Wednesday, 30 July 2014

notes to myself

These past several weeks have been very difficult for many of us.  While I never watch the news on television (this revulsion started when my children were very young and I didn't want them to be exposed to the brutality often on display), I can't seem to keep myself away from the internet and social media.

Rabbi Harry, the spiritual leader of Congregation Emanu-El, recently sent out a letter.  It began-  Dear Ones, First off I am recommending to all of us- and I fully include myself in this one- to limit our use of social media: it feels like it is only fueling anxiety and in some cases escalating the already over the top tension that exists. 

I make up 'rules' to allow me to disregard this advice..'No looking after 9 pm so my sleep isn't affected.'  'No spending more than 10 minutes at a time.'  'Not more than 2 articles.'

It isn't only the 'conflict' in Gaza, and the anti-semitism that has shown itself.  It's the frightening treatment of Christians being threatened and expelled in Iraq. It's Syria. It's the Ebola outbreak. It's poverty.  It's the feeling of helplessness that these events seem to cause me.

When I was in university in Boston in the early 60's, we sang and marched for integration and I taught for one day in a Freedom School where there were two teachers- one black and one white - working together with a classroom of children.  And, in the next few years, there were tremendous steps forward.  I also supported a woman's right to choose, and again, I saw positive change.

Somehow the challenges seem bigger today.  Perhaps it's because I have a daughter living in Israel, perhaps it's because I have grandchildren whose futures I wish to be safe and full of love, perhaps it's because of the constant barrage from the media.

What I can do is to be kind and peaceful and loving in my own life.  Kind to my whole self, my family, my neighbours and my loved ones around the globe.  Watch more carefully what I think and say.
First remembering to ask myself:
Is it kind?
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it better than silence?

Sunday, 27 July 2014


I spent about an hour in the back garden last evening, taking 72 photographs! Having a digital camera gives me such freedom.  No longer do I need to pay to develop rolls and rolls of film, hoping for one or two successful images. And now, I can go out again this evening and take another series!

           These abstract designs are of brunnera macrophylla "Jack Frost'.

Friday, 25 July 2014

more notes from the garden

After my every-morning-the same wonderful summer breakfast of blueberries and raspberries with two overflowing spoonfuls of homemade almond butter sprinkled with hemp seed, I headed outdoors.

At 6:30 it was delightfully still: one man jogging and a lone woman with her white dog.

A few weeks ago, as the white creeping thyme in our front bed had finished flowering, we tried an experiment.  Brian trimmed about 1/5 of the bed with large clippers.  I'm not sure if it was because the blades were dull and therefore did a fair bit of tugging, or if perhaps we cut too much off.  Whatever the cause, I spent nearly an hour digging and pulling up their sad, dead remains.  Then I claimed some plants from the outside edge and tucked them in. Never mind that there is a hot sunny week ahead...  I certainly can't wait for an overcast few days!

                                    before and now photographs!    

Brian is out there whistling as he weeds along the deer-netting edge of another front bed. It's interesting- I garden in silence, unless I am talking to the plants personally, while he accompanies himself at all times.  I think Brian's beginning to understand how much work I've always done in the garden!  Now, with my body operating at less than full-gear, I am asking him ("please please today..") to take on some weeding chores. Now, if he'd only learn how to cook!

                                 Hakonechoa macra 'aureola'

    Here's a glimpse of a grouping of large containers in our back garden.

                                   Ginko biloba 'Troll'

Saturday, 19 July 2014

the question

I spent over an hour last evening composing an entry for my blog, and then another 1/2 hour fine-tuning it.  The last paragraph read: "I'll sit on this entry overnight and decide if I'll post it in the morning. fromtheothersideofseventy is intended to follow my life and observations and, if that's the case, this will be on blogspot tomorrow.  After all, my life is not only about gardens, food and early morning sunrises."

Now, that is the question.

My blog has been about my daily life: walks, gardens. my health and sometimes an inspiring poem.  Politics is absent, appearing instead on my Facebook page and in conversations with family and friends.  So it seems that I've answered my own query.

I'm not going to 'publish'  last night's edited, spell-checked and well thought-out entry.  If you're curious about my opinions on current events, we'll need to have a conversation.  That's really the best way. Listening and discussing.

Monday, 7 July 2014

1/2 of 1/2

Well, for the dame who asks her dentist to please not x-ray her teeth, there was a giant 'oh my god' moment today.  I had 26/ TWENTY-SIX/6 and 20 x-rays taken of my body this morning: hands, knees, shoulders and various areas of my back.  So many views, so much radiation.

After being in chronic pain for nearly two years (and non-continuous pain for many additional years), I was finally referred to Dr Jerry Tenenbaum, a rheumatologist.  Less than 15 minutes into our visit he said "Well, you have fibromyalgia"  He added that I likely had osteoarthritis as well.  Since I am on theothersideofseventy, the arthritis part is probably to be expected.

I phoned a good friend of mine last evening and she shared some of her fibromyalgia journey with me.  I had one aha moment after another.
 -My purse is always too heavy, although it weighs nearly nothing
 -I can't wear my seat belt over my shoulder, bur rather tuck it under my breast
 (which isn't wearing a bra because it hurts my ribs)
 -my brain is foggy- my temper is short- my digestion is shot
 -I don't sleep (nothing new) and when I do, I'm still fatigued
 -Tylenol 3 doesn't help
And the big one--I feel embarrassed by the fact that I'm always in pain and shifting position and trying to get comfortable while other people are way sicker with life-threatening diseases and serious injuries. Get this?  I'm embarrassed to be in pain.  Margo said she felt the same way.  Her former GP, in response to her 'complaints' about unceasing pain and chemical allergies, told her to see a counsellor before she came back.

Her specialist gave her this advice: think about what you want to do today and then cut it in half.  And then, cut it in half again.  If having 26 x-rays was a challenge, this may be a bigger one yet.

Friday, 4 July 2014

in the early morning garden

these purple poppies give me so much pleasure

 angel wings

                 petals, collecting water from the early sprinkler