Category: LIFE STORIES


In the Northern Part of Germany nearer my own (former) home town exists a culture that invites medieval fairs, also because of the beautifully medieval (after the War restored) houses and buildings. [Braunschweig had been destroyed completely during WWII.]. The city dates back to the year 900, is a very old former medieval town, and therefore has a history of such fairs and festivals. Incidentally, its founder Henri III ‘THE LION’ was also the founder of München (Munich, Bavaria). Henri The Lion founded the cities München, Lübeck, Lüneburg and Braunschweig (Brunswick).

While in Bavaria, the south of Germany, nearer München, many old castles from medieval times still exist. One of them is Kaltenberg.

[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schloss_Kaltenberg ]. Where annual jousting tournaments are held. The Kaltenberger Ritterturnier (Jousting) is the largest and longest lasting in the world. Held annually in July at Castle Kaltenberg, Geltendorf, Bavaria.

It is a glorious time to spend among knights, musicians, artists and acrobats, watching archery tournaments and mingling with all sorts of folks in their medieval garments. Admiring the wonderful big horses of the knights. Not to forget the tasty down to earth food and world-famous Kaltenberg beer, brewed right here in the Castle. [ https://www.ritterturnier.de/ ]

I visited in the year 2007, spending several months in Munich and took the train from there to Geltendorf and up to the Castle grounds, to attend that year’s Jousting Tournament. Despite a cool day and rain starting at the beginning of the Knights’ Tournament, this had been a totally enjoyable and exciting experience. For me as a horse person especially, as I have had my own horses shown, raised & trained for so many years in Alberta, Canada. The entire medieval atmosphere surrounding the grounds has been exciting, different and uplifting.

Our travels across the United States 1975. My son was at that time only seven years old.

{See also: Part 1 – starting New York State up to Grand Canyon, AZ.

[ https://renataveritashistory.com/2020/05/29/travels-across-america-part-1/ ]},

followed by Parts 2 and 3: South West to San Francisco.

This is the continuation of our lengthy Bus trip across the United States. Spending many days and nights on Greyhound buses. Part 4 describes a couple of days stay in San Francisco, visiting the Bay Area [ http://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Fisherman%27s_Wharf ], and sightseeing around China Town and the Golden Gate Park.

San Francisco – out of many American cities I had visited in those years – is one of the more interesting, not only in terms of its history, but also because of its uniqueness. Its original name being of Spanish origin – Yerba Buena, meaning nothing more then ‘good herb’ – changed later into the name of one of the foremost ancient Italian saints: San Francesco d’Assisi, ergo: San Francisco.

The picture gallery (selecting only a few) shows individual stops and sights.

Much later, in the year 2006, I made a return visit with my son by cruise ship to San Francisco. Including a visit to the (now closed) Alcatraz Penitentiary.

[ https://www.historytoday.com/archive/months-past/alcatraz-prison-closes ]

Incidentally, I spent Christmas in Italia, (Umbria, Perugia trip December 2015), mainly for visiting the Christmas masses and celebrations for this Saint – San Francesco d’Assisi.

[ http://www.shrinesf.org/history.html ].

Part 3 – California: San Diego Zoo and Disneyland Anaheim

Our travels across the United States 1975. My son at that time was only seven years old. This long trip was a couple of weeks with Greyhound.

{See also: Part 1 – starting New York State up to Grand Canyon, AZ.

[ https://renataveritashistory.com/2020/05/29/travels-across-america-part-1/ ]}

(followed by Part 2)

This is the continuation of our lengthy trip across the United States. Part 2 describes visits from the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Arizona, to the Mexican Border.

Part 3 continues on to California, San Diego, the famous San Diego Zoo, one of the premier zoological facilities [ https://www.sandiegozooglobal.org/ ].

A real treat for my little son, who easily made friends with some of the critters. San Diego Zoo is among the best world-wide, with also Washington, DC National Zoo [ https://nationalzoo.si.edu/ ].

Then on to Anaheim, California, some 90 miles north, to visit another world wide known attraction, Disneyland California amusement park, dating back to 1955. [ https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/disneyland-opens ].

My pictures of Disneyland are a bit dark, reason is, that shortly before I had lost an entire film and had to quickly re-buy, so we arrived shortly before dawn.

It was an adventure, spending many long hours on these buses, sometimes during the night.

Being summer it had been quite hot, therefore, the photos (Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F camera) – taken as slides – are mostly a bit light, not the best quality. At a much later date I had scanned all those slides onto my PC.

The picture gallery (selecting only a few) shows individual stops.

Part 2 – Grand Canyon to San Diego

Our travels across the United States 1975. My son at that time only seven years old. This long trip was a couple of weeks with Greyhound.

