Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Each year, something dawns on me like a new thought but since it has happened each year for the past five or so, it is in no way a new revelation.

It is a truth that I just seem to put on the back burner and forget. Maybe my optimistic soul forgets it thinking that particular knowledge will no longer be necessary next year.

This truth falls into the “use it or lose it” category. I have mentioned before that I have arthritis. Well I am certainly not unique, it is the plague of the elderly.

Some of you have never had a twinge and for that be ever grateful. I can kind of relate to you lucky ones for in my youth, I never had the first pimple which is the plague of teens. Some of us are just lucky with good genes.

Most of us know exercise is beneficial for some arthritis sufferers but there in lies the rub. It hurts to exercise. Every winter with the sedentary lifestyle the weather imposes, I stove up.

Then comes Spring and the gardener in me won't let me avoid the pain. Weeds have claimed my flower and veggie beds. They must be dispatched.  Walk into most any variety stores and the garden sections sparkle with temptation. It is time.

So I force that creaky hinge of a back I own, along with some aching hips into bending and lifting so that my eyes and soul will soon be rewarded with a pleasing yard.

My daily work periods at first are quite brief and the rewarding aches make me hobble for the rest of the day. But slowly, almost with out realizing, I work longer and with less lingering pain.

Right now I am almost back to my summer fighting form. The pounds are slipping away, my mobility is returning and pains are way in the back of my awareness, almost nonexistent. Spring is comfortably here. Ahhh, life is so good.

Now I do try to exercise in the winter but it is with my treadmill and my stationary bike. I realize now it is the bending I need to do.

Next year when I start grousing about aches, remind me of this post. I really need to find a winter exercise that will replicate weed pulling. Any suggestions how to "use it in winter so as not to lose it"??  Something that involves lots of bending.

However while Spring puts a spring in my step and back, it also brings the joys of bugs. Yesterday possibly the thing about the warm season I fear the most happened. A tick.

A friend of mine here is still suffering mightily residual effects from tick borne Tularemia she contracted over a year ago. Then there is always ole buddy Lyme’s disease as a looming threat. Luckily I keep my property trim and my dog on a preventive so ticks are rare.

Yesterday however, I felt the telltale crawling up my neck as I was having lunch. I had just come in from putting out mulch around my hedges. Yep, it was the dreaded tick.

I got the little rascal while still on the move but for the rest of the day, my skin crawled and tickled. I still felt the crawling as I drifted off to sleep last night. A powerful thing the mind is. So far this morning, there is no crawling sensation. Phew.

Here's hoping your Spring has brought more joys than pains as mine has. It is such a wonderful time of year.


  1. Oh those pesky ticks. Isn't it odd how you can feel them, even when you are not thinking about them? I know and sympathize about the various disastrous diseases they spread. In addition to Lyme, there is also Babesios and Erlichiosis. I live in Lyme disease central, so all I can say is pick those ticks!

  2. Spring wasn't so comfortable here for my husband...terrible gout attack in the knees, hospitalized even, but home and better now. I read this would be a terrible summer for ticks in some areas, because of such a mild winter.

    Stretch, stretch, stretch forward and down, touch the ground out beyond your toes and bending sideways, arms up, left and right, over and over during the winter helps me, Patti.

  3. I suggest you get one of those exercise bands made out of rubber. You can sit on the floor and put it over your feet and bend and pull as if you are rowing a boat. That should help keep your back limber.

    You reminded me how numerous the ticks are in Colorado. Once after a hike I found one in my hair and it had embedded but not for long. After that I looked for them and almost always found a couple. They hang from the tree branches and wait for you to pass under them. Nasty little creatures, aren't they? :-)

  4. This is, for sure, a bad year for ticks. I don't even look at my yard without putting on tick spray. They are nasty...

  5. I'm glad you are fighting the pain and getting gain. And one sure does lose it quickly. When I was on Gerson Therapy, I was too busy juicing to exercise. My knees stiffened up almost over night.
    Ticks.... really hate those little buggers. I know so many people with Lyme disease in our part of the country. Dogs really attract them. ewe.

  6. Oh, Patti, I am so glad that it didn't get the chance to embed itself! I had to pull one out of my boy's head one time, yuck. We don't really have them in C.O. (they probably can't survive the winter; we don't have fleas either).

    I'm happy to hear that you are feeling better and find something that works for indoor exercise. I need to know what you find out, cuz I'm putting on the pounds.


