Friday, December 24, 2010

Reflecting on enough..

Hi there neglected bloggie, how are you under all that dust???

We're still here. We 'celebrated' eleven months to the day since M's accident on Tuesday. Eleven months! How wonderful, WONDERFUL, it is not to know the future. I can't tell you how I've managed it, and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to know, at the beginning, that this could be the reality.

Times have been very shaky. My M has had physical, emotional and psychological challenges which have stripped him of independence, flesh, ability, dignity and strength. He's been back to ICU twice, with dangerous collapses and arrests. I've had to have the 'how much cardiac resuscitation does the family want?' conversation several times. I've had a long visit home, during which I did nothing but grieve for 18 of my precious 21 days. The last three days I spent in wonder, looking at the exploding garden - the drought has well and truly broken! The roses are magnificent and I so enjoyed taking a huge bunch of them back to the ward. They lasted nearly 9 days and were a wonder to behold in so many ways. ENOUGH.

I have had a trough of sadness lately, to dig through my thoughts and feelings and try to find something to feel optimistic about. But today, as I schlepped through the mall, again, trying to remember why I'd gone there, again, and not just because of christmas, I suddenly thought this: enough. Enough of worry and uncertainty and helplessness and insomnia and broken plans and sad faces. And spending, and thinking about christmas, and what's for dinner and why won't the last noisy pub patrons go HOME so I can get some sleep (if you value your quiet nights, don't live in a pub!).. enough. I can do this. M has no choice; he is suffering very badly from such a very long and fraught hospital stay and he keeps going. Not as sweetly as usual, but he does it. Day after day. And, somehow, so do I. ENOUGH.

I don't have to cook, clean, garden, change the cat box, deal with doorknockers, ring the plumber, put the bins out or do anything much for anyone unless I feel like it. The expectations others have of me are very simple - stay standing and keep writing. Come home when I can. ENOUGH.

A large chunk of my extended family visited us this afternoon, and we all sat in the ward courtyard and sang carols.. with kids wearing blinking Rudolph noses, other patients wheeling around, and the breeze cooling us in the humidity. Spontaneous; simple; ENOUGH.

Tonight my step-daughter and I shopped for some extra food to take into M tomorrow. And what a delight to IGNORE christmas foods and plans and must-haves, and realise that all we wanted was the makings of a fairly simple picnic, largely from the deli and fresh food sections. A quick bottle of bubbles and some plastic champagne glasses. ENOUGH.

We will stay with M til we are sated with unwrappings and the humour of what the hospital will serve for lunch. We will do his washing even though 'it's christmas' (we still need clean jox, right?). We will share our goodies and sing together for whoever is around. We will nap in his room after the sun makes us sleepy, and later the two of us will go to the beach to lie and sigh on the sand until we have had... enough.

And on Sunday, the world will begin to turn again, and all the things we usually do that didn't happen won't matter, and all the new things we did will, and I for one will continue to feel so very lucky in my family and friends. Because this year, if nothing else, I have learned that when it comes to love, there is always ENOUGH. It doesn't run dry, go away or leave you dangling. It doesn't criticise or restrict you. Love in all small and large ways, is how we roll from one day to the next, cradled in the concern and hopes and wishes of loving people.



except... I DID buy some more perfume. Vivienne Westwood 'Let It Rock'. Indeed!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Muddling along...

Howdy. It's all a bit of a f**'n shambles, as my friend Wilf the old fart across the hospital hallway used to say..

The lovely old 1940's flat had major rising damp (carefully hidden behind furniture, which I moved; I was MOST unimpressed) so I left a week after I moved in. Dreadful waste of energy and hope.. I retreated to the dear old Lodge, and tried their patience with the large amount of stuff I put into their very little bit of storage space.

My M has moved too, from ICU to the rehabilitation ward. Initially he only lasted 5 days there before having a major setback, but after 3 weeks of careful extra monitoring and masses and masses of chest physio (he has continuing lung/breathing problems) he returned to rehab and hasn't looked back. Recently he's had a problem with a haemotoma on one calf, but was only stuck back in bed for a few days until he was able to start getting out again for a few hours each day. He's tried about six different manual and electric wheelchairs so far, as the OTs gradually work through their differences and sort out what will be best for him long-term. He'll have one of each, eventually. As he says, Manuel in the morning when he's fresh, and Electra in the afternoon.

He is now spending 5-6 hours a day in active rehabilitation - physio, gym, OT, wheelchair training, body movement strengthening, fine motor and strength skills, etc. We are all tremendously grateful that his hands and arms have regained far more dexterity and mobility than is generally found with his level of injury. He's able to use a mobile phone and laptop, and is feeling more connected to the world after so many months of four grey walls and not a lot to feel good about.

