Friday, January 23, 2009


Friday, January 23,2009, Back to the Wellness Clinic to work out.

Well, here it is-Friday, January 23, 2009
A couple days ago it was -4 when I got up and it only warmed up to 3 + degrees above zero all day. Today it was nice out- no storm, temperature reached to 31 degrees- just 1 degree below the 32 freezing mark. Funny how warm 31 can feel after you have had a week of real cold out.
This past Tuesday I managed to workout a little at the hospital Wellness Clinic. I managed 15 minutes on the recumbent bike, another 15 minutes on the new Step and next was the treadmill. I only made it for 5 minutes at a low speed of 2 before the sciatica nerve started giving me pain and I had to quit. Wednesday I mostly sat again with the heating pad to help the pain. Thursday I again went back to try working out again. Did a little better this time. 15 minutes on recumbent bike, 15 minutes on the new step and managed 10 minutes with speed of 2.5 on the treadmill. The place has a limit of 15 minutes on any of the machines. It shouldn`t be long before I am back doing the 15 minutes at 3 speed on the treadmill.
Today I managed to remove the ice from my back porch and sweep off all the birdseed mess before re-filling the feeders. I still have some ice on my front porch steps. I usually pour hot water with Dawn dish washing detergent down the steps before going to bed when we are expecting sleet or freezing rain. But this last time I was in so much pain that after I did the more used side porch steps, I let the rest wait. Big mistake and now it will be harder to remove the thickened ice. One daughter bought me a set of those Winter Trax to add on the bottom of my shoes to make it safer when I am walking outside. They do help keep my feet from slipping. my kids are always doing something for me.
I always have a lot of birds around my back porch all winter. I keep the suet holder filled, the taller thistle holder and the round style feeders filled. Today my dog Sassy was in the laundry room laying by the back door. She started barking and started walking towards the kitchen and went back towards the back door still barking. So, I knew she wanted me to come see what she was barking at. There was two cats laying on the table on the porch. I do not know if they are both wild cats or if they belong to someone in the neighborhood. They often come meowing near one of my porches or my daughters next door, but if you go out, then they usually run away fast. One day last week the large light gray colored one was by my back porch. I went out. stood by the top step, held out my hand and talked low to it and it surprised me. It came up the steps and stood there allowing me to keep patting it for quite a few minutes. It would have stayed longer, but it was way too cold for me to stay outside very long. That was the day it was -37 below. Today both cats took off fast when I opened the back door. I do not want them hanging around the back porch with so many birds eating from the hanging feeders there.

Today, I was going to see if the heater would make the shop warm enough for me to work out there, but ended up just working around the house. I am thinking of bringing the heater into the house to warm it up to see if the liquid in it might be partly frozen from sitting all winter in the cold shop. I didn`t think it could freeze, but I guess anything is possible. When I shake it a little I do not hear a lot of movement from the liquid inside. It is an electric fuel oil heater. I also have another house problem. I must have a spot upstairs where the heat is escaping out to the eaves and this leak must be melting the icicles and causing them to back up and leak water down the inside wall. It is dripping down and coming out at the bathroom window . Right now I have a small plastic container sitting on the window sill to catch the drips. Had this problem once years ago, but not in the last 5 years since we put on the new house roof. I know if I open up that spot and pull back the insulation on that spot, then the house heat will melt off the icicles and the leak will stop. Many years ago we had an electric heating coil running along the eaves on the back of the house. I hope I do not have to have one added again to stop the ice from backing up. I thought I had this problem licked when we added the metal strip along the roof edge. It hasn`t built icicles in a few years until now. But this winter sure has been a wicked one. A couple other people told me they were also having problems this year.

