Life in the Slow Lane

Sunday, October 5, 2014

It's That Time of Year Again

Not feeling well. Having a rough "break-in period" into fall. I really, really hate this time of year.

In the last few years, it's when I seem to get sicker than a dog, or at the very least feel like shit.

I was up most of the night - again - with severe GERD, then hacking and clearing throat and having a feast of Tums and milk (despite taking anti-gerd medication) and having to try to sleep sitting up. I gave up after 2 hours and surfed the net as a bleary-eyed zombie until dawn, then attempted to sleep again. Then, my bladder woke me up every 2 hours until noon.

This is all an added bonus to my Fibromyalgia, which is kicking into high gear (more pain) this time of year.

Housework will not get my full attention for another day; it'll be hit and miss, mostly miss

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Yoga: Then & Now

I learned at the Spirit Room in downtown Fargo from Dawn Morgan - what a wonderful, gentle teacher!

I learned about mindfulness of my body, becoming aware of how tense I was, how to consciously r e l a x my muscles from head to toe, how to b r e a t h e, how gentle slow stretching releases toxins from lymph nodes around the body. It was all an incredible revelation.

It helped me immensely, enabling me to take care of my body in a way I didn't know about before. I was in far less pain and discomfort at work and home once I began my own yoga practice.

Nowadays, I still practice, but I cannot handle an hour at a time like I once did.  Instead, I do shorter sessions, and do them whenever I need to.

While it helps me cope with my Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Sjogren's, it is just one of many therapies that help me.  I also go to my local health provider's rehab center twice weekly to participate in Silver & Fit.  That said, yoga is incredibly important to my ability to cope with my pain and discomfort.

Thank you, Dawn, for teaching me something that has been such a blessing in my life.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Bullying in the Farm Yard

"Guard" Dog

Just got back from breaking up another fight. Was just in from taking clothes off the line when I heard a horrific hullabaloo coming from the farm yard. I looked out the kitchen window and saw the turkey Jakes ganging up and attacking a single goose again (not sure, but think it was a gander).

I grabbed my staff and ran out to the corral area where the action was. I ran at the bully Jakes, Gurl barking at them by my side. I swung the staff at the group and it landed on the backside of one of them, dispersing the group in all directions. One was still chasing the gander. I cut it off near a corner, trapping it and giving it a wallop to teach it a lesson. I looked around quick to see the third Jake making a move on the gander as it headed north. I ran up between them and walloped that one, too, then herded the gander out to the yard and steered it towards the rest of his flock, to safety.

Gandalf comes up with a happy grin on his face, and I look down and said, "Where were you? You're the livestock guard dog here, aren't you? You are supposed to guard against all enemies, foreign OR domestic. If you didn't know that before, you know it now!"

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Pretty Jars, all in a row:  Oh, to be so organized
I shall be attempting once again this year to put up fruits of our labors. I may not can much if anything, but we do harvest and process around here, and often freeze for later use anything we do not consume from the harvest. I find that canning, while a beautiful process I much admire, is too frustrating to me at this stage in my life, having never done it the majority of my life. I wish things had been different and I had continued living down the road from Mom and Dad, and had had 15-20 years of living close and learning more from Mom...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Our Irish Carpenter Families' Legacy

"Built a kickass mud bench/shoe/coat
rack today at work. I love how all this
trim work is developing my carpentry
skills. One day I will have my own
house, and not just bought, but guilt
by me. In and out. That is my goal."

My son, Daniel posted the photo on the left on Facebook this week. He's been in the field of construction for almost 15 years now, off and on. He began doing concrete work, then got into framing, etc., and now has been learning finish carpentry. He is really enjoying this particular kind of carpentry.

That got me to thinking about my Irish American grandparents and Irish Canadian great grandparents.  My grandparents, Al and Liz (Fitzgerald) Fitzpatrick, learned carpentry from their parents. They did carpentry as a personal skill in their private lives, as well as making some of their living working as carpenters for others.

I found out from Daniel's Grandma Lewis that her father, Gabriel Pinkney Rice, had been a carpenter, too.  She said, "Did you know my Grandfather was a carpenter? He would get an order for a house and do the entire thing by himself."

He came by this talent honest, honing the skills himself. I'm very proud of him!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Zen and the Art of Sheep Dreams

"Sheep of my Dreams"

As the physical wreck that I increasingly am, I confess to another condition I suffer from:  Tinnitus.  I've had it for many years1, but in the overall scheme of things, it's on the back-burner most of the time.

But as anyone who suffers from it knows, it often thrusts itself back in front of your life whether you want to acknowledge it or not...and you most definitely do NOT want.

Since returning this past weekend from a marvelous 3-month visit to my daughter Eva and her family, I dove right into my medical appointments on Monday.  I went to see my audiologist in Fargo to have my Widex Dream hearing aids adjusted.  Dr. Almer was amazed at how well cared for my two aids were (I try).  She then set the aids within a stethoscope-like device connected to her computer, that programmed it wirelessly with the Zen program.  Once done, I simply pressed the button on one of them and viola, the harmonic fractal tones (they are a bit like random chime-like sounds) began.  The volume is low, and the sounds are pleasant.  The idea is that the brain will rewire itself to pay attention to that sound and less to the tinnitus.  It can take some time for this to happen, so I need to be patient.

While there, I told Dr. Almer about a product I recently received after hearing about it via my favorite ASMR artist.  She was very interested when she heard about it, asking that I send her some information concerning it, in case it could help others at night when the aids are taken out.  Tinnitus can be especially difficult for some to cope with when trying to fall asleep, where this product could be a big help.  Once home, I sent her the information.  I'll be thrilled if it can help others.

What's REALLY cool is that I learned today that one of the co-founders of the sleep product, named SleepPhone, suffers from Tinnitus himself.

In the end, I am very thankful that I can obtain any potential help, and plan on making the most of each opportunity to live life better...

1 - After learning more about Tinnitus, I have come to the conclusion that the likely reason I was one of the individuals to begin suffering from the condition is thanks to my life-long struggle with nasal allergies and infections.  If the medical knowledge that allowed my ENT surgeon, Dr. Tsen, to perform my endoscopic surgeries, had been available decades earlier, I could have avoided the many, many infections and the accompanying suffering I endured...and avoided Tinnitus altogether.  Ah well, such is life!