No title, just blog

As I write this, a dear man I have known for nearly 34 years is dying. He is beyond visitors and has not managed to return home to be in his bed when this happens. Instead, he is in a hospital bed, his wife and two sons with him, trying to get as much out of the time they have together.

This man is a giver, not a taker. He has given of himself, so much over the time I have known him. He is a writer of music, a jazz musician with a spiritual side, a good Italian son who plays the piano accordian (of course) as well as several other instruments of jazzier reputation.

He is a clean-living, family man who has had a marvellous life, apart from the bastard cancer that has wracked his body. He has lived with the disease for 26 years and outlived his initial prognosis by over a decade, but it’s not enough and it’s not fair and I am thoroughly pissed off about the whole damn business.

I cry for his wife and boys, for the huge hole that will be in their lives when he leaves, I cry for us, his family of friends and dread the gaping wound that will be left behind when he leaves. I know I am being selfish, I know it’s not about me, but when someone this special dies, the impact is like a huge wave of grief in so many peoples lives.

We love you P and hope to see you again someday, rest easily mate and leave the pain behind.

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Long time, no see…hear..etc etc

It’s been a long time since I posted anything here on this blog.

No excuses, but a reason.

EXHAUSTION.

After 3 house moves in 18 months ending with the purchase of my lovely, tiny home, I had very little energy left for anything much. I haven’t really had much left after the days at work and  I actually thought there might be something seriously wrong, so off I trundled to my GP. She looked at me with some concern and said she wasn’t surprised, I have been through a lot and am still recuperating, but she did some bloods and all is okayish except low Vitamin D  and marginally high cholesterol, (these may be related), so she diagnosed me clinically with exhaustion and gave me some suggestions as to how to remedy these.

It’s been a slow improvement. There are still some days when I get home and just stretch out on the sofa and haven’t the energy to do anything; there are others that end with walking the dogs (yes, I now have two little rescues, a mother and daughter combo), cooking dinner and deciding on my next project.

Added to this, my dear 89 year old Mum became very ill and after spending a week in hospital, recuperated with my brother for a fortnight and then at my place for 4 weeks. It is very sobering when an aged parent has a health scare and we know every day is precious. She is back home now and doing well, she now has a cleaner which has certainly made a difference as she would get quite stressed about having to do a big clean before people like me came to stay. My brother and I would both like her to come and stay with us, as it is a worry that she is 2 1/2 hours away, but she is in her home, where she wants to be.

I bought some classes on watercolour painting and have started those and am doing them very slowly. It is a little disheartening that my artistic side has been buried under years of keeping a family together, my abilities have regressed, but I am making progress and enjoying small steps.

I have actually sewn stuff and sometimes enjoyed it (sometimes it has just felt like work).

 

My young, new garden (the garden was a mass of weeds and poorly placed plants) is thriving, although the lawn has taken a battering over summer as there are no trees to protect it.

I have redecorated to make my new place just me and I love it. New flooring, new window treatments, new low-profile security screens, an attic ladder (so the excess stuff is in the roofspace), a new sewing room (formerly a storeroom with bare walls and lawnmower oil on the bare concrete floor), some new furniture to add some colour etc etc… this is an expensive process.

Phase 1 to make the house feel like me, is over. Phase 2 is much more expensive, solar panels on the roof, a new kitchen and a remodelled bathroom; these will take serious money and will need to be saved for. My mortgage is huge (considering my income), so there is little left over for anything except life, Phase 2 is a long way off.

In a couple of weeks, a friend (who I have not seen since 1985) and I, will be meeting in Melbourne and driving back to Perth. The holiday is the drive. We will be following the coast all the way, incorporating a helicopter ride over the Twelve Apostles (so-called, although there aren’t twelve of them), a fishing trip, a desert stay on the Nullabor and some very long hours spent driving. I am experiencing some anxiety about this trip, but I think it will be okay. My friend and I have holidayed together in the past and he is a good conversationalist with a good mind- we are just friends and hopefully will stay that. This trip is quite long and it has been a long time since we have seen each other, I would hate for it to turn out that it compromises our friendship.

I have a week off at the end of the trip to recuperate before I return to work, then it’s back to the grindstone.

I am tired just thinking about it!

