Life in the Slow Lane

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!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fibromyalgia Awareness

It preoccupies my mind almost constantly due to the pains that appear throughout my body, day and night. Also, because it clutters my mind with that preoccupation with pain and makes is so difficult to think clearly, to remember, to follow through.

In turn, it creates frustration, anger, but also redetermination despite failure. Although it could lead to depression easily, I don't have the luxury of allowing it. I've been in the depths of clinical depression earlier in my life and I never want to be again.

The pain is almost a blessing in that it makes me stubborn enough to rail against it and do what I can. It might not be as much as I want to do, but dammit, it's SOMETHING!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Attitude is Everything?

A man in one of my Fibromyalgia groups posted about how he is trying to deal with a lot of guilt because his pain doesn't allow him to do what he used to do.

I really feel for him and others like him, because I can imagine that all too easily. I am very lucky in that I have a loving and supportive family, who gently push me to continue trying to do what I can, but at the same time are understanding that I need lots of breaks, naps, etc.

But sometimes, even I feel a bit of guilt...and anger that my body has betrayed me.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Three Months

I arrived nearly two weeks ago now.  I will be here until mid-May.

Here is at my daughter Eva's home in Nashville.  My partner Bill surprised me a month ago with tickets to visit her for three months!

It has taken a bit of adjustment, but I'm slowly getting there.  My grandma skills are a bit rusty, but I am thoroughly enjoying the experience of learning how to be one again.

I am helping Eva with some projects around the house, and hope to be a blessing and true help to her over the next several weeks we have left.

I am finding that with a busy and active house, it is a positive stimulation for me.  It's good for me to get out of my comfort zone.  There are times I have to retreat to my bedroom because my health issues demand it (quiet times with eyes closed, and just to catch up on things I have to do to maintain myself.  That includes naps, which I admit I am not getting as many of here.  So far so good, but as Bill reminds me, I have to pay attention to my body and not overdo things...)

I look forward to many days of getting to know everyone better, and just enjoying BEING with those I love!