Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Engage Core!

Working on this one.... (Google image)

Moving of course means lots of exercise.  For us, lots of stairs to negotiate as our living area is upstairs at our retirement house. I've had a problem with my hip and knee since January this year - acute pain in both, climbing stairs, anything weight-bearing.  A recurrence of an old complaint of three years ago. How do these things happen? One minute I'm walking along fine, the next - ouch! Acute pain in the knee. I've tried physio, the chiro, patience (it will eventually get better of its own accord). I've received lectures from the physio: I suffer from an 'instability' (weakness) in the muscles around my pelvic girdle. She has given me great exercises but has warned that I should do them every day for the rest of my life. I mustn't do anything 'one-legged' or slouch or lean on one hip. So far, I've complied and the results are tangible: ("Walk, toddler grandson, I'm NOT picking you up").  I think of it this way, "Engage core before doing anything like lifting, turning over in bed, going up or down stairs". In other words, "pull your stomach in" like mother used to say - and stand up straight! All the time. I liken it a bit to the lesson I learned re my car's gas consumption: which has been terrible of late.  It occurred to me to get my tyre pressures checked. Oops. A spectacular improvement.  I think of my tyres as being four strong weight-lifters, whose muscles are sorely stressed when they are not 'pumped up'; the vehicle gets heavier and heavier until the weight-lifters are on their knees and the car needs super-gas to get going.  Works for me.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

My House Hates me!

Google image - but could be us

Well, I suppose that's a bit strong.  I thought it would be a good thing to gradually move our things out of this house and over to our retirement home. We are lucky to be able to and so and for the last few week-ends we have hooked up our small trailer and moved most of the insides of our cupboards, the outside shed and M's garage. This coming week-end will be quite traumatic as the big furniture and the beds are going via my son-in-law's good grace in one of his trucks. We will still have a week to go after that and have brought back several single mattresses from our other house - two for us to sleep on the floor and the two thinner ones for small son. What I hadn't bargained on was the subtle withdrawal of my home from my ownership.  We've left the pictures on all the walls (and the TVs) until last but when they go...  I feel as if my house has already deliberately withdrawn itself from us and our past history.  It is giving us the cold shoulder and turning its face towards its new owners. It is stolidly unforgiving: how could we abandon it after 23 years?  I am at the point where I can't wait to go and get it over with. Enough of this anthropomorphic stuff. Why should the house care who lives in it and what pictures adorn its walls? What made it home, was us and our stuff.  And so on to the next....

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Keeping those Stiffies

I could do this - for a while

Before you all get excited I'm not talking about the viagra kind. No indeed.  Do you remember the days when we pushed a small, square disc into our computers in order to access data we had saved?  I came across two boxes of same while clearing out my study this week.  Big son happened to be here and I unwisely asked him in my husband's presence if I could throw these away.  Big son just gave me a look, raised his eyes to heaven and said, "Mommy.." as if words failed him.  Not so hubby.  He got 'that covetous sparkle' in his eye, picked up a couple and exclaimed with joy, "No, some of these are the spreadsheets I used to work with 18 years ago.  I think that one afternoon, when I have retired, I might want to sit and go through them".  (Grrrr!) However, on reflection, I have to allow him a grieving process, regarding turning his back on his working life and saying goodbye to the corporate world. At the same time, I am cursing myself for not being quick enough to turf out the ancient laptop we still have, which has a slot in which to insert a stiffie. I'll just mentally add this activity to his bucket list.  We are still debating the best way to invest our pension monies. Big son had to stick his oar into these waters: why don't we do something we've always really wanted to do?  In hubby's mind, this means sell up and buy a small, comfortable boat in which we shall live, moored at the yacht club with an amazing view of Table Mountain and small monthly living expenses when compared to a house. I am not averse to this (being a real townie - there's a great bus route nearby), as long as I have decent ablutions, aircon and 24/7 Internet.  Apparently, a lot of people do this.  I've always wondered why so many boats around here never leave the harbour.

Monday, 5 May 2014

DIFFERENT STROKES …… 24th March, 2014

It's a beautiful coast - once you get there and if the sun shines

So here we are in a very isolated spot in the old Transkei, called  “The Wild Coast”.  Normally, keen hikers and fishermen find their way here to explore the beautiful coastline and forest but my husband chose this place for our holiday by studying Google Earth.  The hotel looked beautiful on the Internet – an old thatched place, a stone’s throw from the sandy beach and a very reasonable price for full-board for 4 days, I agreed without demur. My husband needs to wind down and I even said (with faked enthusiasm) that I would go fishing with him.  The place certainly lives up to its name because today and for the last two days it has been pouring with rain, more than 90 mm. to be exact, unheard of for this time of year and the sea is rough.  Climate change is to be blamed and as a result we are confined to barracks. The drive from the highway should have created doubts: a ground road, perilously snaking its way over high hills, then plunging into lush green valleys, dizzying hairpin bends and cattle, goats and pigs roaming free.  The blurb said  “68 kilometres which should take an hour and a half. Relax and enjoy the scenery.” Perhaps on a nice day. We hit a thunderstorm which blackened the sky at a critical point and we had no idea which way to turn.  Service-delivery protests had been organised by the local community (the ANC are disrupting all over the country because of the imminent general election) and signs were down.  A scary two hours later we managed to reach our destination, which by the way, was not on the map of our Garmin upon which, in this technological age, we foolishly depend.  As we speak, the phone lines are down and there is no cell phone or Internet connection. So it’s very peaceful. My husband would normally be restless, but as he went down with a bad throat and chest (which he gets every time we go on holiday), he is resting and doing a lot of reading: particularly good is “I am Pilgrim” by Terry Hayes. . I am delighted to be anywhere that I don’t have to worry about meals and where someone makes my bed and cleans the room.  I asked my best friend what she had enjoyed most about her 3-day boat cruise. Almost the same as me:  the 3 meals a day plus snacks, the clean towels and the bed-making.  Off to play Scrabble with myself…. Perhaps we can fish tomorrow.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Has the World Gone Bi-Polar?

We are now here

25th April..... ON HOLIDAY...
We started our holiday by spending Easter with family who live on the way to where we are now. It was a difficult visit as all were under stress.  A family member, who thought he had a hithertoe lovely marriage was shocked to be thrown out of his house by his bi-polar wife, who had been advised by her doctor to quit the Lithium component of her medication as it was beginning to damage her kidneys. She had been on such meds since the age of 15. Although she had warned her husband of her condition before they married, he didn’t take  much notice and didn’t mention it to anyone else. He’d never even heard the name of the illness before. She warned him that there would be bad times and could he please continue to love her throughout. Not easy.  He has tried so hard – but now she won’t let him into the house and has filed for divorce.  They have a six-year old son.  So M is now back living in his old room at this parents’ house, wondering how he can hang onto his son. He gets on well with his in-laws and there would be no question of taking away anyone’s access to the child. Can the mother be capable of looking after him?  It seems there is no medical substitute that works as well as Lithium as her behaviour became erratic almost immediately.  We’ve heard about so many bi-polar people since this happened.  Is there an epidemic?  We know there is a genetic component in this case but can overuse of medication generally create the condition in normal people? A friend of a friend is a dispensing chemist in Johannesburg: she says she fills more prescriptions for depression than for any other medicine.  Even 14-year olds take prescribed pills when they fall out with their friends. What’s going on?