    Kathy M.

  7. My back hurts when I bend to take something out of the oven, or when I bend to pick up things from the floor, etc. It's probably due to my pot belly. The same thing happened when I was 8-9 months pregnant. Secret is to lose weight.

  8. Tick removal....... put dish soap on a cotton ball, then on the tick. It should just back out!! I haven't tried it yet. and Thanks for the reminder to put front line on Rufus today.

  9. I'm so sorry about your pain, but glad that the work you love helps you. I pick up after the dogs and since I have three, that is at least some bending done during each day. Maybe if you think about bending during the winter, you could just do it. Just bend. My best girl friend, who is 90 now, always did bending and stretching in her apartment. I never do, but I feel I should.

  10. I sure know what you mean about the benefits and difficulties of exercise with arthritis, Patti! It's so hard to make yourself get up and do it and it hurts so much if you're coming out of a period of relative inactivity but it is so beneficial. I always remember a conversation I had with my dear Aunt Evelyn, my mother's very sensible and sane sister, when I asked her if she had any twinges of arthritis. "Oh, yes," she said. "If I didn't exercise, I would be in such pain, I wouldn't be able to get out of this chair. So I walk three miles every day just to keep myself mobile." I've never forgotten those words and they get me up and going and trudging to the gym most mornings.

  11. One of my biggest concerns, Lyme disease. Nasty stuff.

    I find gentle stomach exercises really help my back too.

  12. Oh I hate ticks. My daughter tells me they have an infestation out her way this year. With five dogs, they spend much time picking ticks.

    This is when I chortle about being a city mouse. I have yet to see a single tick around here. Meanwhile the exteminator came yesterday. Those city rats are a sight to behold and I am into murdering the little monsters. Dianne

  13. No suggestions for your stretching exercises other than whatever your do, do it well and properly. Even with the activities I do, I rarely stretch. That day will come, I am sure.

    Ah, ticks. The daily fun out here. I gave up worrying about them, other than checking the pups during and after each walk and tossing the ones I find. The pointer does not often get them. I theorize that because he runs fast and free, they can't latch on from whatever perch they are waiting. The greyhound is leashed. She had 1/2 a dozen yesterday. That's about normal for a walk, sometimes more. We enjoy the pleasure of having them nearly year round. Deer ticks cycle a bit differently than wood ticks do. Love my white, short-haired dogs! :)

  14. Yes, it is such a wonderful time of year. I also have felt the aches and pains of getting my body back into gardening form. I tried not to overdo it this year. Last year after trimming back bushes and lavender all in one day, my left elbow started hurting. The doc offered to shot some cortisone in it, I said, "no thanks." It took at least a month for the pain to go away. That was enough for me to remember that easy does it this year.

    Ticks are nasty things. Glad you found it!

  15. Hi Patti.. I know the feeling of ticks.. while i was in georgia.. i felt something on my head.. yep.. it was a nasty tick.. i don't know what kind but, i itched all over for a couple of days! glad you caught yours before it attached itself!

  16. Swimming or yoga? My grandfather suffered from arthritis briefly and I know how excruciating the pain can get. Take care patti, bending or no bending.

  17. Anytime I am in the yard or the woods, I think I have one crawling on me, whether I do or not. I HATE that feeling.

    I am proof positive that moving (even with arthritis) keeps you going. You will definitely lose it if you don't keep moving.

  18. I am living proff that if you don't move it, you'll lose it...Because of a number of Health Issues, I am unable to do so very many things I use to do---Consequently, there is less and less mobility....Not Good!
    So I understand exactly what you are talking about, my dear Patti....Keep "moving" for as long as you are able....! That would be my only advice---And even pretending you need to 'bend' is better than not bending at all....!

    The "tick" problem sounds quite ghastly....I hope I never have to deal with that!

  19. goodness, I fear the ticks will be bad this year. We have already gotten about 4 or 5 off of Hurricane. Luckily he is on meds so the ticks won't stick to him but still...I have arthritis as well and gosh, it is a double edged sword!

  20. Yikes! I am covered with the 'no see 'ums" from a one time forage to prune the small climbing roses long neglected, not the BLAZER rose.

    Hubby built sort of a trellis with hog wire and I was pruning the tough growth that had no blooms and poking the shorter ones in the hog wire to get them starting climbing.

