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.

 

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.

 

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?

Anxiety

Anxiety

Well, I done good as my old high school principal used to say. “Ya done good,” a verbal backslap.

I’m cultivating my own peace within, on top of maintaining the body connection. Sure, I just screamed aloud at the Nth irritation here, someone who keeps walking past my window with a crying brat, which happened half a dozen times today. But other than that, I’m doing great with this hyper-alertness that has plagued me.  I recently realized it’s a form of anxiety.

There was a selfish elephant at the swimming pool this morning that joined my lane and hit and kicked me every time he passed. And other annoying behaviours, including when I confronted him on it. There was a selfish neighbour emptying her dust pan several floors up. Her balcony is the source of the sunflower seed shells I get daily, and now apparently this filth that coats my plants, also. And now apparently a boomcar parked outside my apartment. But, no! No, it was over 2 blocks away, believe it or not, a deejay at the outdoor pool. Why and WTF ever for? It was an amazingly long walk, with the ground reverberating through my shoes. And they have turned it down quite a bit. And I left a note for the landlord about the dirt-neighbour and talked to the lifeguard about the elephant-swimmer (someone who takes more than half the area within the lanes) and the swim-slob kept the lane and I got a big lane to myself over in the deep end. Didn’t know there was a lane there! Fine. I’m not scared of the deep end and no more elephants or other nonsharing selfish people joined.

But the main thing is writing that didn’t make me hotter under the collar. After confronting the boom-bass at the swimming outdoor pool, my body was not in a high state of alert, like it always has been in the past. I wasn’t trembling with anger. Apparently my week of cultivating calm, no matter what, is working. And the shitty things I’ve dredged up just now seem relatively far away, even though they all happened today. Today I focused on getting things done and not wasting time in rage and amazement at how shitty people can be.

Triumph and glory. Despite those people.

 

Parsley

Parsley

I was just reading about the health benefits of parsley. This alone could almost explain why my blood work is almost always “perfect” despite the fact that I’m very overweight.

In fact, I’m obese. I found this in my medical records some years ago when I ordered copies. The doctor had never used that word with me, though. I was shocked! I had to google its definition, which was re BMI. Yes, I’m heavy because of muscle and very substantial bones – could be to do with parsley and also weightlifting formally as well as just carrying my weight around. I haven’t been inactive. I’ve sweated in the garden, turned soil and loaded mulch with a wheelbarrow. Pretty intense. But I really am fat, got lots of jelly that I have discovered does not help with belly dancing, ironically. A little jelly is fine. I’ve got so much it goes bouncing in one direction after the core of me has moved on to another direction. Kind of like a blurry echo or visual haze image. First, fairly distressing, but in the end very motivating.

But anyway, at least I’m pretty healthy.

I see some fancy recipes to get you to eat more parsley. Tabbouleh, some baked stuff, even pesto. But I’ll make it way simpler for ya: Take a big handful of parsley, like 2-3 generous branches of it. Chop it up, not too finely. Pile it on the plate, maybe on top of some chopped cuke or tomato, something it’ll stick to. Pile some other salad on top of that – maybe a bean salad, which is what I keep handy in the fridge all summer. Greek salad, whatever. And just eat it. Or for that matter, just chomp on the branches by themselves. I have never left parsley on a restaurant plate unless it looked pale or limp. Just eat it! Yum!

And by the way, if you don’t like the taste of parsley very much, grow some or get some from a veggie gardener or maybe even a farmers’ market. It tastes different from the store kind, about 10x better, as with everything else home-grown.

 

 

 

Montreal

Montreal

Just got back from Montreal. Was there on a very aspirational sort of trip. I attended an international conference sponsored by a Canadian science organization. It’s an area of science I aspired to work in. I loved it in my undergrad. I was almost publishable.

On the flight over, I sat next to a postdoc who was going to a different conference. When I overheard him talking of their research topic, I assumed it was my conference, because it uses similar technology. Had quite a nice conversation with him on the plane, and he encouraged me and go back and finish my undergrad research. I stopped because my prof left to another university, but also because I didn’t really believe in either myself or what I was doing, not sure which. Maybe both.

Sadly, on the way back I sat next to some wanker who though twig-skinny had to hog the armrest and the foot-area divider. He repeatedly put his foot on top of mine and elbowed me in the side. Eventually I put a thick airline magazine between my side and the armrest and the jabbing ceased. This person sat and watched lame movies and as far as I know was a complete waste of space. Or at least I felt like killing him 2/3 way into the flight. Why the fuck did he need to keep elbowing me and brushing my skin with his hairy arm? I hate people touching me. I really, really hate people touching me.

So I wasted over $1000 to find out that yet again I don’t belong and to get numerous WTF-looks from people who know damn well I don’t belong. But  I don’t want to retire into a world of shinyhappy lunches, trips, outings, and classes. On the way home I sat and read a python textbook on my laptop for several hours. Those are the classes, method and tools I’m interested in. I want a real job, not an easy wind-down. I’m not finished! I haven’t even started. I never had a life. I want a real life, not delusion. I’d rather not kill myself right now, logical as that direction may seem.

I was also sick the whole time, hacking into my kleenex and taking antihistamines, pseudoephedrine and cough syrup day and night, bolstered by cough drops as needed. Yet another detail to make my old, grey, undereducated and overweight ass yet more unappealing to anyone there.

And I didn’t even make it to Schwartz’ Deli for the ultimate Montreal smoked meat sandwich. I was just too sick and tired. Instead I grabbed a beef shawarma pita thing that was nasty because it tasted like mustard. Is mustard an Arabic thing? I doubt it. So much for getting it with “everything” when you dk what “everything” is.

Older dance card

Older dance card

I see the eyes of older males lingering on me, briefly. I’m 55. I’m strong. I move gracefully.

I don’t take any medications. Many times I’ve had the experience of a quizzical look on the doctor’s face, a re-ask of the question if I take any regular medications, and then a re-order on whatever blood tests or other tests I took. “Maybe there was some fuckup,” I guess they’re thinking, “since this fat person shows no bloodwork problems.” No, the test was fine. I’m healthy. Possibly because of eating home-grown veggies for many years and generally not eating industrial crap food of various kinds. I’ve never smoked, and I exercise because I know the rule: Use it or lose it. These self-repairing machines need exercise in order to repair. We’re not generally meant to live this long, i.e. in most of human history we didn’t live past 40 or 50.

Feels good to be noticed, to be lingered upon; however, I’ll never have another partner.  Recently, my crazy ex told me about his love-at-first-sight with some totally unavailable person. I told him I didn’t need to hear about that. “I’d be glad to know you had someone on your dance card.” Yeah, well, you dumped me. I didn’t dump you. If I have someone on my dance card, you don’t have to feel so bad for ditching the marriage that I meant to be for life, for ever. My sacrifices that I made beyond reason, hoping for a forever connection. No matter how hard it was, I didn’t want to end it. I wanted to fix it. Make it do or do without.

There will never be anyone on my dance card. No one could possibly accept me, given the crazy relationship that I was in. I weep, but I move forward alone. I took a chance and failed. Gotta try something different in future. Not cut out for romance or deep connection with other people. No one ever loved me and no one will. I accept that; I was not meant to be born. I’m a freak. That’s okay. Someone has to be on the end of the normal curve. C’est moi.