Tag Archives: arthritis

Picking Beer Cans in the Rain

7 Apr

I really didn’t want to go out today. I had spent a large portion of the morning hauling in firewood and trying to build a new stack from some that was piled out by the barn and never stacked up. Wet wood, when you have to start at the bottom.

But I took a break at lunchtime and did something a bit less taxing for awhile and by 3 pm I decided I could do it. The morning had been beautiful and sunny, but by three the clouds had gathered and by 3:30 it was in full spate.

I made it to the top of the hill, sat on half of my raincoat on my rock at the top, and came back down. I had brought a plastic bag to collect the remains of somebody’s beer party and by the time I had it all collected, the bag was WAY too big to get into my pocket, so I tried to tie it to my raincoat pocket zipper thing, but it hung too low and clanked into my walking stick and then my butt, so I decided to undo it and leave it there. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t undo, and I wound up ripping my raincoat zipper before finally tearing the plastic on either side.

It rained progressively harder and harder and I was pumping along pretty fast. My hands got cold and then warmed up again, but interestingly I only stopped once, briefly, on the bridge. I used to stop several times on the last stretch of the walk. Now I’m stopping several times on the steep part of the hill, but not coming home on the flat. I think that’s progress.

So I got back about ten minutes earlier than the last time, stripped off the wet raincoat and got in the car and went back for the bag. It was interesting covering that same distance in about five minutes in the car when it took me two hours by foot. Ahh, progress.

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Getting to Know Neighbors

6 Apr

Now that the weather is nicer, everybody is out and about so my walk is broken up by friendly chit-chat, which is just fine with me. The woman of the couple whom I see frequently said that I look a lot better than I did when I started, and I think she’s right. Even when it hurts, I can still keep going.

But on the really steep part of the hill, I toil slowly upwards, and then dawdle back down. I found a better rock to sit on at the top, but it’s surrounded by brush and now I worry about deer ticks. I suppose I should use some kind of poison at least on my feet now when I go walking.

Day two of the whole hill walk. My car measured the distance as 2.8 miles – my pedometer says I walked 3.5 miles. I think I need to shorten the stride on the pedometer. I’ve noticed that people in cars that go fast and scarcely move over for me seldom wave, but people in cars that go slowly and move way over often do. I get more wavers on the weekends, when people aren’t in a big hurry to get home from work.

Scared up a pair of Hooded Mergansers on the river, sadly they saw me before I saw them and were in hasty retreat when I finally spotted them. A pair of Crows were chasing a Raven, cawing loudly. I wonder if Ravens steal Crow’s eggs.

Mount Everest!

4 Apr

Or so it seems to me – I have finally reached my goal of walking all the way to the top of Maple Hill. I need to figure out how to put pictures here and show a picture of my Mt. Everest. I feel like I should have invited friends over and had a party. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow night. My knees hurt more coming down the steep part, but up was slower. I found a rock at the top that I could sit on, and sat there for a few minutes glorying in my personal summit. Surprisingly, after I was all the way back down, I was walking a pretty good clip (for me) and the entire walk only took 15 minutes longer than usual.

And some of that was taken up by talking to a neighbor, the lady with the dogs. I was so glad to meet her and get to know her dogs’ names and pet them etc etc. I will be much less afraid going past her house now.

And I have bought a ticket for Norway, so I don’t know if I’ll be blogging from there or not. I’d have to lug my laptop through multiple airports along with my flute and my camera. Decisions, decisions.

To Go or Not to Go

1 Apr

I spent a major time on this walk debating the issue. My son wants me to come to Norway for his son’s (my grandson’s) Coming of Age ceremony on May 5th, and then stay for their National Holiday on the 17th. These are both really BIG DEALS there, the coming of age thing is when the child receives his National Costume, called a Bunad, and they are all very colorful and take an amazing amount of work, usually by the parent.