I am currently house-sitting for a family friend, in an old house extremely close to the hospital. This house-sit also comes with resident burmese, Sir Fritz to you. He has taken to me as if we've been together for years. He has a loving purrsonality and a strong prefurence for laps and beds. The loud yowling that comes with a failure of service and comforts is most entertaining! There was, briefly, a chance I could stay on here indefinitely, living with the owner, but sadly that is not to be. I was about to begin searching for a chic little studio apartment with water views, when my dear friends (of my first, long house-sit) announced another overseas trip and it seems I am to have the privilege of another stay in their sunny haven. The three flights of stairs will be very good for me, won't they?? I think this means I'm not homeless again until at least halfway through November. What a very strange life.. we won't be home for quite a few more months. As I thought from fairly on, we'll be here all year and then some.

I've gone through the process of gathering quite a bit of household stuff, using it, not using it, storing it without a backward glance, and lugging it all back home. Now I'm in pared-down mode, having got well and truly over the sore back that comes with every load of woollies bags that has to be shoved into the car. Oh, about the car! A couple of months ago my brother visited me to help me buy a car. We had a couple of very entertaining days toying with car salesmen, until I settled on a small wagon, and bargained for as much extra as I could. I did very well! My new Hyundai Tucson and I fit very well together and importantly is very easy to drive the longer trips home and back. I've loaded up the cd player with lots of rock n roll, and some exquisite classical pieces, for private car karaoke on the highway.

Our house will have to be extensively modified to make it wheelchair-accessible. By a stroke of fortune, the existing back yard pathways and garden beds are pretty much ok, just need a solid surface rather than the scoria we have. The deck will be extended and I think will become a sunroom/garden room. Nice. NOT so nice is the major re-fit including widening the hallway, demolishing an existing bathroom, moving the front wall, and door.. and, sob, the end of my existing kitchen, which was renovated with great love and care only 6 years ago. I am fighting a rearguard action against the insurance company's project manager, who is blithely walling-in doors, demolishing cupboards, and announcing that we won't have a kitchen table any more. Oh yeah??

Unfortunately this planning process means I must go home nearly every week, for I think at least the next six weeks, which is terribly tiring and a great strain on us both. For various good reasons, family members and friends are not so able to spend time here supporting us, and I find myself thinking that round about now would be a good time for me to be cloned. M needs me; I need to be with him; I also need to be at home being business-like and purrfessional and making the right decisions. Without my M to add a note of reality to my wilder fantasies (height-adjustable benches come in marble don't they?); talk over colour and texture and generally be a delight to have around, I'm stuck with my demons and my somewhat over-organised inner self. I've been looking at home gorgeous magazines, and most of the 'simplified' modern kitchens come in under $90,000 . Surely we don't need all that??

Somehow or other, through all of this; with exhaustion, heds of deth, M's fragile return to better health and mobility; with responsibilities unwanted and many; homesickness and cat-withdrawal and being lost most of the time if I go further than one kilometre from wherever I'm living; purrfume has stayed on the agenda. I gave myself a very VERY fabulous Jo Malone 'Wild Fig and Cassis' candle for my birthday recently. Bliss. And the discount chemist on the corner has some quite desirable purrfumes on special, so I've lashed out and tried two new scents - HER, by fcuk (that's french connection united kingdom to you, thanks), an interesting sort of dry floral which has oomph without sweetness; and a new unisex Bvlgari which treads a very fine (and successful) line between a powdery citrus after shave and a fairly intense acid/floral freshness. I like this one particularly, as it tends to draw comments when I wear it, which suggests it isn't nasty, and probably that it suits me. I have no statistics from the general public to confirm or deny, but it feels good!

Keep thingers and fumbs crossed for us please.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hanging in; hanging on...

My husband is still in Intensive Care, fighting many fights to regain the ability to breathe independently. He will be permanently paralysed but the extent of this is not known. He'll need months of rehabilitation before we can come home.

I am hovering in my new life; I've been house-sitting for eleven weeks and am now about to move into the 1940's solid brick flat equivalent of a serviced apartment, near the beach. This move is both a step forward and an enormously difficult and energy-defeating task.

The road from 20th January to here is indescribable. But I DO think the odd application of Chanel No. 5 helps.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sad, sad news...

One week ago my dear husband suffered a catastrophic injury in a car accident. He was not at all at fault; a fact which some people find helpful.

We have had to move to another city to a specialist medical centre for help. Since arriving he's had successful surgery, but unfortunately developed life-threatening complications. This entire week has been a vigil of sorts.

This blog suspended until further notice, which could be months. Today brought to you by the tiniest echo of Chanel No. 5 which my daughter is wearing. I am so terribly, achingly sad for my darling.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Movement on the photo phront...

