Thursday, February 12, 2009

Away to see the Doctor

Only here in Seattle do I have reliable internet. I'm here yet again to see my specialist. The trip so far has been refreshing and tireing.

I've kept a little journal of my life in the new house so far. It's quite long as I've been away from the blog for some time, but I thought I'ld post it all in one go (provided that Blogger is kind to me tonight) and you can read through it at your leasure.

Also, I apologize in advance; it's prety late so my editing skills may not be up to the task.

Blog: first day at the new house.

Today I woke up to a misty morning. It was absolutely beautiful. The trees, the mist, Mr W. feeding his chickens next door, and all the potential the land has to offer. Should I make the old hen house a goat shed and have chickens in chicken tractors? I saw the perfect goats for me on Used Victoria. Too bad I’m not ready for them yet. Do I want to keep a pig or two? If so, will there be enough water in the summer to sustain them? What kind of tree is that? How far back does the property go? What adventures await me today?

I love the potential of things. There something in the not yet actualized that I find fascinating. Call it Schrödinger’s cat or Aristotle’s theory of motion – it’s the same thing. A thing is always becoming another thing and you don’t know what it will become until it is that. And then, it is already in the process of becoming something else. It’s like a blank piece of paper for writing letters on and pen in one’s hand. There are so many things that can happen to that page, or it could stay blank a while longer. That’s why I love old style stationary and writing letters by hand so much. That is also the feeling I get when I look out the window of this place, especially in the morning – this new day could bring any manner of adventures before the sun sets.

I went with G’pa to pick up ten fruit trees he bought. It’s very important to him to plant fruit trees within a week of moving to a new home. It’s something like setting his mark on a place. It’s not home until the trees are in the ground and growing. If all goes well, we should get enough fruit from them to sustain us (provided we can supplement our apple supply by picking any extra apples on friends trees). Does anyone have any good ideas on dear proofing young trees? The yard is too large and thus expensive to fence completely at this time, so that’s out. There must be another way.

After getting the trees we stopped at the local honey farm and sampled the yummy creations. I picked up some beeswax candles for me to keep in my room for power outages. I figured that given we are trying to keep all petro chemicals out of my room; it would be pretty stupid to burn a petrochemical in my room. Apparently even our old glass oil lamps burn a petroleum product. So, these candles are a good thing.

And last, we stopped at the local market. I haven’t seen fruit and veg this fresh in any of the shops near my old home. No wonder people come from all over to shop there. They have everything and they are only a short walk from our mail box (it’s a half hour walk to our mail box).

Everywhere we went the people were so helpful and friendly. I feel like I belong to a community already and I’ve only been here one day. I got to know the guy in the deli, the bee woman, the pet food and livestock feed person quite well

I helped G’pa in the garden before lunch, then I rested for a while and started supper. By about four o’clock though, I was starting to feel pretty bad. My joints were (and are) so swollen that the first thing my dad said to me when he came home that afternoon was to comment on how swollen they looked. Also, something has made the skin on my hands break out. I figure this is probably a Herxheimer reaction from killing off all those nasty Lyme bugs and a physical reaction to the dust, cardboard boxes and stress of moving. I think that every single moving part in my body has gone terribly rusty and the worst part about it is that even with pain killers, it keeps getting worse. Maybe I should try without painkillers and it will get better. Also, I’ve got the weirdest headache on the top of the left side of my head, not tooth related, just in one spot. It comes and goes, but when it comes I just about fall to the floor it hurts that much.

But anyway, it will go away eventually or not. I’m just glad that I’m here now and I can take things easy. I think tomorrow I’ll spend some time with the bunny and potter in the kitchen. It’s an adventure merging two households together, both of which are use to a much larger kitchen.

Also, I’m almost enjoying not having internet. I’ve finally got started on writing my book. But, I do really miss my blog. I’ve been without it over 24 hours now and I wonder what it’s been up to without me.

Day: two

Day two I woke up feeling even more lousy physically but better about the world emotionally. Isn’t that so often the way? The headache is gone but the joints are far worse. I didn’t know if I should listen to my body and stay absolutely still (they hurt more when I move) or not. I worried if I did stay in bed, then my joints would rust up and stay in that position. There is still lots to be done in the house, and besides, if I stayed in bed, it would probably worry my G’pa and Dad too much. This is definitely a Herx.

After getting up and stoking the fire (the only heating in the house right now is one extremely inefficient wood stove/furnace at the end of the house furthest away from the bedrooms.) I started on the kitchen. Did I mention that we are merging two households into one? My G’pa has had ninety years to accumulate stuff and add that to the fact that when I am in the kitchen, I’m a whole different person. Think of the most vicious TV Chef and double it. The kitchen was my domain and it will be again just as soon as I’m better, if not before, so every little thing gets to go where I want it. It’s also the room in the house where I suffer the most injuries and to avoid that, it’s best to keep things in the same place at all times.