Tuesday, I managed to get back working out a little before the sciatic nerve pain interrupted the work out. 15 minutes on the new step, 15 minutes on the recumbent bike , but only 5 minutes on the treadmill at a low speed of 2. Thursday I did a little better, after the recumbent bike and the new step, I walked a bit faster at a speed of 2.5 for 10 minutes on the treadmill before needing to stop. Hopefully it won`t be too much longer before I am back exercising the 1 1/2 hours that I was doing before and doing the treadmill at the faster speed. I know I need to go slow for now and not rush it. Doing the therapy exercises at home is improving the spine problem and causing less pressure on the sciatic nerve. Dr mentioned he could send me to a therapist for help if I wanted to go, but I told him I know most of those exercises by heart from the times I was bedridden over the years with this same problem. I am a bit smarter now than I was back then. I start the exercises as soon as I feel a disc slipping and usually get it back before things get too bad. Bones are getting more brittle according to the Dr and so they are allowing curvature of the spine now and this time the bones are putting pressure on the sciatic nerve causing the pain. Heat does wonders for the pain. The pain pills were worthless and I didn`t want the real strong pills. I wouldn`t be safe working with electrical tools or driving my car if I took them. Plus, I have always believed that every med you take for one problem can end up causing more problems somewhere else in your body.
Hard being patient and taking things slower as I am used to being active and accomplishing things. But taking things on a slower key will get me back where I want to be much faster with less chance of causing more problems. So, I will learn to be more careful and not overdo while I still accomplish things at a slower pace for now.


Sunday, Jan.18, 2009- Too cold in shop

Too cold to work in my shop!
This was written 5 days ago. Today, Sunday, January 18, 2009, wasn`t a total waste. This time the snow we got was dryer and lighter so my tiny little foot wide snow blower came in handy. I was out blowing snow so that Sassy would have room to still make it out back at least a little way from the house. My son-in-law heard my snow blower and came out to tell me he intended on doing it for me with his larger snow blower. I told him I was just doing room for Sassy, plus I wanted to work in the shop. So, I did in front of both the shop door and the garage doors. I needed to use the ice scraper to remove all the snow way down , as one garage door never opens far enough to back the car out if there is even a little snow or a tiny bump of ice for it to glide over. A friend once mentioned those hinges that swing a door upward as it opens. But I haven`t been able to find any strong enough to hold the weight of a 4x8 sheet of plywood on a wooden framework. I even checked my books and also on line with no luck. Guess they just do not make them for doors that large or heavy. Last year I shaved a little wood off the bottom of the door to allow it to open enough. The cold and moisture must be getting under the driveway and heaving up that side a bit. The other side was made with a better slope so the door raises farther off the driveway as it opens. I wish they had done that on both sides.

I went to the shop and started the heater, then came back inside to rest while the shop warmed up. About 35 minutes later I went back out, only to find the heater just couldn`t handle this terrible cold we are getting lately. We didn`t have -37 below during the daytime when the heater was heating the shop so great last year. So, I just measured and cut the board for the bottom of the slide out shelf and shut off the heater and decided to give up for today. I decided I could still add the casters on the bottom of that shelf. When I opened the 2 sets of casters I discovered they didn`t come with any screws to put them on with. Luckily I had bought lots of different small size screws last year when I was ordering from the Rockler catalog. I found one small bag with the right size to fit the board I was using. When I had three of the casters screwed onto the board I discovered I only had three more screws in the bag. So, I had to go hunting through all my odd screws to find one the right size to finish that last caster. So, now that much is finished. I did cut some thin slats about 2" high to fit the longer two sides of the shelf board . These I can glue on for edging, but I was getting too cold out there to hunt up and cut another narrower , higher one to add up the back to keep the bottles from falling our when the shelf is rolled out and back in.

