More From Dartmoor

The other day I gave you a little teaser when I talked about our big walk around Dartmoor.  So I took a break from sewing to pop a few pictures up today. I’ve been asked to post some pictures of my repurposing projects and I’m making good progress so look for a few photos towards the end of the week. Back to Dartmoor...

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The moor has a great deal of variety in the look.

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We passed a fair number of cyclists that day. Ray and Mij said they’d never seen so many on the path there before.

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Me eating my standard moorland meal of American peanut butter and English ginger jam.

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Ray and Mij having their lunch.

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Pausing for a hug.

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Checking the map just to be sure.

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A walk through the woods just before climbing through the rocks.

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Hill climbing past the moorland ponies.

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Classic English countryside…sheep and stone walls.

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Patchwork beauty.

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I love the lone tree in the curve of the tor. ( Tor – large hills with outcrops of bedrock)

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Pausing for me to catch up…I always lag behind taking pictures.

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Nightfall on the drive home.

Still Walking The Same Path

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In 1975, the two men in the center of this photograph met through a mountaineering club in the Midlands of England. That’s thirty-four years they have been camping, climbing, hiking and walking together. In case you don’t recognize my husband John from this picture taken after a trip to Nepal in 1982, he’s the second man from the right. Standing next to him on his right (wearing a vest), is his long time friend Ray.

John and I were walking on Dartmoor today with Ray and his girlfriend Mij. While we covered about nine miles, I was snapping away taking so many pictures I was frequently lagging behind the three of them. Not surprising to me, I seemed to catch most of my photographs of them from behind. It was an amazing walk and I’ll be back tomorrow with more pictures to share, but I wanted to post a couple of John and Ray from today… still walking the same path after all these years.

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It’s Curtains For The New Look – Repurposing A Dream

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My great aunt Wylly was always full of surprises. In addition to being a talented children’s book author and writer, her gift giving, present wrapping skills made every gift she gave a magical experience. Her packages were never wrapped in tidy boxes or perfectly shaped bundles and the ribbon didn’t always match the color of the paper, but inside could be anything. My sister Margaret and I treasured every gift she ever gave us even when we received things we were not sure we would ever use.

Forty years ago when I was nine, I received the pin cushion you see above. Aunt Wylly had taken the time to make it special by embroidering my name on it and adding it to a sewing box stocked with some of the things a young girl just learning to sew might need.

I never became the world’s best seamstress. In fact, it’s generally touch and go as to whether a pattern I’m “trying” to follow will come out as it’s supposed to, but I must say, with a few pins and a bit of imagination I can sometimes surprise myself.

It’s raining here as I work on repurposing some drapes, a duvet, and a bed valance that all were a part of my past life. Along with an old bed frame of John’s, and a few other pieces, I’m creating a dreamy new look for the guest room. John has taken to calling it the oldie worldie room and I think that fits it fairly well except the real oldie bits are being repurposed into a new look that mixes my world with his in a way that I just know is going to be a warm and welcoming place for our guests.

I’m stretching my skills a bit to do some things I’ve never done before and I hope to have it finished before I leave for Georgia in about a week. That said, I need to get back to work now. My new sewing machine has just been plugged in for the first time and I’m ready to give it a go…after I read the directions of course. Do you remember when I wrote about something big that happened because I didn’t read the directions?  Go here to find out.

The Synchronicity Of It All

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Late last night while I was sleeping, Kerstin from Gypsylife was reading this post I wrote for TMAST this past Tuesday. She left me a lovely and intriguing comment that caused me to go back to her site to search for a picture to illustrate her comment about her cat which looks surprisingly like the cat, Mephisto in my story. I’ve pasted Kerstin’s comment below:

“Wow, what a story. I am glad you took the direction you did, it was very intriguing. I dream a lot, too, as you know, but don’t usually pay too much attention, either. Maybe I should. And I have to tell you, Elizabeth, my cat looks EXACTLY like the one in the photo! Even your description of the eyes is spot on! It’s a little creepy actually looking at that photo … and I would love to hear the continuation of Mephisto’s story! I look forward to more TMAST stories next year, they’ve been so enjoyable. Have a great trip! Kxo”

One has to wonder at times about the synchronicity of life and how after reading her post on Tuesday during a break from writing my own, the evolution of my story developed in a way that made it possible for me to share several of my real dreams through a character named Minnie. In crediting her as inspiration, she came to my blog and saw the cat that looks just like hers. I love that about life.  I hope you’ll take a look at both cats in the links I provided above…the two cats do look as if they could be the same and it’s pretty amazing to consider that my cat picture was taken here in England, while hers was on the West coast in America.

If you’ve had a similar experience, I love for you to share it. Perhaps more of us will find a link we were unaware of before now.

You’ll Call It A Procedure, But…Questions About FAI Treatment

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Elizabeth-No Restrictions

I don’t know how many of you saw Billy Crystal’s talk to his son’s classroom in the movie, City Slickers, it’s the one where he tells them what they can expect from life, decade by miserable decade…

Stop a minute and go here to see it …I’ll be here waiting when you get back.

Okay…I think now you can see where this post is heading. That’s right, straight to the OR (operating room) do not pass go or try convince yourself you don’t need it. Pain is real and when it’s constant, it is a pretty clear sign. I tend just to take some over the counter pain meds and drive on. Call it stubbornness or a left over ” Can do” attitude from my army days, but I like to act as if I just put my head down and stay focused, I ‘ll be able to out run whatever twinge, or in this case, stabbing leg and butt pain that won’t go away.