By lunch time I had tided up a bit, finished making soup broth (I make it in the slowcooker overnight as 12 hours of slowcooker is about ½ hour of stove electricity wise and it’s also way more convent), put some bananas to dry and made fudge. I took the recipie from Dry It – You’ll Like It and of course changed it a bit. Took out the things I’m allergic too and added some other things to compensate. Then, it goes in the dehydrator for a day or two until it’s chewy and holds together. It was surprisingly easy to make. I bet it would be even more delicious in the Vegan version – take out the honey, put in some quality maple syrup. Mmmm...

I’ve also made some friends today. The pervious owners left a humming bird feeder up next to the window where I am sitting now. We’ve had a male and a female anis hummingbird visits and take a sip. I need to look up the proportions for boiling sugar water. I have tones of sugar left from back when I could bake with it, so this will be a good way to use it up.

After lunch I had a wee cat nap, or so I thought. When OB1 called and woke me up, I had been asleep three hours. I really needed that. OB1 and some other kind people will come help us move our furniture from the apartment to our new home tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to seeing them, but I feel bad that I can’t be a bigger help with all this.

This evening, I made some banana bread for tomorrow and now, I’m off to bed.

Day: three

There are a few things in this world that are identifiably Canadian. I would have to say that today was one of those thing: Moving day, Canadian style.

Canadian moving days are special. Unless you wish to hire a team of men and a truck, Canadian moving days go like this: First, rent a truck for $19.95 per day plus mileage. The truck of course has to be on it’s last legs and extremely noisy. The seatbelts probably don’t work, or if they do, you need to know the secret password. But, it’s a truck and it’s cheep so you don’t complain. Besides, there is always that sense of accomplishment when you nurse that last few miles out of an aged machine.

Next you stop at Tim Horton’s to pick up a couple of dozen Tim Bits. These are like little doughnut balls about an inch to an inch and a half in diameter – often called doughnut holes in other countries. These are bite size and perfect for popping in your mouth while working at other tasks. This is a vital step in Canadian Moving day because your friends who you have requisitioned for the day and who will each independently show up with their own Double Double (a kind of Canadian Coffee that can only be bought at Tim Horton’s), will need some special treats to keep them going.

And now the chaos begins. An hour and a half later, the entire contents of your life (or in this case our apartment) are crammed into a rental truck and you spend a moment standing there baffled by how much stuff you actually own and amazed at the generosity of your friends.

Unloading the truck at the other end goes much faster than you could imagine. My job was to arrange compensation: lunch. I phoned around to find the best kitchen for making pizza within delivery distance of our new home: pizza being the mandatory lunch on moving day as it can be eaten with the minimal amount of fuss. After much kafuffle ordering the pizza, making certain he had the house and phone numbers right, &c. I get a phone call a few minutes later from the owner of the restaurant stating that the drive has gone missing and if he does eventually come into work today, will probably be fired, but if I can come and pick up the pizza I will be compensated with a discount and a free 2leter bottle of pop. There goes convenience, but lucky for me OB1 has a sexy red car and takes me to collect the pizza. Of course, something like this always has to go amiss on a Canadian moving day. We were very lucky because it is usually something to do with the weather or the truck breaking down. A little lunch hick up was a welcome change from the usual catastrophe.

By the time all that is sorted and we return home, the boys are standing around the driveway looking extremely board. They had already finished and were waiting for our arrival, or more likely the arrival of the pizza in the sexy red car.

Before one in the afternoon we were moved in, lunch was eaten and our friends were on their ways back to their individual lives.

As for me today; most importantly I am extremely grateful. I feel like I should do something more to thank these kind people who took time out of their lives to help us out.

Other than that, well, I did my best to surprises my health troubles, but I suspect it showed anyway. The pain was still there and the day wore me out something fierce. I couldn’t manage a nap so I decided to go for a walk with G’pa to the back of the property. We hadn’t gone that far before and it get’s quite wild in the back third of the property. The back neighbour has a camalid like a thin llama. I don’t know what they are, the shape seems wrong for a llama or alpaca. I’ll have to go there and get some photos another day.

I have a lot to do tomorrow but dad says I’ll be sleeping in. I have no ability to wake up on my own before noon these days. Even the alarm is no use, so I stopped having a clock in my room. I suppose my body compensates for not getting to sleep before two in the morning. I wonder, do I always talk about my physical self in the third person? It often seems like someone else but that may be because I don’t enjoy residing in it much these days.

I need to make some more of that dehydrator fudge. I’ve eaten it all and it’s wasn’t even close to being ready. I’m lucky because no one in house likes it but they can all eat chocolate whenever they want – me, not so much. For someone who hasn’t eaten real chocolate in a year and a half, I’m not going to mind if it tastes ‘too healthy’.

Now, as sleep feels far away despite how late it is, I’m going back to working on my book. It’s slow going, but you know what, I can’t expect miracles from myself even if I was at my peek. I’ve got most of it worked out in my head – I’ve been researching it in earnest for about a year now – it’s just the process of taking thoughts and putting them into words on paper (or fingers on keys). But that’s the main reason why I blog: to practice writing every day. I want to get use to accepting the flow of ideas as they come and not judging them before they appear on the page. I can judge and edit after the section is complete otherwise, if I think too much about perfection before I write, I never type a word. The blog helps me get over this.

Day ? I’ve lost count already.
Day: Monday.

They let me sleep in today. I certainly needed it. There is lots of organizing that needs doing in the house, but once I was dressed and the last few slices of banana bread were on their way to my stomach I was out the door to see what adventures my G’pa had been up to while I remained in the land of nod. He had dug two more holes for some pear trees my uncle gave him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy as when he is in the garden.

After inspecting his work, I put on my wellingtons, took my shovel and went to play in the mud. In case you didn’t know, there is this rivulet of mud that bisects the back yard which I hope to turn into a brook by digging a sort of meandering trench and filling it with field stone that litters the property. That’s the goal anyway. After twenty minutes, most of it spent watching the wild life, I was all in. The thing is, most of my joints are still absolutely horrible and the major ones are only at 40% capacity – meaning they are willing to bend not even half of what they should and even then complain bitterly at being asked to move.

During the afternoon I made up some more food for dehydrating while listening to Michal Palin’s Around the World in 80 Days (narrated by the author). I made some apricot flax crackers out of some unprocessed dried apricots I had bought a while back but were too sour for anyone in the house to eat on their own. I also had some old apples that needed eating up, so I put them through the food processer with some spices but forgot to add honey. Hopefully it won’t be as bitter when it dries into apple butter leather. I also made some more of that fudge. It didn’t turn out as wonderful as the first time, but still very tasty. I’ll know in a day or two if my cunning plan works. With any luck they will all be beautiful taste explosions and I can take them with me to Seattle later this month. Also, the banana slices turned out FANTASTIC. I’m in love.

As the day continued the weather started to change. The pain in my joints became less sharp but deeper and a dull ache settled into my bones. This is the sort of feeling that is usually followed by inclimate weather. I spent the evening huddled up next to the fire wrapped in wool blankets. I missed spinning which is a real shame because I so much wanted to go. They way I am today, it just isn’t possible.

I’m told I get some internet tomorrow. This is great news, sort of. The internets and computers and such, I’m told, will go downstairs in the basement which is also the place where all the things with chemicals and that cause my health to suffer live. We are not getting a wireless router because my GP suggests I need to limit my exposure to electromagnetic fields. So, um, maybe a long wire thread through one of the ducts? But that’s not going to happen soon. I miss the internet and I probably have hundreds of emails, some of which are important, to read. Besides, this blog entry is getting impossibly long. I wonder if anyone has commented lately? I wonder if my friend made it safely back to Quebec yet and how the story telling festival went.

In the apartment, the internet was the only thing that got me out of bed most days. That and the urge to relieve myself. But here, it doesn’t feel so necessary. Even on really bad days, I still manage to play in the yard (mud) for twenty minutes or more whereas before I could go a week without getting out of my PJs when I feel like this. I think this move has done me a lot of good already. All that remains is to finish sorting the house and removing the chemicals from it. Then, I think my path to good health will accelerate nicely.

The sky is clear tonight and the full moon is casting long shadows from the trees. It looks beautiful and peaceful out my window, but if my bones have anything to say about it, we might be in for some snow or at least a heck of a wind storm tomorrow.

Day: Tuesday

Dad woke me up with the news that snow was on it’s way. A warning of 15cm or around 6 inches of snow by tomorrow night. This is unprecedented around these parts. It’s too late in the year for starters and, despite the prophecy in my bones, I’m inclined to think that this is a joke of some sort, just not very funny.

As the day progresses things outside start to get darker rather than brighter. A breeze is picking up and as I climb into an extra warm sweater and look out the front window, I see the bad weather truck spraying the road with urea. Our driveway is rather long and steep and takes over a minute to walk down to the bottom to get the paper and up to twice that to walk up it again. We haven’t any snow shovels or sand or anything to clear it with if we do get the forecasted precipitation. I have a faint dream that our neighbours will take pity on us and bring their tractor over and clear the drive but I also fear for the new fruit trees, that despite our encouragement to the contrary, G’pa has planted dangerously close to the drive and would become destroyed in a pile of snow.

I also hope that the cable man comes before the snow does. I’m promised that he will hook up our internet for us. I’m greatly looking forward to this but there is nothing I can do about it, so it’s off to grind some oats and make myself some porage.

