I should have known to wait on the big blanket. Had to take it off again last night. I knew better and I did it anyway.
All good, it's part of the seasonal dance I guess.
I was driving home the other night (in the dark, because... yeah, equinox and all) and I had to nearly stop (as in I slowed right down) for a dog on the loose crossing the street (near a crosswalk which was cute) and it was such an odd thing. (I considered stopping to see if it needed help but it seemed pretty determined and like it knew where it was going and I'm not sure it would have approached me anyway, it seemed like it was fine rather than scared and lost.)
I was driving back from Jason's neighbourhood where I'm alert to cats roaming at night, but it struck me that I'd not seen a dog out on its own and that that's not something common around here (I know it is in other parts of the world). I keep my eyes open for cats... deer for sure (in other areas), but dogs? Yeah, that was a new one. Weird. Hope pupper found his/her way home!
Also, photo not of said dog (heh).
Ok, I pulled out the big guns yesterday.
As in, I put my main comforter on my bed.
It feels a little like Summer transitioned to Fall pretty quick this month, but then again, we had, what, two weeks of oppressive smoke-fog? So who knows how warm it might have been without that, really...
For a couple of weeks, I've been throwing my "winter housecoat" over my quilt for a bit of extra warmth but I thought maybe last night I'd go ahead and try the big guy instead, knowing if I got too warm I could always throw it off and go back to the housecoat.
I woke up with all blankets still fully pulled up so I'm guessing the temperature was just fine. I know some Summers I've kept the big guy on and just kept it rolled down and maybe even pulled it up in the chill of early early morning. But this year I decided to change things up and I put the main comforter aside and just used a thin quilt that had been given to me a few years ago. Some nights this Summer I'd sleep with just a sheet (I still can't seem to sleep without some sort of cover no matter the heat!) but the quilt did the job most nights, with the exception of a few cold nights when I'd throw on the housecoat as an extra layer. Often throwing IT off in the middle of the night. (Go figure.)
I could probably go a few more weeks with quilt and housecoat but I think I'll put on the comforter and just call it Fall.
I have this funny relationship with Summer in that I'm always a little sad when it's over. No more weeks of being outside with no rain. No more... not even considering taking an umbrella. But when I'm IN Summer, I'm often a little more miserable than I remember once Fall hits. The heat does get to me. I didn't do much this Summer, for a number of reasons - heat and sun being part of that. So it's this kind of ironic sadness.
So, yeah. Comforter on. Probably for a while now. Hope you had a good Summer. (Unless you're in the Southern hemisphere in which case I hope your Winter was good!)
(Edited to add: I wrote this and then looked at the forecast for the week... not hot, but warm. But I'm still guessing it's the kind of warm that isn't...well, 23 in October is not 23 in July, you know?)
I'm happy to say that I woke up yesterday without ankle pain for the first time all week. It made me think a little about different approaches to things...
See, the Western approach to "irritated tendons" (in my experience) has been ice and anti inflammatories. And rest. The idea, as I understand it to soothe the irritation... the inflammation.
The Eastern approach, as explained by my acupuncturist (so, TCM... traditional Chinese medicine) is that the area needs more "heat" - more blood flow, more circulation. And rest. She suggested I soak in a bath while "moving" the ankle and she gave me "warming" patch thing to put on it.
So yesterday, I went around with the warming patch, a fuzzy sock, and a legwarmer over the area. And I rested it - aka I didn't walk, didn't "get my steps in". I... brought more "heat" and blood flow to the area, allowing it to rest and heal, and, well, it helped!
It made me think about how those are two very different approaches (ice/cool vs heat/warm) and to think a bit on how many other things may have different approaches that might work well for me that I'm just not aware of due to my culture and upbringing.
I'm sure the argument could be made that it was the rest that helped rather than anything else but it's not as if what I did was harmful. Maybe it was the combination, maybe it was the heat, maybe it was... who knows? I'm babbling.
I'm just thankful that my ankle didn't hurt me (even if it "tweaked" a few times when I was "exercising") and I'm curious about two very different ideas for healing/helping.
I'm a little bit sad because yesterday, for the first time in a long long time (maybe years?) I didn't get my "minimum" exercise in. I PURPOSELY didn't.