As an example of my former crazy-super-woman belief in mind-over-body madness, I once ran miles and miles every day for three months with a really bad break in my foot. I didn’t know it was broken, I thought I had bruised it wearing high heels at a business conference. So for three months, I got up early every morning, swallowed 800 mg of Motrin, laced up my Nikes, and went out the door.

By the time I saw a Podiatrist, he  took one look at my x-rays, laughingly said it was a really bad break and asked if I minded if he used my films ( x-rays ) in his next talk. I thought great …this guy is going to share my stupidity with a roomful of people at his next presentation.  After I said okay to being someone else’s life lesson for the day, I asked him what were we going to do about my foot, to which he responded, ” Nothing, it’s already healed. ” Let me say now…my left foot has never been right since. I should have listened to my body when it was sending me such loud messages back then. Maybe that foot would always have been a bit more prone to pain after the break, but maybe not if I hadn’t ignored the pain.

As it turns out, I’m getting another chance to decide what to do now about a pain I’ve had for years, but has become increasing worse over the last few months. I’ve lived with it for such a long time and gone through a fair amount of physical therapy and other non invasive treatments (a little chiropractic), that I just assumed I had a hinky hip and there was nothing to be done about it. I went to a doctor here recently for the first time since moving to England ( my first NHS experience ) to chat about HRT and aging (hey I’m 49…it’s time for those talks) and my hip pain came up in conversation, before you could say boo, my new GP had me scheduled with a surgeon for an evaluation.

After a meeting with the surgeon, I had x-rays followed by an MRA (MRI with contrast) and yesterday I received a letter from the from the bone cutter confirming my GP’s initial suggested diagnosis of FAI along with his recommendation of open hip debridement surgery.

It’s nice to know there’s a reason for all that pain, but I really wish there were more options than the suggested surgery. I’m actually kind of old I think for this solution based on things I’ve read and other sources. I think most of the time you are told to adjust your lifestyle as in swim, don’t run and just wait until you’re old enough for a hip replacement. Given that I’ve lead such an active physical life, this would be a real hardship for me. I’d be looking at no yoga, no running, no rock climbing, no skiing, … would no coast path walking be next ….. the English may call it walking, but sometimes the hills are so steep, you almost feel as if you need a harness and someone on belay so it’s not always pain free either.

I DO NOT want to give up all my fun physical activity at 49!

I’ve had a wonderful response from a dear friend who happens to be a very knowledgeable medical professional with years of experience in oncology and other areas along with some more recent skills in the area of chiropractic medicine. Steven works out of Atlanta most of the time, but his gentle and supportive email to me today made me feel as if he was sitting in the same room discussing the possible options for my treatment and recovery. I really appreciated his thoughts and suggestions and this takes me to the reason for exposing my weak side ( hip) to the world.

If you’re still reading this lengthy medical drama, I’d like to impose upon you to please send this out to anyone you know who has gone though the surgery for a hip impingement…mine would be open as opposed to arthroscopic so that is what I would be most interested in hearing more about, their surgical experience along with their recovery, follow up…and hopefully, their successful outcome.

My actual diagnosis is an ovoid/cam femoral head shape with an associated tear of the labrum.

You Say – We Say

England and America are two countries separated by a common language.

~ George Bernard Shaw

I’m sure everyone has heard the expression, ” You say to-may-to, we say ta-mah-to.” Here in the UK, it is still almost a daily event for me to have a bit of word wrangling with John over how different words may be pronounced. It’s interesting how we can be referring to the same thing, but saying it in different ways leaving room for confusion at times.

We just work it out generally, but there are times when it’s too funny not to share. One example that still makes me smile was when John and I were watching his granddaughter, Jersey Girl (JG) while her parents were away for a few days in Spain. Right before they were expected home from their trip, I called out to JG from the kitchen and asked her to please pick up the living room as her parents would be home soon. What I heard back was, “Pardon?” a word that had become a frequent refrain over the previous days whenever she was having trouble with my accent, pronunciation or phrase usage. A moment passed and then I heard her say, ” Do you want me to tidy up my toys? ” and I was reminded once again of all the ways we may speak the same language, but say things that have very different meanings.

Another example occurred when John came to see me in America. We went to Home Depot, a DIY store in midtown Atlanta because we were working on a few home repair projects while he was in town. The midtown Home Depot has a large customer base in the gay community and is generally pretty busy with lots of people around to help you if you need assistance. After searching on our own for what we needed, I began to look around for a salesperson to help us. Having absolutely no success with this I muttered something along the lines of…” not being able to find someone when you need them, ” to which John said in frustrated voice,” That’s because they’re all outside having a fag! ” My immediate response besides my eyebrows arching to the ceiling was to say very quickly, ” Shhh, you cannot say that here!” Of course, he meant that all the sales people were outside having a cigarette, but still….

Another adjustment was one that I had to work out over the phone during the early stages of our initially long distance relationship when John spoke about his granddaughter pulling faces.  I remember thinking, pulling faces… and visualizing what this might look like. It took a bit more conversation to discern that he meant making faces as in silly, funny ones. JG is a champion face puller having done so since before she could speak so that now if you even point a camera in her direction you may get a series of photographs that look like the ones below.

These were taken from a distance in low light and then enlarged so the quality is not the best, but you’ll get a good sense of what I’m talking about when you see them. Also, you should know that I had no idea that she was creating a different look for each shot as my completely unaware expression indicates.

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The last two faces are my favorite funny ones that she “pulls.”  In case you’re wondering how JG learned to make such interesting looks for photographs, the one below is her mother practicing for the day when she’d need to teach her own daughter how to get a laugh with just a look.

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