Now for the next plans. Do I want to leave it a single shelf and just add edges around the three sides so the bottles can`t fall off when I pull the shelf out? Or do I want to add another higher shelf and make it a two shelf slider section? It can only be about 7" wide by 24 " deep. But I can make it as high as the cupboards on each side of where it will go. I had cut the cupboard top long enough to cover both cupboards (both the old one and the new one I made a couple months ago) plus the space between them. Wish I had more spare wall space there so I could have left a wider center section, but then I wouldn`t have been able to open the doors on the large beautiful divider that goes between the kitchen and dining room. So there will already be a top over the shelf space. I do not want to lose any more width so I do not want to make a very strong framework to hold up the top shelf section. There would be advantages either way. Leaving just the one bottom shelf would make it easier to see exactly what was left on the shelf without pulling it out to see under. I used to buy a lot of soda, but now I buy very little. When I was going to the expensive exercise center the owner provided plenty of cold flavored water drinks for anyone who wanted them. That got me off the soda so much and more drinking the flavored water. But since I buy both the quart size and the smaller bottles, the higher shelf would come in handy to hold the smaller bottles. I like the smaller bottles to take in the car with me. Well, no rush in deciding as it looks like it will be a while before it will get warm enough to work in the shop. Last winter I was able to work out there all winter, but it sure is much colder this year. So, here I sit with the electric lap robe putting heat on my spine. hip, legs and knees. Heat does wonders with alleviating the arthritic pain. I also have the small heater running behind my chair to get the chill out from being outside so long.

It has now warmed up to 14 with a wind chill of -23 degrees F and I thought they said is was going to be warmer today. Guess it is much warmer than the -37 we had without a wind chill. My D-In-Law told me yesterday that they are now getting our old temps. I just saw on TV that it is now only 23 degrees where she lives in North Carolina. That would feel warm to us here, but must feel awful cold there when they are not used to our chilly weather. Back in the 50`s when my oldest brother first moved to New Jersey they had never had snow in that state. I remember their first snow storm. It was so bad that the workers in my brothers lace factory couldn`t leave the factory and the second shift couldn`t get to work. New Jersey had no snow shovels or even town or city snowplows. The large snowplows from New York State went to N. Jersey to dig them out. You can bet the stores and the cities and towns started ordering snow equipment real fast. Then a lot of the residents didn`t know how to handle driving in snow and schools would close with just a little snow on the ground. Today N. Jersey is used to driving in snow. Now other states further south are experiencing what it is like to drive in snow and on ice.

I remember a couple years ago they had a movie showing Greenland and Iceland and how the ice was spreading further and further every year and they announced that we were heading for another ice age. They said not in our time, but possible in our kids life, but most definitely during our grandchildren's age.
I am wondering if that has changed now. Recently I heard that the ice was melting worse each year in the northern end of Alaska due to the global warming from the pollution and gases in the air. They are worrying about the animals living there becoming extinct if the ice keeps melting more every year. Keeps one guessing which is going to happen. Weather sure looks more like the ice age with the changes and how some of the warmer southern states are getting the cold weather we used to have up here while we are getting much colder than in the past. But, this year we are back getting the large snow amounts more like we did when I was a kid, but I do not remember temps going as low as -36 without a wind chill to lower it - at least not where I live. I remember it being below zero, but not for weeks at a time like it is now. We used to say it was too cold to snow, but can`t say that anymore. It has snowed at -36 degrees below zero. Just saw the weather report for the coming week and we are expecting snow every day except for Thursday, if it doesn`t change. I am hoping Thursday is snowless so I can go back and try doing the exercises again. I know that exercise is very important for anyone with the many kind of arthritis. I once told my old Dr that my mother was asked what kinds of arthritis she had and she wasn`t sure. My Dr responded by telling me if anyone asked me that question I could tell them I had all kinds. I really wasn`t asking him about myself, but guess he read it that way. At the time my mother, in her late 80`s, was having an eye replacement. She had bought new glasses and one of the lens popped out hitting her eye and damaged the eyesight in the eye. She had wonderful success with the eye replacement. A few years later she had an operation to repair a broken hip which never healed strong so it re-broke, and about three months later they had to do a complete hip replacement. I was surprised that she healed so well at her age - almost 90, when her arm had never healed back in her late 40`s. But she was always an active person. She stayed on the Bowling Team till she broke her hip. I think all her staying busy doing things must have helped to strengthen her system to keep her going. I remember my Dad kept Bowling for quite a few years even with the bad hands. I had to stop going years ago as the arthritis was enlarging the finger joints so they just didn`t fit into the finger holes in the bowling balls. I never joined a League like both my parents did.
Yesterday I noticed there was cold air leaking around one side of my kitchen door. Funny how every time I had checked it during the past month I could feel no leak before. I had the new metal weather strips still upstairs. I had originally bought them for the back door, but was able to fix that door by just adding a thin strip along the opening side so I still had the set . Yesterday I noticed it also fit my side door frame so I added the right side strip up the outside of the door to correct the air leak. I did`not finish adding the top and the other side yet because it is too cold to stay outside doing something that is not necessary right now.

