Love

Love

Is this not the best cheddar cheese ordinarily found in grocery stores? Please let me know if you know of a better one. This is very sharp and cheddary, and often goes on sale. What more could I want? Well, there is a cheese with truffle bits in it – fabulous, but $10 for a small piece maybe 1/3 to 1/4 size of this one, which is often on sale for $4. So, that’s like 3x as much. And, sure, it tastes 3x better and maybe I’ll buy it one day, but I haven’t yet. I tried it at a conference… wow! So I researched what on earth I had eaten. I love cheese, okay? Cheese slathered on seedy bread with a base of butter to stick it all together. Oh, yeah.

I have been kicking butt on life, okay? Making bucks, getting fit, making friends, setting limits with other friends. Even though it’s amazing to be wanted… it’s even better to not spend time with people who aren’t that interesting. “I like you – You’re a good conversationalist.”  And then, “Why don’t people want to visit me — I mean you.” Wow, believe me, this is not the kind of experience I’ve ever had before in my life. Am I on something? Is this a hallucination? No. It’s just a result of being 55 and trying to connect with people in the world. And I’m sorry, but it’s hard to connect with someone who has given up on trying, who can’t remember anything, and is just lowering their standards (her words) to make life more comfortable.

No, I have drive and passion. I want more. I’m not satisfied. Yes, death is a comforting thought, but that’s because life is so unsatisfying. I don’t want to lower my standards. I want great cheese, the good kind, and soon I’ll buy the kind with truffle bits in it, dammit.

But that’s just hedonism, is it not? Sure, it is. I want to do something grand. I want to be totally absorbed in a mission. Frankly, I am not excited about the achievements of Tony Robbins or Arnold – no need to spell his last name – but I totally desire to be completely absorbed in pursuing something with intensity. Arnold’s workout sets were insane, and I love that, even though the drugs he took are no longer legal and in fact guys built like a brick shithouse do not actually appeal to me. And Tony, the coke-head (I think, no aspersions cast) Robbins, no, I don’t get excited about his insane rants and coal-walking, but I am totally impressed with how he learned to give speeches. He went and gave several a day, not just a few a month. Go Tony! I dig that.

But what am I to do in this world? I am having difficult figuring that out. So many aptitudes. So much  random knowledge. So much passion. No frickin’ clue about what to do.

I’m TCB, doing all I have to do, but I want glory. And it’s not coming from cheese, luscious as that is.

 

Symmetry

Symmetry

I was surprised when this dragonfly didn’t take off as I was fumbling with a cucumber stem less than a foot away from him/her/it. A dragonfly’s gender doesn’t matter to me, does it? Not that I can ID them in that way. But I hate to call it “it”. Just feels too distant. But this one was very close. He just sat there. One wing is mangled and curled, and half a front leg is gone, also. If he doesn’t go away, some bird is going to figure out there’s a good chunk of protein there. I don’t know enough about dragonflies’ life cycle to even guess what else might happen. How long will he sit there before he falls down to the ground dead, ready to fertilize my plants with nitrogen and minerals?

My first photo was crap, so I went out and took another. I’m very surprised he’s still there two hours later and hasn’t been eaten. We all die in the end. And I already felt quite morbid today, but since I’m sharing this amazing dragonfly discovery with you, I’m going to also share my experience of life.

See, yesterday I had to go to the hospital, my first ride in an ambulance. I knew what was happening, kind of, because a lot of people in my family have problems with atrial fibrillation. I knew what was happening, but I didn’t really know the ramifications, so I didn’t have the sense to call an ambulance first thing. My heart’s rhythm was way off. The top and bottom halves weren’t in sync the way they should be. Basically, a bunch of heart spasms.

It settled down, I thought, after 40 minutes, but when I went off to do chores, I still didn’t feel right and got out of breath easily. A trip to the clinic turned into a trip to the hospital. It’s easily fixed with some drugs that reset the rhythm, and if not, then there is always the defibrillator. The ambulance ride was enough like being in the movies without having to go all the way to the paddles on the chest.

