A gurgle and a belch
The lake monster sounds hungry
It's tummy rumbles
I love looking at miniature worlds! Here's another - aerial view of a coniferous forest? Or mossy mound?
I'm fascinated by the sounds of the lake ice moving and shifting when the temperature changes over the day. It's eerie to hear a gurgle, a groan, a boom, or a crash when everything is seemingly still. There's nothing to see, but something eventful is happening, invisible and potent-sounding. Some days it's so loud, I can hear it from inside my sunroom, but by the time I've got warmly dressed and out there, it's quiet again.
The loudness and unexpectedness of the wails draws me to the lake edge frequently, and I wait, with video running, to capture the chorus of grunts, sighs and belches. I would love to share what the 'belly of the beast' sounds like, because it's quite special, but I struggle to start recording in time. The sounds materialize suddenly, unpredictable and ephemeral, and they're oh, so captivating. And waiting in sub-zero temperatures without my gloves on (to be able to operate my phone), and eyes streaming with cold, means I don't last long each time. And some days, there are overriding sounds of machinery or dogs or crows that are closer and louder than the monster's chorus.
The cracking sounds are much more dramatic, sounding like a tree crashing down, but it's as calm as can be at the surface, where I'm sitting quietly, not moving - it's quite an eerie experience. It's like a thunderstorm, but below the surface, not above. Or maybe like someone stuck beneath the ice, and knocking to get out! Sometimes it's like a toilet flushing in the distance, and at other other times, like gunshots!
Follow the link at the top so you can get to the video, or click here: https://youtu.be/GwSOq3ROfBE
Turn your volume up to appreciate the gurgles and gloops because some are quite distant
Trying to record the lake's throaty voice has been frustrating to say the least, but my quest has also meant that I've been able to be there to hear and appreciate it many more times than usual, despite not being quick enough to record the full gamut of weird and magical sounds. At one point, I even tried generating shockwaves myself, by holding onto a branch and smashing one foot down onto the surface a few times, and then immediately recording what transpires, in anticipation of something substantial, but still no luck! I couldn't make it happen - reminds me that I'm not a force of nature, after all! Click here: https://youtu.be/ERctCH4Kglc
Why is it that the expectations and reality of a situation are only shared mere moments before the point of no-return?
I was only given these nitty-gritty details of wearing a palate expander during the fitting of the device:
So in order not to sound like Darth Vader on steroids, and to prevent my throat from aching through desperately trying to breathe and swallow saliva, and gulping in so much air that my stomach hurt, I should read aloud to myself? (I know now why they only tell you this at the last minute - if they got down to the brass tacks too far ahead of time, no-one would go ahead and do it). The natural inclination with this obstruction in my mouth is not to talk, since it is difficult, tiring and embarrassing.
Instead of reading aloud, I decided to cash in on my previous Speech and Drama training, and began reciting poems out loud to myself, since I could easily do this whilst busy cooking or doing other chores.
I think Dale is about to commit me to an institution, after hearing that "The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard," followed later by "the vorpal blade went snicker-snack!" Such violence - I think it reflects my pent-up frustration!
Note: if you look closely, you can see that my school merit award was for Best MALE actress, a role I specialized in at my all-girls school. No flighty, delicate roles for me - I was commanding and imposing as a man, and loved feeling free to convey a confidence I never really had!
Ah, food! It 'speaks' to me in so many ways - so many memories are tied to particular foods or specific meals and events. It seems to be one of the ways I store my personal history ...
Though these delectables below don't bring me a specific memory, they are laced with nostalgia for our place of origin - South Africa. These are Koeksusters (or Koeksisters): the dough is braided, fried in hot oil, and then immediately steeped in sugar syrup for a few minutes. It's a recipe that originated in the Afrikaner culture (descendants of Dutch settlers) and became a commonplace confection throughout the country.
I've made them a few times, but not very often, since there are quite a few different steps to follow (time consuming), but today I was hankering after them, so I made some. Such indulgence!
