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Puttering Around The House

November 22, 2010

Tags: movement, anemones, asters, balance, carpentry, daylilies, declutter, exercise, fall, gardening, gym, iris, leaves, oak, painting, peonies, phlox, puttering, Puttering Around The House, quadriplegia, raking leaves, roses, safety on ladders, sanding, scraping, spackling, spring bulbs, tannin, wallpapering

Last week, I painted the kitchen ceiling. That gives me bragging rights – but that is not why I want to talk about it.

Probably because gyms bore me to tears – I have never entered one except in hotels where there’s nothing else to do – I try to incorporate my daily exercise by puttering around the house.

The last leaf has come down in the yard and I neatly piled it on the beds. I am for recycling, even in the garden, and would never dream of having the precious gold hauled away. Next spring it will feed my flowers and bushes (mostly; oak leaves, with their high tannin contents, need about two seasons to decompose). This method asks for sturdy plants – they need to be able to pierce through the piled leaves in the spring. So, you won’t find dainty little things in my garden. Roses, peonies, iris, daylilies, phlox, garden asters, anemones, spring bulbs – and many more – find their way up to the sunlight. And of course, my garden never looks as tidy as that of the neighbors.

But I didn’t want to talk about gardening – although gardening is one of the things that keep me in form. The focus is on turning inward now, appropriate for the dark season, and aiming at the cluttered corners of our place. One by one I am tackling them. In my youth, when I had no money, I learned to paint and wallpaper and lay down carpets. I even built a closet. Now I return to my old skills because I crave the exercise. All we who spend the day at the computer, need that exercise.

So, it was the kitchen ceiling last week. Scraping off the flaky paint, spackling (“spackle” – a totally new word for me; in the hardware store, I had asked for “putty” – wrong word for what I needed!), sanding, painting. And all that work done on a ladder with arms above the head. I alternated arms because I want to grow an even body. Still, it was hard work. Also dangerous. My dear friend Jackie, years ago, fell off a stool hanging curtains, resulting in quadriplegia. So I was mindful all the time to not lose my balance. Hers is another story – but with alternative therapies (acupuncture, massage, etc) – Jackie regained the use of her arms, and even some of her legs. We will spend Thanksgiving with her and her family – a wonderful tradition for many years.

Too many stories interfering! Two points I want to make: Find chores in house, garden, attic, basement to do that keep you moving. And try to use also your non-dominant hand. That challenges your brain, makes you more nimble, and balances your body.
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

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