I don’t know why it is that physical trainers think they must be chirpy, but one met me at the double doors of the cardiac rehab section of the hospital. I was still puffing hard from my walk from the parking lot. The hospital is also a teaching campus and is a huge facility. I was feeling smug because I have handicapped plates on the car, and I can park in those spaces with impunity. But not at this hospital. They have many handicapped spots, and they are quickly filled.
But today I was fortunate find a spot that was closer to my door than the stickered spaces, and I took that as proof that God indeed does love me. Not that it was so unbearable today. Autumn has arrived in the Texas pampas, and you can feel the chill in the air. Yeah. A true Texan feels a bit chilly at 72°.
But back to the cardiac torture chamber.
The first thing that happens is one of the ever-perky rehab people meets you at the door, gets your name, pull your wireless cardiac monitor and marches you back to the nurses station to take your vitals and wire you up. She assured me that in time I would know how to do that myself. Then you get the twenty questions. I lied a little about a couple.
“Has it been two hours since your last cup of coffee?” she asked.
“Yes”, I lied.
“Did you eat breakfast?”
Well, I did have a slice of coffee cake with my coffee, so I said, “Yes.”
“Did you get a fasting glucose reading?”
For once I didn’t have to fib. “Yes”
“Is this your first visit to a cardiac rehab unit?”
“Yes” I lied again. I had been in the same facility 15 years earlier and left before I completed the regimen. It was extremely painful experience because the doctors still hadn’t found the precise point of the heart pain I was having. I was starting to think that I was a slacker.
But now that the pain has been taken care of, my only remaining concern is the COPD. Most of my life I could power past fatigue, but now, when I reach that point, I am done. There are no reserves to call on, so I approach this phase of recovery with great tepidity.
They then sat me on what is called a recumbent cross trainer. It exercises the arms and legs, and you can vary the effort between your arms or legs. My left leg is very weak, and I would work it until it started shaking, then use my arms to give the leg a break.
The trainer told me to do 15 minutes on it. So, I started peddling. I did stop often to get my breath, then continued past the 15 minutes until I reached half an hour. The trainer stopped me at half an hour and asked me how I was feeling.
“I am just SO ecstatic!” I replied, trying not to overdo the sarcasm. I think I failed.
“I am going to have to watch you a bit closer” she retorted.
Then it was back to the nurses’ station to get the vitals and remove the heart monitor.
“You’re done for the day!” she chirped.
“I guess you failed to kill me today” I quipped.
“We get another two chances at you this week” she shot back …
I missed the usual weekend update. To blame? Laziness and sloth I should think.
But it has been a good week, mostly. Snook had two ‘bad’ days where she couldn’t remember the simplest of tasks, but the rest of the days were better. And Sunday she forgot that Amber fixed the evening meal, so she started frying up ‘burgers. I was a little leery of her working at the stove because she was baking when she had her stroke, so we carefully watched her. Amber was able to prepare dinner Monday because it was a holiday.
I am looking out my window at the ground cover that is mocking me by waving in the gentle breeze of the morning. Odd how we can instantly go from dry and crunchy to verdant green after soaking rains. So, mowing looms large in my future. Snook said she thought she could run the mower, but I am not as confident as she is and don’t want to put her on a device that can seriously injure her.
Snooks is going in for an MRI Thursday. She has a baseline to compare now, and we can see if the damage is continuing or not. Just from carefully watching her, though, I think that the damage has run its course.
The news today is the usual stream of outrage and horror, and I suspect that you are just as confused as I am by it. So, no further comment.
The new Lord of the Rings is out, but I am not so sure I am up to Hollywood sermonizing right now. I’ll wait for a few more movie critiques of it before I decide whether to watch it or not. It sounds like it is another extravaganza to quietly dismiss, however. The harder they hype something, the more likely it is to be a dud.
And the heat has broken, finally. This morning it was a pleasant 74° at sunup. Now that I have a new laptop, I may go back to porch sitting. I will have to reclaim the porch from the feral cats that have made it their private property, though. It will be nice to sit out there with my coffee and computer again. But Chromebook’s have a weird keyboard and I will have to master it before posting anything serious.
The day comes and goes. The sun rises 15°. And I must get on with my loafing.
Some upbeat mystical music on the puck this morning fires up the bird, but me, not so much. I don’t wanna be fired up before breakfast, and especially on Shabbat morning. I think this is also going to be an ibuprofen day before I start breakfast. I am hankering for creamy scrambled eggs this morning, but it is always a one in five chance that they will come out soft and creamy. More likely they’ll come out as salted yellow rubber chunks as I have never mastered the theory of heat on an electric range. But I try.
Other than crowing from the press over a rabid President hater who talked a judge into ordering the Whitehouse to admit the oafish boor into the press room. I can think of half a dozen ways the Whitehouse can turn this ‘victory’ into gravel. One would be to just revoke all press passes and convert the press room into an aviary.
So the day begins. Coffee, music, roughhousing dogs, and braying reportage. Still, it is a holy day. God rests while creation plays out over the æons and we barely comprehend it. Still we try.