Immersed in nature

Walking in the bush gives me vitality, the lifting of a weight from my shoulders feels real, I can breathe and enjoy the moment.A couple of weeks ago, we had the most glorious weather over a weekend and my daughter and I decided a bushwalk would do wonders for our winter fug.

Off we went to John Forrest National Park which straddles, Greenmount and Hovea in Western Australia.

This is close to where I grew up, I always feel energised and happy when I am in this country. We parked the car outside the park and walked cross country to the little settlement within the park, it was a very special time, I felt 30 years younger and just wanted to shout out loud with delight 🙂

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A few of the Balga trees (Xanthorrea) had flower spikes, but it is too early for the flower buds to be open. There was a lot of Dryandra and I really hope to plant some in the garden of my new home (when I get one). Sitting on the granite boulders, took me back to my childhood, even as an adult they are BIG!

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Another little gladdening of my heart was when I chanced upon this Eggs and Bacon plant, they have always been a nostalgic favourite of mine.

I had completely forgotten about Glen Brook Dam, the water was crystal clear and calm, it was a soothing place.

Finally, we went to the Tavern to buy icecream and met some of the locals! A couple of the girls had joeys in their pouches, one pouch was firmly zipped up when I got too close, but the other allowed her baby to poke its head out and say hello, it was really special.

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That dominant (male) Boomer was not interested in us at all.

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Unlike this lady 🙂IMG_20180623_090247.jpg

The middle one of this group was licking the outside of her pouch and got me wondering if a tiny embryo was about to make its way up to it.

This video explains how they do it 

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Hello Baby!!!

 

It was a lovely day.

Update on what’s up…

I have been in quite a fug lately. Feeling lonely, not knowing how the future will pan out, wondering where I am going to live when this lease expires next month, hating winter, being cold and miserable (by my standards anyway!), blah blah blah. Despite how I sound, my life is good, but sometimes I need some help to see it. I made the decision to up my meds and the effect has been good. I was initially reluctant because it has taken me a year to decrease them by half, but needs must and here I am. Feeling less shitty, more hopeful and a lot stronger.

I rode to work this morning in the dark, it was a bit odd but I really needed it for my sanity as well as my physical health, I can tell I am better. I have discovered that I am a fair weather rider and last week was rain, rain, rain. Oh how I missed my bike. Today I am tired but satisfied.

I’m so much better that I actually did some sewing on the weekend, that is how the pills can change me when I am down.

…and let me say felt is a wonderful fabric.

There is so much to recommend it, no fraying, no requirement for oversewing, stability +++, bright colours etc etc.

I made a jacket a few years ago out of some wool/rayon mix felt, initially it was quite stiff but over the years it softened and was lovely to wear.

(burdastyle.com/…/winter-you-give-me-the-blues) , I loved it and wore it to death (literally), it was retired last year when the house sold and oh how I missed it.

The lovely thing about felt to wear is that it is very light (almost weighs nothing) but is very warm and knowing how I loathe winter and being burdened with heavy clothes (layers of them), I thought it was time for another lightweight jacket.

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It is another Lotta Jansdottir Pilvi jacket. Whilst I am not a huge fan of raglan sleeves, this little jacket is so nice to wear and easy to sew up, I thought another wouldn’t hurt. I made it first in denim last year (here). The felt this time is made from viscose and time will tell as to its durability. It feels finer than the wool and I am not sure it was a good choice- we will see…

I’m not sure if this colour is what Americans call Kelly Green, but I am afraid I will resemble a leprechaun when I wear it! You can see I put some contrasting braid on the inside (my daughter thought it was a bit attention-seeking on the outside) which I think is a nice touch, IMG20180610084727.jpg

but I am concerned that it is a bit bland and am now madly looking for a green tatty flower I made a few years ago to pin and make it a little more interesting. If I can’t find it I will just have to make another one.

The wooden button was my daughters choice, I would have gone something bigger and bolder (and may well change this one in the future) as I think it is a bit subtle for this colour and style.

We are a little way off the shortest day and I always feel better when it has passed. I am madly looking at real estate to buy and I have another rental picked out to tide me over in the interim. My lovely son is off to Japan for a holiday after exams and then he is flying the nest to live in student digs on campus- I will miss him as he has matured into a lovely, sensitive young man and my daughter and I are bouncing off each other at the moment (not too badly, but she is somewhat less biddable than I am used to).

The future is looking okay…

 

Does pride goeth???

