Springtime scenes on the plaza

holding on
Holding On.

SUNDAY ESPECIALLY is a swell time to head downtown to sit on a concrete bench and admire the passersby.

I snapped these two shots yesterday, and I’m sharing them with you.

I call the top photo “Holding On” because that’s what she’s doing. It’s what we all do after we reach a certain age. Oh, we may do other things, but down deep we’re just holding on, our fingers losing their grip on the crumbling ledge.

ladies
The Ladies.

The second shot I call “The Ladies” because that’s what they are. We have middle-aged, young and old. I don’t know if they’re related. It doesn’t matter.

Like me and my child bride, they were just sitting on a concrete bench enjoying a springtime afternoon on the plaza.

FYI: The one on the left is also “Holding On.”

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(Note: For better versions of these shots and many more, go here.)

Vista of a Mexican yogi

lr
View while sitting cross-legged on the faux Persian rug in the living room. Ommmmm.

LAST DECEMBER, I wrote here about throwing my back out, as they say, rendering myself a temporary cripple.

I’ve had that problem now and then for decades, far more before my last divorce,* but it usually cures itself in four or five days. Last December it lasted two weeks, which had only happened once before. It was a hard time.

But it woke me up. Though I’ve done somewhat light exercise on a regular basis for decades I had begun to get lazy about it, and that matters.

I have a gym set here at home, and my schedule had been thrice a week, and I cheated occasionally. I now do it five times a week. I still cheat some, but not often and not without good reason.

I also do a 20-minute, rapid walk around the neighborhood plaza. Again, I was known to cheat, but now I’m cheating far less.

A new element is some light stretching exercise. I call that yoga, but it’s not. It’s stretching. I do short stretching of my back in the morning before getting to the gym set, and in the late afternoon after returning from my usual café Americano negro on the main plaza downtown.

That afternoon session is longer and involves lying and sitting on the living room floor atop a faux Persian rug. Sometimes I even light incense. I’m invariably alone at that hour, between 6 and 7.

While sitting, I’m getting the view above. The lights are out, and the late afternoon sun is out thataway. Thought I’d share the view with you.

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* It’s an issue with a psychological element.

(Note 1: Aging is no fun though I appear to be holding up better than most geezers my age. Last September I wrote here about a crippling heel spur I had developed. There is no good solution to that except for surgery. I chose to do nothing because it only bothered me now and then. I thought it was permanent, but it lasted eight months and vanished. Just recently. How about that!)

(Note 2: Unrelated to anything written so far but included just to keep you up to date on Hacienda joys and sorrows, a lightning strike on Monday fried our Samsung 32-inch LED smart TV, our TV-cable box, and a wifi box. The surge entered via the TV cable, not the electric wires. I have a surge protector by the TV, but I only had the TV power cable connected to it. The surge protector also has the option of running the TV cable through it, but I had foolishly not done so, an expensive oversight. As for wifi, I have two services, which is how I am communicating with you right now.

(I’ve already purchased another TV and connected it to Netflix, which is all I watch anyway. Our TV cable provider is a company called Megacable. Its service is abysmal, so Lord knows when the second wifi will be restored. I really don’t care about the cable TV, but my child bride watches it while she irons.)

Challenges of an aging carcass

AT 73, I FIND myself faced with challenges.

bodyGetting older is an interesting process. I do not recommend it, but it is interesting. It only recently began to pummel me. That began at 73. It will, of course, vary with other individuals.

Up until 73, there were physical changes, but they were almost entirely a reduction in energy, nothing extreme but noticeable. I passed my 73rd in August, and that’s when things racheted up a few nasty notches.

First the foot problem, which I wrote about last September. That appears to be permanent. It’s only an issue for about a minute after I stand up after being seated a spell, but I’ll never again be able to flee from someone or something chasing me. With an ax or an appetite.

I am easily nabbed now.

Then there was the back issue, which I wrote about last month. Not the first time I’ve suffered that problem, but it’s never lasted so long, a tad over two weeks of Hell. Usually, it self-cures in four to five days. Big difference.

