First I Will Eat A Banana

I legally changed my name 20 years ago. For the very first time since I made that change, I wrote my former name down without thinking. Why?! It could be that this Christmas I am feeling particularly close to my brother, who passed away in July, and that is the name I carried through many of my memories of our time together. It does seem very odd though, to have written that down without even realizing it.

The road is white and snow packed. The sidewalks are intermittently cleared or covered with frozen, uneven mounds of ice and snow.

My daily walk has become untenable, hopefully this is temporary, but that remains to be seen. So, I am planning a remedy walk at Walmart. Say what you like about the big box stores, but their floors are always level, and clear of snow and ice. There are smaller stores to visit of course, but they would not appreciate me walking around the interior in circles for an extended period of time, and their ware is more costly than the fare at Walmart. I always manage to find something at Walmart that I need and can afford. This is the hardest part of winter, the restrictions on mobility. It is worst for people with some disabilities, seniors, and mothers of young children. If I could do one thing in Canada to improve community life, it would be to keep walkways cleared of snow and ice through the winter. Think of how much employment that could create!

In preparation for this incredible excursion, first I will eat a banana. It does not due to enter a retail establishment when you are hungry; you never know what you will be tempted to spend money on. Then I will put together a magnificent fashion-crime-chic ensemble to wow them at Walmart. Walmart is the perfect venue for fashion-crime-chic, maybe some spiteful clever soul will take my picture to display for public shaming and ridicule on their Facebook page, or blog, or twitter… do they display images on twitter? Anyway, that doesn’t really matter. Today I am feeling just a bit irreverent, and this little excursion should scratch the itch.

My main purchase today will be garbage bag stickers. Of course, they don’t sell these at Walmart, so the local convenience store will be my first destination. I won’t be able to strut my fashion-crime-chic outfit there though, because it is in a area of subsidized housing, and the competition for first place is just too fierce. I am resigned to blending in as an average citizen on my first stop.

But first the banana!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-3°C
Date: 10:00 AM EST Tuesday 20 December 2016
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -2.5°C
Dew point: -6.2°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: SSW 32 gust 43 km/h
Wind Chill: -10
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Never say never, for if you live long enough, chances are you will not be able to abide by its restrictions. Never is a long, undependable time, and life is too full of rich possibilities to have restrictions placed upon it.”
Gloria Swanson
1899 – 1983

Scotch Metabolism

I sat quietly this morning, after Attila left for work, staring out the living room window, occasionally sipping my coffee, comfortable in my new easy chair. The light came slowly, blushing before revealing itself completely. Morning is my favourite time of day.

When Princess Diana died, I felt that the world had turned a corner, and not in a good way. Her passing was significant to me, and to many others. At that time, in September of 1997, I taped television coverage of her funeral. That was when I first perceived that the world was turning to darker times. I think that back then the tragedy of technology for the human race was only beginning to be felt, and has escalated beyond anything I could have imagined in 1997. Like any weapon, its use depends on who is wielding it.

Watching some of these old VHS tapes I am noticing how many of the programs in the 1990s displayed car chases as the epitome of excitement and daring. How different things are now, when entertainment is so saturated with extreme violence, graphic gore, and death… those are things I do not find entertaining in the least.

I spent several hours on Saturday researching bread recipes, in particular salt-free bread recipes. I have decided to try a recipe that includes oatmeal, and have my fingers crossed that it turns out reasonably well. Finding the recipe is only the beginning however, I need to actually bake the bread, and will hopefully break my state of inertia this week and do so.

This week I need to get our car in for a Drive Clean inspection. Owning a car is a necessity in holding down most jobs in areas without public transportation, and it is an expensive necessity!

The weather today was lovely, sunny and mild, 12C. I hung my laundry out to dry, and managed to get out for a walk. When Attila arrived home from work he felt like going for a walk on this glorious day, so out we went. The summer was hot, dry, and horrid, but our autumn has been something to write home about!