It was so cold yesterday that my fingers started to freeze onto the hook on my dogs chain. I had to run my fingers under cool water a while before I could warm them with warmer water. I had frozen three of those fingers years ago when my nephew never showed up back at my home. He has epilepsy and I feared he might have had an attack and it was in the winter time. I couldn`t find my gloves as I had let one of the kids wear them to play outside and I was too scared to keep hunting. When our son`s German Shepherd also never came back home, I knew it had stayed with Ed. I did find Ed- all confused, sitting on the ground and the dog stayed with him. Funny part is my nephew had always been afraid of the dog before this. A neighbor who lived on the next road belonged to a snowmobile club back then and he contacted his friends who all showed up to hunt the woods for my nephew, but just as I saw the lights as they were entering the woods I located him. It was getting dark by the time I found him. My fingers use to freeze for years after that whenever they got too cold. Been years now since that has happened till I started to take the dog chain hook off the wall hook, (where I hang it on the house), so I could put the dog out. Sassy had to wait till I got my aching fingers warmed up again. Then I put on my gloves and did a lot of rubbing to warm up the hook before connecting it to Sassy`s collar.

Hope it warms up soon so i can get nback working in the shop.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Another New Year and Test results

Friday, January 16, 2009
Another new year and test results

Another new year and getting older has a funny way of making you face truths you might otherwise ignore. I have been doing great with acting like everything is ok even though I knew the condition my back was getting into. Well, after the x-rays, now this Dr also knows the condition my spine is in. He told me I have degenerative problems. He also told me that the arthritis has deformed the bones in my spine and the damaged bones were in terrible condition and causing curvature of the spine. This deformed shape is putting pressure on the sciatic nerve causing this terrible pain from my hip on down my whole leg to my foot. I was pretty sure that was what was causing the pain as I have been completely bed ridden twice over the years from the sciatic nerve and needed therapy to be able to walk again. Another Dr was treating me back then, so this Dr knew nothing till he saw the x-rays. He did surprise me when he told me that I could be doing a lot of complaining and he would understand in my condition. He said I have a lot of reasons for complaining and he could see that I was not a complainer. Nice that he finally is getting to know the real me. :) My family also has known about my back problems. When my youngest son was getting married years ago, he told me I was going to be at his wedding if he had to carry me there. That was the last time it put me flat in bed. I do better now because I know all the therapy exercises so well and the minute I feel a lump in my back I start doing them and so far am able to put the discs back in place. On top of all this, the Dr knows I have sleep apnea, allergies, and Diplopia ( double vision caused by a Minnie stroke years ago), plus he has told me he doesn`t see how I do anything with my hands in such rough arthritic shape. plus I had both hands operated over the years from ruptured tendons from working with tools so much. After the right hand operation, that surgeon told me to go back home and works with more tools and then come back and see him in another year as he only did this type operation on Mechanics and Carpenters. My dad had also had one of his hands operated on for the ruptured tendons. That Dr died long before I needed the second op on the left hand. I told my Dr that people are always telling me they can`t see how I do anything using my hands. But as I tell them, my Dad had a saying that I live by- "Where there is a will, there is a way". He continued working on cars right up to the day before he died and his hands were also in real bad shape. My mother had a lesser case of arthritis and still crocheted with her aching hands. She also had a broken arm from a car accident which never healed and the bone in her arm was only held together by the wire they put in during that operation when she was 47 and was still in the same shape when she died 4 days before her 91st birthday. But, she never complained even when I often could see the pain in her face when she was doing things. She still washed walls and ceilings, replaced wall paper , painted, had her garden up into her early 80`s and canned a lot, and just continued doing her own housework. I learned the best thing to do is keep exercising the fingers and told the Dr my large organ and the computer keyboard are good ways for exercising my fingers. You see we had good examples to learn from.