See, I went for a walk on Saturday and then on Sunday my left ankle was weird. Like, hurt to walk on OUCH but not all the time. And then again on Monday, I woke up and it was OUCH to walk on (and then got better) and then same Tuesday OUCH what? Yesterday I had an acupuncture appointment which can I just say is the best thing to bring my anxiety down and I feel like it's saving my life, not exaggerating, but anyway, when I was in this appointment I mentioned to her that my left ankle had "gone rogue" and she asked some questions and looked at it and said the achilles tendon looked a bit swollen. She did some things and some stuff and then gave me some wraps to put on it and she suggested I rest it for a couple of days so, no walking? I said? She said yeah, that would be best. So, I didn't.
I mean, obviously I did, I didn't go on bed rest or anything, but I also didn't do my "bare minimum" exercise which I've been doing no matter what for ages. I'm sad about it because I like my wins and I like knowing I did something, but in this case I'm trying to avoid an ongoing injury and so I'm not going to think about it other than this post.
But yeah, I'm not going to count it as a fail because it was a purposeful, healthy choice to stave off what could become an issue. But I'm still a little bummed.
My brain is weird, I know. Trust me, I know.
With hopes that me typing this doesn't jinx anything.... the fire-smoke situation cleared up this weekend.
I woke up Sunday morning to limited vision skies again but it turns out that was just fog fog rather than smoke-fog-cloud, so windows stayed open and outside was visited. Amen.
As I sit here attempting to add the photo you're (hopefully) looking at I'm still dealing with the frustration around new user interface layouts (or some proper term like that). Blogger isn't the only organization that's changing things up but they so far seem to be the only one that's working to improve reported issues and listening to feedback, at least as far as I can see. I've started to feel something like guilty/uncomfortable for the things I use that are free. You know, the whole "if it's free, you're the product" thing. Like, blogger, and social media sites, and google and yes, I've started to watch that Netflix documentary that folks are talking about but I also don't want to pay a lot and I really dislike subscription sites. Like I bought a program to help me balance finances and that kind of thing - personal finance software. And it was a bit of an expenditure but they update regularly and I feel a bit more comfortable about using it. I dunno, I'm babbling.
This has been a rough month. A high anxiety, low calm month. I said to Jason the other day (after who knows what crappy thing took place) that I felt like I've been running on high alert anxiety adrenaline since March (pandemic) and this last month I've been on some white knuckle using up fumes and hanging by a thread kind of thing and that it wasn't sustainable.
And because I can't control the things that are happening to/for/around me, I'm trying to find ways, HEALTHY ways to cope and approach the uncertainty and anxiety differently. So there's the work of handling the anxiety and upset and then there's the work of reframing my thoughts and trying to push through to calm or positive or something. It's been feeling like a lot.
But I really am glad to have the fresh air back, really really. It was making things even worse. So here's to fresh air and clean skies.
I am about to make the same complaint everyone in this town (and other towns, I know) is making right now.
The air quality has sucked for the last week or so. So I keep my windows closed. Which then means super stuffy non air in my apartment, which sucks. Today, the air quality improved a bit so I opened my windows, which was nice. But now I have sore eyes and I don't feel well and I'm grumpy and miserable.
I guess the positive is that the smoke-cloud combo is keeping the heat down, but still. It's icky. And we've had this odd.... I don't even know what all week... fog smoke?
Like they don't say "fog" in the forecast, they just say "cloudy" or "overcast" but it's like fog. But with crap air quality.
I hate it and there's not much I can do about it and I should have bought filters or something but they kept saying it'd be gone by Monday. (And yes it's now Thursday. *swear word*)
I got a new neighbour recently and they have never lived in an apartment before. I know this, because I've had to interact with them and they have now let me know several times that apartment living isn't for them, but they're sticking around "for now".
The reason I've had to interact with them is speaker noise. Theirs. Sigh.
When I first moved into this building, we had a resident manager. Which was lovely, because when the person helping to take care of the building lives IN the building, they have an actual understanding of what it's like to be in the building and the little things (especially in an older building) that you kind of have to be aware of to be a "good" neighbour. When I first moved in the older gentleman who was the resident manager told me that I was "not allowed" to have speakers on the floor, or attached to walls. "They reverberate too much" he said. And so I got speaker stands. Eventually the building changed hands and we lost our resident manager and have someone who lives elsewhere.
