On gimpy knees


So much hinges on the knee. 


During our move to the new house, I did something to offend my right knee. I don’t know if it was something I said or did, but it has been complaining day and night for about a week. After several particularly heated arguments, I tried cooling it down with ice. That worked for a while. Various creams and gentle massaging have helped, too.




My knees never used to be so touchy. We traveled everywhere together; my silent partners who helped my thighbones and shank bones stay connected. I admit I complained about their shape for years. I’ve never had shapely legs, and even though I’m not overweight, my knees are pudgy.



I searched online to find out more about cranky knees and discovered I have at least 8 or 9 serious joint/ligament/cartilage/bone diseases, syndromes, and conditions. I should know better than to use Google as a diagnostic tool, but I can’t help myself. Unlike my knees, I’m slightly unhinged.



Ever since the right knee started whining, I’ve been expressing how grateful I am for my legs and for my knees in particular. Without them I would never have been able to skate around the block as a little girl, pigtails flying and both knees skinned up by the cracks that caught the wheels and brought me down.  I would have missed getting up on the dance floor to do the Twist, the Watusi, the Pony, and the Mashed Potato. And how else would I have been able to roll out of bed at 3 a.m. for a crying child who found sleep again only as I paced and hummed across the living room floor? These legs with their pudgy knees hiked up the 300 steps of the Sacre-Couer Basilica after a day of sightseeing just to delight my two eyes with a panoramic view of Paris and never complained when I then asked them to take me up the 284 steps to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Across streets, up and down stairs, on concrete walkways, over dirt paths, atop tiled and wooden floors, and through yards of green grass, my legs and knees have shown me 10,000 miles or more of our sun-warmed world. So perhaps a little complaining is to be expected.



This morning the right knee hasn’t said much. I’ve been much kinder to it this week, so perhaps that helped. I hope Google and my imagination are wrong about all those knee ailments, but I’ve passed into the land where the traveler is often waylaid by disease and deterioration. From here, it’s hard to tell if the road ahead leads upward, downward, or stays flat. I’m counting on my knees, gimpy or otherwise, to get me to my destination.



Photo courtesy of AKha


Once I was keyless



We’ve been looking for a key for the last three and a half years and finally found one. We looked in two different counties, two cities, and one town. And we had to walk through room and after room, opening drawers, peeking into closets, and looking around basements. What an ordeal.

Last week we found the key we were looking for. It’s the priciest key we have ever bought, but it opens the door of our very first home. Yes, we waited six decades to buy our first house. That’s what happens if you live like nomads for most of your life.

For a while I imagined that my first and last house would have about 16 square feet  – all basement with no windows or doors. Sooner or later we all move into one of those houses or a cozy urn.

The upstairs of this house is full of light and the basement has daylight windows with beautiful views of trees and flowers. I don’t feel like it’s ours though and keep expecting the real owners to show up and ask us what we are doing living in their house.

I would like to use the buying of the house as an excuse for not reading and commenting on other people’s blogs but it’s not a very good excuse, so I will try to add more in order to excuse myself more.

In August I signed up to teach a one-month intensive English writing class, which met 10 hours a week and required that I create a new curriculum. Then WordPress, which had been preventing me from commenting on many other blogs, suddenly stopped sending me email updates.

Dragging my excuses out of my head onto paper makes them look small, but believe me, inside my head they took up a lot of room. I could hardly get around them to tend to anything other than school and house-hunting/finding/moving. When you have a small brain, just about any idea or excuse looks big inside it, so while I am no longer keyless, I’m still clueless.



Ancient key


Dealing with your dirty laundry


Like you, I have secrets, things that no one else knows, except me (oh, and the NSA, the National Security Agency aka No Secrets Allowed). And like you, I have dirty laundry.


My dirty little laundry secret is that I have opened up my home to an agitator.


Up until last week, I had no idea that Uncle Sam wanted to wipe them all out. Agitators have been part of American life for as long as I remember. Every home used to harbor one. But since 2004, they’ve been banned, or at least highly discouraged, by the people who have one of the highest piles of dirty laundry in the world.


I know agitators are an endangered species because we had to buy a new washing machine.


It's time I got a new washing machine.

It’s time I got a new washing machine.


Open up a new top loading or a front loading washer and see for yourself. Outside of the inside of a Speed Queen you won’t find many agitators. Just big empty tubs that spin. Oddly, the same thing could be said of many of our lawmakers, but that’s beside the point or at least in close proximity.



We bought the Speed Queen after reading reviews, talking to appliance sales clerks, and looking inside our wallets. We’ll use more water than our neighbors with the new high-efficiency washer, but we’ll do fewer loads because it’s just the two of us. I promise.


Have you seen this agitator? Let your government know now!

Have you seen this agitator? Let your government know now!


I’m all for high-efficiency, reducing carbon footprints and muddy footprints, and cleaning up my laundry and my act. I just wish the people who are going after agitators would do the same.



Wanted poster of the agitator courtesy of  © BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons


The journey of 10,000 steps begins with a pedometer


The word pedometer, also known as a waywiser, began sauntering through the English language nearly 400 years ago, though devices that measure the number a person’s footsteps have been around longer than that.  It’s taken me some time, but I finally have one, securely clipped to my waistband to record every step I take. I won the device by going to a health fair at work sponsored by our insurance provider. By uploading my step count, I can win more prizes; sadly, none of which are dark chocolate.

I am happy about the pedometer for two reasons. First, I like the idea that my school and insurance company are focusing on health rather than sickness. And second, I like being rewarded for taking care of myself. I wish the rewards included reduced premiums for making good choices, but then the yearly salary of the company’s CEO – over $14 million – wouldn’t be so healthy. And like all insurance companies, mine is all about that kind of health.

Not my pedometer or your father's pedometer. More likely your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather (if he happened to be from southern Germany).

Not my pedometer or your father’s pedometer. More likely your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather (if he happened to be from southern Germany).

Besides making me happy, the pedometer reduces my paranoia a bit. I have a terrible habit of reading about medical horrors. In the age of the Internet, this is a very bad habit indeed. I have instant access to what is killing me, and you’d be surprised about how many germs, bacteria, viruses, syndromes, and diseases have it in for me. And now, chairs.

For millennia people have turned their backs on chair and mooned them – yes, mostly behind layers of clothing, but still. And do you think chairs just take it sitting down? If you answered yes, you’re right. Most chairs just sit there, though the occasional chair may swivel or rock. However, if you answered yes, you’re also wrong, because now chairs’ evil intentions have been revealed.

Sitting four hours or more at a time negatively affects insulin levels, good cholesterol, fat-burning ability, and bone density. Long-term sitters have shorter lives, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on how much you have saved for retirement. (Don’t take my word for it – about the chair sitting, not the retirement – take these words or these ones or these ones, but please put them back when you’re done.) So those lush, comfy recliners with cup holders and places for your remote calling you to sit back and relax are really just electric chairs covered in fabric. This saddens me because I always thought I had a good relationship with my rocking recliner where I write most of my posts. I’m pretty sure I have spent months of my life in that chair, never realizing those were the actual last months of my life. This concerns me. Not only will I die younger than I would have, but I will die out of order.

Several websites on the oracle known as Google recommend 10,000 steps per day to maintain health. That’s my aim and I better get to it. So far this morning, I’ve managed 57 steps from bed to bathroom to kitchen to chair. Only 9,943 to go.


 Photo courtesy of anagoria at Wikipedia.