the underlying health issue will be something relatively easy to deal with, and the last increase in medication will lower my blood pressure.

And how did I handle yesterday’s bit of unwelcome news. Well, I am not proud of my reaction, but a girl has to do what a girl has to do. I went to the grocery store, found butter tarts that did not contain my allergen, bought the smallest package, returned home with my treasure, poured myself a big glass of 1% milk, and ate every last butter tart with great relish. Then I felt physically horrid for the rest of the day. Supper helped balance out the poor food choice, we had fresh green beans from the garden, and meatless wieners on rye bread, with fresh garden tomatoes and chopped onion. This morning I feel much better, and breakfasted on a toasted tomato sandwich on rye, and a peach smoothie (1 peach, 8 oz 1% milk). When I used to live in Toronto and some situation hit me hard, I would go for a walk, and the rainbow of humanity soon brought my own existence back into perspective. If that failed I resorted to chocolate bars, and oh the woe of a four chocolate bar day!

Which reminds me of the year we painted the exterior wood siding at Mist Cottage. Attila painted a small bit of the siding, one coat, and it looked so hideous that I went directly to the grocery store, bought a chocolate cake mix, baked the cake, iced it, and ate the whole thing at one sitting. I don’t know what it is about this idiotic coping mechanism of mine, but it works. I regard it as far superior to drugs, legal or recreational.

My last hair cut was a while ago, and my hair has been getting a bit unruly. So last night I asked Attila if he would trim the bangs and the back for me, and he agreed to give it a try. This is an act of extreme generosity on Attila’s part, because I am seldom a satisfied customer, even with professional salon cuts. So Attila braved it out, and the results weren’t all that bad, I can live with this cut, without complaining.

The garden shed is nearing completion. There remains a bit of painting to do, and a ladder to be constructed to access the attic, where lumber will be stored. The new dishwasher has had so many benefits, and allowing Attila much more time after work to devote to his project has made quite a difference in the progress he is making. This garden shed, Attila told me late in May, would take two weekends and the week in between to complete. He began demolition and construction in early June. Attila is too much of an optimist for me to take his estimates seriously!

I see I am wandering around on the page again today… so glad I always end up right here at Mist Cottage.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date: 6:00 PM EDT Wednesday 14 September 2016
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 18.2°C
Dewpoint: 8.6°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: N 22 km/h

Quote

“Maps encourage boldness. They’re like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible.”
Mark Jenkins

This appeals to the Geographer in me. Another saying that I read on the wall of toilet stall in 1992, that I loved, was:

“If it weren’t for history everything would happen at once. If it weren’t for geography everything would happen to me.”

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15 Responses to Remembering

  1. Blood pressure is tricky. I take medication for it, but sometimes, if I am careless about my salt intake, or if I haven’t exercised enough, or if I’m under stress, it does flare up.Then I go into a spin, and it get’s worse. More medication doesn’t help it go down. I have no choice but to be constantly vigilant, and keep everything under control. I’ve never even considered an underlying health problem, and since it does eventually adjust back to normal, I think that is not the problem with me. Sincerely hope you can have that handled soon!

  2. Chocolate, that’s a favorite of mine, too. Right now, an empty wrapper that used to contain a “Kit’s Organic” Dark chocolate/Almond/Coconut bar is sitting here with me on the computer table. If Julia and I hadn’t already eaten all of the chocolate covered almonds, there might have been an empty package of that, too!

    I cut my own bangs but trust Julia and her scissors for the rest of my hair. Just today I was thinking I’m due for a cut, too, 🙂

    I hope your high blood pressure can be sorted out soon.

  3. TopsyTurvy (Teri) says:

    Had to smile at your not-so-odd coping mechanism. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do is basically my philosophy too, aka I give into a craving that’s usually been there but that I’ve successfully ignored for a time. Usually, though, it doesn’t mean large amounts of a food but rather just a serving of a food I wouldn’t normally have: a donut, an iced capp, a couple of 2-bite brownies, etc. There’s something satisying or maybe comforting about it, these aptly named comfort foods.

    Hope this new level of medication turns the trick for you.

  4. Diane, I wonder if my blood pressure issue is stress related, it has been one doozy of a summer, and the stressful situations just kept piling one on top of the other. I am glad though that the doctor is looking at possible underlying issues, particularly since I haven’t had primary health care for over a year now.

  5. Joan, I love chocolate, and cannot resist it! The only chocolate we keep in the house is chocolate chips, and they disappear relatively quickly, but mostly because Attila likes them, he likes them a lot. 🙂

    It sounds like a good system, cutting your own bangs, and Julia taking care of the rest. I have a bit of trouble with scissors due to to some limitations in my right arm, results are unpredictable, so Attial helps out.

  6. Teri, if there is a sweet treat in the house it calls my name, and if I try to ignore it, it shouts my name, louder and louder, until I pay it heed. When I lived in Toronto I found one bake shop that knew their ingredients and made a wonderful cinnamon bun that I could eat. It was lovely, I could buy just one bun. These days end up buying a package, and I might as well eat the whole thing at a sitting, because it is going disappear within hours anyway. I don’t have an addictive streak, but I can obsess about sweat treats like nobody’s business. 🙂

    Fingers crossed about the 4x strength of the medication, which I am now taking. I would prefer that there was a very benign and easily fixed underlying cause, and that I could reduce the medication back to what it was before it went haywire.