{See also: Part 1 – starting New York State up to Grand Canyon, AZ.

[ https://renataveritashistory.com/2020/05/29/travels-across-america-part-1/ ]}

This is the continuation of our lengthy trip across the United States. Part 2 describes visits from the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Arizona, to the Mexican Border, then continue on to California, San Diego.

It was an adventure, spending many long hours on these buses, sometimes during the night. Funny stories as well. After many prior stops, when getting closer to the Mexican border, some Mexicans had boarded, wearing their huge hats, not much room for us on our seats anymore. Also, meeting Indians across those South Western States and Reservations, and their wonderful silver jewelry and gift shops. The mighty Grand Canyon surely is one of the world’s wonders.

Being summer it had been quite hot, therefore, the photos (Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F camera) – taken as slides – are mostly a bit light, not the best quality. At a much later date I had scanned all those slides onto my PC.

The picture gallery (selecting only a few) shows individual stops.

Part 1 – New York State to Grand Canyon

My travels across the United States during Summer vacation 1975.

I had spent many years in the United States. Arriving from Europe in the fall of 1974 with my little son, then only seven years old, to enroll in a graduate program at Syracuse University, New York State.

During the summer vacations of 1975 we took off on a lengthy trip across the US, using a Greyhound Bus (Ameripass, later Greyhound Discovery Pass, now discontinued). It was an adventure, spending many long hours on these buses, sometimes during the night.

Starting at Syracuse University, New York State via Washington, DC, then on to Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Liberty Bell (the original bell today: Liberty Bell Center, Philadelphia, Pe), Missouri and St. Louis, then onto Colorado, and further to New Mexico, Albuquerque, and then into Arizona, to visit the Grand Canyon [ https://www.legendsofamerica.com/az-flagstaff/ ]. On the way take in old Bedrock City, The Flintstones, now closed. [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedrock_City_(Arizona) ]

[continued in Part 2 – TRAVELS ACROSS AMERICA].

The picture gallery (selecting only a few) shows individual stops. The pictures are not the best quality. [BACKGROUND: On our flight over from Luxembourg to New York City with a stop at Riykjavik Airport, I had acquired an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F camera [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentax_Spotmatic ], using slides and a projector all those years until getting my next set of cameras. Much later in 2006 I then sat down scanning all my thousands of slides to store on my PC.]

Remembrance Day November 11

REMEMBRANCE DAY for soldiers or war victims ?

PTSD suffered by both parties. However, only soldiers and those flying in their war planes dropping the tons of bombs onto civilians, women and children alike, are being celebrated in Remembrance Day ceremonies as heroes.

Victims of those wars who suffered on the sidelines, or fallout – World War I – and those who suffered heavy bombings and destruction of their home lands, – World War II – particularly starting from 1941 until 1945, are not allowed to ever forget their experiences being persecuted, suffering in concentration camps, and being heavily bombed as small children, growing up in completely destroyed home lands; now also suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

We are not heroes of war, we did not fly over enemy lands and drop bomb loads, we were just trying to survive and rebuild our home lands.

Where is the justice in that ?

Soldiers belong to the governments who declare wars, they are also called GI – government issue for that reason – they get weapons and tanks and war planes and are being deployed, for the sole purpose to kill. They can defend themselves. Not so civilians. They are the real heroes. At the same time, they are the ones who do not want to be reminded of those terrible experiences.

Don’t worry, we do remember without big ceremonies and pompom.

Grizzly Bear trophy hunt – meaning that a bear is being killed and stripped of its pelt, and that more than ever it is the European (so-called) hunters who come to British Columbia, to partake in the (rather liberally set provincial quota for) hunting and killing those animals.

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/grizzly-bears-overhunted-in-b-c-say-researchers-1.2417306 ] .

So, what is the point exactly of stripping a bear of its pelt and hanging it up on the wall ? Or do they use the bear pelts as carpeting ? Or do they think that there is a major market for any of its parts ? maybe in China ?

I cannot see the point of it, yet. For example, a Norwegian traveling all the way to the most Western Canadian Province, British Columbia, in order to return back home with the skin of one of the most intelligent animals. One of the remnants of a Grizzly bear population that has been shrinking to only pockets in Western Canada.

While the BC government claims that set quotas are scientifically proven (or, should I say “clinically proven” ?), scientists here who study the Grizzly bear population know otherwise. [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/grizzly-bear-kill-limits-being-broken-across-bc-study-says/article15301716/ ]

And don’t you hate it, when a government agency (these are not professionals or scientists, but politicians with no science or even statistical background), determines how many bears can be killed in one season. Don’t tell me, female bears are also included ? ! And who is controlling the hunt ? Any member of those BC governmental agencies ? Is anybody out there in the cold and the wilds to check if the “right” bear is killed ? [Reminds me of the Right Whale in the 19th and 20th century, who were almost completely exterminated. – http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/north-atlantic-right-whales-hunted-to-the-edge-of-extinction-405848.html ]

For those visitors from out of Canada, don’t touch our bears, leave them be, go hunt your own (people) or animals, whatever they be.