When the Dr asked me how I managed, I told him a few things I do, such as my hands can`t hang onto small or thin items and I can`t pull up the tongues in my shoes so I keep a pair of pliers in my kitchen to do such things. I have trouble tying my shoes, so when daughter Theresa asked me what I wanted for my Birthday last Sept., I told her a long handled shoe horn. Now I leave the shoes tied and use the shoe horn to slide my feet into the walking shoes. I would probably have yelled at my kids if they had done that. I even keep an old small shoe horn in the gym bag to use when changing shoes at the Hosp. gym. I also told him I use enlargers on my crochet hooks to hold onto them and keep a large pair of shears in the kitchen drawer with the pliers. His reply was that I was very resourceful. I told him there is almost always a way if we want to do something bad enough.

So, all I actually learned from these x-rays was that the spine bones are getting more brittle and in worse shape. But I had to expect that to happen eventually. He asked how the pain pills were working. I told him I stopped taking them because they were not helping any. He offered stronger pain pills, but then I wouldn`t be safe driving or working in my shop without worrying about getting hurt. my eye specialist would like to wait longer between changing my prisms in my glasses as he says there are only so many and he wants to be sure they last as long as i do. But, as I told him, I need to see real clear to keep working with the electrical tools and the table saw, scroll saw and Band saw, plus driving or I could get seriously hurt. As for the pain, the large heating pad and the electric lap blanket help a lot, so I sit with it a lot during the days and also sleep with the electric lap robe over my hip and legs all night. I also learned Thursday that I was right - the lumps in my legs are blockages , but in the superficial veins, so nothing to worry about.

Now, i am not writing this to get anyone feeling sorry for me as I still manage to keep enjoying things and as soon as we get rid of this -26 degree below zero F weather, I intend to get the pull out bottle shelf made to go between the two cupboards. I already bought the casters and have wood. The one to feel sorry for is my only living brother who had a leg removed from osteo-mylitis 2 years ago, his thyroid neck gland removed a couple years before that due to throat cancer and now suffers from bone cancer and last month the Dr started him on insulin shots for Di abates. Now, he is someone who can sure use all the prayers he can get. We are all worried about losing him since the Dr says the cancer has advanced. Lost my younger brother from heart problems back in 1994 and our oldest brother in June due to worse Minnie strokes and now we worry about out last brother. One younger sister had a heart attack a few months ago and has emphysema bad, so we also worry about her. All in all, I feel lucky as long as I can keep living in my own home, doing things for myself and do not become a burden to my kids.

I wasn`t going to post the test results, but decided to let others know why I haven`t been posting as often as I used to. Staying inside to keep warm as it is only -26 F outside. Must be worse than that in Canada since that is where they say this cold weather is coming from. This crazy weather we keep having. I can`t wait for spring to arrive. Stay warm everyone and if you live where you get our snow, be careful shoveling. I am sure some one has some hot weather they would love to share with us. :) We have a lot of freezing weather we would love to send to them, along with the snow. Ha Ha. Keep smiling, remember, things could always be worse.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


1/2/2009/Christmas/Friend from China/Remembering Pwn Pals from England

Christmas is over and New Years Day has passed. Now it is time to think about what I want to accomplish in the new year. As soon as I lick this pain in my hip and right leg, I am hoping to get back working in my wood shop. I want to make a small pull out section between two cupboards for holding the plastic bottles that hold the flavored water and the soda drinks. While Christmas shopping , I found the small casters to put under the bottom of the pull out section. I have enough wood left from my last project, so just need to be able to do the work. Dr ordered ex-rays today, so should know the cause soon so I can start working on the cure. I was happy that one of my daughters drove me to the Dr`s office in the morning and again drove me back in the afternoon for the ex-rays so I never had to clear out the snow in front of the garage doors. We only got about 4 more inches over night. Hope I feel up to shoveling that little bit tomorrow. Wasn`t enough to make it necessary for anyone to shovel out the driveway for me. But, we may get more snow again tonight.