It was the back issue that knocked me upside the head.

I had been getting lazier by the day, and that needed to change.

For decades, I’ve done regular, moderate exercise, and I eat healthy. For these reasons I have been svelte for almost 40 years. But my regular, moderate exercise had been very gradually diminishing. I knew I had to change my habits.

Old routine: 20-minute, brisk, morning walk around the neighborhood plaza Monday-Friday. I often cheated on the frequency. And I have a home gym set, a big fancy one I bought about decade ago. I was doing a 10-minute weight routine three mornings a week. Again, cheating was not unknown.

New routine: 20-minute, brisk, morning walk around the neighborhood plaza Monday-Friday with no more cheating on the frequency. A second brisk walk around the big plaza downtown following my afternoon coffee. Weight routine on the gym set every weekday morning. No cheating allowed. Yoga. Well, that’s what I call it, but it’s actually two sets of stretching, one in the morning, one in the late afternoon. Weekends off.

I was losing my flexibility to a notable degree. Thus the stretching, which helps a lot.

I’ll close now with the following words from Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. The “good night” being, well, you know …

Good and bad

sunrise

WITH SO MUCH bad-weather news happening, I thought it would be uplifting to show good weather. This is a photo taken from our upstairs terraza … a few years ago.

There is other good news. Not weather, dental.

Since I recently had a tooth implant inserted in my upper jaw, we revisited the mouth of my child bride. When we met in 2001, her dental history was typical of Mexicans. When a tooth problem appears, you don’t fix it, you remove it.

Yeah, I know. Incredible.

At 41, she had removed five. All were in the back and not visible when she smiled. The situation,  however, created a problem later due to the spaces, so she got two bridges, also not readily apparent, but bridges are a bother, or so I’m told.

So she’ll be getting implants too, four not five. The dentist said she could easily ignore one at the very back. She begins the process in a couple of weeks, and it will take, as mine did, three months total. This will cost a bit over $5,000 U.S.

We’ll pay cash. Donations accepted via PayPal.

I wonder what four implants would cost above the border. Lots more, I am sure. Likely $5,000 each.

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Bad news

Now the bad news, also in the medical category.

Recently, I had a sharp pain in my left heel whenever I walked. When I was not walking, I felt nothing.

I visited a clinic here, a hospital actually, that’s part of a church complex. I’ve known two people who died in the clinic, but it’s a good option if you’re in a rush, and it’s cheap.

But that’s not the reason I went. I went because my heel was hurting, and my usual doctor wasn’t available.

The clinic’s right off the main plaza downtown. The doctor consultation was $4. He immediately guessed the problem correctly. Osteoporosis! But I am a poster boy for not having osteoporosis in all categories save one: I’m old.

I am not overweight. I do not drink. I do not smoke. I eat healthily, a salad a day and better. I take calcium tablets. And I’m a guy. Mostly, it’s women who get osteoporosis.

I have a girly affliction!

The Goddess has a wicked sense of humor.

To confirm his guess, the doctor pointed me over thataway to get a couple of X-rays of my foot. Cost of the x-rays: $22. That was done immediately while the doctor sat and waited.

Really.

Seems part of the bone in my heel went elsewhere, leaving a little peak that dug into my heel pad on walking.

The doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory gel plus pills that do much the same.

He told me to get a glass bottle and rub it sideways over the peak twice daily to make it gradually less pointy.

I have done this now for two days, and it’s really helped. I did my daily exercise walk around the neighborhood plaza yesterday with no problem.

And I’m doubling my daily dose of calcium.

Getting old is a bitch.

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(Update: Online research, plus having my X-rays on hand, has convinced me that my problem is not osteoporosis but a heel spur, a much nicer diagnosis. Tip of the sombrero to Al Lanier for pointing me toward heel spurs in his comment below. This means the clinic doc misdiagnosed. The good news is that treatment for the two separate conditions is basically identical.)