    I am itching in every conceivable crevice. This is not chiggers, not "jock itch," not mosquitoes, just "no see 'ums," to which I seem very susceptible, and have previously posted.

    Will try to get photos of trellis and flowers which again I do not knpw species except if a runner is allowed to lie on ground while still attached to mother plant, it will root, and you have another plant. I know these little suckers have the thorniest stems!

    Computer is almost restored. I am glad I had a mirror image. An IMAGE is a little easier to make than a full backup, although there are a few disadvantages. I am going to start making them a little more often than yearly!!!

    Sorry about arthritis. That is main reason I sleep in a lift chair. I have it everywhere. I am using a prescription strength of ALEVE called Naproxen 500mg. It is somewhat more effective than the other one I was taking.

    USE IT OR LOSE IS a good description. How about throwing toothbpics all over the floor in the winter and picking them up one by one. sorta like the old childhood table game PICK UP STIX that helped dexterity with little fingers

  21. Gee, thanks. Now, I'm itching all over and I haven't even been outside. lol I tried to do "step aerobics" for a long time, but started having trouble with my knee. I do wish I had room for a stationery bike or a treadmill. I just don't like to exercise outside.

  22. We have more than the usual amount of ticks this year...


    Yoga helps with my aching back...



  23. Oh yes, winter about does me in. Winter is my favorite season but it's certainly not the best season for my health. Watch those ticks. They can really do a number on you.

  24. smartcat,
    It is amazing what your imagination does once you see one.

    Goodness, did not know gout affected the knees. Glad he is better now.
    I just tried those exercises and I can't even touch the floor. I'd best get busy. Thanks.

    Oh, that reminds me how I used to love rowing. Maybe I can actually get a rowing machine. Good idea.

    turquoise moon,
    It is a good idea. My yard normally doesn't have any. Think the mild winter will bite us.

    It sure doesn't take long to get out of shape does it. I think mine may be coming from my neighbors cows and high grass.

    Oregon gifts,
    Wow, no ticks or fleas?? You are living in dog paradise.

    Weight does have some bearing. When I get active in the Spring, I also lose weight. Win/win.

    Thanks for the tip. Should I get one attached, I will try that.

    Your friend has the right idea and is proof that it works. I just need to get a routine and stick with it.

    Dr. Kathy,
    Your Aunt was so smart and ahead of her time. Exercise is preached today by the Arthritis Foundation. Once you get past the initial pain, it really does help.

    You are right. I also do exercises to improve my stomach muscles for my herniated disk. It really helps. Stretching and flexibility is what helps arthritis.

    Those city rats are big as small Chihuhuas. Lucky you though with no ticks. Enjoy.

    I used to have grayhounds and you can't put chemicals on them like you can any other dog. Fleas and ticks were always such a problem with my grays. I'm sure Bella enjoys the picking process.

    Retired English Teacher,
    It is such a temptation to over do when the weather gets nice. Smart you for refusing Cortizone. I do not like that drug.

    Me too sis. Amazing what the mind will make you feel .

    He was smart. I don't have access to a pool and really don't want to get into a bathing suit--yikes. However, you are right. Yoga would really do the trick. Thanks.

    Well you certainly do move a lot. It may not be the most fun but really is the most effective.

    Oh Naomi. It is so sad when one health problem makes another worse. We just work with what we have. I may not move pretty, but I do the best I can.
    Hope you never see a tick. They are nasty buggers.

    Sadly,I think you are going to be right about bugs this year. It just wasn't cold enough. Those meds do work. The only ones I find on Mighty are dead ones.

    Oh, I feel so badly for you. We had those in Florida and they are torture. Hope that season is short in the Ozarks. I haven't been attacked yet by them and hope I don't. Does bug spray repel them?

    Sorry about that. Didn't mean to make anyone else itch:))
    Some of those stationary bikes are really compact. Hope you find one.

    I think this will be a bad season also. You are the second to recommend Yoga. I will check that out. Thanks.

    Guess we need to look for substitute ways to stay limber in Winter. I do fear the tick.

  25. They do say the bugs will be bad this year. You do know you have my complete sympathies about ticks!!

  26. There is a set of exercises so common they are called the "back exercises." My husband does this set every single morning as soon as he gets out of bed and it has made a world of difference in his back stiffness. You can find them on the Mayo Web site at

    You might want to check with your doctor to make certain there is no reason you should not do them.

  27. So glad you are feeling better! I'm not a fan of ticks, that's for sure. I remember once when my dad had one and my mom had to burn it off...that was terrifying!