The ambulance guys, Sean and Tyler, did an awesome job and I thanked them for the lovely afternoon.  But they didn’t need to reassure me I wasn’t going to die. That’s not what I was crying about. I was crying about being born, that I ever had to live through all this crap for 55 years that really hasn’t been worth it. I’m seeking glory because I’ve never had any glory. Other people around me are retiring in contentment. No, not me. And not just because I can’t really afford it, either. Life has not been good enough. Playing Scrabble, gardening, and experimenting with grooming and sewing projects is not enough for me. I could live another 40. Yikes. I got stressed out numerous times at the hospital, but not because I was scared for my life, at all. No, as I told paramedic Sean, the thought of death doesn’t worry me. Rather it’s a comfort and it has been for a long time.

The stress at the hospital also came from nurses walking up to me and poking at me without acknowledging me as a human being first. If it were to save my life, that would be different – if I’m pushing someone out of the way of a deadly projectile, I don’t have to ask first. But if some guy that turned out to be a nurse, after I asked, is going to reach under my clothing, I’d like some eye contact and a few words, first. Then the other nurses got all bitchy, telling me every little thing and complaining that’s what I expect. No, I just need some acknowledgment before you touch me. I hate people touching me, bumping me, grabbing me, poking at me. The massage therapist knows better than to do that, and he’s there specifically to touch. He asks first. Stressing someone out by violating their boundaries doesn’t help achieve anything good.

Another stress was the accursed beeping on the heart machine behind me. Yes, my heart was going too fast. My BP was too high. And getting higher because of the ear-stab. Luckily I always have earplugs on me, and I put one in on the beep-machine side. And I shut my eyes and thought of blackness, my entire body turning black, then turning to mush and sinking into the ground, silently. Yup, while they were doing their best to keep me alive, I was consoled by thinking of death. I thought, “This might be it. I could die.” That was a comforting thought.

This morning, I wish I had died. Not an unfamiliar morning feeling for me, actually. I don’t even care that I’d be leaving a mess. I haven’t made any glorious progress here, anyway. I haven’t heard back about that plum job, and I don’t expect to. It seems designed for me, but I’m old, and no one wants that. Atrial fib isn’t exactly a giant health risk, but my health slate doesn’t feel quite as squeaky clean as it did before yesterday.

The way you can die from atrial fib is that a clot can form and then go to your brain and cause a stroke or worse, like a fatal heart attack. So, I’m lucky I came out of it with no heart damage and have no need for a prescription. The excellent doctor told be that a baby aspirin a day is a good idea to prevent clots in case a-fib happens again. I expect it’ll happen. I will probably take the aspirin, because as I told the paramedics, if you’re in a car accident, it’s better to die than be mangled. I don’t particularly want to live, but if I’m gonna live, I’m gonna take care of this machine I live in. I’m horribly healthy – my blood work was all perfect, doctor said. This despite diabetes-cliche levels of obesity. My body mass isn’t morbid, but 20 pounds or so would take it there. But I’m healthy. And that’s better than having a stroke and dragging half of my body around like dead weight for the rest of my life, or being parly paralyzed like my dad was. All that smoking and drinking he did. I don’t do that.

Wish I had a security cam to put on the dragonfly and see what happens to him. Insects die every day. They never go to the vet’s office. There is no emergency care for insects. They just get mowed down, squashed, poisoned, or eaten alive.

 

Edit: a few hours later, the assymetrical dragonfly has disappeared. I’ll never look at them the same way again. They’re like birds – you only ever see them as young and beautiful, because any injured one is killed off fast. A rare exception I can think of is a neighbourhood pigeon I have seen limping around on a damaged left foot, not just this year but in previous years. I assume it’s the same bird. I should watch it more carefully in future and try to ID it.

 

Curry? Bingo!

Curry? Bingo!

Today, someone was going off to the seniors’ centre, apparently, to play bingo. I guess this because as she was leaving, she asked me in a friendly almost boisterous voice, “Do you like bingo?” I gotta say, she was leaning on a walker and I was standing up on a concrete wall working on my garden. I said, “No, I don’t think so. I haven’t played it since I was a kid.” After a moment, “We make money!” Good for you. Enjoy. Then she called back about the chicken dinner or something over there. Another thing I don’t want – chicken prepared for old people. Yuck. It won’t be curry. I don’t much like eating out, anyway. It’s mostly disappointing. (Except the Himalaya Restaurant at Main and 49th or 50th has never been disappointing, and I’ve been there dozens of times over the past 35 years. You won’t need the hydrant in the picture – it’s not THAT spicy.)

