Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Positive Update on My Mother, Plus What I'm Doing to Cope in this Crazy World

I just wanted to let all of you kind folks know that my mom has decided she is now fully on board with the restrictions in place due to COVID-19. And since it's her decision, it will stick. So things are more settled here in that regard.

Our province has put restrictions in place sooner than some other areas did, as officials have learned from the sad experiences of those who have suffered to date.

A few weeks ago, when world news started becoming so alarming, I started thinking about what is within my control, and about my own health and what I could do to make my body more resilient if I do catch the coronavirus.

My walks fell by the wayside about a year ago when I developed pain in the joints of my feet. And, to be honest, I'm lazy, and if it's a choice between physical activity (especially involving pain) and reading, I tend to choose reading. Over the winter I noticed my boots (new last winter) might be adding to my feet pain, so I finally dragged my old boots out of the back of the closet and started wearing them again. Within a couple of weeks, my feet were much improved.

So one thing I decided to do was to start walking again in order to strengthen my heart and lungs. I very vividly remember how drained I was during the last two respiratory bugs I had. My asthma mostly only shows up when I've had a cold, but it definitely makes a normal cold much worse.

Only two weeks into the new walking regime I can feel an improvement in my lung capacity as I trot up and down the stairs with laundry and such, and as a bonus, my knees are stronger too. From past experience I knew this should happen, and it was good motivation to keep on.

I've also been working on losing some weight. Six months ago I had a CT scan for another issue, and found out as a side note that I have a fatty liver. My doctor suggested I try to lose ten to fifteen percent of my body weight. It was difficult when I wasn't exercising but for the first time ever I did manage to lose by food choices and restriction alone. Now that I am walking, the weight is coming off faster.

In this strange and difficult time, we all cope differently. Some folks lay in lots of toilet paper. Some  stick their fingers in their ears and sing loudly (spring break beach partiers, I'm looking at you). Some rail against their political opponents and lash out at everyone except the person in the mirror (oh, guess who I'm looking at now!). Some prepare by stocking up sensibly on shelf-stable foods and washing hands as directed. But my best coping mechanism to date has been to take care of my health, and improve it as much as possible.

For those who can't get out and walk -- which might end up being a whole lot more of us if restrictions get tighter -- there are many YouTube videos for at-home exercise programs, and in-chair exercises for folks who aren't as mobile. If you're like me and not in marathon shape (hah), you don't need to become a super-athlete, just work away at improvements in a measured, regular way. Now is not the time to get injured by taking on too much, but any time is a good time to take responsibility for our own wellness as much as we can.

I just wish I'd been doing more of that all along. But it's not too late to begin.



More of this



Less of this


How are you coping with all the madness?

Take care, everyone.





Monday, 23 March 2020

Poetry Monday: Pets I've Known and Loved . . . and Funnies, Pet Edition

It's Poetry Monday, and this week we're taking a look at ..... PETS I'VE KNOWN AND LOVED.

Join Diane, MotherOwl, Mimi and me as we think about our non-human friends. Leave your poem in the comments or post on your own blog. If you do the latter, please leave a comment so we can find you. Use the topic, or choose another; have fun and work your brain.

*****

Like a lot of you in Blogland, I've had the privilege of knowing and loving a number of different pets throughout my life.

There was David, the sweet and gentle budgie, who I feel so guilty about now because no bird should be caged. Sam, a big bruiser of a black boy cat, chosen as a kitten by yours truly. Susie, the beagle/bluetick girl hound who came to us as a tiny puppy. After I married, there was Puddin' the calico girl cat, who welcomed both our babies home. Then a handsome pale ginger boy cat, Whiskers, a stray who came to stay. Then two more black cats - brothers, Pins and Needles, chosen from the local SPCA. Meredith Grey, a not-surprisingly-grey girl cat, named by the staff at the vet's where she had been brought with serious injuries and never claimed. Francis, a white boy cat, in a sort of foster situation, owned by our daughter and given up for love of her highly-allergic future husband. And finally Lucy, a calico girl cat, another stray who came to stay.

Eagle-eyed readers with nothing better to do than remember my cats' names may notice that three of the most recent cats' names don't align with the names I've used when writing about them.

(You know the end of the world has arrived when Donkey decides to use the cats' real names instead of pseudonyms! Just some dark humour, there ... Carry on. In the past, Pins has been known as Boycat, Meredith has been known as GreyGirl, and Lucy has been known as Sweetie/Lulu.)

That's a lot of Pets I've Known and Loved. My first attempt at this post consisted of a short paragraph on each, which rang in at 1600 words and still felt like I was shortchanging every one of them.

That was before I even started a poem.

It was clear I had to take a different approach.