  7. Teri says:

    LOL! I’ve been lucky recently in that sweets haven’t been calling my name all that much. My current downfall is bread-type products. I’ve especially become inordinately fond of Parmesan Garlic Bread Twists from Zehrs. There’s something about the saltiness that I love, not a good thing when you’re attempting to be more low carb in your eating.

  8. Bex Crowell says:

    So… your dishwashing machine is humming along nicely?
    I am addicted to sweets and salty things. Unfortunately. I am so weak. All I have to do is hear a word of some type of food I have loved and it festers in my brain until it’s materialized and gone down my throat! Is it a woman thing?
    Maggie, that little item we spoke about (the book) may be delayed. The current reader is not progressing as swiftly as I’d hoped. But I haven’t forgotten… so please keep the faith that it will happen.

  9. Those twists sound good Teri!

  10. Bex, you bet, the dishwasher is doing a fine job!

    I know Bex, salt and sugar, not good for us but so very appealing! Add fat to that and the have the trilogy of decadence. I once created an award winning Apple Cake recipe, my secret… lots of fat, sugar, and salt, you can’t go wrong with the trilogy!

    The book will be welcome any old time it arrives Bex, winter is on the way, and that is a great time for reading a good book!

  11. NORA says:

    Hi Maggie,

    “awesome scholarships to study with amazing people at the: University of Umeå, Sweden; the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia; Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts; University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario; and UCLA, Los Angeles, California.” Maggie this is so impressive. It brought tears to my eyes when you wrote your dreams were gone. Obviously your children were more important and you sacrificed. Luckily you did go on to write and wrote a book which got published. Kudos to you!

    Your high blood pressure seems a mystery and I hope it gets figured out and controlled. My hubby developed it this year from stress at work. It took a while for him to find the right meds and dosage. I have low blood pressure but gave up trying to find medication that worked because they made me ill and I had just had it with the medical merry-go-round for the anxiety. I eat things with high sodium and it still stays low. I have found my lack of energy disturbing but noticed if I take a quarter of a pain killer (when my back hurts) I have energy and my legs work better. So I am wondering if part of my problem is inflammation.

    I wish I had a food addiction! I love chocolate but it doesn’t like me. I love café and it doesn’t like me. I would do anything to be able to sit down and eat a whole chocolate cake, no make that mocha! My drug is sleep.

    I cut my own hair and have for most of my life. My bangs grow very fast and I use a pair of hair thinning scissors for them. Reason being is that I do not wear bangs cut straight across well but hair thinning scissors have jagged teeth and make my bangs look more natural. I have very thin hair too.

    The way I cut my bangs is gather together what I want cut, twirl it around tight to the front of my forehead and then trim off the amount I want off. I saw this done in “Reader’s Digest” and it worked for me.

    Attila is sweet to cut your hair. My hubby would not do it. He would be too afraid. I might be too afraid too!

  12. Nora, thank you for all your kind and affirming words!

    Pain is so complex, I think it is poorly understood by the medical community. I was shocked that because I am adept at ignoring pain, becoming unaware of it, that that pain would actually cause my body to become dizzy, sweating, and short of breath. Pain has a huge effect on the body. Attila and I are now doing a sort daily routine of Tai Chi, in hopes of balancing our bodies and reducing the aches and pains of old age.

    Sleep! I envy you your ability to sleep, while you envy my ability to eat a chocolate cake, hilarious! Every life has its challenges it seems. 🙂

    After reading about how you trim your bangs, I ran out and bought a pair of trimming scissors. I tried it on my bangs and the results are pretty good for a first try. Scissors give me problems because I am unnaturally left handed, but I managed. It is a great solution, thanks for sharing the idea!

  13. NORA says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToglFY1wEjs

    Maggie, I wonder if this might help? I used it once and liked the ease of it. You know dem bones.

    I hope the link comes through. I figured if I walked and did this 15 minutes exercise (Xiang Gong) I would probably do a lot better.

  14. Nora, the link came through, thanks for that. I went through this with the fellow, he is quick, thank goodness the moves are easy to pick up! Walking and doing Xiang Gong will probably make a great difference. I just have to get disciplined enough to do these kinds of things every single day… I don’t maintain these things in the long term, I am just like that. There is an upside to my not being able to continue long term with thing. When I was working on my PhD I felt I should relax for a short time every day, and to that end I decided to have an alcoholic beverage every day. Do you think I could remember to drink, no! After a week of enjoying the down time, I had something I had to get done on a deadline and skipped it, just this once I thought, and didn’t take another drink after that. I would make a lousy addict!!

  15. NORA says:

    Maggie, I am still laughing. I have a difficult time following through with things. I would not pressure myself to do the exercises everyday. Not in the beginning at least. Maybe start off with three times a week. That may even be enough. Your body will tell you.