After receiving an automated phone call from our default pharmacy that the previously unfilled prescription from a few days ago was now available for pick-up, we decided to do a diversion on our way home from the dentist's office since we were already out and about. But imagine our level of 'being rattled' on finding that it had in fact been filled, but at a different pick-up location; in fact, the one across the street from the dentist's office!
It turns out there had been a mix up and cross-communication (we presume), in having used the pharmacy App to try and get the script transferred to our non-usual store, which was closer to where we had business that morning. Since it wasn't clear that our request had gone through (we had previously not got confirmation after using the App), we called the pharmacy to check the status before we set off. Whilst waiting for the call to be answered, the automated confirmation came through, stating clearly that the script was ready at our usual location. We thought it better to leave it at that, and not try to re-route it to the more convenient location, since there had already been so much confusion.
But lo and behold, it wasn't there when we made a detour to fetch it! Who would have thought it could have got any worse than the previous saga! I imagined it would be plain sailing and simple, now that we had met the refill date requirements. But no, we were being stymied at every turn! The store then cancelled the script across town for us, and we waited 20 minutes for the script to be filled right then and there.
It's no wonder I love my hermit life and the excuses to stay home. Not having to deal with the outside world is way less frustrating and calming 😀
... And I haven't even covered the saga of making a follow-up appointment at the dentist's office yet ... oh, for the simple life!
After a recent 3 week stay at home without needing supplies, I reluctantly acquiesced to venturing out and refilling our larder. There's no home delivery of fresh produce or refrigerated items where we're located, so I needed to drive to a grocery store. Plus, I was going to pick up a pharmacy script at the same time (or so I thought), the saga of which I have already shared.
What amazed me, was my reluctance to go on an outing! Even after having spent weeks at home without leaving, I wanted to stay home instead! I'm not only intent on reducing my exposure to COVID 'opportunities,' but I also loathe the chore of buying groceries. Yes, it's really nice to have fresh items, and a full fridge again, but it still isn't something I look forward to doing, even when I can come home with luxuries and delicious things, like sweet, juicy oranges that taste heavenly after doing without. The relentless process of packing and unpacking the groceries so many times always seems mindlessly repetitive and comical to me -
I propose that in future we find a way to put groceries into a cart (either actually or virtually), and then have them teleported into our kitchens for us .. it's much more practical and efficient, don't you think?
Besides my disdain for the chore at hand, I was intrigued to discover that, I wasn't needing to 'be out' or have other people to interact with. I didn't feel that I was starved of human contact, and grateful for an opportunity to be with other people. Maybe I'm more of a hermit than I ever knew - I'm happy and content at home. I'm comfortable. I do what I want to do - I'm in control! I don't feel starved of human company and social interaction. Is that unusual and disturbing - or am I just weird?
Having my Invisalign braces and palate expander fitted yesterday was an absolutely horrible experience. I felt worn out and violated after the appointment.
I had to sit with a lip spreader on for 45 minutes - those things are appallingly like some kind of torture device from the Middle Ages - while someone dried, glued, pushed, heated and prodded their way around my face. Eventually, the sharp edges of the lip spreader pressing into my gum was enough for me to manage a loud cry. My eyes were streaming from the pain. Moving my lips to speak was impossible, and I was sure my lips were seconds away from splitting apart, like they might do outside in the cold for an extended time.
There were multiple applications of glue/dental composite, heating and drying and removal of all moisture from my mouth. I almost gagged at the smell of the bonding agent - it reeked like strong resin, and it was in my mouth! It made me want to choke. When I managed to communicate how awful the smell was, I was told, "yeah, many people say it smells like a nail salon, like when they do the acrylic, you know?" No, I don't know, and I don't subject myself to fumes like that voluntarily, thank you very much.
The dental composite 'dots,' or buttons, are strategically glued onto select tooth surfaces to force the aligner to sit in the required position. They're sharp and ragged, surprisingly - not smooth like a button, despite the name! My first plastic 'tray' of braces wouldn't sit in place, so an extra 15-20 minutes was spent in trying to find a way to maneuver it and make it stay secure, or we'd have to consult the dentist for advice, possibly requiring another scan and having the whole new series of 32 trays made up again from scratch ... Way to make me feel confident about managing this on my own, once home! But we persevered, and succeeded.