There’s a very elderly lady that so, so slowly walks up and down my street every day. The pillow on her walker has a male name on it. It used to belong to her husband, now deceased. She has a sweet smile that got a wistful twinge as she explained to me about that one day. I’ve chatted with her the odd time. She goes to the Waffle House every day, she tells me. She asked me if I go there. “No, I like spicy food.” I did go there a couple times – yuck – didn’t tell her that. Different strokes. “Oh, but spicy food isn’t good for you, is it?” “Oh, but I think it is good for you.” “Well, maybe.” Yeah, no doubt turmeric, garlic, hot chilis, ginger and more are good for you. But may not agree with typical senior digestive systems. “Different things suit different people.” For me, that’s curry.

But seriously, bingo? I told her and showed her, “I got the bingo wings for it, though!” Fraid so. Some day I’ll have ’em chopped off, if they don’t shrivel up and die from intensely exercising nearby muscles as well as general flab loss. But, no, I don’t see myself playing bingo, probably ever. I’m actually thinking about going to grad school, despite my age. I’ve been reading up on different researchers’ pages, looking for something I would be excited to work on. Something that to me seems to have a point and maybe even a chance of changing the world. Something I always wanted to do, since I was a pre-schooler. Something I always thought I would do. Something I haven’t done.

And, by the way, when did 55 become senior instead of 65?  “Slow down, America, 55’ll do” was supposed to be about conserving fuel. We older people, many of us, will have to work till 75 and beyond, now, so there’s no point having 55 be the senior age. But I’ll take the discount at the massage school, thanks!

 

 

WCCMT – a secret

WCCMT – a secret

West Coast College of Massage Therapy is an awesome place in my town. (And in a few other towns, actually.) See, the students work there in a clinic, and it’s incredibly inexpensive to get an hour’s treatment. Discount for seniors. I don’t feel like a senior, but I’m over 55, so I got the discount. I can handle that a lot better than being offered the senior discount on my 40th birthday because my hair turned white rather early. Yes, that really happened. I especially liked stepdad’s comment, at the time, on the hat I always wore in those days, a canvas canoe hat which I indeed was wearing during that senior incident: “Well, it does age you.” Somehow that cracked me up.

So, this week is the last week at the school, and the fifth term students are off to their professional careers. They will be RMTs – registered massage therapists. They do relaxation massages, but they specialize in therapeutic ones. Not if you have a WCB/ICBC claim, of course, but if you have a problem area. I have quite a few. I learned the most awesome and helpful things!

I learned that if you have a painful muscle, maybe you should not stretch it but rather look at its opposite, which may be so tight it’s pulling and making the other one sore. Story of my hamstrings. Hurt to sit on them. My pelvis had other tight muscles that were pulling on them.  Now the pain is 95% gone.

I learned that for my inflamed tendon on one side of my foot, I need to strengthen the muscle that opposes it, on the other side of my foot and leg. Wow, the tendon pain went down by about 3/4 and I am going to keep doing my leg days and strengthening those muscles.

But it’s also important to stretch. There are certain muscles I’ve trained for years – chest, triceps are two groups – but I never stretched them. Unlike a lot of women and especially dancers who well know about lengthening muscles, instead I thought like a man: it feels good to be strong, so build up those muscles with weights, strength training. Clearly we need both, and my student RMT has a great depth of knowledge. He’s one of those lucky people who, though young, knows what he wants to do and has dived in and is doing a wonderful job of it.

I went to two different people there, but the first one was a fifth term student, and for a bit I had a fourth term one when the fifth wasn’t available. He was better than she was, so I went back to him when he was available again. The term ends tomorrow, and the mood in there today was like floating on a cloud. They had their last exam this morning. But in September, a new term begins, and a new calendar to fill up with lovely massage bookings. And, yes, I am also going to be a private client of my fave student. He wants to go independent in a year, and I am happy to help him out with that and also get the benefit of his excellent skills and sensitive touch in my healing journey.