I am just a teensy bit proud of my latest efforts in making.

(What feels like) a couple of years ago, I started working on a piece of fabric, learning to do free motion machine embroidery, it was not really a project as such, more a scrap which could turn into something. The fabric was a piece of Ikea stuff that I had made a top out of and I liked it, I may have even mentioned it some time ago (but I can’t be bothered looking- sorry-not!).

Anyway, as time went on and it got to look a bit nicer, I thought I might make it into a cushion for my Mother. She was an embroiderer (hand) in the past and really likes soft furnishings with that kind of embellishment (as do I).

So, to cut to the chase… I used a whole bag of stuffing so it’s nice and firm and heavy, plenty of support for Mums back and here it is 🙂

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On the weekend, I wondered why it took me so long to make and besides the amount of time each little picture took to embroider (between 20 minutes and an hour each!)  I realised that it was because my ex-partner resented the time I spent sewing. I am relishing the freedom to do as I wish with my time and not be beholden to look after the emotional needs of a very needy person, it is blissful.

One of the activities I promise myself I will do when I am retired (which is about 16 years away) is ceramics. As a child and teenager I loved working with clay, our property in Darlington was surrounded with beautiful red clay and there was kaolin going begging at the old quarry up the track in Glen Forrest. When we moved to another part of Darlington when I was 12, there was no clay, but my cousin came to the rescue and gave me a huge bag of brickmaking clay from Midland Brick where he worked as an electrician. When my children were smaller, I would go off to Jacksons in Jolimont and buy bags of beautiful terracotta clay for us all to work with. (hmmm, what is stopping me from doing that now I wonder…).

So I don’t have any clay at the moment, but my friend Ange and I went up to Joondalup recently and spent the evening doing china painting at Fired Cafe. Forget pastel roses and dainty teacups, that is NOT my style! I wanted something bold and ended up buying a bowl and painting an oversized paisley on it.

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To be honest, I was a little disappointed when I picked it up after the firing, but it has grown on me (I may be even a little bit proud of this too).

img_2335 (after firing the glazes really brighten up)

I am keeping it because it’s a bit rough, but I am going back and will be painting a tray, probably with a “Scandi-style” pattern of leaves or feathers with the idea of giving it to someone as a gift.

Do you ever feel proud of something you’ve done, but keep quiet because it’s not the done thing to “blow your own trumpet”? My parents who were somewhat spare in their compliments and we were not encouraged to think too highly of ourselves. The old saying “Pride goeth before a fall” (is that the right spelling?) makes me reticent to puff up my chest and go “Look at me!”. In some ways I think I am not in the minority amongst people my age; I am thinking something might bring me down a peg or two after this blog post!

As an aside- Salsa has had to be ditched, I am having some pretty intensive physio on my poor, wrecked back and there is no way I am going back on a dance floor in a hurry 😦

The Inner Critic

One of the negatives of attaining age and wisdom, is an increasing reluctance to expose oneself to failure. I have always been my own worst critic, calling myself an idiot is fairly commonplace and while I don’t really think I am an idiot most of the time, it is my go-to descriptor when I let myself down and do something silly.

Last week, my friend Angela and I started a beginners class in Salsa. Now we are two mid-50s girls who clubbed our way through our early twenties, you would think we know a little about timing etc…wrong!

Turns out, we are strictly “free-style” (as Ange calls it) and the foot moves are proving difficult for these former New Wave/New Romantic afficionados.

I really can’t stand it when I am crap at something. Years ago I did an 8 week Jazz Ballet introduction and I am embarrassed to admit that it took all that time for me to master running across a room, why did I expect Salsa to be any different?

Ah Salsa…the fluid movements, lithe bodies, beautiful skin, short flared dresses, what a lovely image. TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY AARON MAASHO Dan

Ah Salsa at 54…the wooden jerkiness of a 54 year old with a long-term back injury, the thickened waist, the sun-damaged skin and the clothes chosen to conceal the lumps and bumps, it doesn’t sound like the same dance does it!

To be honest, very few of us in the class are any good, although some of the blokes think they are hot (when all they are is sweaty!). Although the instructors are lovely (and it’s wonderful to dance with someone who knows what to do), I have a feeling that the forced jollity of a group of people who have really very little talent may end up wearing a bit thin.

Will I continue?… it remains to be seen….