Peaceful days

Comments 2 Standard
Man Ray

I haven’t done much useful this week.
The must-do:s; yes, been biking and even walking! But reading and writing? Not much…
… a bit of cleaning…

One walk was involuntary. Monday afternoon after having left the grandson and the car at my daughter’s place, I began my way home. By bike, 4 kilometres. Decided to walk a part of the way since I really need to move my back, hips and thighs more.

This is not a kind of vanity, wanting to get slimmer or something more or less shallowly. This is bloody seriously! It is a long story that I will try make short. I have just written the long version and I don’t want to bore you as much as it bored me when reading it.

The story includes sciatica that emerged three years ago. It includes pain, muscle stiffness and difficulties to walk. It includes physiotherapists, biking, stretching, gym and ONE physiotherapist that actually gave me treatments including massaging all little hard nobs in the muscles until they disappeared.

It includes a slightly askew back, on the one side too cramped muscles and on the other too stretched out. It also includes increased pain and stiffness when I began poking in this mess.

It also includes laying a lot of stress behind me when retiring and moving back to my hometown… and now I could go on…. but won’t…

Biking goes pretty well now. I am satisfied but have still trouble walking. Too stiff around the hips. But I keep trying since I know it’s necessary. It seems that so far my limit is circa 1,7 kilometres at present. occasionally I have managed between 2-3 kilometres. And then on a warming pad in the sofa. At least 3 days of “handicap” afterwards. Earlier in my life, I used to walk a lot in the woods, so this now is NOTHING!!!

Two weeks ago, I decided to take a walk in a nearby small wood. The walking path appeared to be 2,2 kilometres. At 1,7 I wished I could teleport myself to the car. Then 3-4 days to recover on the heat pad. I did like the walk, though. Very much.

Then this happened…

Yes! How was it with that unwillingly walk this Monday?

I was on my way home, after driving my grandson. At first, I walked with my bike 1,2 kilometers. My plan was to bike the dull part and then maybe walk again when entering the wood-park. A lot of green stuff all around always makes me happy.

It didn’t happen that way. I biked through the wood park, but just as I was about to enter the bigger biking lane, a metallic crack was heard and the pedals just went around and around with no resistance at all.

There was a small curve there, just around a stone, and I had to succeed to round that stone in order not to fall into a ditch. Not a deep one, but deep enough to make me fall off the bike and maybe even hurt myself.

I managed, and I thanked the spirit within that I had biked really slowly and not downhill. The end of the story might have been quite different then.

What to do now? My ass and legs felt uneasy, a slight vibration haunted the muscles. The strain – not fear of falling.

Walk directly home, or to the bike mechanic? I pondered. How much longer to the mechanic? Would it be wise to wait until the next day to take my bike there? I chose to go to the mechanic at once. Maybe he would take care of it immediately, or I could leave the bike there until tomorrow. Wouldn’t need it until 2 PM – at the latest.

So I did! I walked. Slowly and tried to be as relaxed as possible.

The mechanic took a quick look. The chain had jumped off. Then he looked a bit closer, at the chain and at the wheel nave, and at the entire thing.

“You need a new chain”, he said and noticed there was something odd about the wheel nave. The wheel shield holders were… like… too short… or should I say – the chain was too long, too slacky… (I don’t know the vocabulary here)

“Yes, the chain has always been a bit slack, even when the bike was new”, I said.
“You also need a new tire so you have to leave the bike here til tomorrow”, he said.

I had already earlier told him that would be alright. The time was now about 4-4,15 PM, and at this time of year, a bike mechanic has lots and lots to do. Not everyone is like me, using their bike all year around.

So I walked. Slowly. Holding the bike basket in one hand, and tried not to think about anything. Just one step at a time. I felt quite alright, amazingly enough, but how would it feel later on? Tomorrow? Day three?

Finally home, I could hardly wait to check Runkeeper to see how far I had walked that afternoon. Guess what! 4,75 kilometres! (almost 3 miles).

I am proud! I did it!
I can’t remember when I last walked that far! And it didn’t hurt too much either! Not even the next day, or the one after that. Okay! There was pain in my feet, but that didn’t bother me. There were pain and stiff muscles in the legs as well, but that didn’t bother me either. The worst was the back, as usual, but thanks to the fact I had walked slowly, it was okay. I coped!
I stretched, and sat on the heat pad, and walked around at home making small movements several times during the next coming days.

Early Thursday morning, I went to the small wood again. I slowly walked the 2,2 kilometres. Immediately when back at the car, the muscles were shivering, but later when I stepped out of the car at my parking place, it felt good. Two weeks earlier, also early in the morning, I  had walked the same path and that time it had felt worse – at 1,7 kilometres I wished I could have teleported to the car. But not this time!

My ability to walk has without doubt increased lately, and I am both happy and grateful. Today, Saturday, my back isn’t happy but at least I know why. And when I sat in the car that morning and told myself I would take that walk – I felt so happy and really looked forward to it. It was genuinely wonderful!

I can see this mishap with the bike as a necessary kick in the ass. Help. A blessing, even. A gift that also arrived in the best possible time. Early Monday and Wednesday mornings, I would have biked to my grandson to fetch him and the car. How unfortunate it would have been if the bike had fallen into pieces then. Also at Tuesday noon had been a terribly bad time for such an event. The mishap happened at the most convenient time it could, so it wouldn’t add trouble to my grandson. Or me.