It has warmed up to 35° while I was sipping on my coffee, and may get up to 65° later today. We have had our bug killing freeze now, so I am hoping for a warming trend. Predictions are for a low 70’s by Saturday. Not that it matters much now. I sit behind my double-paned, thermal-insulated windows in a nice semi-tropical 74° setting regardless of what is going on the other side of them.
It’s the same with my electronic window. Nice orderly 5-bedroom house on this side of the window, and on the other side, California is burning … or experiencing extreme global warming if you go by California’s premier climatologist, Governor Brown. According to him, the fires are the new normal and you need to adjust to it. But whatever you do, don’t clear the underbrush or remove any vegetation. That would damage woodpecker habitat, or something. And my friends in Northern Texas and Alabama are slip-sliding around on black ice. Can’t say I envy them … but then, when we get our once a decade ¼” skiff of snow, it is a disaster on the interstate.
And for good or evil, the elections are almost over. Except for Florida, of course. The “count every vote when the votes don’t go Democrat” state. But it is nice to get up and not see some damned politicians face on the news-feeds. That will probably end as that other unblinking golem from California, Adam Schiff, warms up to his new status in the House as Grand Inquisitor.
And so the world rotates another 360° 59’ and some odd seconds and I chronicle it, albeit briefly.
Gorgeous sunrise today. Gave up on ever returning to a muscled truck jockey and gentleman farmer and started tossing the old wardrobe this week … now waiting for new offerings to arrive via the big brown van. The new me: unkempt geezer in corduroy shoes and gray jerseys. There is something freeing about surrendering to old Gere, the god of gentle aging.
Unfortunately, the first command to be fruitful doesn’t release its grip on me, however, and visions of slaying dragons mounted from the back of a white mobility scooter interrupt my reverie from time to time. The urge to impregnate anything resembling femininity doesn’t go away with geezerhood. I was hoping it would. The desire to breed has been the cause of much turmoil in my life, and I suspect that I’ll be entertaining thoughts of taking a turn in the cabbage patch on my deathbed.
Arabs are still up and about killing Jews in Israel today even though a cease-fire has been declared. No one wants to talk about the solution, however. One side or the other must lose utterly. There is no negotiated peace that will be lasting. So, the Arabs try this. And the Arabs try that. And the Arabs try the other thing. And the results are always the same. They lose, then cry for a cease fire so that they can rearm.
“I am tired of living among people who hate peace. I search for peace; but when I speak of peace, they want war!”
And so war it is … all while day follows day, and night follows night, and I sip my coffee and watch it go by.
A bright humid sunshine this morning and a comfortable 74°. And the election is done and over, for good or for evil, and I can take my voter card down from the cork board. My side lost the House, the people spoke, and I can turn my thoughts and energy toward more noble things. I’ll not try turn the oppositions political aspirations into gravel, but rather regard them with thinly veiled contempt. And I’ll continue to lie to the pollsters. In fact, it may even be more entertaining now that it was before. I am at my best when I am only marginally engaged. Touch the world lightly …
Still got winter stew on my mind and started assembling the ingredients. Fatty stew meat. No lean here. And ‘taters. Red McClure’s for me. Don’t want mushy spuds in stew, so I cook them separately and add them before serving. Some peas, but not many. Beef broth. The expensive kind. Carrots cut round. White onions. Sliced celery … don’t know why it goes in, it is so tasteless and gets cooked into slurping softness. But it’s traditional. Sometimes one turnip, quartered and sliced, but I don’t feel cheated if the turnip is missing.
It was nice this morning to let my mind run with passages from the holy writs. There is something whole about having a thought, finding the passage that supports it, then leaning back in the chair to see if it gets illuminated. A benefit of an old mind is that the illumination more often comes than not. But at this stage in life, not much changes. We just marvel a lot.
So one day follows another until the day that they don’t. Until that day comes, I am blessed with the gift of coffee and the time to muse while sipping it.
Well, well. It’s Woden’s Day again, and I ponder how he got relegated to the 4th day of the week. That makes poor old Woden an also-ran after the Sun, the Moon and Mars. He just got a t-shirt. I had made careful plans to sleep in this morning but neglected to factor in joyful mutts who don’t care what fable the day is named after. Daybreak is good enough for them.
Snook must have rose before me. The blinds are open, fiddle music is on the puck for the budgie, and most glorious of all, the coffee is brewed, so I grabbed a handful of sandwich crème cookies and a coffee mug to head down the hall to my snug studio, aka ‘the pig sty’ by Snookums. The woman has no sense of comfort. Two canine mooches follow me, then sit in a half circle to watch me woof down the dunked cookies with starving eyes.
I made the mistake of getting a bag of mint filled Oreo’s, just for something a little different. I am an off-again on-again mint lover. A little goes a long way. The vanilla cremes that I also put in the jar have taken on a mint flavor. So it’s gonna be a week of mint.