Despite my many years living in Alberta’s wilderness, I would have considered it a rare privilege to actually have encountered a grizzly bear in the wild. Black bears I have encountered many.

Grizzlies, so near, yet invisible

My first meeting up close with a grizzly had been in a wildlife park during our many travels through the United States and most of its national parks. In the Black Hills of South Dakota, on our way to Mt. Rushmore. [ https://www.bearcountryusa.com/ ]

This was in the summer of 1976, the year of America’s Bi-Centennial celebrations. I had just graduated in December of 1975 from Syracuse University, New York State. And taken the time off to travel extensively that summer with my little boy, eight years old, in our old square back VW van – a really old model. I called it our ‘Hobomobile’, as it served also as our home for many weeks. By Fall of that year we went up north into Canada, before the cold set in. Shortly after we arrived in Alberta in 1976, I got myself work. Then from January 1977 until into the 1990s working in Alberta’s oil industry.

Talking about grizzly bears : –

From 1978 on until the year 2002 I mostly lived by myself – after also my son left for the USA in 1990 do do his graduate studies in Alabama – in the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. Surrounded by wild life. Because all those many years I had horses, I also had large pieces of land. Mostly wilderness, treed. After nine years in the Kananaskis country south west of Calgary, during the 1980s, several times with a group of other riders and the horses, we made overnight trips for several days to Two Jack Lake, Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park area. Because this is so high up, this is also prime Grizzly bear country. For several days we camped out in large Army tents, the entire compound surrounded by electrified barb wire, against bear visits.

[ https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/grizzly-bear-ly-misses-hiker-after-charge-forcing-closures-in-banff-national-park ][ https://globalnews.ca/news/4255044/hiker-charged-grizzly-lake-minnewanka-banff/ ]

During those years I also had 160 acres of bare land far outside West of Cochrane, (north up Forestry Trunk Road, north of the (today Ghost River Dam area)). [ https://www.cottageclub.ca/history ]. This was so far out, surrounded by miles of Crown land, that there were no real neighbours. I made very many rides with my horses alone in this wilderness area high up in the Rocky Mountain Foothills, but never once came face to face with a grizzly bear. They are there, they can hear you, they can smell you. I can see traces of them. Besides that rarely would any bear or wolf or any wild animals attack a human, when going out alone in those areas, always make some noise, make yourself heard. This 160 acres by the way was close to the Stoney Indian Reserve. [ http://www.rockymountainnakoda.com/our-lands ]. My most precious book: These Mountains are our Sacred Places. The Story of the Stoney People. 1977. By Chief John Snow, of the Wesley Band.

Back to grizzly bears.

From 1994 until the year 2000 my land with my home and horses on 80 acres was even more remote, north west of Cochrane, Alberta, a wilderness where the nearest little town was Water Valley, Alberta. [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Valley,_Alberta ]

Surrounded by hundreds of acres of Crown land. Often during those years I had to visit a saw mill somewhere in the middle of nowhere to pick up my rails for making my horse fences. There were no roads. This could only be done by a heavy 4×4 truck.

One day I drove in to see that guy who operated the mill. On my way in, a couple of guys in a truck came out, white as sheets in their faces. I thought they saw a ghost. They told me that there is a grizzly bear who had taken down a cow and still in there, feeding.

I drove on, passing by some yellow Dept. Forestry tape – WARNING BEAR – then on to the sawmill. No one there. Pretty eerie. Again the bear nearby, but not visible.

That’s as much as goes for grizzly bears. They are there, but cannot be seen. If you run into one unexpected, though, you better be careful !

Since 2002 residing in British Columbia, where Grizzlies and their sub-species – the Pacific Rain Forest white Spirit Bear – can hopefully be seen by sailing up the BC coast north Vancouver Island. Which I did in 2014, stopping various times during the sailing thru the Johnson strait. One of my videos during a storm [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIVhEkGRiN8 ] . Grizzlies hunting for salmon – we did not see. [ https://renataveritashistory.com/2014/10/25/adventure-sailing-trip-northern-vancouver-island/ ].

NOTES. Links to earlier articles on grizzly bear hunt.

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/grizzly-bears-overhunted-in-b-c-say-researchers-1.2417306 ] .

otherwise. [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/grizzly-bear-kill-limits-being-broken-across-bc-study-says/article15301716/ ]

CHRISTMAS MIRACLES

--- do happen.

