Saturday, 18 November 2017

The Dalai Lama's Cat - And the art of Purring

Google image

This is a book we had at Book Club. Very cute - gentle lessons in Buddhist beliefs through the eyes of a (very spoilt) cat.  It's not necessary to read the book but it did remind me of few things viz.  Don't try to re-live happiness from the past - it will probably depress you.  Live in the present and enjoy every minute that you can.  The most happiness is to be found diverting your thoughts from too much introspection and seeing what you can do to make others happy.  I have never been much involved in charity work, but I can see the appeal and I do the things that I like for our Ladies' Club - viz knitting or crochet, but on the whole I think I should concentrate on being nice to my husband which will now be much easier now that I have access to some decent pain pills for the next few weeks. Hopefully by then I will have established a habit - they say you have to do something thirty times to cement a new behaviour.  NB  - Small son has given up smoking for 31 days now. Yeh! 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Breaking Bones should Hurt More

MIne is like the one on the left, but lower down

That might sound weird but I need a more arresting title than say, "Back Problem".  The physical problems that accompany ageing are really so boring, but what can I say? I thought I would share a few thoughts that might help someone else. I have had searing pain between my shoulder blades and could hardly walk for the last few weeks, so I went first to the chiro "Shock, horror, your sacro-iliac joint is jammed".  Some of his manipulation relieved the tight muscles down either side of my spine temporarily (and freed up the joint), but the problem persisted. Eventually, I went for X-rays last week and my GP seemed totally awed by the "severe lower lumbar spondylosis with scoliosis convex to the left" (which I was born with - and not worried about) but he did point out to me some fracturing of two of the lumbar vertebrae.  I think, on reflection, that I did this to myself (not confessing to the doctor of course), but when I was at wits end with my 'piri formis' muscle (sorry to bore),  I found advice on Youtube (naturally), which recommended rolling on a tennis ball (which I didn't have at the time), and if not, to use a rolling pin. I do recall this was quite painful (did I crack my own vertebrae?) but I was desperate to find something to assuage the muscle pain so I persevered. Having seen the X-ray, I shall desist from this practice and hope that with rest/passage of time the joints will heal themselves.  I can't afford to go for the Bone Density Scan until January but I don't think that will reveal a problem: last year I fell on my hip x3 times and broke nothing.  Luckily, my doctor was so amazed by my deformed spine that he gave me some strong painkillers which work very well indeed.  At least I am not snapping at my husband as I was before.  Let's hope that by January nature will have done its' work. My husband broke a toe once in the night on his way to the bathroom - fixed it himself and I met someone recently who had also broken her toe, but not realised. She has pain now - 5 years later).  I broke a finger once but it didn't hurt all that much so I didn't do anything about it.  Today, it is very skew and hurts a lot if someone squeezes my hand. Why didn't it hurt more at the time? (Sorry to bore).

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Don't Judge a Man by his Pants

Formal dress?

We went to a lovely wedding last month: small son's best friend - they grew up together - and a lovely American girl from Arizona.  The met four years ago, very romantically, on a game reserve in South Africa, where small son's friend was working as a game ranger. They had a tiny civil wedding when their travels and commitment took them back to her home in Arizona and then they had their dream wedding back here two years later.  It was a bit of a chilly day (and I was saving my high heels for the evening - it was wet on the grass!) and the guests were invited to play an impromptu game of croquet while we waited for the photographs.  The invitation had said 'Formal' so I was somewhat critical of this young gentleman in his shorts.  I heard later that he had been on a two-week cycle marathon and just made it to the wedding in time.  In his haste he had packed shorts instead of his long pants (same color) into his rucksack.  Needless to say, he is at the moment, not chaperoned by a girlfriend who might have checked.  Anyway, in the end - when I got to chat to him - what a nice chap. This is small son and his girlfriend  from whom I was sorry to hear he broke up with two weeks later (also me and hubby)

