The Blessed Cool: Autumn

Yesterday was hot and humid. I didn’t go outside very much because my body does not tolerate heat and humidity with grace and ease. The hot and humid weather appeared in June, and only let up for a few days through the whole summer season, until today. So here it is the 19th of September, with autumn about to enter the scene in a few days, (9:54 p.m. on Saturday, September 22nd). Suddenly the temperature has plummeted from 22C at this time yesterday morning, to 14C this morning.

I am wearing socks! And long pants! And shoes with toes in them! And I am comfortable! Being almost naked has its moments, but I prefer to be clothed for the most part!

This morning’s breakfast consisted of two Turmeric Breakfast Cookies, and a cup of coffee (50% chicory 50% coffee) with a teaspoon of maple syrup and a few tablespoons of almond milk. The cookies are a big hit with me! The first batch I made using squash puree, the last two batches were made with my canned applesauce. I keep them in the refrigerator because they disappear only two at a time, and are quite moist, so I want to prevent spoilage.

On the weekends Attila likes to BBQ chicken and sausages for himself, which he will share with me if I so desire, but I seldom do. Last weekend my food of choice was a recipe I made up myself, for the Instant Pot of course! I call it Spinach Quinoa ala Maggie, and I love it! It isn’t pretty though, something about brown quinoa and dark green spinach that doesn’t soar visually. Just the same, I have found a dish that I can make for myself that feels like a treat and is still healthy.

Attila continues to wander into the garden when he gets home from work, emerging with ripe tomatoes and Scarlet Runner beans which he brings to me in the kitchen. The bean harvest is providing enough beans to eat daily, and the tomatoes are mostly going into the freezer for canning later. Some of the tomatoes being are being set aside to make sandwiches.

Attila is getting physiotherapy for his back and ankle, thank goodness that has started. He is slowly getting better, but if he stays on his feet for very long he begins to limp. He limps by the end of his workdays.

A recent visit to the doctor revealed that my blood pressure is higher than last year, lower than the last time I visited the doctor, and borderline on needing further intervention. The upshot is that the only thing left for me to do myself to keep it where it is, is more exercise. I do get exercise, I move around all day. The doctor and I talked about that, and the thing is, she explained, that I should get my pulse up to 100 or 110 for 20 minutes at least three times a week. Well, despite the fact that I am up and about quite a bit in a day, I doubt I get my pulse up that high for twenty minutes at a time. This is where the elliptical machine comes in. I haven’t been using it over the summer, to hot, too humid, and much too busy with other interesting things to to do. It is easy to just ignore it.

Another influence that has had a negative effect on my habitual use of the elliptical machine is the incessant public commentary on how people should exercise 20 minutes EVERY day. If I weaken and listen to that, which I occasionally do, after a week or two I begin to avoid the thing, and shortly after that I find that I completely ignore it. Better some than none, and three times a week is a schedule I can follow without getting discouraged and/or overwhelmed. So much of what is in the media encourages us to PUSH, PUSH, PUSH for MORE, MORE, MORE, when in reality slow and steady usually wins the day. Everything in moderation makes for a more balanced life.

Also, recent medical test results have revealed that I do not have any aneurisms, how great is that! This past year I have had many medical tests, and my health is excellent, I should be good for a good many years to come. It is nice to hear the doctor say that!

Today our oil heating system was inspected, as required by law. It passed with flying colours. Thank goodness. In ten years it will require another inspection, and we are pretty sure it will pass that one as well.

A big discovery around here was unearthed by Attila. Our “walking onions” suffered from some kind of strange mildew this summer, which killed all the green tops. The plants were assumed dead. But then new shoots began to reach out to the sky, green and vigorous. Attila picked many of them, and put them in the dehydrater. It took days for them to dry, running the dehydrater in the evenings when the hydro was off-peak. The flavour is WOW, amazing, outstanding. Who knew! Next summer’s garden will include a lot of these onions, and the dehydrated onion will become a major flavouring in our cooked dishes. You know when there is a big discovery at Mist Cottage, it usually involves tasty food!

Attila and I are finding enjoyment in each other’s company, and in life.

Worldly

Weather

14°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Wednesday 19 September 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 13.8°C
Dew point: 11.8°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: N 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“How beautiful maleness is, if it finds its right expression.”
D. H. Lawrence, Sea and Sardinia, pg 62
1885 – 1930

Well, I agree, and wish that every little baby boy was born into an environment that helped him find his own right expression.

Robins & Grackles

In 1996 I suffered a back injury. I heard it rip at the the time, a terrible sound. It was a weak spot in my back, having been injured way back in 1970 at a Bob Dylan concert at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario. At that concert we were coming down the concrete stairs when the woman behind me lost her balance, or was pushed, and kicked me at the back of my knees. My legs went up, I went down, landing on my back on the edge of the concrete step. The bruising was extensive, and it took months and months to heal. Luckily no bones were broken, but my back was never the same again.