  28. Ughh..I hate ticks and chiggars and critters that crawl on my skin!! Stretching and walking is all I know you can do- maybe some form of yoga?

  29. I do so identify with you but I am not so good as to use a tread mill etc. My problem is that my back gets worse with bending and gradually seizes and the more I try to do some sort of excersise the more my knees swell hips do benifit from getting moving though out of three ...better than none lol.xx

  30. Forgot to say that i still have not sorted out my dead computer yet and have to borrow daughters lap top ...not the same thats why I've been missing.
    Had to smile at Wandas excersise ....wish I could get anywhere near the floor. xx

  31. Dear Arkansas Patti, . . . I so enjoyed this post. Not because you are in pain but because of your word choices and your wry wit and your way of putting into perspective what you must do if you want that garden.

    On your posting before this, I left a comment about asking my sister-in-law what that shrub was. My computer went crazy last week and so I couldn't send e-mails. So I never got to ask her. Sorry.

    I have a truly irrational fear of ticks. When I drove to Minnesota in April, I found one in my hair the first evening. I'd eaten my lunch at a rest stop and sat under a tree. So I suspect that one dropped down, just as DJan said. Oh, I hate them!!!!!


  32. I can't make it through the day unless I do my 18 Tai Chi warmup exercises every morning... summer or winter. It takes just about 12 minutes and does wonders.
    I'm glad for you that the change in weather helps.

  33. Oh my. Seriously. This post is a mirror of my life. I had my yearly physical on Tuesday and brought a notebook listing all my joints suffering from arthritic degeneration and pain. I could have more easily asks my doctor "how many joints do we have? That's how many hurt I might have added.....

  34. Olga,
    Sadly I think you and "they" are right. This may be the summer of torment.

    NC MOuntainwoman,
    Thanks, I'll check that site to see if there is anything I am not doing. I do back exercises daily and they do keep me from the really painful episodes when my herniated disk gets involved but they don't seem sufficient for weeding. I need to work on flexibility.

    Mom of 12,
    Yikes, burning a tick off sounds pretty rough on the bitee as well as the biter.

    Coloring outside the lines,
    I think you may be right. Yoga is mainly stretching and that is what I need to work on. Thanks.

    I am sure exercise is not the magic bullet for everyone and could possible do more damage than good. I know I hurt like a
    son-of-a-gun for about two weeks before I notice the improvement. Exercise should be doctor prescribed, which is what my doc has done.
    Ha ha, I have a lot of work to do before I make it to the floor also.

    Don't feel badly, I am pretty sure smartcat identified the monster bush. Hope your computer has recovered now. We sure depend on them.
    Thank you for the really nice compliment about my post. Praise from Caesar.

    Thanks for the reminder about Tai Chi. I think that would really be helpful with flexibility.

    I feel your pain friend. One of the joys of living long. We can still do what we used to, we just pay a higher price these days.

  35. Hi Patti,

    I understand and empathize with your pain. I also have arthritis. Tai Chi is great. You have a wonderful blog...thank you for sharing.

  36. I remind myself to keep moving. I don't have to walk six miles every weekend like I used to. I don't have to work in the yard for four hours like I used to.

    Use it or lose it. For sure.

  37. I hate ticks, what about a stationary rowing machine?

  38. If you go to YouTube and search "Chair Yoga" you'll find a bunch of videos. I bet this would help your back a lot. And I wouldn't wait until Fall to start. It will help with your gardening, too.

  39. Hmmm....ticks. That is maybe the best thing about living in Western Washington...if they have ticks here I have never seen one. No poisions snakes either. They say there is the Recluse (sp?) spider but I don't know anyone personally who as been bit by one. OH....and none of those horrible 100 degree days...YES! I am glad I live here.
    There is that rainy over cast that is a bit troublesome. A few years back I heard the radio guy say it had been a 117 days since we had seen the sun. Hmmmm....I am not sure I believe him, that is a awful long time.

  40. Nasty little blood suckers! I know what you mean; I have nightmares of them crawling on me when I find one on me now. You will never guess what I purchased today….an 18’ swimming pool! You are welcome to come over anytime to swim– no bathing suit required! : )

  41. Linda,
    At first I thought you were one of the many Lindas.
    Always love to see a new face. Welcome to TNS and thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

    Linda Myers,
    I know what you mean. My goals have been scaled back but we still keep moving. Or at least we should.