I still haven`t made it to my brother or sisters homes with their gifts. But they all understand what is stopping me from visiting them. I wasn`t walking to well at the Funeral home even though I tried to hide it. Now, If I had been able to make all those trips up and down the porch steps I could have packed all their gifts into my car before I drove down for my uncles Funeral. Two of my sisters brought their gifts for me and put them in my car as we were leaving the Funeral place. I knew I couldn`t drive on down to their homes after I left there because I had to get home for my dog as I had left her inside while I was gone. She is getting old and I didn`t want to leave her out when it was so cold. I do have hay in her dog house , but that morning it was way too cold to leave her outside.

I received a lot of useful items for Christmas, plus some just to enjoy. I hope they like their gifts as much as I liked mine. I always love the newer pictures the grandchildren give me of my great grandchildren. Having new pictures means more than any expensive gift would to me. I did manage to take a picture of each part of the family that made it to my home. One member of my family has a very polite young man visiting them from China. He is in America to attend a college. I enjoyed chatting with this young lad. For one so young, he sounds very educated. He must have wonderful caring parents from the kindness he shows to everyone he meets in our family. You can tell that he had a very good upbringing from the way he acts. He mentioned that in the college he is attending some of the teachers look out for the students like they were a second set of parents. Now, that sure is a nice tribute to our college teachers. Being an only child, it must be hard for his family having their only child so far from home. I remember how I worried when one of my sons joined the Navy . I guess , no matter how much we hear from them through letters or phone calls, we still worry until our children are safely back home. My daughter let him use her phone to call his parents. I am not sure how much longer he will be visiting here before he has to report back to the college. I think it is great that my daughter and her family had the chance to meet someone from another country. We can learn so much more about other countries from it`s citizens than we could from reading about the country in books. Books are so matter of fact without the normal living ways that most people have to face in their day to day living. Books don`t show the feeling that people face while growing up. it never tells the little things that happen that have so much to do with how a persons life unfolds. I have always found it very interesting learning more about other countries. That is one of the things I love most about having a computer- the education you receive from meeting people from all over - both my own country and around the world. I guess I never realized how different it can be growing up in another state that has different kinds of plants, flowers, birds, animals and trees, and so forth than we find in our state. In school you learn what different things each state is noted for, but you do not learn the different ways people talk and the kind of foods they prefer eating that you do not find in all states. I have a granddaughter who was so young when they moved that she has the southern way of speaking while her older brother and sister went to schools in the north and therefore learned to speak like a northerner. You never learned , that growing up in a different state can make such a difference in how you pronounce words or the kind of foods you learn to love. Those are things you learn from experience, or from other people, not from books. I remember when i was a child in Girl Scouts and we had penpals. Mine was from England. After writing to this pen pal for a few months, I received letters from two other girls from England and for years the three of them and I kept contact with each other through our letters. Somehow, after we grew up we lost contact with each other. Today, while looking through some old saved memories from my school days i came across two post cards one of the girls had sent to me. One of them was of a large beautiful church and on the card it says " The Chancel, Nantwich Church". On the other post card is a picture of people swimming in a huge pool and it says "Brine Swimming Pool, Nantwich". I received these from a friend named Ursula crawford, the date was 1946. These cards were published by the Johnson & Son , Stationers, Nantwich, under License granted by the Ministry of Supply. These post cards were printed in Great britian. I have always valued these cards because they were sent to me by a great friend. So, I learned at a young age that you can have a wonderful friend even if the two of you never meet in person.

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