When I got this new neighbour (was it January? something like that) I started getting loud bass noises up through my floor. Like think Charlie Brown's teacher noises but deep and low and reverberating. I'd never had this with the couple who lived there before me, I never even heard their tv, but now I was hearing this deep low rumbling. Honestly, it was hard to tell if it was radio, tv, music, just... it was frustrating. After one particular day when I could feel my couch vibrating with the sound, I sent a message to my building manager. I said hey, could she maybe let new neighbour know that this building is quite old and that they may not realize how much sound travels and a reminder not to have speakers on floors/walls, etc. I ASSUMED this would be done privately, but the next day I got a pounding on my door and there (standing at a distance because covid!) was my new neighbour, small speaker in hand, unhappy look on face. "This is the speaker, it's tiny, no way you're hearing this!"
And, well, long story short we talked for a while, calmly and in a friendly manner and neighbour wondered if it was when they were putting the speaker in certain spots (like their central kitchen "counter") or on their outside deck. Neighbour also asked why I hadn't just talked to them myself and I said well a) I'm conflict avoidance. "THIS ISN'T CONFLICT" they said... I shrugged. I also said that b) it's covid, and I'm staying away from people. (This was early days, like March/April maybe?) Neighbour also asked me if I had a kid. No. Did I have a small trampoline? No. Well apparently my "walking on the spot" that I sometimes do for exercise in my kitchen bothers neighbour as they can hear it. And the toddler from two floors up echos when running around their place and it bothers neighbour and, well, that's apartment living..... you know??? Anyway, I suggested we exchange phone numbers and, well, I have not actually used that phone number to complain about the noise vibration that, for example, I AM DEALING WITH RIGHT NOW.
Because every time I see that neighbour now they tell me how they hate it here and how they didn't move to this town to retire to be told to turn the music down by a neighbour (sigh). I am not bothering to point out that I didn't say that, I just asked that it was pointed out that sounds vibrate and travel a lot and so you have to be mindful of where your speakers are.
So I'm writing this post instead. I am avoiding pissing off said pissed of neighbour yet again and hoping they stop listening to... whatever Charlie Brown deep bass thing they are listening to.
And, no, I'm not stomping when I do my "exercise", I'm pretty damn quiet, and now I'm even sensitive about that. Sigh.
This is why I generally don't say anything about anything to anyone. Ugh.
I guess I saw that one coming seeing how August just kind of... came and went. Never mind still being back in Spring, held back in March all the while half being aware that Fall is coming. But damn, it's been a hard couple of weeks for me, so maybe that's why I'm a little stunned by the actual date.
At the very start of the month I had to go in to the hospital for a CT of my heart...stuff.
I just tried to search this blog to see if I ever talked about it but I'm not sure that I did and the search didn't help, but nearly two years ago now my brother decided to take his ongoing chest pain (when exercising) to the ER and they discovered that he had some pretty seriously blocked arteries. They dealt with them and put him on medication and he's changed up his lifestyle and is monitored and getting great care and attention.
While he was in the hospital being observed he was approached by some doctors (or interns, I don't technically know, it doesn't really matter) to be part of a study. He is young to have had the issues he did (under 50) and they wanted to take a closer look at some possible "why"s. And they also asked if any other family members would like to join the study and I said sure.
So I signed up and had some blood work done and they didn't love what those results said and they ordered a "cardiac CT" to see where my heart health was.
I can tell you know that it seems my heart health is "good" and the scan didn't show anything of concern, which is great. Really great. I do have slightly elevated cholesterol and my sugars aren't "great" and so I'm to exercise more and be mindful of my diet and, well, honestly, those things have not been a priority these last few months with the pandemic. Or, they've been a lot harder to focus on with "imminent health risk" feeling like it's constantly looming. Anyway...
I have been really really anxious about the test since it was ordered. And then even more anxious about it when the pandemic hit. And I wasn't even really anxious about the possible results. I mean, sure, I was hoping I'd not have to go on the "serious aggressive treatment" the cardiologist had talked about, but I also knew there wasn't much I could do to change the results if there had already been years of buildup like my brother had. But I was terrified of the test itself.
