If you thought last month’s Repairs and Maintenance blog was boring, this one on Routine ought to be a real snoozer. It’s not that I go out of my way to write about dull things, but in a month full of seasonal events sometimes it is worth while to reflect on the background activity that makes up the bulk of our lives. Part of what brought me to this topic was an article in Parade Magazine.
It is about Olga Kotelko a 93 year old that still is a track star. It emphasizes healthy routines as a key to a long and happy life. Part of what prompted me to write about Routine is a new little exercise routine I have been doing for a couple months to strengthen my back after it went out on me just before the critical grape-picking season in October. My chiropractor suggested some “core exercises”, mostly a variety of leg lifts and some work with a “kettle ball”. Up to now, I have been a farm snob about exercise. I figured that if you got out there and did actual physical work a good deal of the day, that was all you needed. Taking time and money to work out seemed like an effete lifestyle thing for the wealthy and otherwise under-worked people.
Well I’ve had a change of heart on that way of thinking. Now that I have my repetitions up to decent levels, my lower back and the rest of my body in that general area is working better. On December 16th I helped load and did all the unloading of 8000 lbs of goat manure from the Quillisascut Cheese Company and Farm School. I can’t say that I was not a little tired and sore afterward, but my back was okay and would not have been otherwise. Now along with chopping firewood and leg lifts, I turn over a bit of the manure pile every morning.
Several people have encouraged me to get a tractor capable of hauling, tilling, loading, plowing snow etc. I may well do that some day, but I can do most of those things by hand. I’m still a bit of a farm snob about exercise, also a tight-wad.
Another point in the Olga article is that “habits-not cravings, as you might expect-” determine food choices. So there are lot of other areas worthy of good routines. I can’t say that I always eat right, always stand when I could while working or always refrain from watching easy-viewing TV shows. I could have much better routines and I’m working on that.
There is nothing like the Christmas season to make you eat too much, spend too much, worry a lot about how you look and generally get out of whatever routine, healthy or otherwise that you might have. We attended our share of parties, sent a lot of Christmas Newsletters and exchanged a number of gifts this year. It was good to think about people you care about but don’t contact often. Our regular Christmas Newsletter seemed to be especially well-received this year. It is a worthwhile annual routine.
I made a new goodie for the winter solstice bonfire at the Schotts, apple tarts with nuts and homemade raisins. I’ll have to do more of those. Cheryl made a new goodie for the annual Christmas Dinner with Mary Selecky, an easy-nonbake tiramisu. We have had it several times but it was new for that party. I have to say though that for shear showmanship, nothing outdid Charlie Schuerman’s Chocolate Mouse ( yes Mouse not Mousse) Cake. It consisted of a pretty regular holiday cake, probably purchased from a bakery, that looked at first like it was being eaten by a swarm of tiny mice. The mice turned out to be made by welding together a large Hershey’s Kiss and a maraschino cherry with a chocolate coating. They had almond slices for ears and the stem on the cherry served as a tail.
Also in the completely-outdone-and-shown-up department, we attended a Christmas Party at CR and Jane Conn’s. CR (don’t ask me what that stands for, he won’t say) inspired the concrete construction of our underground house. His is at least 5 or 6 times larger and completely finished. Jane decorated 4 different Christmas trees in the house each with its own theme. There were trees for red and white cloth Santa Clauses, visual puns (something like a miniature toilet + a deer + railroad track + a paddle = “John Deer Tractor”) and stuffed animals to name three.
In the decorate-your-truck division of the completely-outdone-and-shown-up department, we have the Colville Concrete truck for 2013. Mercifully, it didn’t have many flashing strings of lights. They were the standard for a house on the main street of Colville that was a sight to make eyes sore. I won’t include a picture. I still don’t know how they made strings of lights turn from red to green to yellow to blue and back to red. Don’t expect that to show up in our routine any time soon.
Our tree was much more modest but very classy. We bought it from a neighbor who has hundreds of Christmas trees growing on his property. Cheryl decorated it with lights – which you can see in the picture- and lots of very cute ornaments that she has collected over the years.
I hope you have a great 2014.