After that, it was time for the palate spreader (I paid for this torture - am I insane?). I was warned at that point that I wouldn't be able to speak properly for a while, due to the extra thickness of the palate that my tongue wouldn't be used to, and that many people drool a lot at first because it's difficult to swallow (and no, this is not a dieting device!). Speaking was a struggle, and I sounded like Sean Connery trying to say tennis - it came out as tennish. And as for swallowing; it was only possible with effort, and loud guttural, slurping sounds, like Darth Vader imitating a cappuccino machine. Heaven only knows how it will sound when I try to sleep with it tonight, whilst wearing a CPAP face mask!
I can't make up my mind which is worse - the indignity of having a mammogram compression plate squash my breasts, or having my lips forced apart with a hard piece of plastic in an horrendously taut and grotesque grimace. I can't remember when I last felt that exhausted and defeated. I was totally drained and weary, and felt sick to my stomach from the assault. I couldn't get myself to eat anything for hours afterwards, and was insanely uncomfortable from all the gas I'd slurped in in trying to swallow! But I do hope you enjoy reading about my 'adventure' - it definitely sounds more 'palatable' after a night's sleep. It was fun writing it down, now that it is fait accompli!
I stopped in at the grocery store pharmacy to pick up a script that had been refilled electronically 2 days prior, but after waiting my turn in line, was told there was nothing ordered for us. I gave the details again to refill the script, and said I'd collect it after I'd done my grocery shopping. Before I walked away, I asked whether it was 'time' for the script to be filled. "Oh, yes," the clerk told me, " it was last filled in October."
After paying for my purchases, I secretly congratulated myself that I'd remembered to go back to the pharmacy area to pick up the script, as I stood in line again - not my favorite thing to do during COVID. At the counter (different clerk), I was told there was nothing filled for me. I provided the details again, explaining what had happened earlier. "On no," I was told this time, "the insurance won't pay for it because it's too early to renew. You can refill it in 3 more days."
"But that's what I asked about earlier, and was assured it was time."
"But did you ask if the insurance would pay for it? That's the difference."
Aaargh, no, of course I didn't use those exact words, BUT WHY THE HELL WOULD I BE ASKING IN THE FIRST PLACE? (unsaid). The implied meaning or reason for asking must surely have been obvious? Or wouldn't the App have picked this up right from the get-go?
Grrr. I was rattled and frustrated. I thought I'd covered all bases and been clear and polite, but I was still thwarted. It had been 3 weeks since I'd been to a store, and had carefully planned this trip to 'kill two birds with one stone.' Now I'd have to return separately to fetch the medication, which added to my exasperation.
On the way home, I thought it over in the car, and asked myself why I had felt so infuriated and frustrated. It was of no big consequence, and as I write about it now, I'm cringing over the pettiness of it. I think the act of being thwarted is what threw me - I was expecting success, and resolution without any obstacles. I thought I'd pre-empted all disasters, and assumed that it was fait accompli. I naively didn't reckon on a wrench in the works.
By the time I got home, I'd resolved my inner conflict, and decided that I wasn't going to allow a small, inconsequential incident rattle me and ruin the rest of my day.
I can't believe I'm still having to learn the benefits of this approach at this late stage of life!
So many of my memories seem to be tied to food, or what we had to eat at the time 'X' happened! I still remember that we had a pizza for brunch exactly 37 years ago. It was the day we got married in an elopement, so it is kind of hard to forget!
|Sketch done by a friend after the fact|
We got up early on Friday the 13th, and went for walk in the local nature reserve, casually and informally dressed; Dale barefoot and in short pants. Afterwards, we stopped in at a lawyer's office to draw up a marriage contract, and drove down to the city of Durban to book an appointment at the Registry Office for a marriage license. There was a time slot available in a short while, but not with enough time to drive home and change into less casual clothes (not that we'd selected anything special ahead of time, anyway!), so we decided to buy a pizza at a beachfront restaurant in Durban, S.A. to pass the time.