I worked at keeping the anxiety about it at bay until closer to test time, which helped, but in the week leading up to the test I got increasingly agitated. I was worried about going into a hospital... during a pandemic. (I don't love them at the best of times, but right now? Geez...) I was worried about wearing a mask for that long and if the mask would protect me if I got exposed or if I was carrying. I was worried about asking Jason to drive me (wasn't allowed to drive self) but a cab is no less worrying, so then I was anxious about Jason waiting. I was anxious about having to wait in my car until I was allowed in (pandemic protocols) and having to pee (had to load up on water beforehand). I was worried about having to wake up so early (morning appointment, me not not not a morning person). I was worried that I might react to the contrast dye they used. Badly worried. I was worried about how it would feel, maybe horrible. It's actually, apparently a trauma thing from when I was a kid and in the hospital and had a bad reaction to a situation like that and, well, PTSD I guess. I was worried about not being able to wear a bra. I was worried about the machine. I was worried about not being able to put my shoulder where it would have to go. I was worried about the medication I had to take before (lower blood pressure and I already have lower blood pressure). I was worried about everything. Everything. The process of the test gave me massive anxiety. Huge. It was not good.
The morning of the test I tried to play it cool but my body didn't agree and I had to take something to settle (polite way of putting it) my stomach/digestive system. And as Jason drove us there I kept saying "I'm fine, I'm fine" quietly to myself. (Spoiler, I wasn't really.) I tried to be very friendly to everyone in the hospital (I'm fine, see? Could I be friendly if I wasn't fine? Nope! So clearly, I'm fine.)
They put in an IV thing... and they took my blood pressure and heart rate and EVEN THOUGH I had taken the whatchamacallit to lower my blood pressure and heart rate they were not. My normal resting heart rate is usually around 60BPM. With a medication in my system to slow that heart rate, my anxiety still had it pumping well over that. The nurse said things were borderline not being able to do the test and I didn't understand why it wasn't lower when I WAS FINE!!!! AM FINE!!!
The nurse gave me some... nitro? and then they took me in to the machine. I did have to take my bra off, by the way, but was able to still wear my own clothes rather than a gown, thankfully (short sleeves for the win). They kept tucking me in with a heated thin blanket and I kept thinking how no one tucks you in once you're not a kid anymore. I kept focussing on being calm... calm thoughts, calm heart. And the machine kept making machine noises and I thought "wow, this is going really well" and then they were about to inject me with the contrast (sometimes people have bad reactions so I was scared) and then nothing happened and I was like YAY no reaction! But it turns out there wasn't an injection and the machine itself was having issues and so after quite a while the tech had to help me off the table (machine I think was kind of frozen) and was like sorry, it's having issues, going to have to restart it and there was a hint of panic for me because oh no I can't do this again another day and they tucked me in back on a bed with another warm blanket and I waited. And I had to pee.... but I didn't want to ask, didn't know who to ask, not like anyone was checking on me and I'm so glad that eventually I loudly asked "excuse me is there a bathroom"? because yes, there was in the waiting room and I made my way there trying not to dislodge the IV and I guess I really had to pee (partly all that hydration and partly I figure the saline they "tested" the IV with?) and I felt better after that and I was fine... right?
And after whatever restart process I went back in and I tried not to think about it breaking down again and I tried to think calm heart thoughts because you really need clear pictures for best results and the tech said ok here comes the contrast and I thought oh please and it felt weird but no reaction (THANK YOU!) and then the holding of the breath (never for too long and the "machine" had an accent when leading me through that) and more contrast and more weird feeling and more holding of the breath and machine moving and table sliding and then they were like "you're done" and they took me back into the bed... place and took out the IV (please hold that for two minutes and if it bleeds then for another) and they asked how I felt and I said fine, actually? I said it was interesting, and the machine was cool and that if I had to do it again I'd be far less nervous and the nurse said "yeah, you're like a whole different person from before you went in" and I thought "oh". I'd tried to be fine. I'd really tried. And I hadn't said "I'm nervous or anxious" or anything. I just was friendly and polite and apparently my anxiety and nerves showed. Enough that a nurse noticed... and the heart rate monitors did too of course. I should have asked what my heart rate was post scan but she'd turned the monitor away from me that time but I wouldn't be surprised if it had fallen. Significantly.