In 1996 I was lifting a heavy box, and I heard that area of my back rip apart. I was bedridden for weeks, unable to move, and Attila, bless his soul, took care of the kids, the cooking, everything domestic, including me and bed pan duty. I was in physiotherapy for six months after that injury, and again, my back has never been the same. At that point in time it looked as if I would not be able to hike in the bush again, and I was advised to take daily NSAIDS for the rest of my life. But I ignored the prognosis, took my time recovering, increasing activity levels, decreasing my dosage of NSAIDS, slowly, slowly, slowly, repeating over and over again to myself, “Rome was not built in a day.”

It took over a year, but I did recover my mobility, and the complete elimination of the use of NSAIDS, or any other pain medication. I still have to think before I do things that involve lifting, twisting, reaching, and so far I have been able continue hiking in the bush, and performing most tasks in our domestic life, and our renovation projects. I never push myself though, I try to work smart not hard when possible. If something inside me balks at an activity, I stop.

I have had very good luck with my back. I am jubilant that I did not follow medical advice, and did not take NSAIDS daily beyond a short recovery time. I feel grateful that slow-but-sure won the day as I attempted to recover from my injury. My body and I are now navigating our way through aging, a time of life when there is almost as much physical change to deal with as there was during early childhood.

Attila called me into the kitchen this morning and bid me look out the window. At first he thought the flock of birds was all robins, but closer inspection of photographs taken revealed that the flock seen in the video is mixed, there are many Robins, and many Grackles. Neither Attila nor I have ever seen Robins behave in this way, and have never really seen Robins at all at this time of year. Something is different this year. I wonder what next winter will bring!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date: 1:52 PM EST Sunday 5 February 2017
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -0.1°C
Dew point: -2.8°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: WSW 27 gust 44 km/h
Wind Chill: -6
Visibility: 5 km

Quote

“The worst sin – perhaps the only sin – passion can commit, is to be joyless.”
Dorothy L. Sayers
1893 – 1957

This quote has me thinking!

NOTE: Some days are bad hair days. I am having a bad technology day! I have edited this entry so many times, it is all because I have added a video file, which I usually do not do, and am learning by trial and error, a lot of error is a trial!

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

Repairs

Repairs seem to be the theme this week!

Yesterday, 0n the advice of the CAA fellow, I gave the local automotive shop a call in the morning. The price was high, I thought, but I wanted the work done, and I wanted to explore for a reliable garage in the area. Doing business with the local automotive shop would give me an opportunity to do both.

Tank started without issue, so I took myself off to the grocery store to pick up milk. While parked at the grocery store, I walked across a two parking lots to reach the Canadian Tire store. I inquired about a battery for Tank. They didn’t have one. Their initial price was very inexpensive, $60 less than the auto shop. But here is the thing, they added a core charge of $20, and an installation charge of $24.99, and would probably insist on a test charge as well, probably for under $20.00. So although the price seemed less expensive at first glance, once the extras were factored in, the price was basically the same as the auto shop. Tank went to the local auto shop for its new battery.

I was immediately pleased with the auto shop. He said he would install the battery in the afternoon, they were too busy in the morning, so I drove over just after lunch time, parked in the lot, and headed into the shop. No expensive decor, bells, whistles, or other things I don’t want to pay for. Happy employees, obviously enjoying their day… that is crucial in my opinion, and something I don’t mind paying for. The owner greeted me pleasantly, chatted with another customer, took my keys, brought Tank into the garage bay, and ten minutes later the job was done. There is a great six year warranty on the battery. This is “our garage” now, I wouldn’t take my vehicles anywhere else!

Then Tank and I tooted around town for a little while, before heading home.

Tank is not the only thing around here that is aging and needs repairs.

My knee has been getting progressively worse. Last night I hardly slept, I was in so much pain. Enough is enough! I hate taking medication, particularly when I don’t know what the problem is. After my morning coffee, breakfast, and chat with Attila, I put on my parka and boots, locked the door behind me, and started up Tank. Tank roared into action at the first turn of the key! Off we went to the nearby hospital emergency.

It wasn’t very busy in the emergency department, thank goodness, I was back home in just under an hour. The upshot is that my meniscus is torn. I have been referred to an Orthopaedic Clinic, and physiotherapy. No more walks for now! Although disappointed about not being able to go for walks, I am relieved to know what the problem is. The emergency Doctor felt I would need minor surgery to repair the damage, but I guess I will know more once I go into the Orthopaedic Clinic. The Doctor also recommended wearing the knee brace when I needed to be active, and to keep walking around the house if I could manage it, which I am hoping I can. He also told me to take painkillers, and this I will do at night so that I can sleep.

I think I will still be able to shovel snow though, not much walking involved there! We shall see what they advise at the clinic, I will be listening to them closely.

So here is me today, taking it easy, and doing paperwork as I sit at the kitchen table. Not so bad, but I’d rather be out in that sunshine going for a walk!

P.S. My YakTrax arrived yesterday, just in time to not be able to use them! Funny old world. They will keep until I can use them.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-4°C
Date: 6:00 PM EST Thursday 15 January 2015
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -4.1°C
Dewpoint: -9.0°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: SW 27 gust 41 km/h
Wind Chill: -11

-8°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Friday 16 January 2015
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -7.8°C
Dewpoint: -12.4°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: NW 28 gust 46 km/h
Wind Chill: -16

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