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Saturday, July 8, 2017

'Forest Bathing'

With my younger brother Mark's presence last evening, I allowed temptation to entice me into having a second can of strong (8% alcohol) beer instead of the one I have been usually settling for since around mid-February; and I remained up later than I otherwise would have.

I only went to bed as I did ─ that is, utterly annoyed ─ when just after midnight I glanced over at him during a news programme because he wasn't issuing any of his usual commentary on a couple of recent good stories.

He was silent because he had passed out.

Well, to blazes with this, I thought. And so in a huff, I betook myself to bed.

He speedily roused, and not long after I was in bed I heard his own bedroom door close.

I don't know what the reason was, but this morning I felt physically brutalized there in bed. How can someone feel so darned punished with so many pervasive body aches just from being in bed?

It was concerning, for I know that it shouldn't be like this. Time in bed is supposed to be restorative ─ not nearly crippling.

It may have been around 7:20 a.m. when I got up, painfully hobbling downstairs to prepare my day's first hot beverage, and wondering how it was possible for me to be feeling in such atrocious condition.

I was soon working on the new post I had set up yesterday at my hosted website Thai-Iceland, when only about a half-hour after I was up Mark also made an appearance.

As I was to learn, his driver's licence was to expire tomorrow, so he wanted to get away as early as possible to wherever he was going to go to get it renewed.

Of course he was here long enough to have a coffee and read some of the morning Vancouver Sun.

Fortunately for me, he was to be away far longer than he anticipated. Around 10:30 a.m. I finally found sufficient wherewithal to care to attack about ⅗ of my usual current routine of exercise out in the backyard tool shed. I owe some inspiration to a beautiful young woman I saw pass by the front of the house ─ she was most energizing to behold with my 67-year-old eyes.

There are actually two or three amazingly attractive young mums hereabouts that I sometimes see pass by the house ─ I live in a cul-de-sac, but there is an alleyway right beside it that leads out to a main avenue where a 7-Eleven is located. The alleyway is blocked to prevent four-wheeled vehicles from taking advantage of it, but it is a favourite pedestrian shortcut.

One lingering physical discomfort that I have of late been experiencing is a pinched nerve or some similar disablement that painfully restricts movement in the rear left neck area. It makes some exercises more of a challenge, but it thankfully does not entirely inhibit any of them.

Still, atop everything else bringing me such physical discomfort, it can be difficult finding the motivation early enough to work out before the day grows too stiflingly warm in the backyard tool shed where I engage the activity:

I do not have a chin-up bar set up anywhere, so I can only do pull-ups by grasping an opposing pair of the very narrow plastic rungs of these two ladder-like apparatus.

It's a poor substitute.

A true chin-up bar would allow for varying position grips ─ overhand, underhand, extreme wide-spaced grip, narrow grip with both hands touching, and even behind the neck 'chin-ups' with the various gripping positions ─ and thereby afford a wonderful simulation of all affected muscles.

This thing only allows a person the one pull-up position that is afforded while standing between the two ladders and gripping a pair of rungs well overhead, and thus there is never any variation. The same muscles are always worked.

Ultimately, it is rather unhealthy.

Even the narrowness of the plastic rungs is detrimental, for they are too narrow to truly engulf with the palm like a hearty thick chin-up bar would allow. Basically, I practically cling to the rungs with an almost claw-like hold ─ the rungs more or less nestle into the finger joints where the fingers join to the main part of the hand.

It is worse for my left hand because in October 2003 I badly broke the bones in my hand that are an extension of my ring finger ─ that is, the ring finger's metatarsus.

I never allowed the bones to heal in proper alignment, and now that part of my fist cannot be clenched tightly. It would be no problem wrapping my hand quite tightly around a regulation chin-up bar, but it is not possible with something as narrow as these plastic bars.

But I am sure I am boring most people with this.

I didn't do any sunning today. Mark was still home when I finally had to resort to a bit of a nap around 1:40 p.m. Even then, it would have been later than I like to be out on the sundeck sunning, for it is quite still and very warm.