    Welcome and thanks for stopping by. I had not heard of Chair Yoga but have looked it up and it looks really promising. I think you may have hit on the remedy. Thank you so much.

    Oh my, you truly live in paradise. Outside of gardening not being great with out sun, I easily could do with out it for 117 days. I cooked my brains out in Florida for too many years.

    You of all people need to fear the tick.
    Ha ha, I do hope you meant swimming in shorts and a tee instead of a bathing suit.

  42. Ticks are here also a great danger. If only we notice them in time like you did, then we can avoid getting sick. I am glad that you were in time pulling the insect out.
    Be careful Patti!

  43. Hope you had an awesome Mother's Day!

  44. Yes, that! hahaha Looking forward to partying with you and the girls on Thursday! : )

  45. First, you are such an inspiration! Second, ticks are the worse. We do not get them as often in South Florida, but my parents had a dog that died of lyme disease...

  46. Seems those ticks are more frequent than in the past. Any idea how come? Good to know your back into summer shape. I wish I felt better. My spring is just not quite right this time.

  47. I'm well acquainted with Uncle Arthur. It's always hard for me to get around after the first round of yard work. My neck hurts worse than anything after bending over. Wish I could say that the pounds are dropping off, but I think I eat to make myself feel better after all the work! And ticks scare the daylight outta me. I find a few every year. It's those itty bitty ones that are hard to see that I worry most about.

  48. When I saw the photo, my first thought was "what a cute and unusual looking spider that is!" We don't have ticks here which is why I that the one in the photo was "cute"... how wrong I was, and why is it, after reading your post, I am now so itchy!
    Agggggggggggh! Sorry about the aches and pains, no fun at all, but it is good that the garden still provides pleasure!

  49. Reader Wil,
    Sorry you have those nasty buggers also Wil. May we both remain bite free.

    Mom of 12,
    Thanks and I know you did with all the younguns making sure of it.

    Me too. Its been a while since you could join us. See ya then.

    Introverted Art,
    Welcome to TNS. Thank you for stopping by and for the nice pat on the back.
    I did not know dogs could get it also. Yikes

    I have heard the mild winter we almost all had is the villain. Be careful.

    I know just what you mean. It is so hard to keep going past the pain.
    What helps me is that I am too tired to eat. That will pass the better shape I get in and I will probably reward eat also.Sigh.

    Oh how I wish we didn't have those "cute" spiders. How fortunate you don't have any and hope it stays that way. Nice to know some areas are safe.

  50. the tick sprays work! they keepl the bugs away and then you can enjoy the outside...
    I am your newest follower..pls follow bcd if you can.

  51. Darn Patti I wish I had saved this tick post for reading in the morning because now I am fixing to go to bed and you know I will be just like you thinking something is crawling on me. lol
    I hate bugs of any kind. Just last night I saw the outside mom-ma cat eating a darn big old black spider the one I can't spell the name of but hate them with a passion. Kept me up most of the night thinking of the image. haha
    I do hope you can enjoy your yard this summer without all the pain.
    It is sad that if we don't use it we lose it but so true.
    I am finding more and more just how true this is.
    Maybe you could join a group of ladies at a nearby center or have them out to your place and you exercise together.
    Seriously I wish I knew what to suggest. Maybe we can think of something before winter gets here.
    Just take care of yourself and don't over do it this summer in the yard
    Love ya

  52. Winter exercise needed? Come on down for a visit in our warmer winter. We have weeds you can pull all winter long! Since my stroke I even have diabolical baby oak trees growing in my veggie patch.

    I am almost ready to make my maiden solo voyage into weed territory.Not quite, but almost. Sympathies on the "stoving up." Mine occurs in hip from sitting too many minutes without getting up and moving.

    Please take pix so we can vicariously enjoy the product of your pain, too, when those blossoms and veggies show up!

  53. Mom of 8
    Welcome to TNS. You are my second bunch of kids mom. Thank you for following, I will check your site.

    Actually there is a Strong Woman program put on at the nearby church but it is mostly working with weights and I need flexibility. That is one of the first things to go.
    Hope you slept well. The mind is a powerful thing.

    Actually we had a mild winter here that I didn't take advantage of. When in Florida, I worked year round in the yard which kept me in better shape. Of course I was younger:))
    I will be doing a pic post soon as I am almost done with all the work and it is time to just enjoy.