Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A Day in the Life of Ken

Inside it is 70 degrees but Nanay, Tess' mom, is still freezing. I think it is all psychological. She has been here since March and has surely acclimated to the weather and God knows we had days this summer when it was no more that 70 degrees outside and she didn't dress like this so I am convinced 'being cold' is in her head now that the threat of serious winter is here.

Here she is wearing a sweater, a shirt, and an undershirt and has on long underpants and sweatpants as well as being wrapped up in up in two blankets.  It looks like she has passed out from the exertion of having to carry around all that clothing.

I fixed her though. I turned on the gas fireplace in the living room and ran the fan full blast. It wasn't long before she started shedding blankets and sweaters.

We had a light dusting snow last week and the skies were very gray and threatening but it warmed up again and melted.

Right now it is just cool enough to put a light skim of ice on the frog pond but that is all and that just barely. If it warmed up another degree or two even that would melt.

My honey suffers from truly terrible insomnia and never gets adequate sleep. The subject of sleep is a frequent source of conversation. She does not wish to take prescription drugs but has tried every home remedy, everything the natural supplements store has to offer, and nearly every old wives's tale she has ever heard. Nothing is too far fetched to pass up in the quest for a good night's sleep.

Last night when we went to bed there was a knot in the corner of the sheet. I asked her why the hell she was tying the sheets in knots and she said she had been told it prompted sleep so tried it. "It didn't work," she said? I couldn't help it. I had to ask her if she expected it to. I am never sure, Tess is a cosmopolitan girl and has lived in some of the largest cities of the world but there is a superstitious steak in her that often makes me shake my head. I mean, really, a knot tied in the sheets to promote sleep?

I often read when we go to bed keeping the light on while she tried to settle down and then turn it out when she seems to finally be getting a bit drowsy. Last night I turned it out early and listened to my iPod while we cuddled. When she didn't get drowsy she asked if she could listen to music on my iPod. She said she never got to listen to music since her mother came to live with her because the stereo was in the living room and her mother was always watching TV. She thought that maybe listening to music would make her sleepy.

I told her I didn't have any music on the player, it was just dozens of dharma talks by Buddhist teachers. She wanted to know why I was always listening to these Buddhist teachers and meditating. I told her it was because it made me a better person, made me happier, and made life easier. She wanted to know how it made life easier.

So I told her it helped with my anger which prompted her to say that I still got angry. I agreed that was true but I didn't get anywhere near as angry as I used to nor anywhere near as often. Listening to the dharma talks and meditating also meant I wasn;t worrying about things as much. Of course Tess reminded me I still worried sometimes and I agreed I did sometimes but nowhere near as much as before. She asked if there was any other reason and I told her that it helped me to shut my mind off and just relax.

"You can't shut your mind off," she proclaimed. When I assured her I could she didn't believe me so I asked her why it was she had such difficulty sleeping. She said it was because she thought about things too much. So, I told her again that that was why I liked Buddhism so much. It had taught me how to stop my head from spinning. When expressed skepticism again I just asked her if she had ever seen me tie knots in the sheets to get to sleep.

She laughed so hard I though she was going to choke but is beginning to show an interest in basic meditation.

At the top of the hill at my parents house everything was bathed in bright sunshine today but the the city core was swaddled in a thick, dank, cold fog all day from the two rivers. As the temperature drops tonight this ice fog will make the roads very dangerous.

This picture was taken this afternoon at 3:30 from Dragon Lake hill looking down into the river valley into town. All you can see is fog shrouding the entire town. Just 3:30 and already it is getting dark. An hour later at 4:30 it was dark. Fucking hell, I hate the north in the winter. It will get dark earlier and earlier until by the middle of next month it will be dark by 3:45 and it won;t be light again until 8:30 in the morning. Those of you who live south of the 49th do not experience this phenomena. Of course in the summer it is light outside until 11:00 at night but, truthfully, that does not make up for the less than 8 hours a day of daylight we get in the winter. And we are lucky! The further north you go the less daylight there is until north of 60 there is 24 hours of darkness in the winter. Yeah, boy. That is where I want to be: north of 60 eating frozen dog shit for the rest of my life.

Last Friday completed 183 consecutive days of walking, half a year. I have stepped my way through 2,727 kilometers averaging 14.9 kilometers a day. Not bad for a couch potato.

And tomorrow? Well tomorrow will be six months of no smoking.

(Originally posted to Multiply November 18, 2008)

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