The problem is I was just there for Christmas and I don’t have a lot of money, but I am really seriously thinking of doing it. My son played trombone in high school and as far as I know hasn’t played it since, but he is renting one to play in the band for the parade on the 17th. My grandson plays the trumpet, and my son suggested that I come and bring my flute. Now I ask you, WHO could pass up an opportunity to march up and down the hills of this tiny town in the fjords of Norway playing the flute with my son and my grandson playing brass? It’s just a small band, no more than ten people. I am sorely tempted to just buy the ticket and damn the torpedoes.

The walk went well. I notice now that even when my legs and my back hurt, I still can just keep walking and definitely have more stamina. But the BEER when I come home tastes really good.

Opposite and Alternate

31 Mar

A little more painful today, but nothing like it used to be. I think tomorrow I’ll go back up the hill. My pepper spray came today, but I didn’t have time to experiment with it so I took the side road instead of the hill. I really like that side road because there is NO traffic on it and NO houses, though if I went just a bit farther there would be. I’ve been going just over half a mile in and back out, but there are lots of Maple trees along that road, and I had an AHA moment standing there and trying to tell the Maples from the Basswoods and other deciduous trees that don’t have white bark. Still no leaves, so the twig and branch structure stands out. And I noticed that the Maples which have opposite twigs, really DO grow differently from the others. I stood there awhile in awe of my new discovery! And maybe now I will never tap another basswood in hopes of sweet sap.

All the traffic was from the south today, so I finally just gave up and crossed the road so they wouldn’t have to get in the other lane. There are fairly long stretches on this road where there is no shoulder at all, so it’s a game of listening and picking a side. I’m getting better at it. I’ve also noticed that on the weekends people are more inclined to wave as they drive by.

When I got to the bridge, there was somebody parked there, so I continued on without my usual 5-minute rest break. Maybe that’s why I’m more tired than usual. All the same, I credit my regular late afternoon walking with giving me back my morning energy, and for that I am extremely grateful.

Really Truly Getting Stronger!

28 Mar

Life and related activities have been interfering with my walking. Last weekend I decided to do a job I’d been putting off for months and paint the bathroom ceiling. I had a new shower put in over a year ago, and they finally came and finished plastering the part above the shower about 6 months ago. I bought the paint on February 7 (according to the computer print-out on the can) so it seemed like a good thing to do. But the bathroom was total chaos until I got it done, so I worked non-stop for most of two days. That seems like a long time but there were complications, and three different colors involved and now it’s done. Whew.

But tomorrow and Friday I won’t be able to walk either; too much going on. But, today was a lovely walk and my knees really DON’T hurt as much as they used to, and I just plain FEEL better about walking.

I haven’t approached the hill now in the last two walks because of the little yapper dog. So I turned down a side road and watched my pedometer and got an appropriately long one in. I ordered a can of pepper spray and when it comes I’ll approach the hill again. But pepper spray cannot be shipped via air so it may take awhile, and I discovered that Wisconsin has laws about it which prohibit the really strong stuff, and I’m fine with that, as long as 10% is strong enough for a little yapper dog. I’ve never sprayed a dog yet with it, and I used to run in a residential neighborhood in Illinois. It’s mostly for my peace of mind.

Awfully Warm for a Cool Day

24 Mar

After several cold and rainy days, today decided to become sunny and warm around the same time I headed out for my walk. I offloaded my fleece vest on the absent neighbors fire number sign, but I was still too warm.

I got up to the house with the dog, just about level with it, and out comes the little yapper again, so I turned back in disgust. The big brown dog never barks, but the yapper gets him excited and then I don’t know what he will do and I didn’t want to deal with it. I walked down the side road a ways and back but wound up getting home ten minutes earlier than usual.

I think I will have to re-think my walk, maybe drive up the hill and walk up the other side and then see how much time it took. I’d like to do a 3-mile walk. I may try that tomorrow. Maybe I’ll measure it with the car, and I KNOW that odometer is right. Not so sure about the accuracy of the pedometer.

I will miss sitting on the bridge for my breaks, though. That was a highlight, and the only place I could sit down. Oh well, the only constant is change, as they say. And my knees really DO feel better!