Nancy asked in a comment I posted a couple of days ago, "Did you really post this at 3:14 A.M.?"
Oh yes. I sleep well most nights; I usually go to sleep within minutes of going to bed. However, no matter whether I hit the sack at 8 P.M. or midnight, I wake up early. Usually not at 3 A.M., but often at four, and almost always by five. I decided years ago that six hours of sleep must be right for me, because I cannot force myself to sleep longer unless I take an over-the-counter sleep aid. Since I don't have to go to work, I don't often take a pill unless I've had a string of nights of only sleeping four or five hours.
I'd love to sleep longer. I lie there awake for an hour, sometimes, hoping sleep will return; it seldom does.
Michaele left this comment on my previous entry: "Six miles a day?"
This is in reference to the fact I mentioned walking that far, back in 1983.
Yes, that year I became rather addicted to walking; there were days I even walked twelve miles.
It's no wonder my knees are bad, is it?
Here's the scoop:
Cliff worked at a butcher shop three miles from where we lived during that two-and-a-half-year period. He had a spell of extreme back trouble; he was off work for at least three weeks. A couple of times he passed out from pain, just getting up to walk to the bathroom. When he walked, he bent to one side; he absolutely could not straighten up.
I checked out a book at the library, "The Back Book". It really enlightened us on back problems and what to do about them.
One thing suggested in the book was to start walking, because the more you lay around, the worse your back is going to get. Cliff had tried everything else, including going to KU Medical Center, trying to find relief. The specialists found very little wrong with him except for some nerve damage and several arthritic spurs, which the doctor said you will find in anybody who does hard physical labor. There was no medical remedy for these problems.
So Cliff figured he had nothing to lose; he decided he'd walk the three miles to work every day. Since I really had nothing better to do, I accompanied him and then walked home alone. That was my six miles a day.
When Cliff started walking after being laid up so long, he looked like he was related to a pretzel, leaning to the side from the waist at a precarious angle. Each day he straightened up a little more until he finally was walking totally upright.
Cliff's back is still fragile as glass; every morning when he gets out of bed, he lists to one side a bit. As the day goes on he straightens up, but he always has some degree of back pain. When weather prevents us going for our daily walk, as it has in the past few days, his back stiffens up even more.
That butcher shop where he worked for so many years is responsible for most of Cliff's back problems. He was the strongest person there, so he was the one designated to lift quarter- and half-beefs from one rail to the next.
You wouldn't believe how strong he was back then, seriously. One time he had a brush hog mower chained up to a tree lifting it off the ground about three feet, so he could get underneath it and work on it; the chain gave out and dropped it on him. I was inside the house; he yelled at me, I went running. He needed me to get on the tractor, turn it on, and lift the brush hog off him. I didn't have a clue how to do that, so my poor husband, frustrated by my incompetence, lifted the brush hog off of himself enough to squeeze out from under it.
I remember when our first pig was ready to take to the butcher shop. We didn't have any loading facilities, but Cliff rigged up something so that hopefully, we could lure the pig up into the pickup bed. That's the day we learned that pigs are very smart; they know when they're being trapped, and they will go anyplace except where you want them. After a couple of hours trying in vain to load the pig, Cliff got it cornered, stepped over it, reached down and put his arms around the pig. Until he stood up with that pig, he and the pig facing the same way, I had not realized how big the animal was: it's back feet were dragging the ground! The pig was as long as Cliff was tall. The feet dragging the ground hindered Cliff from stepping forward with his load, but somehow, amid much squealing from the pig, he got the job done. Cliff and the pig were about the same weight. All these kinds of activities, of course, contributed to his "glass" back.
Speaking of his strength, Cliff had a reputation as an arm-wrestler, so of course everybody wanted to take him on. The only time I saw him lose (back around 1983), he winked at me so I'd know what was going on and deliberately let a man win.
He finally stopped arm wrestling when it began leaving him hurting for days after a match. His right shoulder is afflicted with arthritis from so many years of wielding a knife; it's even somewhat misshapen, and I learned a long time ago not to pat him on the back at that certain spot on his shoulder. It doesn't take much to make him wince in pain.
Gee, I was only going to explain the six-mile walk. I do go on, don't I?
So far we have twenty-nine people who would like to have PW's latest book. I hope the person who most wants it, gets it, whoever that may be. By the way, I have three of her cookbooks to give away later on, in case you never got one back when it first came out. They're signed, and they're brand, spanking new. So keep that in mind.