A 100% chance of rain today … I can read it on the local feed, or look out the window. Cool, but a warming trend back up to the 80’s by Shabbat. I am ready for a warm spell now. The reservoirs are all over-filled, the verges will need to be cut down with a machete before mowing, and I didn’t overseed with field rye this year, so I’ll have a good crop of weeds this spring.
All my newsfeeds today are clogged with ads from Beto the ersatz Mexican from El Paso. Apparently, he has that Obama smile that drives liberals wild with desire. They are spending millions on political ads, yet he keeps dropping in the local polls. Think the more tolerant than thee coalition is thinking of running him against Trump in 2020. After he beats the most cheated on woman in the world in the primaries, of course. And the migrant invasion has been halved … funny it is that when people start nosing around to find out who is paying for this parade that the funds dry up, and the mob starts shrinking.
So the day unfolds here in the geographic center of Texas.
This Shabbat morning comes in dark and rainy with the autumn rains. It is a gentle, soaking rain right now, but harder rains are predicted later in the day and on to Sunday. Last night was the first night I didn’t run the big air conditioner, just letting a little portable A/C cool the air in the master bedroom.
Snookums rose a bit before me, brewing the coffee so all I need do is walk into the kitchen, receive the filled cup, grunt some sort of morning greeting, and pad down to the studio to entertain the bird by putting on spiritually uplifting music on the google puck. Yeah, I have become a tool of google. Why fight it? You too will be assimilated.
Kippur da budgie responds to the music with happy clicks chirps and burbles. She just went through a molt and now has pin feathers around her eyes and beak. Usually that makes her crabby, but Snookums has some sort of special feed that cheers her up during her frequent molts. Maybe my bird is an addict.
Saturday is the big brunch day, but I have some turkey sausage and egg croissants that need to be consumed. Maybe I can add some pears on the side … and make Snook drink a little grape juice. It’s good for her even if she isn’t so fond of it, and it gives me a chance to get even in dispensing the good-for-you’s
And hopefully, the heroes of the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh and put to rest the horror that they have inflicted us. The advise and consent provision was never to be a public forum, but it is a grotesque circus now. And I know precisely who to thank for that.
I am in a two-steps forward, one-step back dance with my health. Some weeks I measure victory by mere millimeters.
And so the Shabbat unfolds with a bit of promise of a future time.
Monday dawns a cool and humid 69°, but Snookums was up before me and the chill banishing coffee was brewed and waiting for me. Maryanne posted she was safe in Japan, Darbie e-mails she has been shadowbanned on FB. Dianne, a voluptuous 22-year-old brunette wants to be my friend, but we have no friends in common.
I have returned to writing and gaming again, and I spent Sunday pruning down my saga, Akashaic. It quickly went out of control with supporting characters shooting out in different directions. Parts might be salvageable, but everything needs to be rewritten from scratch. And I masterfully ran two trains on my railroad simulation yesterday, one from Cajon Pass to Barstow, California, and another from Mojave to a siding just over Tehachapi Pass. Old men and their toys, no?
The news is thankfully silent about the Senate’s not-so-finest-hour, but the social sites are still choosing up sides. Predictably, the left believes the girl, and the right feels a terrible injustice is being perpetuated, and the oh-so-reasonable newsies hang with the indefensible believe both. Democrats are now busy crafting the FBI didn’t have enough time gambit when the hearing resumes, and the Republicans are crafting the you ‘you got your investigation, now vote’ response. And I just want to build a wall around DC and only let pundits pundit once a year. I think the country was better off when both parties did their scheming and plotting in darkness rather than proudly displaying their ugliness in a kangaroo court.
And so my morning munching of lemon-wafers and sipping black coffee continues. The sun continues to rise, though hidden by the overcast, the grass is starting to defy me to mow it, and I begin wheezing and sneezing merely thinking of getting out in Pollenville Acres on the mower.
He awakens Me morning by morning;
He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.
Shabbat morning arrives damp and gray at Pollen Acres this morning. Started a Paul Wilbur mix on the puck to cheer up the sullen bird and remind me that this day is not lived like the other days. After the ugly hate fest of last week, I need a holy day to remind me that I am just passing through.
Thoughts of our fallen nature follow me around the day, and the mystery of the animal skins that clothed Adam and Eve slowly yields revelations of redemption and choice as I ponder the elemental teachings of my faith. Old men have the luxury of pondering. Perhaps that is why we dream dreams while the youth prophesize.
My abused bod is slowly recovering from the last series of maladies. I am almost up for walking again once we get the first frost. Note the almost. I don’t want to get too carried away. Another online friend goes into hospice as her nephew keeps us up to date with her struggles. Sometimes you just have to say enough, and she did.
I look at my desktop and think maybe it is time for me to simplify too. A small laptop sits on my right, a large laptop to my left, a tablet sits under the desk lamp and the smartphone is somewhere nearby. Not to mention the PC that I normally use for writing and entertainment. And they all are on and are communicating.
And so I ponder between the sips and watch the day unfold out my window.