*****

Thank You to All My Feathered or Furred Friends

You kept me company,
And taught me responsibility.
You warmed my soul with your devotion.
You captured my heart.
And your leaving, for those who are gone, helped me
To understand and face grief.
Incredible gifts from those
Who own nothing
Wear nothing
Carry nothing
Store nothing
And leave nothing behind
Except good memories.

*****

And because that was, of necessity, veering off into sad territory, here are some pet funnies:

(All memes from icanhas.cheezburger.com)































































*****

Wishing you a week where you remember good friends, whether they be the human kind or the other kind.

Next week's topic will be ........ WRITING ......... 

Good luck!





Saturday, 21 March 2020

Something Completely Different, Cat Edition

Just came across this. 

Forty-one seconds long; things really get interesting at the twenty-five-second mark!

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Now For Something Completely Different

Meanqueen from Life After Money posted this YouTube video she found and it is SO funny I had to pass it along to those who might not have already seen it. The very end is one of the best bits of it.

It's hard to beat watching an exuberant dog when you're anxious, bored or sad. They should be getting medals for just being themselves.





Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Self-Isolation: Introverts, Extroverts, and My Mother

I think introverts may fare better in this current health crisis than those who love their social outings -- not in terms of our health outcomes but in terms of our ability to weather staying at home.

Like so many introverts, I am not bored by being at home. My husband and I are both introverts and can occupy ourselves at home without any problem.

There's a difference between boredom and isolation, though. We are not alone; we have each other for company when we are not working. And we have two cats. Anyone with pets knows how much they can help to ward off loneliness.

But I do feel for folks who need the energy of social contact with the larger community, especially those who live by themselves and do not have pets. Isolation poses a bigger challenge for them.

My ninety-year-old mother is one of those. She still goes out daily to have coffee at a busy McDonalds. If her usual group is not there, she will talk to anyone. She also goes to the grocery store almost every day. It gives her something to do, gives her a bit of exercise, and keeps her feeling in touch with the world, especially now that she is unable to enjoy reading or other "brain" activities due to mental decline. She has a telephone, but has never been interested in computers and doesn't have one.

It has been very frustrating trying to convince her that she needs to limit her daily trips out and about. She declares she has too few years left and will not spend them stuck at home, even if it's just a temporary situation.

I don't know how much of this is her longstanding approach to life ("no one is going to be the boss of me") and how much of it is due to her decline in cognition. Even appealing to her to think of the situation she would be putting me in if she became sick has no effect on her. (I'm her contact person for medical situations, and I'm in a higher risk group as well due to age and asthma.)

This is causing a tug-of-war between us that seems insolvable. I understand her need for socialization. And I respect her choice of a shorter but rewarding life versus a longer but lonely life ...

... except when she is putting others at risk by making that choice. It's not just me and my family who might be affected -- it's everyone she comes in contact with.

I have run out of things to try. If you have suggestions they would be very welcome.

Update: I wrote this yesterday. By today, Mom's McDonalds had posted signs that there is no in-house seating permitted. One problem solved, sort of. The grocery stores are still open, though!




I feel a bit like this cat


I hope everyone is being careful and staying healthy. There was a thought-provoking sentiment on social media yesterday:

          In the war, we were asked to go and fight for our country. Now we are
         being asked to stay home on the couch for our country.

Sounds like it should be simple, doesn't it, comparatively speaking. And yet for some (maybe many) folks it will be hard to do.




Monday, 16 March 2020

Poetry Monday: Money ..... and Funnies, the Extra-Long and Random Edition

It's Poetry Monday, and the topic is ..... MONEY.

Join Diane, MotherOwl, Mimi and me as we dip into our thoughts on this topic. You can leave your poem in the comments or post on your own blog; if you do the latter, please leave a comment so we can find you. Use the topic, or choose another. The objective is to have fun and work our brains.

*****

A week ago, when I chose this topic, I knew the world was changing but not the speed at which it would happen.The past week has made me contemplate health, and money, and a lot of things in between.

I tried to write a happy poem, and I tried to write a funny poem, but this is all that I could squeeze out of my brain. I've added some unrelated funnies below to help balance things out, and apologize for a rather heavy take on the topic, in this week of too much other heaviness.


*****

I Hope I Measure Up

Money buys a lot of stuff
A home, a car, a good cream puff
A trip, a haircut, clothes, a book
An education, food to cook

But there are things it cannot buy
A sunny day, a cleansing cry
A zest for life, a loyal friend
And courage at the very end 



*****


Thank you to icanhas.cheezburger.com for all the smiles that follow:







































































Yes, I know "sentances" is incorrect spelling, but it's not my caption!





















































Original caption, somehow lost in copy/paste: "His mom cuts his hair"























*****
Have a good week, people, and stay healthy.

Next week's topic will be ..... PETS I'VE KNOWN AND LOVED ..... Good luck!