For very small children Christmas miracles can be as big as impressive gifts or as
small as - what I call - TIME OUT during endless bombing raids in the middle of 
one of the worst world wars. This was in Europe. 
When I was only three living in a country that was heavily fire bombed day and 
night, every day and every night, it sure was a miracle from heaven for us children
that during a few cold December days the bombings stopped. 
This was our Christmas present. 
Although this is long ago I will never forget, the two days in December, 24 until 
December 26, we had our little Christmas, with Christmas songs, standing by the
piano that my mother used to play so well. 
My father ? he was long MIA or somewhere in Russia frozen to death. 
Despite remembering this particular aspect of all of this, it does not bother me in
 the least, not to worry about the Christmas season anymore. 
I am just happy to be here where I am, on the other side of the ocean.  And have a
good time. 
Wish the same to all !

In case any physician or clinician tries to tell you that a large tear in the (supraspinatus portion of the) rotator cuff in the shoulder cannot be healed, other than selling you expensive steroid injections, or alternatively refers you to a specialist for a future surgery, mostly years later after having been on a lengthy wait list. Then my experience maybe helps to clear this up.

FIRST, explanation of what all these medical terms mean. [ https://physioworks.com.au/injuries-conditions-1/rotator-cuff-tears ]. The supraspinatus is one of the posterior muscles surrounding the shoulder, specifically the rotator cuff (source of many injuries), the others are trapezius and the largest the deltoid. Important to know is that these are some of the muscles needed to lift or rotate the upper arm.

 

Unfortunately, when an injury occurs, usually very painful, the first treatment seems to always be prescribing pain medications including most often steroid injections into any of the upper arm muscles. More than not, nilly/willy anywhere. Resulting in either subduing pain, not longer than 4 months, or what is worse, resulting in no pain reduction. Does that sound familiar ?

Plus, injections should always be given ‘guided’ (using a monitor) and by a specialist to know where the needle goes in. Remember, once an injection received, this treatment may go on forever, mostly not resulting in any repair of a tear in the muscle’s tendon. The opposite may more likely be the case.

Surgery ? Not the answer either. Why ? Firstly, surgery cannot be done for elderly patients because their tissue is thinner. Ergo, the tear will probably get worse. Secondly, even if the surgery is using good healthy tissue, no guaranty that pain is resolved and all is well.

Here is my case. January 2016 received an injury in my right arm. Throughout 2016 pain went into my right shoulder. October 2016 ultrasound shows sub deltoid bursa inflammation [Bursa m/l is padding between muscles and bone.], but no focal tears. November 2016 first corticosteroid injection into sub deltoid by GP (no ‘guidance’). After that, I was pain free for 3.5 months. March 2017 the second corticosteroid injection (both were using Triamcinolone acetonide) into my deltoid. No pain reduction whatsoever. Done by same GP in office unguided.

April 2017 several physio therapist sessions, with pretty severe moving of my right arm and shoulder. Needless to say the pain I suffered. June 2017 third and last steroid injection, done guided in hospital, using Depo Medrol. Again, pain was worse after that.

Referred to physiatrist specialists. End June 2017 request for MRI of shoulder.

December 2017 results of MRI id’d : Large tear involving supraspinatus portion of rotator cuff. The doctor who had requested this MRI told me, and I quote:

“There is nothing we can do about this, except continue steroid injections. Surgery is out of the question” [mind you, I never considered surgery] . More steroid injections, thanks, but no thanks.

Instead, I started healing myself since October 2017. My program:

Five times a week working in the local YM/YWCA swimming pool, aqua fit program or swim, then warm pool, weights, carefully moving my right arm and shoulder, to strengthen the surrounding muscles.

What helps is heat. When tissue is still inflamed, ice. I bought myself equipment such as ice pack, and a little ultrasound machine, for that torn upper arm and shoulder. Cannot say, that that helped a lot. Neither did Voltaren gel.

When moving or rotating my right arm, very carefully done. After not being able to lift my right arm, I can do it now, best when heated (under hot shower or in steam room). I am doing better now. Best yet, I save money by helping myself. [At this point I need to mention, be careful, follow your own instincts and programs.]

Checking the NET, there are umpteen sites on “healing rotator cuff tears”, most of them try to sell something. Found a fairly good one :

[ http://www.aidmyrotatorcuff.com/rotator-cuff/stretching-and-exercise-for-a-rotator-cuff-tear.php ]. Also my good book bought ten years ago gives lots of insights.

NOTE. I have not yet had a follow up ultrasound to actually see if that tear is smaller or fluids are still retained. Not likely at my age (80 years) I would get anything done anymore. Nor, do I make the premise that any of such injury can be completely healed.