76: Shhhh…

(A tree in San Diego.)

It’s 3:00 in the morning on my birthday, and I’m trying to be (relatively) quiet.  I’m working on the laundry.  I figure if I can’t sleep, I might as well be productive.

(Mission Bay trees.)

I’d rather be sleeping.  To be honest, I’m feeling pretty miserable.  Sleep is not possible because I’m dealing with the consequences of the prep.  I’m exhausted.  And hungry.  And exhausted.

(Balloons.)

I figure I can sit here and have a whinge or I can be grateful.  I’m alive, I’m well (except for the purposely induced problem), and I have another year to celebrate.

(Kite in tree.)

I truly am grateful.  My life is filled with blessings and gifts of all kinds.  Sometimes I don’t always recognize them as gifts.  Right now is a good example.

(A burst of sunlight in the tree tops.)

Instead of sleeping, I’m counting my blessings.  Instead of sleeping, I’m getting my blog post for the day written up and posted.  Instead of sleeping, I’m looking at bright, sunshiny pictures.

I have time now to gather my thoughts, to catch up on email and other blogs, and to look at flowers.  I have time to sort of relax and just enjoy the quiet.

I’m not sure when I’ll fit in my outdoor time today.  Perhaps before I go to the doc’s place for the birthday fun.  I’m pretty sure I’ll want to nap this afternoon.  I know!  M and I can go sledding this evening if I’m up for it.  That will be a fine and fun way to spend time outdoors, don’t you think?

So.  What would you be doing with your time if you had to stay up all night?  Something quiet?  Something fun?  A little of both?


75: Real snow

(Snowy creek scene.)

Did I call that last dusting of snow “real snow?”  Because I was wrong.  Last night and today have brought on the real stuff.  It’s been snowing like crazy.  It’s amazing how fast it accumulates.

(The sun tries to make an appearance, then gives up.)

I may regret the expenditure of energy from this morning’s walk.  I intended to go out for the required 30 minutes and come right back in.  I forgot that it takes time to make your way through the snow.  I had to shovel the porch first.  Then make a walkway to the barn.  It’s best to do this so the snow doesn’t get tamped down where it will freeze and become ice later on.

(Looking at the barn from the front porch.)

The porch isn’t really a porch, as you can see.  More like a few slabs of concrete with a roof over it.  Making this area into a lovely porch is on our to-do list of home improvement projects.

(Real snow on the pumpkin.)

I ended up outside for over an hour, trudging through some pretty good sized drifts (some almost 2 feet high).  I think we’ve gotten about 10-12 inches of snow so far, but it’s hard to tell with the wind swirling it around, leaving some areas piled high and others practically bare.

(Prayer flags in the snow.)

I wasn’t able to capture the shots I really wanted.  The wind was blowing in the wrong direction.  I would have ended up with a lens full of snow.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

It was a lovely walk and I enjoyed every peaceful moment of it.  I might have stayed out longer but I thought it best not to overdo it.

Today is all about clear liquids.  No food for me.  Just clear liquids.  I had some green tea, a glass of apple juice, and cup of broth for breakfast.  I made up some Jello (something I meant to do last night) and plopped the bowl into the snow just outside the door.  In case you ever need to know this, putting a bowl of gelatin into a pile of snow will cause it to gel quickly.  In about an hour.  It’s better than the quick-gel method.

Lunch was a bowl of pineapple Jello, a cup of broth, and some more apple juice.  I am tempted by the food in the fridge every time I open it, but the consequences of eating (the possibility of having to do this over again if the right results are not achieved this time around) are good incentive to stay on track.

I had planned to make this into a kind of spa day.  There are people (celebrities even) who pay big bucks for a day of fasting and colon cleansing.  So I got to thinking I might take it easy today.  Do some gentle yoga.  Soak in the disco tub for a little while.  Give myself a mani-pedi and a facial.

(Today’s moment of sunshine:  I wouldn’t mind being here right now.  Grand Lake, Colorad0, August 2010.)

