Photo of Gene on his new bike by Liz O’Neill
My 63rd birthday on June 10 came and went but despite my intentions I didn’t write a blog entry on that day. It sometimes bothers me when I’m not writing every day, even if it consists of nothing but a few notes in my Moleskine notebook, but this hiatus in my writing is different. I needed some time off from writing and photography. Some time to think about things and to assess priorities. Exercise certainly makes it to the top of the priority list. It’s now two months since my bypass op, and I’m gaining in strength and energy. Besides the natural healing process, the main driver is cardiac exercise — primarily walking. Starting with little five-minute walklets that tired me out, I’m now capable of walking up to thirty minutes or so at a stretch. Marion and I have taken to having morning and evening walks through our neighbourhood. She’s a fast walker and I have to remind her occasionally to set a slightly slower pace.
In addition to walking, I’ve taken up bike riding. My main birthday present was a new Giant Cyprus DX hybrid bicycle. I haven’t owned a decent bike since the late 70’s and the few times I’ve tried riding bikes in the past couple of years angina pains cut my rides short. Fortunately the bypass seems to have fixed that problem and I’m taking modest rides in the neighbourhood and along the Port Credit lakeshore bike path.
I’ve been casual about photography during this period. Mostly I take photos of flowers in our garden and now that I’m walking greater distances I often carry an ultracompact P&S digital, taking a few shots around the harbour. I’m beginning to combine bike riding with a bit of photography too. I’m eager to get back to shooting B&W film, but I’ve been holding off until I was strong enough to develop film again. I’m just about there.
I can scarcely say enough about the support I’ve had from family and friends. I’ve had lots of visits, phone calls, emails, and local meetups. These kindnesses really bolster the spirits.
On the relaxation and entertainment side of things, my second birthday present was DVD disc set of the entire Buffy, the Vampire Slayer TV series. Marion and I had not seen the series when it was live, so we’re new to it but we’re already Buffy junkies. It’s a series of surprising depth and the dialogue frequently has us laughing out loud. It’s as creative as anything I’ve seen produced for television and each of us has our favourite characters.
The weather during my recovery period has been spectacular. Except for one week of hot, humid weather, the days have been cooler than normal for this time of year, with mixed sun and rain. It’s our favourite kind of weather and we’ve been outside as often as we’re able.
In some ways, I feel like it’s a New Year — that time when you resolve to do certain things in the near future. I’m unresolved about my writing. I tried some fiction writing last fall and although I learned a lot of things that will make me a better and more appreciative reader, I confirmed that fiction is not my strength.
I like writing essays, but I’m not certain what kind of essay-writing project I’d like to do. I no longer write articles for technology magazines, or do so rarely, but my interest in science and technology remains strong. I think that I’ll start including more on these topics in my blog writing.
There will undoubtedly be more blog entries about photography, technology, gardening, riding, and walking. And the various thoughts that arise from reading and observing.
In closing this entry, I’ll simply say I’m grateful to be alive, to be recovering my health, to be surrounded by family and friends, and to be continuing my lifelong learning.
My deep thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read my blog entries. I’ll try to keep them interesting, and I really appreciate your comments.