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Hazards of Helping

At least it didn't hurt much

Whenever I help my husband in any kind of job around the house, we usually have a communication problem and I end up getting my fingers squeezed in a vice/hinge/having a plank of wood dropped on them etc.  The list goes on.  This time I had to help with emergency swimming pool motor maintenance.  The motor had been emitting an unpleasant noise and we discovered (just in time) that there was an airlock or blockage somewhere connected with some or other valve. There is quite a distance between the motor and the pool, because of noise (about ten yards, it is situated around the corner of the house) and the pipes are buried beneath the paving.  I was required to kneel next to the weir and keep a tightly rolled cloth pushed into the hole at the bottom - about 18 inches down.  In the end I found I had to kneel with my bottom in the air so that I could  keep it in position and apply pressure with a broomstick until my husband shouted the signal that he was starting the motor and I must pull out the cloth at the same time.  We had done this successfully twice before. (We have to wait for our 'pool guy' to return next week from a funeral upcountry).  The procedure must happen every day to keep the pool clean with the 'Kreepy Krauly" and also hot from the solar heating. This time we did not manage to co-ordinate and I could feel the cloth being sucked up the pipe. Which would be a disaster. So there I was, wedging my left arm against the side while desperately hanging on to the cloth with my right hand and yelling at the top of my voice for him to switch the motor off.  Must have shouted at least 10 times before he finally came back around the corner. I think the whole street must have heard me but no chance for someone with hearing aids standing next to a motor. I am looking for sympathy - so am publishing the picture of my arm two days later. This time I couldn't really blame him although I did try hard.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Sewing Machines - Grrrrr!!!

This is the Grrrr part

Things went OK at the back - haven't pressed it yet
It seems I have now pushed my luck with trying to get an embroidery stitch to work on my machine.  I am trying to cover up faded marks from where I have let down my new denim dress (you just can't reveal your knees at my age), I was going along swimmingly, got the spool threaded with matching thread to the top,  tested a l - o - n -g stretch on another piece of material.  I even cautiously stitched the back of the dress first, just to make sure everything, tension etc. was perfect.  Then I got to the front.  Unfortunately, at this stage, I had to refill the spool. Disaster, except that one carries on regardless (surely the spool is not sticking?  I will just go a bit further......) Bad mistake. Everything stuck.  This has happened three times. I have altered the tension, checked the threading. All seems fine.  Just saying.  Eventually, I got so exasperated, I left the whole thing (see pic) and went to the bathroom, tripped and stood in  the bucket of water next to the toilet (see posts re our drought). It just isn't my day.  I'll let you know when I solve this one.......

Monday, 23 October 2017

Small son - Update - still a worry

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Gosh, small son is pushing 30 and has just broken up with his girlfriend after about 15 months together and a few weeks after she moved in.  We were surprised to say the least when we popped in one Saturday morning, to find her packing the boot of her car. I soon found myself comforting a quietly sobbing girl, patting her on the back and almost saying things like "there, there".  I did manage to say inane things like "It's always very hard and I know it hurts......are you moving back in with your mother?  Remember you are always welcome at our house." I gather it was my son who decided to make the break.  I gather she had too many 'issues' for him to cope with.  What worries me now is that he announced to us last week-end that he intends to 'challenge himself' and go alone for a month in Thailand over December.  Alarm bells for his mother: who goes alone to the Far East?  What about drugs, being clapped in jail, having your passport/money/cell phone stolen while you sleep?  Yes, we used to back-pack around Europe in the sixties (well, I hear people did - not me though),  but times have changed, surely small son will place himself in the face of untold dangers?  Perhaps my husband and I read too many contemporary thrillers?  Small son says he is busy doing lots of research and is planning to use youth hostels and hire a scooter.  He doesn't want to do an organised tour.  Can anyone reassure me? He won't know a single person over there.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Mistaken Identity

The two of us

I am talking about who/what was the guilty party?  We may look like the epitome of a happy, loving couple  - who doesn't on a boat cruise - but believe me (all you long-married guys will nod), we have our noisy disagreements and the odd swearing match. A year ago, we bought a new car: a Rav 4 (Sextant also has one).  We were delighted with it, but in several respects the car is paranoid regarding security features. e.g. it screams in panic if we reverse with our trailer attached "You are going to bump into something!!!"  It's taken my husband several hours of scrolling through all the digital screen menus to find the "Off" button for this.  It has one other annoying safety feature which we can't disable: when you exit the car and close the door, all four doors immediately lock, so if you wanted to retrieve something from the back seat, you have to unlock again and press the 'unlock' button on the dash before you can open the door. This is all very well but it results in a lot of frustration/cursing because neither of us has been able to reconcile with this feature. The last time this happened, I threw up my arms in exasperation, and my husband blew his top because he thought I was blaming him. I yelled that actually I was blaming the car.  When I thought about it later, when tempers had cooled, I realised that in fact, I was fed up with myself. How long is it going to take me to have patience with this feature?  (NB. He still doesn't believe me. Note to self:  You are old enough to learn self-control!)