Mark was gone when I rose again, and so was my youngest stepson Poté who was showering when I sought the nap. I was home alone.

However, my eldest stepson showed up awhile thereafter, but not for more than a half-hour I would say. Once he left again, I had maybe 45 minutes to myself, and then Poté was back.

But in the interim, I took the following four photos of myself out on the sundeck around 4:24 p.m. / 4:25 p.m.

I hate photographing myself, because I can never get a proper angle; and the camera ─ because I am not in the viewfinder when I set it up to automatically take the photos ─ probably focuses on something in the background, yielding an even further unflattering capture of the subject (me) that suddenly comes into view.

I know I have packed on some midsection flab in the recent couple of months, so that slightly upward angling view of the camera probably gives an even worse impression.

Still, I am at least 189 pounds (85.729 kilogrammes) at a height of five feet 10¾ inches (179.705 centimetres). I should be at least five pounds lighter:

Oh, well. Until I ever get out and start regularly doing some distance walking, that extra baggage will be with me.

I just have nowhere I want to walk ─ miles and miles of busy streets, homes and other buildings, and of course people. 

I am by nature quite reclusive.

I don't drive, so this is what I must endure. I am a prisoner of my circumstances.

My longing is to live somewhere in which the only sounds are those of Nature, and all around me is the natural world. It wouldn't have to be forest, although that would certainly be wonderful; but even seemingly endless countryside would also be absolutely fantastic.

Have you ever heard of 'forest bathing'? That's what I need on a daily basis, but there is no such place for me within any sort of easy walking distance.

This is a great article about the benefits of this kind of therapy that studies are bearing out:


Instead, I am cut off from the natural world, only rarely ever experiencing it.

This is not a life I can sustain for too much longer ─ this isolation has gone on ever since November 1, 2010, when I managed to have my left leg's quadriceps tendon shear entirely clear of my knee cap (patella).

It was a complete avulsion.   

Following the surgery to reattach the tendon ─ you can see the long scar running up my left knee, for the scar was nigh six inches in length ─ recovery was ridiculously slow.

I had been a strong runner most of my adult life, but I had laid off in my later years after becoming nearly crippled with cartilage erosion in the early 1990s when I was into my early 40s.

But I could still have run long and fast if I had needed to.

That ended with this accident. I would need to practice gaining back a running gait, but I have no privacy to do that. I never was a public exerciser, so putting on a public display of trying to run with a knee whose full mechanics are unacquainted with the act is not something I can bear to do.

As a runner, long walks were no trouble. If I got bored with them or was uncomfortable about where I may have found myself, it was little for me to break into a run of a couple of miles or more.

Now, I almost feel as if I am vulnerably lame, and it further keeps me home.

I know that each year I wait as I grow older is only making things worse for me, but I cannot bear the public eye. I cannot. It is that plain.

I do not intend to become 70 years of age and still be living here in this house as I am ─ friendless, and socially isolated. 

Instead, I will make my wife a widow. The playful boy that somehow still lives within me and occasionally surfaces, will finally die right out.

As I have said before, sometimes I give myself the impression that this blog is really only an extremely long suicide note.

And with that, I now close today's post with this journal entry of mine from 41 years ago when I was 26 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

I was renting that small space in a private home located on Ninth Street, and about two houses up from Third Avenue.

At the time, I was something over three months into a three-month contract of full-time employment with a New Westminster charitable organization called S.A.N.E. (Self Aid Never Ends) that is today known as Fraserside Community Services Society.

I was a swamper on their blue pick-up truck, which was generally driven by a hearty lady in her early 40s, Esther St. Jean.

I had served in that capacity prior to this employment contract, but only on such a part-time basis that I was unlikely to get more than a day's work a week. Nevertheless, my association with S.A.N.E. probably went back to at least sometime in 1974. 

The old building that housed S.A.N.E. back then no longer exists, but it used to be located where the New Westminster SkyTrain Station now opens up onto Carnarvon Street.
THURSDAY, July 8, 1976

A good sleep, finally; I roused close to 6:45 a.m.

