It’s amazing what one water pill will do. I can already feel the positive effects of this drug on my body. My legs, ankles and feet are still just a bit swollen, but progress is a foot (pun intended).
I returned from my marvelous adventure in Greece late Saturday night and continued to worry about my legs and ankles. I had traversed many countries via four flights, taking me from Mykonos to Athens, Athens to Munich, Munich to Chicago and finally, Chicago to Minneapolis. My feet and ankles ached from the skin being stretched, and my legs had an overall feeling of having been bruised. Each step hurt. So, I decided to check in with the GP. Better safe than sorry. Doc asked me to describe in detail all of the events of the past week, and he was concerned. While he could offer a water pill and we could see how it goes- he didn’t feel comfortable because of the range of symptoms. So, he ordered the ultrasound of both legs and an MRI of my chest, to rule out clots and pulmonary embolism.
After a few hours at St. Paul Radiology last night, I was given the all clear. With much relief, I headed to the pharmacy to fill the water pill RX which doc suggested would ease the excess water in the legs. “You should notice an improvement within three to four days” he said. “If not, call me”. The odd ash all over my legs and feet itched like a crazy obsession, and he recommended some Benadryl should take care of it.
I slept so much better last night with this diagnosis. No back of the mind fears of a clot traveling to my heart or lungs, or brain. Had it not been for my Factor V Leiden condition, I might have been less over cautious. But, now that I know all is just fine, I will wait for the swelling to reduce and the itching to stop.
It’s back to life as normal. And that certainly feels good. All is clear on the extremities front, and this offers me a chance to redirect my attention onto more energizing matters.
While all this was going on this weekend, we had company on Sunday. It had been shared that I was working on a novel and they asked that I read some of it to them. I read a part of my novel that I had not looked at for over six months. As I read it, it felt good. It felt right. And it gave me another boost of energy to think about focusing my attention back onto the novel. Here is that excerpt:
As a preface- the main character Nina enjoys a visit from her best friend Frederika. The story is set in the late 1930s, just prior to the Nazi occupation of Norway.
It was nearly three o’clock and Nina knew by now that Fredrika would just be arriving at the top of the roadway. She eagerly finished up with milking Lisbet, tugging for one last draw from her teat and then wiped her hands on the towel laying on her lap before rising and pulling the milking stool out from under her. She gently patted Lisbet “good girl” she cooed. She walked back to the refrigeration system to deposit the afternoon’s product making sure to properly seal the container and wipe around it. She grabbed the large mop that was hung high up on the barn wall and pushed it into the large pail of warm sudsy water and then quickly swished it throughout the milking area to clean up any residue. She didn’t mind the milking duties. Half the time she was deep in thought about one of the books she was reading or her next outing with Lilly. But she always looked forward to a visit from Fred and she quickly made her way out of the barn to Lilly, already saddled and waiting just outside. She mounted her and gently urged her to trot up the roadway towards the gate. On her way out she passed Vera who was on her way to the barn “enjoy your painting time” Nina offered. “Is it already time for Fred’s arrival?” asked Vera. “Yes, she should be here by now”. “Say hi and tell her we look forward to seeing her at dinner”. With that Vera waved her sister on and smiled. Those two had been inseparable since they were first enrolled in that choir when they were about ten years old. It was an amazing bond and she wished she had a friend as close to her as Fred was to Nina.
It had been over three months already since Fredrika last visited on one of her weekend jaunts and Nina was so excited to hear the news on how things were going for her in Moss. Although her Far could get some supplies locally and he had regularly scheduled deliveries of provisions, it could be months before they headed in to the bigger town south of them for a resupply of those essentials that only an in person excursion could render. Nina had written to Fred a few weeks ago asking her to pick up a few things for them; a favorite shampoo and almond hand cream. And, there she was, on time as usual, already dismounted from Nordlys and she was working on the chain that held the gate closed. The journey by horse from Moss to Hvitsten was likely around two hours and one would think by now that Fred, not to mention Nordlys, would need a rest. Nordlys was an amazingly beautiful stallion with a coat so black it often had shines of blue and green depending on where he stood relative to the sea, sky and pastures. His coat reflected the nature surrounding him and Fred thought of the name to describe the ethereal Northern Lights that often danced and played out before them in winter time, depending on the atmospheric conditions. The colors as well as the lightness of the flowing sky were a wonderful description for this animal that could perform amazing feats in the ring. Nina was glad that even though they had moved to the city, they could still have a few horses stabled at a nearby farm. She was sure Fred would have gone crazy without her access to Nordlys. “Hei Fred, so good to see you, here let me help.” Fred gave her the famous broad smile and flipped her long thick flaxen braid back over her shoulder “Hi Nina, it’s been too long, so glad we could schedule the weekend… I love our time together and Halvor didn’t mind. Do you want to head out over the meadow through the marsh? Maybe we could walk along the beach for a while until we get to the bend.” About a year ago, Fred and Halvor moved to the small city of Moss situated twenty kilometers south to open a restaurant, a dream of Halvor’s for years. With the opening of Den Minne Kjøkken (The Memory Kitchen), he was finally getting a chance to try his hand at cooking professionally. Halvor’s concept was to offer food that would take every Norwegian down memory lane, to a time of comfort and gathering with those that were the most important. The space itself was designed to create atmosphere and warmth, a place where one could come in and spend time with friends and family as if entertaining in one’s own home. The ingredients that Halvor introduced as well as the changing menu were always fashioned to create moments of joy and connection for people and a reflection back to more secure times. It was as if Halvor already knew times ahead were going to require this comfort. As much as Fred enjoyed her life with Halvor in the small city of Moss, whenever she anticipated her visits with Nina, she would long for time spent on her favorite shoreline. “Sure, that sounds perfect- let’s drop your pack and head out”.