We've just returned from our holiday, in about four hundred safe little pieces. Three warm-blooded pieces and many, many bags, boxes, piles, hangers and bits. Including the fabulous, unleavable-behind many-coloured chandelier which will, I hope, be the star of the first photo I manage to post to this site.

I took many photos of my sewing projects of the past.. visits to the coast house began from very early days (it's been more than 10 years of visits now) to mean sewing time for me. I started small; recovering torn or worn cushion covers. I began to try to make patchwork again; having almost forgotten how to put it together. This led me to take classes in beginners techniques, highlighting the biiig difference in technique and equipment from my early attempts nearly 30 years ago. [30 years ago! Yikes!... but I distract myself..] I photographed every little project I've made there, as it forms an important beginning chapter. Soon I will amalgamate photos of more recent - more sophisticated - projects, many of which have gone to live with other people.

I don't have 'in the making' snaps for many as I didn't think of it until a couple of years ago, and it hasn't been a regular process. This very much reflects the fact that I tend to make things up as I go along, so there's no point making draft patterns or sketching designs. It will be what it is when it's finished. And usually, it will find a home when someone sees me working on it and goes 'Ooooh..'. This is very useful when you find yourself somewhat buried in oh, for example, far too many shawl/lap rug/cuddly blankie pieces of knitting. I may not be slender but I don't need THAT many acres of mohair fabulousness to wrap around me...

We had a nice time coasting. We did very little beaching, except the whale variety on beds and couches. Many books were read; many hours of music enjoyed; our cat behaved most eccentrically (it being only her second trip away with us, and clearly somewhat confusing - what had we done with HER backyard???); calories were consumed with an intensity only matched by our attempts to get into the cirrhosis danger zone. It were all very good.

The unguent collection was barely boosted, mostly because I now leave so much stuff there! But there was a small lapse into the sensitive skin face-cream department (thank goodness you can get L'Oreal products at Woollies); and I enjoyed finishing off a bottle of Dolce and Gabbana purrfume. No name, just D and G. Lovely.

I attended a one-day sewing class at Moruya, with a crafty-minded friend to share the fun (I mean craft, not wiley!). I was the slowest sewer I think, but I learnt a lot (it was a tote-bag making project) and the finished product is pretty spiffy. I was humbly but happily delighted when we visited two artist friends who both admired and made what I thought were very trenchant comments about my chosen colour palette.

Ahem. Pulls ego back... today brought to you by FAR TOO MUCH packing, cleaning, driving, unpacking and sorting out of a huge water leak, thanks to a split in the grey water hose. I didn't really want to use up NINE TOWELS sopping up the water which was intended for my tomatoes! Now I have to use more water to wash the towels which are full of soapy water from the grey water hose I use to try to save water. Irony is a force!

's good to be 'ome.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Time to cruise...

We've run away to the coast for a couple of weeks. We've had some deliciously cool rain, and some horrible steamy humidity afterwards. Why both I ask sweatily??

I've packed numerous projects, knitting and sewing, and hope to do some FINISHING. Now, pick yourselves up off the floor and behave. It has to happen sometimes you know. I recall, a couple of years ago, I was determined to finish some things, so I started with the very small, achievable things like the odd missing button on a shirt; two inches of dropped hem on a trouser leg; one final row of fringe on a scarf. Now I've pretty much run out of little jobs and I've had to take some deep breaths and look to the next layer of UFOs*.

I have with me the second half of a shawl for E (hi baby!); a tote bag project which I am taking to a one-day course at a local fabric shop; the famous 'greens' art/colour theory project quilt which is a stack of rectangles waiting for some seams to make them into a single bed quilt top. I have a random knitting thing which is just using up a weird ball of mohair and acrylic wool, not very nice to knit with but it's a pretty enough rectangle.. I'm knitting that one in what I THINK is moss stitch... and I have plenty of fat quarters for purposes of adding to/starting a small project which I am inspired to do once I have inhaled enough soothing seaside air.

These projects usually take the form of 'something useful for the house' and as such tend to be cushion covers, aprons, oven gloves, pillow cases or weird folded bits of long fabric which I think I can fake-o into a summer garment of a very toga-like nature ... ie I stand with the fabric in front of the mirror; folding, pleating and pinning, until it looks decent and feels comfy. Then I take it home and get it out next summer and try to work out what I had in mind!

But for now, these holi-days brought to you by my summer holiday stash: Ange ou Demon (nearly finished); Angel; a miniature Prada, and an unopened Gucci. So far, A ou D is winning. It's an intense, slightly musky scent which I like on these warm days. And, ya know, any excuse! Finishing a bottle is good enough for me.

*UnFinished Objects