A slow day

Still life in 2015: Shea butter and a Lake Michigan High Ball!  My fingers are not cracking but my heel did!  Guess I need the Shea butter there!

Still life in 2015: Shea butter and a Lake Michigan High Ball! My fingers are not cracking but my heel did! Guess I need the Shea butter there!

It has been a very busy week. My wake up hour seems to have reverted to early again as I have been getting up at 5:30 or so. This has made it easier for me to get to the gym. Today I went and swam for an hour. The pool was empty when I arrived but in a few short minutes, I was not alone. There were several regulars and one newcomer.

I always find it interesting to see that certain people are regulars at the gym, or at least seem to be in terms of my hours. Who knows, they may end up coming at different times. I always see a lady in her fifties, Clara, coming, it seems, just about every day of the week (I do Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but sometimes vary and she is always there around 7:00 AM).

I came home after a grocery store stop and put some vodka pasta sauce together. Friday night was going to be dinner with friends and we had decided on penne paste with the vodka sauce, a good salad, and the rest of the trimmings.

After that, we had breakfast and then we changed out the Christmas china and took down the ceramic Christmas tree and the stained glass ornaments on the kitchen window. That took the better part of the morning. Christmas in the Koerner household is officially over.

I also did some work with our new TV and audio system, making sure everything works. So far, the Apple TV is not connected, but everything else is.

Our dinner was wonderful and we ended up being awake well past our bedtimes. It is approaching 1:00 AM on Saturday as I write. Sometimes, getting together with old friends is so comfortable, so filled with laughter, and the memories and good moments abound. Even though connections did not happen for years, it is just as if the time that passed never occurred.

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Posted in Cooking, Friends, Life in general | Leave a comment

My current kneeds

I thought of taking a picture of my knee, actually did, but I did not like the result.

I thought of taking a picture of my knee, actually did, but I did not like the result.

There are times when we feel our age and other times where we do not and I am in the former one. If it were not for the knee, and here I should not complain because MK has had knee issues for some time, I would say that I feel great. Knee issues are in the family as well, my mom had one knee replaced and my sister both. I generally have not experienced issues but in early December or so, my knee started acting up whenever I would go into a squat position.

My issue was at first just that, when squatting. My problem, if it can be deemed such, is that I am a notorious squatter, whenever I need something on the ground I generally do not bend down.

At first I did the icing and even tried Aleve. None of it seemed to help. The question, when one has not been to the doctor, is what should you do and what should you not do. My sense, from having spoken to Mary Kay is that even if you do search out medical help, it is a mixed bag of advice. At the present time I do not yet view it as worthy of medical intervention. At first I deliberately did not try to avoid using it but I am now at a point where when I do use it, it is on purpose.

Honestly, the knee is not really keeping me from doing what I need to do. Luckily, when I walk, it is not an issue. Today I did the treadmill at the gym for half an hour. In the pool, it is somewhat sore but not to the point of feeling bad. I just got up from a chair and that is when I winced from the knee.

It is amusing, or almost amusing, as to how much the knee has made me think. Since I am trying to be kinder to my knee and let it heal, I have taken to avoiding those moments when I use it. When I get up on a chair to reach something, I generally do so with the right (affected knee) leg. I am trying to think it through and do so with the left.

Getting out of the car is one of the most painful things to do as it requires a strange twist that I never realized I did. If I think it through, I can turn left and avoid the twist. All of this requires using my mind to ‘think out’ my actions. Many times, I am functioning on ‘auto’ mode and do what I shouldn’t. Maybe though, thinking it out is an active way to avoid dementia?

My current kneeds are currently up for grabs as I attempt to be holistic and prudent before seeing the doctor. I know that the pain I have has morphed over the past months and maybe it is getting better. I certainly hope so.

Posted in Exercise, Health, Life in general, Odd occurrences, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

A strange momentary flash of racism, stereotyping, and judgmentalism

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The other day, MK and I were out and about and went to see a movie. Since I knew that where we were going had a special service I needed, I threw a watch in my pocket that needs attention and thought if there happened to be enough time, I would see about getting it checked.

I am thinking that perhaps I have been watching too much television, reading too many works of fiction or something because my mind kind of reeled out of control. A twenty-first century paranoia came into play. I also wonder if the current events of late have been a bit too much on my mind as well.

MK was on a mini-errand in the mall and I went up to the independent booth to see if I could get my watch serviced. I had seen the person in charge from a distance and when I got up to the booth, the sales person immediately went into a prayerful mode and in no time flat, was silently praying as she faced east and went into a zen-like trance mode, and then periodically going up and down on her little carpet in an almost rhythmic fashion. She acknowledged my existence but also told me by facial movement that I was not to disturb her. At that moment, I was transfixed by a sort of culture shock, this was certainly not what I expected to find in a North Suburban mall situation, nor had it ever occurred there to me. I tried to stay with it, but at the same time I was falling victim to several different feelings. On one hand, I really wanted to stand there and wait, but I had no idea how long that was going to be. On the other hand, I had only planned to do this if it was not going to take a long time to set up, with me possibly even leaving the item for repair. A wave of guilt also came through me as I felt that if I left the situation, which I had only intended to do if it was not going to take a long time, I might be showing my lack of acceptance and cultural awareness.