Well, we did get some snow. At first it was a few flakes blowing in from the side, then more and more. It didn’t actually start to stick until after lunch. All in all about three inches by bed time. There was one accident outside our drive way. A car missed the curve and slid into the ditch. No one was injured but I got to be a Good Samaritan and let a little girl use my bathroom. I was combing Ginger (the rabbit) so I had her in my arms when I answered the door. It gave us something to talk about.

Still no internet. This is super-annoying. At least there is cable, but if I had to choose between cable and internet, I would choose the latter. I spent all day near the front window waiting for the internet man who promised to come today and has apparently sent us an email confirming what time today he was suppose to arrive.

I don’t know how to live my life without the internet. Certainly there is lots to do around here but I feel so isolated without email and blog. Little things like the humming bird feeder was running low and I wanted to make up some sugar water but I didn’t know the correct ratio of sugar to water and how hot do I need to heat. I would usually Google this sort of thing and that would be that. I had to use my own brain and think back to everything I know about humming birds and cooking sugar. I figured a quarter cup of sugar to two cups of water, bring slowly to just before the boil then cool, put in feeder, hope for best. I don’t know if that’s correct and no birds have been buy to drink from it yet, so I might be way off.

Other than sorting some more of the kitchen, today was pots and pans, finding my alpaca toque and wearing it around the house all day – it sure does make things feel warmer -, I hooked up the TV and DVD players. This is perhaps one of my most favourite tasks. I give myself an hour or two just to enjoy tracing the wires, making certain the connections are just right, programming the clocks and the settings, and all that jaz. I am one of those apparently few people in the world that instinctively get VCRs (and DVD players, and TVs and stuff like that). My brain is good at finding the structure of things. It traces one wire to all it’s possible paths then finds the most efficient and best quality way to hook things up. I think I would have made a stunning electrician or plumber if things had turned out differently. It’s planning out this type of thing, whether it be hooking up the physical wires that hold the CPU to the peripheries or planning out the most efficient rout on a map, that I often do in my mind to stop me from becoming board. Weird eh?

Well, tomorrow, provided there isn’t too much snow, I’m off to find some internet. I have a vital, super-important phone interview tomorrow that requires the paperwork to be finished and delivered an hour after the call – all the paper work, I might mention is online and I haven’t been able to get at it. Infuriating. If only I had known before the internet left me. I’m so dependent on technology and no, apparently, I cannot pick up this paperwork from a physical location. No matter, what will be will be and not only do I have no internet, I have no control over the situation. This move is an exercise in learning to accept that I can’t control my own life. At least not when it comes to the big things.

Day Thursday: Going South

Today was spent travelling south. I will visit my Specialist tomorrow morning then we will drive back again.

Yesterday OB1 stopped by with some lovely space heaters. They are a blessing. And of course, it’s always lovely to see my mentor.

We also spent half an hour at my old home, the apartment. Dad is in the process of fixing it up to get it ready to sell. He’s done a lot already, but there is plenty more to go. We took the old modem and checked our emails, then continued home for an important phone call from the government (don’t worry, it was a very nice young chap on the other end and it was a pleasure to talk with him).

I know I did other things yesterday, but I don’t have the mind to remember them just now. The Herx still continues so my joints are monstrously swollen again and painful but other than that, I’m feeling optimistic.

(vegans, feel free to skip this paragraph) Oh, that’s right; I talked to a butcher about bacon. Most bacon and smoked meets are cured with cane sugar, a substance I cannot consume. I miss bacon and ham and such so much. I’ve asked high and low for someone who would do a batch for me with honey or maple syrup instead but no one was willing to take the effort, no matter how large a batch I was willing to order. But then yesterday I got talking with this blue eyed angled behind the counter at the place we call “The Scottish Butcher” and, after discussing things with the fellow in the back, he told me it was possible, provided I bring my own maple syrup. Well, it was all I could do not to kiss him. I need to remember to do this next week as it will take time for him to make the bacon.

And now it's time for me to turn in. It's been a long day to get here and it will be an even longer day to get home again tomrrow.


Josiane said...

This long post was a pleasure to read! It was great to have a glimpse into those first few days at the farm, and the things surrounding the move. There was so much I was wondering about in the days after I met you (how is she? how is everything going? etc.), and I found most of the answers here, so I'm very thankful that you took the time to write it all.
To answer your questions, I made it home a week ago, and have been slowly trying to catch up on everything since then. As for the festival, it was great! There was only a very small audience for the show in French (which wasn't unexpected, for a number of reasons), but a much bigger one for the show in English, and Eric's stories were very well received. We enjoyed the rest of our trip, but it went by a bit too fast - I would have liked to have a bit more time. We'll have to go back! When it happens, I'll plan to spend more time on Vancouver Island...

amy said...
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趙又廷Mark said...
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