They both mounted their horses and walked up the roadway to the main house. “Gunnar!” Nina called out, “Hei… come and take Fred’s pack for us”. Gunnar came running down the dirt road towards them with a big smile. Gunnar still harbored his childhood feelings for Frederika, and they had not diminished since the first time he set eyes on her when Nina came home with her from choir practice one day all those years ago. Gunnar had seen her in the hallways at school, but never really had a chance to interact with her since he was a few grades behind them. So when Nina announced one day that she had become friends with Fred and that she was inviting her to their home, Gunnar couldn’t believe his luck. “Hi Fred, how are things?” “Very good, Gunnar. The business is just beginning to take off and Halvor is getting easier to live with now because of it” she beamed at Gunnar, never knowing that her mention of Halvor resulted in him feeling slighted once again.
Fred never really knew the depth of Gunnar’s feelings for her. Sure, she knew there was a slight crush but she had no idea how miserable he was when she was around because of how she played with him as if he were a little brother. And besides, she was married now. She felt that Gunnar must be over his childhood feelings by now. Alas, no- as silly as it was he couldn’t shed his affections and still longed for her to look at him the way girls look at someone with whom they are deeply in love. Gunnar shrugged knowing it was pointless and he felt embarrassed wondering if she had any inkling of the emotional rumblings going on in his gut. He grabbed her overnight pack and waved them off “see you at the supper table when you get back!”, and with that he retreated back up the driveway to the house.
They started off with a slow paced walk down through what they called the boulevard, which was a long straight path bordered by majestic birch trees that formed a privacy fence for several hundred meters before the path curved and opened up into the vast meadow where the sheep grazed in one paddock and the horses were contained just beyond in the other. Both paddocks faced the ocean and between the two was a lovely alleyway formed by the fences which allowed one to stroll down to the beach. “How is the mill doing these days? Is Mona getting stocked up enough for the next market? Is she showcasing any new colors this time?” Mona had been busy for months dying the wools for the next fiber market held in Moss, an annual event in late May. “Oh, you know Mor, each year she churns out more skeins than the last and the fiber community just loves her for it. She has a new shade that she is calling Brilliant Amethyst which she is getting from the big crop of heather that she harvested last spring. But it’s the Tyttebær Red that I think will be the biggest hit this year”. The markets were an opportunity to help refill part of the farm’s working fund.
Mona was an expert at harvesting the yarn from her prized Spælsau Sheep. The fiber they provided was so silky and soft. They made incredibly beautiful sweaters that were prized for their softness and perfect for those that couldn’t handle the itch from other wool yarns. Mona’s colors all came from the nature that surrounded the property; she mostly used the wild flowers and berries and various wild grasses, but occasionally she would incorporate fallen leaves, twigs – anything from which she could soak and harvest a unique pigment. She generally always had a batch of neutrals and also a colorful splash of brilliant prismatic colors which were great for combining with the neutrals or using on their own for an uplifting shawl or coat. She had once made a coat out of the dye lot she made from the tart berry: Tyttebær, which not only made the best sauce accompaniment for her roasts and meatballs, but also created a deep blood garnet colored dye which ended up as one of the most beautiful full length wool capes that Fred had ever seen, bordering on the mystical.
In winter time, Mona wore that cape everywhere she went and in the bleakness of winter, one could always locate her from afar by looking for the red splash of color amongst the dull white of the snow, and the ashen browns of the soggy brush and leafless tree limbs reaching for the sky. She had recreated the shade once again, but this dye lot had a deeper tinge, an almost black red. Along with the naturally brilliant colors of Mona’s dye lots, she also offered muted tones as well as natural whites, blacks and grey-blues which were a staple for every knitter and weaver. Her skeins were sought after throughout the region and on opening day at market, most of her supply would dwindle down to a few dozen skeins. This time she was working towards an even more substantial supply than the last market which she hoped would take her through at least two full days of the market. “That’s wonderful, Nina. I am so glad that Mona still thrives with her wool business. Her yarns are so amazing”. “I know what you mean- at market I don’t see anything that compares to it- those Spælsau sheep make all the difference.”
So the novel is in progress. Characters are developing. Storylines are evolving. The project continues… I only wish I had more time to dedicate to it each day.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” -Thoreau.