But as soon as I was out of bed my mind started running this seemingly endless loop of all the things I need to do over the next few weeks.  For someone who isn’t going to be eating solid foods today, I sure do have a lot on my plate.  It occurred to me that since tomorrow is going to be a do-nothing (except go to the doc) day, maybe I ought to be doing lots of things today.

(Snow squiggles and loops on the pond.)

I decided to get the loop out of my head and down on paper.  A to-do list.  Having started with that, I see it’s true.  There is a lot to be done.  The next step was to prioritize.  There is still a lot to be done but at least I know where to start.  I also know where I need to start cutting back in order to create more time for the things on the to-do list as well as find some time here and there for myself.

The end result is that one of the things I need to cut back on is (you guessed it) my computer time.  That means a little less time over the next few weeks visiting other blogs and (hopefully) shorter blog posts from me for a while.  I will try to keep up by reading and spending less time commenting.  At least that way I’ll know what all my blog friends are up to.

Well, I’d better go.  I started the real prep for tomorrow’s Birthday Fun at noon (as instructed).  I’ll be downing more stuff at 3pm and then again between 4pm and 6pm.

I have a feeling it is going to be a LONG night.  Heh.


73: Of ice and minks

(Today’s sunny day photo:  Lake Irene.  Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.)

It feels warm outside today.  It’s in the 30’s, which feels considerably warmer than the 20’s even if it’s only a matter of a few degrees.

(A pair of blue jays.)

The birds have finally found the bird seed scattered about in different feeders and they are chowing down.  We had a variety of birds at one of the feeders including a woodpecker and a couple of cardinals.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

The surface of the pond is almost completely frozen over now.  There are a few wet spots at the edges still.  If the ice stays uncovered by snow for another day or so, it ought to be excellent for ice skating.  I don’t think that will happen.  There is a snow storm to the west of us making its way here.  We’re supposed to get a few inches of the white stuff overnight.

I saw a mink today.  He was running across the pond on the thin ice.  He made it the whole way, too, from one side to the other.  He’s a cute little guy although I wouldn’t want to tangle with him as mink are said to have strong jaws and sharp teeth.

(Willow on ice.)

I hope it doesn’t snow too much.  We have a quick trip south to make tomorrow.  Our exquisite granddaughter, Emma, will be performing in a Christmas dance recital.  Snow here is no problem.  The roads are plowed and salted frequently and well.  But once we get an hour or so south, they get stupid about clearing the roads.  It’s as if we’re in a totally different state.

(Ice bubbles.)

Today’s instructions for my upcoming birthday fun are to AVOID ROUGHAGE.  I don’t know why they put it in all caps as if shouting it at the patient.  This seems like a relatively easy thing to do, one would think.  But if one is an almost-vegetarian whose diet is mainly roughage, well, it’s harder than you think.

(The last of autumn’s colors frozen in the pond.)

My daily diet is usually something like this:

  • 6-9 servings of veggies and fruit (heavy on the veggies because I’m not much of a fruit eater but have tried to fit in more seasonal fruits this past year)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups of whole grains.  Brown rice is a staple around here but I do try to mix it up with other grains such as barley, oats, and quinoa.
  • 1 cup of beans or legumes
  • An ounce of nuts or seeds
  • Fish or tofu as the other proteins but every now and then we’ll have some other meat if the occasion calls for it (turkey on Thanksgiving, for instance).
  • Eggs, usually for weekend breakfast.  Very moderate amounts of cheese.

As you can see, most of my diet is made up of roughage.  I gave up the white breads, white rice, white pastas, etc., several years ago.  I like cheese (a lot!) so I doubt I’d ever make it as a vegan, but otherwise I don’t include much dairy because I feel better without it.  The same is generally true when it comes to wheat products.  I eat them, but feel better when I don’t.

(Snow clouds above the white pines.)

Now I’m being instructed to eat the things I normally do not eat (and that we are all told we should not eat — such as white bread).  Doesn’t make much sense to me when you consider what the ultimate results of all these instructions are supposed to be.  Maybe there is a doctor out there who can explain it to me.