If you check out their webpage, you’ll see they actually do some spa type things as well. I saw these offerings and signed up for one on a whim. I have never done a spa thing. It was just a crazy idea: Salt Glow. So I’m lying there naked with a towel wrapped under and over around my crotch to cover the crack and all, and getting scrubbed with basically sodium chloride and some essential oil. It was rough, like sharp sand. It was different. It was okay, but as he pointed out, it makes your skin incredibly soft. A week later, it’s still softer than I ever remember.

So, apparently exfoliation is a thing. As you can tell, I’m really not very girly and never experimented with exfoliation nor had girly friends to tell me I had to do it. I guess I’d like to try a facial now. Maybe it’ll make my face skin similarly soft. Not that this place offers those. But I think I’m on a roll here, of self care as well as self–pampering.  If you want to do the same, move fast as I understand the school is phasing out the spa stuff and sticking with the higher value (my view) therapeutic massage stuff.

To the grads… and next term! 🙂

 

Freedom from

Freedom from

It’s not okay with me that people modify their vehicles to make excess noise. Do people not understand that noise causes stress? I think they do understand, as it’s evident many people who make their vehicles noisy, whether by pipes, bass, or loud music, get a kick out of bothering other people and pushing their buttons. Not saying it’s the prime motivation for all, but for jerks it’s part of being cool.

So, I was trying to work in this heatwave, with the window open of course, and I heard something like a straining semi-truck or a revving mud-bogging truck with no muffler. It went on and on. I mean even if it went for five seconds it’d be enough to interrupt me.

And, no, I can’t wear earplugs and a construction earmuff on top as I do at other times, because I have to listen to recordings to do my work. And it’s ridiculous I have to double down on soundproofing to have peace, but I do. I realize other people block it out wih TV and their deafness, but I don’t have a TV, and I’m not deaf. It’s a blissful hour when I can play my doumbek music and dance. I don’t notice crap noise much during that hour.

So I look out to see what monstrosity is making such a racket and it’s the nondescript vehicle above. A nondescript young person exits and waits outside the building for apparently a girlfriend. I guess when you appear utterly bland in every way, having the most obnoxious sounding car in town helps you stand out. Not sure obnoxious is better than bland, but that’s just me.

While writing this post, I heard thumping again. Tracked it down a block away at the teen centre. Some deejay thing. Nice waste of time and getting overheated for me to walk over there to whack a mole and get freedom from putting up with a second heartbeat in my body for no good reason.

 

Life or not

I’m over 55 and my life is basically over. I’m trying to restart it, make something of it, yet again. Throughout human history, we probably didn’t even live to this age. Historically, I’m an anomaly, a privileged one, a first-world person. But basically my life amounts to nothing.

Don’t say anything about family and friends, because no one really cares if I live or die. That’s clear from the lack of any caring attention or interest from them. I just had a family member staying here because they needed some help, a place to stay while going to an appointment in expensive Vancouver. I got the clear message that ther was no interest in actually connecting with me. In the end, it hurt. Not because he broke a few of my things, but really that lack of connection. The need to “get out of here.” I’m sure it could be funny from some point of view – me expecting connection with the most caring member of my family, still not at all caring, apparently. Too wrapped up in his own neurosis. Neurosis, my nemesis. Doesn’t matter that DSM, the psych manual, replaced neurosis with dozens of other diagnoses, it’s still rock n’ roll to me – still neurosis.

Somehow I have a young internet friend, about 35 years younger than me. Kind of like an annoying younger brother who won’t get out and have a life. Neurosis again.              Hilarious. Good looking kid with a bad haircut and nerves over the edge. He should get out and have a life rather than worry himself into a hole, just as I did at his age. I wasn’t mean to be born; maybe he wasn’t either. Maybe some doctor saved him from a death better than fate, as happened to me.

 

 

Body care

I’ve never taken a yoga class, just done a few exercises out of books. But I’ve done a lot of other bodywork type things. It’s getting to be a bit of a list:  Alexander Technique, Tai chi and Chi gong, Egoscue method, Feldenkrais. I’ve also taken the assistance and advice of physiotherapists a couple of times. Very helpful.

And now, a massage therapist who is so good he’s in the leagues of the physiotherapists, in my experience. Great knowledge of how the body works and where the pain comes from. How to ease it and how to build up the muscles that will really help prevent pain from recurring in a particular area. Fabulous!

So, what do you do to keep your self-repairing machine going?