What I am Reading and other Updates on what’s going on here today


I wanted  you tell you about two books I have recently read dealing with stroke.  I’ve provided links to purchase these books at Amazon, I bought the Kindle edition of both for a much lower cost – I think each was under $5.  The third book, which  I believe I will find very interesting and perhaps disturbing, I purchased hard-cover and it will live on the small book shelf in my office with Jack the pug bank on top once its finished entertaining  and/or educating me.

As an aside: Many years ago I was complaining to a colleague in the cubicle next to mine about how expensive books were becoming at $10 for a paperback of a fiction bestseller at the time – she stopped me mid-complaint and asked me how long it took to read the book – depending on number of pages,  5-10 hours I guessed – and was I entertained? she prodded…….. -well I sure was – then perhaps $10 for 5-10 hours of good entertainment was not all that expensive after all.  (to put it in context – I read  a lot at the time – still do – It would not have been unusual to spend over a $100 or more a week or more on my book fix more if I had to buy hardcover to get at a coveted title not yet in paperback) .  To grammar junkies reading this, I know the period goes inside the close parenthesis  but I put it outside anyways.   Little known fact:  I won the English award in Grade 8  – that and Jan Duffy’s red pen have served me well and made me a better writer.   ( Jan was a former boss of mine who was the Partner at Peat Marwick that I reported to in the late 1980’s) and spent enormous amounts of her time editing  client reports I had written.  (you either did or didn’t not perhaps or might – no wishy-washy words slipped past her red pen).

Dave and I look at lots of things that way now  – good theatre or concert tickets, a ridiculously expensive dinner – even a few hours at the craps table in Vegas – was he up or down at the end of play? – he actually doesn’t care all that much  – he had one helluva good time at the table.

Now, about those books…..

The first, “My stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor is very well known and the author has also done a popular TED Talk.  Google it and watch it to get the gist of her situation without reading the book.  I did read the book as well because I thought I might learn more. and I did glean a few nuggets.

The second is I think less well known ” Stroke after Stroke” by Barb Polan (a writer and former recreational rower) is a story I really related to.  Not only did she have a right hemisphere stroke causing left hemiparesis like I did she is a  thoughtful woman who is determined to overcome and get back to “normal” whatever that turns out to be for her.  She leaves the impression of a happy woman who works super-hard at her recovery yet is taking full advantage of her second chance at a new life, found happiness or at least some measure of content in herself and her situation and faces the future with her wonderful husband four and a half years after her stroke with unflinching determination and sense of purpose.

Another aside: “they” will tell you the best recovery is in the first 6 months  to one year post stroke but after that don’t expect too much.  “They” are right about the first part.  The first 6-12 months of recovery is super-important  but she and I think they are wrong about after that.  She continues to see some aleit small improvements 4.5 years out and my prime focus is shifting to left side muscle development.  Sarah would say the focus was already there; no shift required.  I’ve just started to worry about my left side getting really weak and have let my imagination run wild and loose with pictures of what that might look like unless I  double down and work even harder before it’s too late)

Back on topic now, Barb is a fine writer.  I really enjoyed this book. Made me think and I learned some new things like if you resist the urge to cry it passes after 20 seconds (at least I think I learned this from her book, its been a few days since I read it – but it seems to work.)Perhaps I’ll post on the spontaneous, uninvited, unwanted crying topic later, for now I’m moving on.

Sometimes I just want to feel a real book in my hands so I ordered the hardcover version of Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder.  I expect the book to arrive this week and will give it a proper review after I’ve read it; but I expect this book to be really sad – about seniors living nomadic lives on the road in campers and the like pursuing part time, low paying work in Amazon parking lots across America instead of living the good life they dreamed of  and worked their entire lives in pursuit of.

In other Updates……

The feature picture today is of my August schedule.  I keep a monthly paper schedule as I lead a very busy life post stroke and need to keep track of all my  “me management” activities because, well, there’s always  lots going on here with awesome mountain girl’s self-directed recovery  program.

Today is Massage Wednesday and I’m seeing Karen at Fernie Massage this afternoon (or at least I will be if I ever get to the end of this post) and then it’s off to Spa 901 for the always-fun waxing of miscellaneous body parts.  I am not fond of this  as you either know or can imagine but its lately been reclassified as a necessity in the ongoing, never-ending  ” Management of Me”.  (honestly, I don’t know how I found the time to work before).   Manoeuvering with a razor in a slippery shower is officially a safety issue and I’m just not doing it anymore. (no worries; no accidents yet – my never fallen track record is still intact; I just want to keep it that way – not worth the risk.)

Slow roasted pork tenderloin was a big win for dinner on Tuesday night.  Lightly rubbed with spices and topped with my own  tomato sauce processed and canned with friends here in Fernie a year and a half ago and  roasted for 4 hours at 250 degrees.  Next time I will make it with  a sweet, sticky sauce like Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ.

Kim (colleague of Shona from Fernie Essential Yoga) came by the gym yesterday to take me through a 1:1 session of chair yoga.  These women are lovely, kind and helpful to this yogi-wanna-be.  I’m planning to go to the weekly class Kim leads at the Senior Centre in beautiful downtown Fernie on Thursday mornings before meeting up with Sarah at the gym later that afternoon. As an aside:  As you know,  I’m not a senior so I’m slipping in under false pretenses, – hoping not to be busted and denied entry – but I’ve got friends in high places.  Kim  leads the class.

If I have time later today I’m going to make that chili I talked about on Monday.(Hopefully) more to report on this tomorrow. (big smile -honestly there’s no more asides, I’m hitting publish now to send it out to you all)

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