(Ribbons, lace, and sequins.)


72: Bundle Up

(Bella’s in the bag.)

During this time of year there is more work involved in stepping outside.  Early in my commitment I could slip on my gardening shoes and walk out the door, sometimes wearing a jacket to keep warm.  Now it’s not possible to just step outside, even if the plan was to do no more than stand on the porch.  One must bundle up if one doesn’t want to freeze out there.  It requires layers.  Three shirts.  A fleece jacket.  A winter coat on top of the fleece jacket.  Heavy jeans.  (I have snow pants but they are much too big for me because I lost some weight this year.  I will have to shop for a new pair very soon.)  Two pairs of socks (or one pair of heavy boot socks).  Boots.  Scarf.  Hat.  And gloves.  I wore two pairs of gloves today.  (What I really need is a good pair of mittens.  Or mittens that open into gloves.  I saw a pair like that in a gift shop in Colorado and regret not buying them.  I thought I might see them closer to home.  No luck so far.)

(9am view of the pond from up at the house.)

I have sunny photos today, but not warm and sunny.  Downright cold and sunny is more like it.  When I rolled out of bed this morning it was dark, cloudy, and snowing.  Sometime past mid-morning the clouds parted, then the sky cleared, and we had bright, brilliant, lovely sunshine.  I decided to head out while the sun was in charge because you never know when the clouds will drift back in.

(Today’s sunnier view of the pond.)

The pond is starting to freeze.  The stuff covered with snow up there is ice creeping towards the middle of the pond.  It is a long way from being stable enough for ice skating or sledding.  (Our sledding hill ends at the pond and, if the pond is frozen, we frequently like to see how far we can go on the ice as the momentum from coming down the hill carries us out there.)

It’s in the 20’s again today.  The clouds began moving in again while I was out for my walk and now it’s pretty much clouded over with more snow showers on the way.  It will probably be another dusting, nothing like what they got near Buffalo, New York yesterday when motorists were stranded on the highway.

We should have moved the flamingos about a month or so ago.  The water level in the pond is up so much now that the one furthest to the right is in danger of drowning.  Or floating away.  Neither M nor I wants to volunteer to get it.  The water is cold and deep.

(Flamingo reflection.)

Tomorrow I start preparing for that something I didn’t name yesterday.  It is, as some may have guessed, the dreaded colonoscopy.  I had a big debate with myself over whether or not to even mention it.  After all, it’s one of those things people generally feel embarrassed about.  And I do.  Feel embarrassed about it.  That said, it’s one of those important diagnostic tests that saves lives.

(Sunlight and shadows on ice and snow.)

Besides, plenty of other people have paved the way and gone where this blogger has never gone before by trying to “live blog” about the whole procedure.  Gutsy people who have no problem sharing everything.

(Ice and snow lacing across the pond.)

Don’t worry.  There will be very little TMI here.  I know that (“little TMI”) sounds like an oxymoron.  You have to understand that just blogging about the fact that I’m having a colonscopy feels like TMI to me.  So really, there won’t be a lot of detail or videos to share about this whole experience.  I’ll leave that to Katie Couric.

(Walking into the woods.)

I am very nervous about the whole thing.  Doctors have always made me nervous.  Medical procedures or tests exacerbate that nervousness.  My logical self knows that there is no reason to be overly anxious about it.  My logical self just watched the Katie Couric video I linked to above and thought, “Hmmm… that’s not so bad.  She didn’t even mess up her make-up!”

(The creek is slowly receding.)

Unfortunately, my logical self is not always in charge.  My nervous self worries, because that’s what she does.  It’s her job.  I will take her out for walks, give her chamomile tea, hit the yoga mat as needed, and get her to take lots of deep breaths.  She (I) will still be nervous.  And then wonder “why all the worry?” once it’s over.

(Sparkly fairy in the middle of the creek.)

Tomorrow, three days away from the procedure, I’ll start following the list of the things I have been instructed to do to be prepared for it.

Oh joy.  🙂