13 May 2024

Summer could not have come sooner.


the first lily

As usual, spring was just a skip and a hop, a nervous day or three with sunlight and blossoms opening and now we have summer. Full on. When I was a kid, my mother and German people in general, had this thing about Übergangskleidung - transitional clothing - when you get to wear a somewhat lighter anorak and ditched the mittens and scarf on your way to school but still had to stick to the warm tights. Not here in the valley of the fat river. From one day to the next, it's all tank tops and Birkenstock sandals. 

Anyway, this summer is different because I don't work anymore, it doesn't matter if there's a thunderstorm or if it's getting too hot to work without the fan on and the blinds down. I am only two weeks into full retirement and I am head over heels in love with it.

That's the good stuff.  

the veg patch is exploding, the glas cover is there to protect the corn, the pots in front are even more potatoes, all in all I think, we are growing eight different varieties this year

The not so good stuff is that eating contimues to be like gambling—sometimes I win, but mostly I lose. After some complicated blood work and bioelectrical impedance analysis I have now officially earned the title of malnourished and in the spirit of, let's try whatever, have been refered to the department of nutritional science where I was swiftly included into an ongoing study on the gut microbiome. I will do my bit for science even now! For the next three weeks I have to follow a very restricted diet and ingest something called PHGG. It's only a stopgap, a distraction of sorts, however, while I await the scheduled second and third opinion on possible surgery options and these now include removal of some of my intestine. To add some entertainment I have enrolled in an online course on improving muscle strength, eight weeks, every second day, 40 minutes including warm up and cool down. Another gamble, but so far, I am surviving.

the plumeria look kind of odd this year


On the outside, I am the same skinny woman, I walk a lot, cycle a lot, I use my roll of FKNZ stickers to cover the neonazi graffiti along my walking route and elsewhere. I chat to people, dogs, cats and birds. I whisper my appreciation to the rambling rose and the plum trees.  I sleep well, read a lot and solve cryptic crossword puzzles.

I knitted these three pillow cases using up some of the left-over wool that I had marked retirement. The pattern is from ravelry (designed by Jenise Hope) and R will do the sewing and stuffing, he is a talented tailor in disguise as long as the seams are in a straight line.


Pixie said...

Congratulations Sabine. I'll still be working this summer, but not much, two days a week at most. I'm limiting myself, otherwise, why retire.

Your knitting is beautiful! I can knit, but patterns and I are not friends. I'm glad somebody is looking at your nutritional needs. That PHGG sounds interesting but I'm guessing it would cause my poor gut to produce even more gas than it already does! I give cows a run for their money when it comes to methane:)

37paddington said...

You knitted those covers? I’m so impressed! I do hope they zero in on what is causing your nutritional challenges and solve it for you, hopefully without surgery. Congrats on retirement!

Ms. Moon said...

I, too, am incredibly impressed with your knitting. I could no more do that than I could build a house with my own two hands.
It is surprising to me that you have the energy to do your walking and bike riding with your nutritional situation. Or is it simply a matter of will?
You are an amazing woman. That's what I have to say about that.

Sabine said...

It sounds great, doesn't it, when I write that I walk a lot and cycle a lot. And I do and yes, it's a matter of willpower. When walking, I get slower and slower as I move along, and often the occasional park bench on the river promeande or elsewhere is most welcome. It helps to listen to a podcast episode usually one that lasts about one hour and of course, the tyranny of the fitbit. As for cycling, it's an e-bike, easy peasy.

ellen abbott said...

last year we had a long cool/temperate spring and then high summer landed on us with both feet. this year no long spring but hot days with a few cool ones interspersed here and there. like today.

eight varieties of potatoes? I'm only growing two and the plants are turning yellow but never bloomed. I can't believe you already have plumeria flowers, a very pretty one. I do have one sending up two bloom stalks though.

can you tolerate one of those nutritional drinks like Ensure? I have no words for what you are going through and I hope they figure it out soon.

those knitted pillow covers are amazing! I would have thought something so complex would have had to be woven. beautiful work and isn't retirement great!

am said...

Wow! Your knittings are so beautiful! I feel happiness seeing them. And the garden!

Wondering if you and R saw the northern lights. Amazing views here in Western Washington. I watched from my porch from 11:30 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. on Friday night / Saturday morning.

Thinking of you often as you navigate the good stuff and the not-so-good stuff. You've reminded me all along with this quote:

Live all you can: It’s a mistake not to.

Sabine said...

I have done some form of Ensure, mainly protein drinks, for a while but apparently in the long run that stuff creates havoc with the microbiome and seemingly has done so in my case. The study diet I am now following is five small meals with a list of what's allowed and what not too long to list here and a strict protocol of daily protein and fat intake (which was far too little for far too long in my case) and a couple of other measures. In three weeks, the lab tests will be repeated, the daily protocols reviewed and we shall see if my guts can handle it. So far, mixed results.

Sabine said...

Sadly, the nights when the aurora was visible here we had dense cloud cover.

Colette said...

I'm so happy you are enjoying retirement gardening. It makes such a difference not to worry about getting everything done on your days off. I'm hoping for the best with the new study diet. And your knitted pillow cases are amazing!

am said...

Hope that the study diet proves to be nourishing and healing.

molly said...

Amazing knitting Sabine! I'd be amazed, even if you were in the best of health, that you could do such intricate patterns, but to be able to do such work when you're dealing with all those health issues, is nothing short of astonishing. Maybe retirement and the lack of work stress will also help.

Steve Reed said...

Those pillows are amazing! Bravo! And I'm impressed that you even HAVE plumeria there.

Hopefully that surgery won't prove necessary. Dave has had some intestine removed a couple of times.