Not much has been happening the past couple of months. I still make my best effort to go to the gym every day and do cardio exercises and/or yoga and chair yoga. It really makes me feel better to do these exercises and stretches. I find as I am getting older that it is more necessary now than when I was younger to stay fit and active.
I can’t remember when I wrote my last health update so I will give a brief one here. In January I had another CT Scan. It showed my tumor is about the same size which is a good sign that it didn’t grow in the past year. I think it shifts position every now and then because my insides hurt a bit more, my ribs occasionally feel bruised which means organs are shifting and putting pressure on my lungs, liver, or whatever other organs it presses on. The scan also showed that I have degenerative arthritis in my lumbar spine. This had not been identified in any previous scans. I guess this accounts for the extra pain in my lower back. Also, I am having increased pain and numbness in my left leg and three toes on my left foot.
When I am doing yoga or cardio exercises there are some that feel like they strain parts of my body, especially my internal organs, so I modify the exercise or do fewer repetitions than everyone else does. The main thing is that I still try to do them. Some mornings I feel like staying in bed and not moving because I hurt, but like I have written in several posts over the years… I know this tumor, and it’s side effects of putting pressure on my organs, will win and take my life, unless something else happens to do that, but I will do my best to fight it and not let it win easily.
To stay busy besides the gym, I have been crocheting baby blankets and hats for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital. So far, I have made and donated about 60 hats and 300 blankets in the past year. I bought lots of yarn and have enough still to make another approximately 100 or more hats. I did so many so fast the past few months that I strained muscles and tendons in my arms, hands, and neck so I have had to take periodic breaks for a week or two then when I feel the pain has gone away I start again. But then, what do I do??? I crochet too many in a short time again and aggravate my tendons and muscles. I don’t do well just sitting and not doing anything. I need to start reading books again. I find when I watch television, which is not all that often, that I like to crochet and stay busy rather than just sitting and not accomplishing anything productive. The nurses at the hospital tell me that the mothers really like and appreciate the blankets they get to take home for their baby. I use different colors that are usually bright and cheerful and I used a multicolored yarn with a solid so the blanket can be used for either a boy or girl.
I am still baking bread from scratch, and baking cookies, making caramel candy, and trying new recipes for meals. I have found many new foods that I like to cook and I make extra and freeze some so I can just thaw something out to eat and I also share some with friends and neighbors.
Using my Curtis Stone cookware and bakeware has made it so much more fun to cook. Nothing sticks to these pans, not even caramel candy or syrup. No spray has to be used for baking cookies on their cookie sheets so it seems that the cookies bake better and have a nicer crunch on the bottom of the cookie since there is no grease or spray between the batter and pan. If you want great pans to use go to HSN and search for Curtis Stone. My cookware is a little over a year old and still looks brand new.
I am starting to get ready and am in the process of planning another trip. I am not exactly sure of my departure date or route yet. I may not be going to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta this year. There is a new volunteer coordinator and she is also in charge of the RV areas. I spoke with her and she said there are more people and officials this year than in the past and it looks like no Navigators (which is what us volunteers are called) will have RV spots with electric and water connections. I don’t want to drive about 2,000 miles there and volunteer and camp for the usual six weeks I am there. I need about 125 volunteer hours in order to have electric and water hookups. That is why the past few years I got to Albuquerque in late August. I worked at the office before Fiesta and volunteered during the event and I had more hours than was needed.
My first three years at Fiesta I arrived five days before Fiesta and only volunteered during the event. I dry camped during those three years, then I found out I could volunteer before Fiesta and work enough hours to have electric. I have done the dry camping route enough to know that I don’t want to do it again for any more than a few days at a time unless there is no alternative. Since I cannot be guaranteed hookups this year, I most probably will not go to Fiesta, it would have been my seventh year there. I guess it’s time for me to do something different and take a different route on this trip.
I am seriously considering driving to south Georgia and northwest South Carolina to visit the firefighters that I still stay in touch with and haven’t seen in several years. Going to South Carolina means driving in the mountains which will be a pretty drive. It is a bit harder on my body and my van, but it will be okay. I don’t have any specific time to be anywhere. If I go north, then I will most probably not attend and volunteer at the hot air balloon event in Longview, Texas. I really enjoy that event which is held the end of July but it is not even close to where I will be and it’s too far to go there and come all the way back east to go north. However, plans change. I write them in sand and will see how I feel and what my energy level is close to when I leave. I have not even started packing or putting things together for my trip.
I did buy a new Garmin GPS recently. My other one still works and is only about two years old. This new one has voice commands which should come in handy on trips. I tried saying a few places and some it found and others it wasn’t even close even with multiple attempts at saying the place or city. When I am driving sometimes I want to know where a campground, rest area, or gas station is and it’s dangerous to try and type it in the GPS when I am driving. Usually there is not anywhere to pull over to do a GPS search other than the shoulder of the road which is not a safe place to stop other than an emergency. I am hopeful this newer GPS with the voice command will be beneficial.
My Camping with the Corps of Engineers book is from 2011 and on this past trip I realized that it’s really out of date. The Tom Merrill Recreation Area campground I went to east of Shreveport listed the campground as primitive with spots only 20 feet long. I was really surprised when I got there to find paved spots that could take long RV’s. I was telling one of my friends that I was getting ready for my trip and looking at routes and that I needed to get a couple of new campground books and she said she wanted to buy them for me as an early birthday present. I said I would buy them myself but she insisted. I thanked her but I have to be honest, it is a lot easier for me to be the giver than the receiver. My friend Lois who was an important part of my life when she was alive once asked me what it felt like to do for others and to give to others. I said it feels good. She then told me if I don’t let others do for me or give to me then I am depriving them of that feeling. It really made me think, but it is still difficult for me to be on the receiving side. In case you use the Camping with the Corps of Engineer book, a new one was just published on May 1, 2018. The format of information is a bit different, but the information is now up-to-date.
In December I finally gave in and bought a new android phone. My other one was five years old and the charging port no longer worked and it was not convenient to continually change the battery out for recharged ones that I had to manually charge. So, I went to Sprint and bought a new android phone. It’s not the fanciest or most expensive one, in fact it’s one of the least costly ones. It still does about all the same things as the expensive ones. Some features on the new phone I really like, others I miss. My older phone had a slide out keyboard which was nice to have, but the technology was so old that applications were not able to be updated or added. This new phone allows me to add applications and I added two games. Sadly, one of the games on my old phone is no longer available so I don’t have it on my new phone or tablet.
That’s about it for now. Perhaps one day soon I might add some pictures to this story. I have a few photos of the baby blankets, and loaves of bread I baked but they are on my phone and I would have to email them to myself, open the file and copy it to my computer then upload to this story.
Enjoy life, have fun, try new things and experience new places and adventures. Life is short. I read the other day about Bode Miller’s 19 month old daughter drowning in a swimming pool. Her life was cut short, very sad. So enjoy life while you can. I once read something that said… Live each day as if it’s your last, one of these days you are going to be right. A billboard I once saw said… Dream as if you will live forever, live as if you will die tomorrow.
Life is short and passes quickly. Search my website for a story called… Seriously, you would rather be an ostrich? Also, you can search for inspirational poems and stories, and the word Lois so you can read some wisdom she shared with me during her lifetime.