I'm very grateful that I didn't have any major reactions to any of the medications, and I came home and drank lots of water (to flush out the dye I think) and I took it easy and I told Jason what the nurse had said and he said "yeah, on the drive here you were shaking so much you could have started the car on vibrations alone" (which doesn't necessarily make sense but point taken.) I really thought I had hidden it you guys. I thought I was playing it cool. I really did. I thought I was a little nervous but pretty good.
So that was right at the start of the month. And then I had to wait two weeks to get the results. I wasn't nervous about that until the day of, and then I was happy and relieved to hear the good.
This weekend was strange. "Weather" wise, I mean. (I'll keep the human/emotional side out of things for now, the way the sky was this weekend was strange.)
The forecast called for "smoke" which isn't a weather exactly but is what has been happening as the smoke from Washington state and Oregon state (and California state?) wildfires has been getting... I dunno, pushed? sucked? up this way for the last week or so. We first got it, I dunno, last Tuesday? And it was a weird smoky sky hot day and I did walk to/from something and then thought better about doing much more outside stuff. It was clear the next day and that was lovely and I thought we were good for the rest of the Summer. (Or as some have sadly taken to calling it "fire season"). But then the smoke came back. I'd meant to "do something" about it a year or two ago when we had smoke from more local fires. But an air purifier wasn't in my budget and I told myself to just deal with it. And then I said last year that I'd buy something to help filter/purify my air but again... money, so I didn't. And even this year as we headed into Spring I didn't. And even this weekend, I thought about purchasing something or other (maybe filters for my windows like I did on my van window for Burning Man?) and then... I didn't. (I'm scared of spending money in a way that some part of my brain deems "unnecessary" - you know health and comfort and wellbeing. Sigh)
Anyway. Here's the weird part. On Saturday (?) we woke up to... fog? Like that low lying mist cloud fog thing that FELT damp and yes it was cooler. And it smelled like ocean, or water, not smoke. But the forecast still said "smoke" and the air quality reading was "highly dangerous" so it wasn't fog? It was... fog with smoke?
So windows were closed and fans were on but outside was cool. And smelt like "fog", but the forecasts didn't say fog, they said smoke. And "overcast" and I guess maybe if I'd watched an actual meteorologist like on a newscast or something they might have explained it but I spent the weekend slightly baffled.
I opened my bedroom windows at night, it's hard for me to sleep without cool/fresh/moving air and I can't sleep with fans going anyway so yeah, I guess I've been breathing smoke overnight but on the flip side (gross coming) my nose blowings haven't been soot coloured (like previous years) so I'm hopefully doing ok? I dunno.
I'm surely inhaling stuff I shouldn't be. My throat is sore and not in a "I'm sick" kind of way and I'm trying to stay hydrated and I am trying to keep my windows closed when I can but oh man that lack of fresh air gets to me.
I had some funny thoughts this weekend like I'd wake up and think "I'll get a walk in before the smoke gets bad" like the equivalent of exercising outside before it gets hot. And well, you know, smoke and wildfires don't really turn off just because it's night/morning.
I also found I was waking up pretty early this week. Not sure what it is about the smoke... maybe heat too that didn't mesh with sleeping past 6 or 7 but that just is what it is, not going to try to force sleeping later on a body that wants to be out of bed. Plus it's not like usual when I can just roll over and push another "long morning nap" on myself in bed.
On the Tuesday day I found my car had ash on it and on a drive I had to go on, I had to spray my windshield down a few times, but knock on wood, this weekend I've only had to spray the windshield when I first get in.
I know people know more about what's happening in the sky than I do, and maybe even some of you do! But it was strange. Fog like "low cloud" and the occasional "fog" horn but wicked bad air quality and a forecast of "smoke". And low visibility. But smelling like ocean/water/fog.
I never take fresh, clean air for granted (even when it's hot hot hot) and I think we're all hoping that the smoke clears out today and for this week. And I know I am hoping that these fires are slowing, and stopping and I'm not even thinking about the future for this coast as I don't have enough chill in me to do so.