I was at Woodward's when it opened and bought 2 money orders ($4 for a Lucky Leo Lottery ticket apiece for mom & me ─ she paid me for hers; and $9.98 for an 8-track tape called "Rock Around the Clock" ─ which should be a set of 2). In the supermarket I bought beef liver (69¢ lb.) and a pineapple (79¢), totaling $4.62.

The day was pretty cloudy, but hot.

David appeared in the afternoon.

After work I bought 2 quarts of yogurt (89¢ each) at Safeway. And coming home I encountered Eric who in turn put me onto Duck, who invited me in for a few minutes. 

I've acquired a new hat; a black, wide-brimmed affair.

When I leave for mom's, I'll post for the 8-tracks and the lottery tickets.

Oh yes, Esther began driving again today, and I learned Georgina lives a couple blocks from the Mr. Sport.

Anyhow, I am setting off for mom's a few minutes over 6:30 p.m.

I arrived to find the place looking as if Alex was sleeping, so I went straight to the back and supped on a quantity of raspberries and some strawberries.

Then I sat on the front steps and waited for mom.

At 9:25 p.m. I decided to get my mail regardless of Alex, and leave. Strangely, mom's work things were in the porch. Both doors were locked.

My mail was a Plain Truth and Church letter.

I was about to take advantage of a cake in the open when I thought I heard sounds suggesting someone coming from the bedroom; so I left.

I was on an energy low, and did no running.

Nearing Bill's I saw him coming home; I was about parallel with him across the street as he was entering the building door, but not once did he notice me. I said nothing.

Bed at 11:30 p.m.
Woodward's department store used to be located on Sixth Avenue where the Royal City Centre Mall today now exists.

It was my old friend Philip David Prince who dropped in at S.A.N.E. while I was working that day. He had a room in New Westminster in what were familiarly known as the Fraser Apartments.

Esther ─ who had been away since late the previous week ─ told me about Georgina Junglass, a very beautiful young woman who had worked part-time at S.A.N.E. when I first started there as a part-timer, too. She made no bones about being interested in me, but I was too damned afraid of her to take advantage of the opportunity. 

And then it became too late for me with her, for she no longer displayed any interest in me. But I was still too chicken, regardless. I always seemed to need a woman who wanted me badly enough to basically just claim me.

The Mr. Sport was one of the several names that the Russell Hotel (740 Carnarvon Street) took on in its history as a venue for drinking beer. 

"Eric" was an older friend of my maternal relatives, the Halversons, who all lived out in Surrey. He was a resident of New Westminster, but apparently Duck (Donald Fraser) may also have been at this time. I don't remember that.

Anyway, Duck was a close friend of the Halversons, and had in fact been part of their household for years. All of them had originally worked there way out here from Ontario.

My mother Irene Dorosh and her husband Alex were living in the Kennedy Heights area of Surrey ─ their home was my main mailing address.

The walk to reach their home from my room was 1½ hours at a fast pace. The little house they had is now gone, but its address was 12106 - 90th Avenue.

My mother had an office janitress job in the evenings during the week, so I tried to target my visits for when she would be home. I felt uncomfortable around Alex, never having lived with the man. 

They had a lush bounty of produce in their backyard.

When I finally wasted enough time that evening waiting for my mother (it must have been around 1½ hours), and used my key to get into the house, it seems that I may not have been there alone. If Alex was indeed home all that time, I would have been mortified to have let myself in and been caught there by him, so I panicked and left.

I would have been able to pull closed the locked main and veranda doors as I departed on the 1½-hour hike back to my room.

My old friend William Alan Gill lived around four or so blocks from my room. Evidently that evening I was immediately across the street from him as he approached his apartment building, but he never once glanced my way.

And since it would have been quite late into the evening and dark, I wouldn't have wanted to delay getting to my room by having any interaction with him.

And here I am today ─ I hardly ever walk anywhere, let alone a three-hour round-trip jaunt after a day at work.
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