It also gave me a huge push to dare myself to walk more and longer. And as long as he needs me as a chauffeur, I can use the possibility to take walks in more pleasant surroundings than on city streets.
I think, what often hinders us to do things, is the fear of pain or, as in my case, more stiffness and that slight unsteadiness I’ve experienced. Not really dizziness, but a tiny bit like it.

But the most important isn’t How – but That I’m moving around this body more and more – and in different ways.
Dancing to Britain’s got talent is also doable…

P.S. – Yesterday my grandson told me he is soon up for the final driver license test. He didn’t say when, but I got the impression it will be due sometime in the week after next. He will tell me later. Or suddenly just show me the card.

I will miss him, our moments in the car. Almost every day, you know!

The Header Image – ALINE ET VALCOUR, Man Ray, 1950

Changes

Standard

For three or four days I’ve been going through all 184 premium themes that are available to me at Wp. I have for quite some time wanted a theme with a ‘Drop Caps’, and preferably also an ‘Intro.’

(Drop caps real “name” is drop capital or drop initial, a larger initial letter of a section of a text, at least twice the height of one row. I’ve earlier learnt this under the name Anfang. I guess this word has its roots in the old Gutenberg typesetting system. And I don’t mean Wp,s  awful Gutenberg editor. (shivering of disgust). The word Anfang just means “beginning”
An Intro is a section at the beginning of a text, a sentence or a shorter paragraph, that has a larger font-seize then the rest of the text. You can see both of them in the paragraph above.)

I’ve always liked Drop caps. And even more so if it is a beautiful and/or fun one. Therefore I’ve been searching for a theme that allows one – even though I will have to add it myself with a CSS-code. But that’s all right.

If it were only possible to search for such a theme on Wp! But that is not something Wp can provide. A good search system. Last time I added “drop caps” as a search term, I got two hits. I searched for microformats, got some hits, but not necessarily drop caps. And now I realize there are themes that can show a drop cap, but still don’t show up when searched for. Hmm…

Drop caps and Intros aren’t necessary. I just think it can look really good, at the beginning of something written. Something where words are in focus.
Necessary is, on the contrary, to have a narrow main column when written texts are the main concern. For one simple reason – it’s way more readable! With long rows, it too easy for the eyes to lose contact, you can literally unintentionally glide from one row to another, and thus lose contact with what you’re reading.

So besides a Drop cap and hopefully also an Intro, I want a narrow main column. They are not easy to find, most of them are among the older themes, and therefore neither allow drop caps nor featured images.

I have missed having featured images.
Not too huge. Not too small. Not covered with grey or any other colour. Not one that has been oddly cropped by Wp. Or squeezed together from up to down. When trying this out, one theme decapitated the Matisse – woman. Not nice at all. And it’s certainly not good-looking when you begin a post with an image, and the very same image turns up as featured – in the same size!!!!

I want a nice looking blockquote.
Not huge and black-black, and not with a quote-sign hanging around. Aligned left or right, it’s nice when it pops out a bit on the side, which also goes for images.

I would like a nice header-image – but that can be hard to get. What I dislike the most, is when they are more or less covered with grey. Or the colour of the Header text doesn’t change with the back-lying images, so

I would like a fun, colourful theme with personality. Those are among the old ones, and there was a time when there were lots and lots of those old funny themes. We who have older blogs – my oldest, and still having, is from 2009, and I will keep that as long as possible due to all the nice old blog-themes. Even though that blog lies dormant at present. And even though Wp have deleted many of them, and keeps on deleting old themes. I think it’s sad that most of the newer blog themes are so look alike. Boring. White with huge texts, images and widgets. Now I talk about wp.com.

You with wp.org – for example – have way more possibilities. Last time I had a look at wp.org, there must have been at least circa 2000. Which also makes it a bit tough to choose. Who knows in beforehand exactly how one wants the blog to look like? I don’t, never have.

Anyhow! With Wp, you never get all of what you really want. So you have to compromise. What is the most important?
To me, now – the drop caps and a good looking featured image placement. And absolutely a narrow main column. The rest I hoped for.

So, therefore, I added the CSS codes to the Text (instead of Visual in the editor) in the latest post. Later on, I also sat with my iPad adding featured images to some of the later ones.

Then I checked out how my blog would look like, covered in every one of the themes. Most of them I just previewed hastily, a couple I tested a little. I made some short notes about each theme I didn’t discard immediately. And I also made a couple of notes on some  themes without drop caps, as they seemed to be quite nice

I forgot to count how many I had “chosen” during this first round. Twenty, twenty-five maybe. Then I checked out these with a real preview. At that time I had added the featured images. Due to those, I discarded a lot of themes. I also rapidly discarded those with wide main columns, or with any other flaws.

Then they were ten!
And then two.
Then I chose this one. Patch.
Discovered there were no “previous” and “next” posts.
Sighed…. was totally fed up with the whole blog thing now… grabbed the first best blog that was at hand…

Name: Photo Blog.
The theme with the name Photo Blog has one of the
most narrow main columns of them all! 
And the one called "Bloggy" has one of the widest! 
Odd world - WP.

Was it all okay then?

Looked at both.
Compared.

And turned immediately back to Patch. I like this one more.
I didn’t get any good looking Blockquotes though.

Now I only have to add featured images to quite a lot of posts, and maybe I will delete a couple at the same time. Clean up the blog, so to speak.

Finally A confession:
On the whole, I think it’s funny to test themes. This time it was just too many to check out, it got tiresome in the end. Many of them are also boring to look at, and some are – plain ugly.

But that is just my opinion!