I am neglecting one more addition to all that I previously mentioned. I do not know why, but a flash went through my head at a certain moment, a flash that is more than media related, but I had this horrible feeling that the zen-like persona whipping around in the robe-like clothing might twirl like a whirling dervish and brandish a firearm. I am ashamed to say I felt that, but I did.

The time seemed to be slipping by very fast and I felt that I was nowhere near to the point of even addressing the salesperson. I sensed the time I had allotted flitting away and given all my other thoughts and reactions, I decided to call it a day and jettison my attempt. I turned on my heels and walked away, never having had a moment to connect with the person. She, meanwhile, continued her seemingly hypnotic, prayerful moment.

Days later, I still feel bad and were I to do it over, I think I might just have waited, jeopardizing perhaps my time frame, but at least I might feel better about my allowing some prejudices to surface in my head and affect my actions.

Posted in Life in general, Odd occurrences, People and their characteristics, Racism, Religion, Stereotyping, Thoughts and philosophy, Tolerance | Leave a comment

Thoughts about loading Dishwashers

Our Miele...you have to put your ear to it to make sure it is running.

Our Miele…you have to put your ear to it to make sure it is running.

Samantha in her 'stable' surroundings.

Samantha in her ‘stable’ surroundings.

Let’s get mundane, let’s talk about dishwashers.

First of all, it is a less than interesting topic and there are still people who have never even owned one. I find that a bit hard to believe, but even in my own family there are people who have not dealt with them. My own mother, who passed away just a bit over a year ago, never had one. My own sister still, to my knowledge, does not own one.

When MK and I moved into our first house in 1976, we almost immediately put in a simple dishwasher. Simple because it was a low-end dishwasher and pretty much all we could afford. As it happens, though, it was a great dishwasher. From then on, we always had a dishwasher.

When I was active in taking students to France I remember my dishwashing discussion with a friend while in Strasbourg, a conversation I have already noted in this blog. In the U.S., we were always taught that you must rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I noticed that my friend was not doing that. She said, “Pourquoi est-ce que j’aurais un lave-vaisselle si je dois tout laver avant?” (Why would I have a dishwasher if I have to wash everything beforehand?)

I took that to heart and the next time around that we were in for a new dishwasher, we upgraded to a German machine that would allow us to put a simply scraped plate right in.

But, that is not the thrust of this article, the real focus is that no matter who puts dishes in the dishwasher (unless a guest in the house), the person doing so will almost inevitably redo the internal organization of the appliance. I know, for a fact, that I am terribly guilty of this. I want to fit as many things as I can within the interior of a dishwasher and, more importantly, assure that they will get clean.

Spoons, cups, or glasses that are set to collect dirty or rinse water and thus not dry are the first focus of my reorganization. I will also reorganize if I feel that more dishes can easily be added by moving other things around.

In my dishwasher world, certain areas of the dishwasher are better for certain things than others. Unfortunately, we are not all in agreement in that subject area.

Thus we have the dish dance that so many of us dishwasher loader aficionados have come to adopt.

Annoying to some, yes! Others just don’t care if we redo their efforts. Darn, I must be bored to be writing of dishwashers.

So, as well as playing around with loading the dishwasher, we had the girls over. Samantha and I ended up using her creativity to take a box and design it into a horse stable with a gate. A little duct tape and a few cuts and voilà, a horse stable. The photo does not show the fine fencing we made that folds down.

Posted in Appliances, Family, Grandchildcare, Life in general, Technology, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Streetwalking

It is hard to see, but the sidewalk is totally  covered in frosty, frozen snow.

It is hard to see, but the sidewalk is totally covered in frosty, frozen snow.

Note the 'carriage' sidewalk adjacent to the street, with piles of frozen snow.

Note the ‘carriage’ sidewalk adjacent to the street, with piles of frozen snow.

So, I got your attention. Mention something like streetwalking and it makes one think. Funny, when you think about it but if you were not acquainted with the intricacies of the English language and just heard streetwalking, you would think that it meant walking on the street and perhaps nothing more. To think that it means something actually sexual…

Actually, I am concerned about the status of walking on sidewalks and how because of it, I am relegated with my canine friend, to walk the streets. Yes, the streets! I am very concerned about falling and the sidewalks are truly a mess. Yesterday, I was able to do a mile with Stewie but today there was a thin layer of ice in many places. I do not feel like chancing it. Even yesterday, with the warmer temperatures, I had to be in the street more often than not and frankly I do not trust the drivers.

The carriage sidewalks are truly an awful side of Deerfield. Because of their narrow width, nobody shovels them. It is too bad because perhaps that would make it easier to walk. The odd thing is that the streets on either side of mine have normal sidewalks and the two blocks south of mine on my own street do as well. I wonder why we got ‘carriaged’ away?

Stewart and I attempted it today but I finally gave up, the slip and slide is really too dangerous, especially when you have a crazy pup wanting to sniff out everything in his path.

Deerfield is the type of community that actually plows its sidewalks, the normal ones, that is. Carriage sidewalks are too narrow to use a tractor on. Unfortunately, as I found out the other day, even they were not uniformly done.

I have to say, I really cannot say that I hate the winter, but I do hate the aspect of it that prevents a simple thing like walking, which is so beneficial to all of us.

Posted in Exercise, Health, Life in general, Meteorology, Pets, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment