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We are having a pretty spring, after such a warm winter I expected everything to be past blooming too early. Some things, yes, but still have a lot of pretty gardens. We are not back to fully average rainfall yet, after a full 12 months of severe drought, but it is improved.

First of all, health: I am no longer getting physical therapy for my shoulder (insurance company doesn’t want to pay for more). At least since I worked hard at it, my range of motion for all but one direction is about 90% of the good arm. I am working to strengthen, even back to my regular strength sessions. I really appreciate the advice and work of the therapists, I will continue to improve. Rotator cuff repairs are certainly complex and take too long for recovery for my impatience.

Addition: I am working to get all the details ready for the new dome, finding it surprisingly hard to find anyone to install radiators for heat. I moved from a climate where they were common, but here the heat pump rules. I just don’t find it to be all that comfortable, especially at floor level. Next on my list is looking for flooring locally. My first choice at present is cork, with bamboo second. Both are very eco-friendly for sustainability, and I like the looks. I do have plans to visit a Kryton supplier in Charlotte – this is a substance that should waterproof the concrete on the seams of my dome. I will have to rely on the elastomeric paint (which has done a good job) on the current part, but I hope the new part won’t have any leak problems after freeze/heat weather cycles.

Sad news, my pretty grey tabby has been ailing for the past 6 months, and just kept losing weight. I had to have him put down last week, he just went too far downhill. He was 15 years old. Suspect he had a tumor in the digestive system. I plan to plant a bearded iris over him, seems appropriate since he had a little tuft of longer hair under the chin, like a goatee.

I’m still working a little every day on my chain maille jewelry. I’ve been surprised at how much wrist action affects the whole arm. It has been good additional therapy on the shoulder. I have made a few commissioned items and am working on new weaves. I hope to sell some at a show this summer.

Next door: Sharon is on her last term as a schoolbus driver to supplement her pension. Hooray! She and a friend have been working to start a small plant business. Her friend has a greenhouse and Sharon has the location on a busy highway to be able to sell from her front yard. They have a lot of plants ready now.
Sharon is also busy getting all the testing done on her one year old Goldendoodle female who will be bred later this year. There is a lot of work involved getting accepted in GANA, well respected breeder group, but worth it for buyers to know they are getting a very good dog.

We are staying busy here.


Winter and Recovery

bird feeder activity

bird feeder activity

We’ve had our first snowfall this winter in upstate SC. My preference would make it the only one, but we need moisture of any sort to help our drought, so I won’t complain if we get more. I can sit inside, watch the flakes, the birds at the feeder, and look forward to a warmer place next winter. I sold my house in Roanoke at the end of October, so I am preparing to start my addition this summer. I’ve put a deposit on the kit for another dome, to be attached to the current one. I plan to have a much better heating system, hopefully hot water baseboard radiators. That, with a flooring over the concrete slab should make it more comfortable.

view from front door

view from front door

I had arthroscopic surgery on my injured left rotator cuff and shoulder early in December. Just three tiny slits, but very tender inside. Finally! The orthopaedic center is just so busy, hard to get a timely appointment. I am now in physical therapy, have spent two weeks doing gentle stretches and am pleased at how far I can now move in most directions. It helps to have specific exercises that won’t re-injure me, plus having the encouragement of the therapists to go ahead and push a little harder as long as it just feels tight, not painful. Soon to start more weight-bearing exercise. My hips are really sore with the colder weather, and I plan to get a doctor’s referral for therapy on them, too. I really hope to be flexible enough to start yoga classes by summer and become even more flexible. I don’t want my retirement to be so restricted and painful. I’ve been trying so many things to help, this may be the one to finally push me back to full movement.

The cats have been quite happy to have me in the recliner post-surgery. They have all become lap cats as space allows. I think there’s a lot of jealousy over my attention that drives this, as only one liked laps before.

With the cold weather we’ve had this week, I noticed my scarf is looking a bit worn, so I need to knit another. I got inspired by the temperature afghans, blankets, and scarves that I saw online. I found some washable wool on sale online, and placed an order. For those of you who have not heard of this, the knitter (or crocheter) has a color for each 10 degree range and creates one or more rows in the color for the day’s high temperature. I’m thinking of adding one bead for the day’s low temp, too. I’ll post pictures later in the year. Sun is gorgeous today and yesterday, and even with temps right at freezing, the snow is melting. Temps in teens tonight may give us some nasty ice on the roads by morning. But, we are expecting highs in mid-60s in another 4 or 5 days. Should make an interesting combination on the scarf.

example of a temperature scarf

example of a temperature scarf from Pinterest photo

Colder weather seems to bring out the desire to cook. Both Sharon and I have been spending more time on our kitchens. That’s good and bad, as Sharon has baked her wonderful nutmeg pound cake. Even my best-behaved cat smelled it and stuck her head into my purse to try to steal what I’d brought home. Once I have the addition built, I will have a large space for pantry next to my kitchen. I will be able to use my upright freezer, but need to plan a proper organization so I don’t lose items to age and freezer burn. It’ll take more than just labels on a package for me.

More Delay

Well, I was not meant to make rapid progress on the cottage. Since I picked up the permit, my foreman and his son have both been ill, and it has rained hard on the site. If you have walked across wet red clay, you understand. If not, think of your shoes as growing an inch all around and at least tripling in weight. That stuff just stains when dry, but clings when wet. I have not walked across it when really puddled, but it might suck shoes off then. And it is raining hard for a couple of days now. It will be easier once the foundation slab is done. It is a good thing I am not fretting about this, Sharon and I have found fitting a same-age roommate into our lives for a while is working very well. (Her experience with a young boarder was interesting and better than I would have hoped, but a major change for a retired person). The dogs and cats are co-existing on opposite sides of the baby gate across the hall, but will be happier when in separate buildings.

Both of us are trying to be good influences on each other’s eating habits. We are losing weight and trying to make our food choices of more healthy items. We are finding a retirement pension does prevent us from too many dinners out, but a splurge once in a while and taking part home for another day or two is good. One of my sisters is going through a fitness program and has spent 3 weeks on a dietary cleanse to remove sugar and caffeine from her diet before going on to physical training. She has also found some tasty and healthy foods to add to her regular plan. Since I found I am a stress-eater (especially chocolate), I have hoped retirement would make that easier.

Retirement is a time of an awful lot of change, but I have planned for it, and I do believe it is for the best long-term.

current view of Sharon’s house and front garden