It meant we'd have to 'make do' and improvise for our ceremony - Dale was able to find a pair of 'emergency' sandals he always kept in the back of his car to make him respectable enough for this occasion. I was wearing a knee length skirt and sweatshirt with squirrels emblazoned across the front, and a pair of sandals. There were no pictures, no witnesses, no rings, no wedding cake, no first dance. It was scary doing something so ... unconventional, but also very exhilarating! But we did it, and have lived to tell the tale.
To celebrate having been married more than half our lives, we ate frozen pizzas for dinner. Very nostalgic. I also baked a cake, slathered with strawberry jam and whipped cream through the middle, and dusted with powdered sugar on top.
I remember my parents' celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary - we all thought it was such a big deal (And now here we are, with 12 years more than that under our belts! How on earth did that happen?). We took them to a portrait studio to have some professional photos taken - my Mom had her hair 'done' specially for the shoot, and my Dad donned a smart suit & tie instead of his usual greasy overalls. They were more dressed up for their 25th wedding anniversary portraits than we were for our actual wedding!
Yet another yarn saga! I gave up completely on my maroon shawl, and started off with a whole new pattern and color! I thought a lacy shawl would be nice, so I should try a fancy pattern. Using black as my yarn color seemed a good way to mask errors!
I got quite far, and then decided that the errors I KNEW were there, were just not acceptable, even if most people wouldn't see them. Believe me, there are loads of mistakes in there, and I'd not feel happy about giving it away to someone, nor even wearing it myself! I just couldn't live with the fact that the lacy holes didn't line up and kept changing their location. (I think I'm a slow learner - I'm NOT a knitter!)
So, I undid it and began again, this time realizing I'd need to use stitch markers, which I didn't have. And then I found I had a great new use for my little collection of plastic bread ties in my 'messy' kitchen drawer. They slide perfectly onto the yarn, or the needles, and stay put because of their ingenious little slit!
Twist ties are also a perfect stitch marker substitution. I just couldn't bring myself to buy a specialized item like a stitch marker made for the knitting market, when it is was super easy (and much more satisfying) to be resourceful.
I know I'm aging:
- When those thin strands of silver
Fell out of MY HAIR.
- When ripping the sheets
Is not about hot passion,
But fabric, worn thin.
- When ev'ry bottle
Is always closed too tightly,
And screws are not loose.
-When my joints lock up
I'm told it's Trigger Finger -
But don't own a gun.
- When I'm unable
To finish that plate of food:
Leftovers all week.
- When one glass of wine
Is as much as I can drink,
- When lying in bed
Is more preferable to
A weight-bearing stance.
- It is also when
Is what I've become!
I have a design suggestion for clothes designers and dressmakers - shape women's jackets and coats according to our body shape - FYI, our hips are wide. They're not the same width as our waists, so a straight up and down, boxy shape doesn't work when we zip up! Either it's too tight around our hips, or it fits comfortably on our hips, but it's too wide and pouffy around our middles!
Or, maybe I should modernize my wardrobe, and get with the times?
Oh, and of course this has nothing to do with sedentary, middle age sag or spread!! 😀😀😀
Last night, in savoring a perfectly satisfying and indulgent meal, I recalled the individual details that contributed to the whole that made it perfect. It wasn't the amount I consumed, it was the details and variety that made it special.
Ribeye steak (grilled outside)
Broccoli with cheese
Fresh raspberries with whipped cream
So, for me the 3 Rs would be Ribeye, Red wine and Raspberries. I think this could pass as the perfect last meal if I were going to the electric chair!
I think this must be my favorite piece of poetry, from William Blake's Auguries of Innocence:
* The English poet, John Dryden, ironically called the year 1666, the Annus Mirabilis, which means the year of wonders, or an amazing year. This, despite it being a year of great tragedy (the Plague, Great Fire of London). Was it irony, or wry humor, of celebrating that there could have been more, and worse, tragedies? Or was it merely an observation of how amazing it was to have miraculously survived it?