On September 8, 2016 I began taking my own blood pressure with a home electronic blood pressure machine made by OMRON. When I started taking my own blood pressure I had been taking the quadrupled dosage of my high blood pressure medication for a week, and had been eating the low sodium, low sugar diet, and taking a daily walk, for a week. At first I took my blood pressure every day, at erratic times of day, taking it only once per session. On November 3, I began to take my blood pressure routinely in the morning, and in the evening; I took multiple readings at each session, and calculated the average. It was interesting that when taking multiple readings, the initial levels were always a little higher than the subsequent levels. I decided to do this when I read about a doctor who takes multiple readings to mediate “white coat syndrome”. Apparently I am affected by my own imagined white coat! This is a chart of my readings, and some of the significant changes I have made along the way; ACV stands for Apple Cider Vinegar. I think the ACV was very helpful in working with the restricted diet and exercise to lower my blood pressure. I have been eating the low sodium, low sugar diet, which is also low in calories, and haven’t lost an ounce, although Attila says I look a little thinner, which I think is due to the daily walk and muscle mass, not weight loss. Attila says I have a “Scotch” metabolism, that won’t part with one single calorie, has to save them all.
Blood pressure Sept 8  Nov 14 2016

Worldly Distractions

Weather

11°C
Date: 11:00 AM EST Monday 14 November 2016
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 11.2°C
Dew point: 2.0°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: SW 13 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Look to your health; and if you have it, praise God and value it next to conscience; for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of, a blessing money can’t buy.”
Izaak Walton
1593 – 1683

Introvert

Another quiet, and cold day. It is now cold enough that I need to wear my knee warmer when I am out of doors, it really helps keep my arthritic knee from acting up. As soon as the temperature dips to freezing, the knee begins to ache, and if I am not careful it will move right on into inflammation.

Self-diagnosis is risky I know, but I think I may be an introvert. I haven’t been going for my walks lately, I just can’t seem to overcome all the little barriers (aka excuses) that I come up with for not getting myself out there. It is odd, because when we visit the Rideau Camp I am out of doors all day long, and I love it. When I lived in downtown Toronto I loved to walk about, every single day. Small neighbourhoods aren’t nearly so pleasant to travel along by foot, at least for me; they are more like running the gauntlet. I find it just so complicated to try and figure out who I can safely to say hello to, and who would rather be left alone; I end up greeting anyone I meet with a smile and a hello. This opens up the possibility of encountering males who take a friendly hello entirely the wrong way, which just creeps me out. The creepy male thing has happened to me more than once in other contexts, it is not an unfounded concern. And then there are the people who resent the greeting, there are two of those along my walk, one a man and one a woman; I think they hate everyone. At the Rideau Camp there is no superficiality to deal with, Attila and I just love being ourselves together at the Camp, and in Toronto people were busy living their own lives and saying hello, unless interaction was sought, just wasn’t something I had to worry about.

Our first autumn at the Rideau Camp.
DSCF0025

Having said all this I am reminded of my friend Em, who equally distrusted men and women. When I asked her who she felt she could relate to and trust, she immediately responded, “cats!” Pets are so much easier to deal with than other humans.

Maybe I am just weary to the bone, suffering overexposure to the worst in humans, as the US election campaign proceeds. The level of nastiness and unkindness is breathtaking.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

4°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Wednesday 26 October 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 3.7°C
Dew point: -6.3°C
Humidity: 48%
Wind: N 16 gust 30 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Quiet people have the loudest minds.”
Stephen Hawking

“Introverts crave meaning so party chitchat feels like sandpaper to our psyche.”
Diane Cameron

“Let’s clear one thing up: Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people. We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”
Laurie Helgoe

“Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.”
Anais Nin

“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”
Susan Cain

A Decision

This week a decision was required. I have been attending a yoga class, offered weekly, but which I do not attend weekly. The pay as you go class has suited me well. Many weeks I do not go, because there are other things that I want to do during that time slot. The classes require a Membership to attend, as well as the weekly fee. The organization has made a “business” decision, to require a three month commitment and prepayment for classes beginning immediately. Since my annual membership fee is also due, the cost is more than I am willing to invest; I wanted to buy new boots and you can’t have everything. Today I sent a note saying that I will not be returning to the class. The only thing I will miss is the instructor, who is excellent.

The decision to end my attendance at the yoga class led me to seek a new way to keep myself limber and flexible. I checked out DVDs on amazon.ca and rejected those, the one’s I liked were $60 or much more, not really feasible. Then I decided to see what YouTube had. I found a suitable, for me, set of very gentle daily yoga routines, that are provided free of charge online, from the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. I will be following these routines daily, or almost daily. There is one each for the morning, for the afternoon, and for the evening. That will give me a longer “workout” than the yoga class I was taking for one hour a week. And I can afford to continue with it as long as I like.

Walking in the winter is problematic for me; the snow accumulates on the roads and ice forms in patches, making the footing uneven and unpredictable. It is too cold, and too wet, to walk in my running shoes.

I have solved the issue of walking on a slippery surface in the winter, but not the issue of uneven surfaces. I have a new pair of boots, they are neoprene, and are relatively non-slip. I chose the low rise boot, as it is easier to get on and off, and I still have my old boots which are quite high and will be worn if I need to walk through deep snow, which will be a rare event here at Mist Cottage.

I was due for a pair of boots this winter, as my regular pair are 10 years old and were inexpensive rubber boots from Canadian Tire, a reasonably priced chain department store. Terra recommended Bogs, which were what I ended up buying. Of course, I tried on a dozen or more different pairs of boots before settling on the Bogs, I had to be sure. The sales person, a young woman, was most gracious about spending so much time showing me what they had in stock.

Today I went for my first walk in my new boots. It was a beautiful sunny day, cool but not frigid. The weather has been mild, the roads are relatively clear and the walking surface even. This is my first time out for a walk in the neighbourhood in weeks! The Bogs were comfortable, made snug by an added insole that I took out of my old boots and put into my new boots. I felt very sure footed in The Bogs, even when I had to walk over frozen icy patches down the side of the road; I was still cautious though. So far, so good!

My new boots. These are Bogs, neoprene boots with warm lining, good to -40C. I think these will last me a very long time!
Bogs

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1°C
Date: 1:00 PM EST Wednesday 27 January 2016
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -1.0°C
Dewpoint: -10.7°C
Humidity: 48%
Wind: W 22 gust 32 km/h
Wind Chill: -7

Quote

“The lesson which life repeats and constantly enforces is ‘look under foot.’ You are always nearer the divine and the true sources of your power than you think.”
John Burroughs
1837 – 1921

Relief

After feeling very tired all day yesterday, I slept deeply all through the night last night. What a relief!

Another lovely day here, just above freezing and the sun was shining brightly. I got out for my daily walk in the morning. The road was dry and I got away with wearing my walking shoes.

We have been waiting with bated breath to see what Attila’s pay check would bring this week, and good news, it was enough to pay all of the bills! What a relief! Both of us had been experiencing low level stress about the possible size of the pay check, relative to the bills that needed paying. This morning, after the good news, I was able to pay all of the backlogged bills. It felt very good.

We received a message from our Doctor’s office, near the country house, checking to see if I had managed to find someone to give me my flu shot. I called them back right away to give them the details. I admit that I was completely and very pleasantly surprised by their concern. To be honest, I am extremely grateful for their concern.

Attila was very keen to have Cherry Squares for his lunch, so when the hydro was a bit cheaper this afternoon, I baked up a batch. I couldn’t resist them though, and had a slice for my afternoon snack.

Attila has to go in to work an hour early tonight, to attend a seminar on the company’s benefits package. Time well spent! We are not eligible for the benefits package until well into February, so we have our fingers crossed that we won’t need any medications, or medical extras, until after he qualifies.

I had to pay cash to get my last prescriptions filled, and was charged almost $24 in additional fees to have them filled. Ouch! That was on top of the cost of the medications. That medication bill has now been paid!

I am thinking about my Mom today. Hi Mom! xoxoxo

This is our new “kitchen cabinet” that we bought on sale before Christmas. It fits perfectly into the space between the refrigerator and the range, it has a lot of storage space, a wooden countertop, is very sturdy, is easy to keep clean, and it is on wheels, so we can move it easily when it comes time to install the new floor. As you can see, it is a workshop cabinet, meant for a garage, but it works perfectly in our kitchen. Oh yes, it is also stainless steel and therefore fireproof!
DSCF7793

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 4:00 PM EST Thursday 7 January 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 1.8°C
Dewpoint: -2.0°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: ESE 4 km/h

Quote

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do. And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”
Dr. Seuss
1904 – 1991