Saturday, January 31, 2009
Some of you reading now, are young parents yourselves, and some are grandparents, and then there are others of you who fall in the middle, with growing children. Teenagers. All of you, in one way or another, are related to, or interact with families though, and yes, each and every one of us was a child once.
When you look at those little ones of yours, the thought of being a grandparent one day is borderline ridiculous, isn't it? You can no more imagine the voice of your little guy breaking than you can imagine that sweet girl playing with her dolls one day going off to university. And thinking that the little tot in the pram will one day walk down the aisle? Ludicrous.
You may look at your 3 year old daughter and think that you will never let her go on a date, and that no-one in your family is ever going to walk home in the dark, and hey, you are never going to let your 11 year old go shopping alone......
You may be shattered from sleepless nights, and teething troubles. You may have a teen who thinks he knows it all. Everything. That you are an idiot. You may be sick to death of being the family's resident taxi-chef-laundress-maid-mediator-creative director-finderoflostthings..... the list is endless. Time may be dragging. Days may seem monotonous, with just the company of little ones who can't really have a conversation with you about current afairs, now can they.
But you know what? I have been there in all those places, and I have struggled, and laughed, and cried, and screeched, and longed for time to myself. I have dreamt, and picked up, bathed, read endless stories and played every game imaginable. Cuddled, fed, rocked, held, stroked, touched, loved, fought for, bandaged and relished every single day of being a Mum to my 3 children. There they are over in the sidebar. See? All grown up now.
They are the reason I live here now. They are the reason I chose not to have a career outside my home as they were growing up. I was fortunate to be able to do that. They are the people I pray for daily, and miss when they are all over the place. They are imprinted on my heart. Yes, I could have done many things, but I CHOSE not to. I have never regretted that choice. Not for one single second.
I am about to become a Granny, and I can't wait for this next stage, as you may have gathered. This child of our family is already loved beyond reason, and will be such a blessing. But for the rest of my days, you know, I will still see myself as a Mum, no matter how old my children may be. My memories of all those years you are battling/sailing through now are crystal clear and as much a part of me as my leg is. I smile to myself as I read your posts about your lives with your little ones, and sometimes I sit and think how it can possibly be so long since I had the same problems or delights?
Time marches on exorably, though, and here I am...... a Mum who is going to be so proud to be a Granny in a few days time. Those thoughts I never wanted to consider, like the dates, the driving, the wedding, the walking in the dark, my little boy's voice breaking??? I could no more have stopped them from happening than I could have stopped the world from turning.
They came, and they went, and I changed, as my children grew and changed too. And finally the nest was truly empty and I looked around a home which echoes with memories. Their toddler paintings are framed on the wall of my kitchen. Their books are among mine in the bookcase here next to me. There are traces of them all over my home, and those traces are deeply etched in the confines of my heart too.
The circle keeps turning, and I don't really want it to stop. I can't freeze time, although a multitude of memories are frozen in my mind for all time. I want to keep moving, to feel my heart grow even bigger, as new people, like this little one, burrow their way inside of it, making new etches, new memories.
Daughter, sister, wife, mother - I have been them all ...... and now soon, Granny.
Friday, January 30, 2009
I actually crawled out of bed at 10am after the blog decorating marathon last night. But it was such fun! If you look at it with the full screen, you can see the whole thing. It looks more like "me", as my highly critical and very special sister says. "You are colour, and quilts, and flowers, and mountains, and life and people", she said when she saw the last one. Well, this one has bits of that, and you lot are the people, so we are all set.
I still remember when MG and I decided on a beautiful mountain one months ago, and when it loaded, it looked like hairy caterpillars wandering around the top. Bizarre. That didn't last long. Minutes.
MG and I both love Sandra's blog. We agree that she must be a genius. I have no idea how she has taught herself how to do it all, but I really want to learn how to do it myself too. Sigh. Wouldn't it be great to go and sit in Sandra's lounge and have a hands-on lesson?? With many breaks to sample all her delicious cooking, of course. I think there would be much laughter. Sandra??? Do you need visitors??
Back to this morning. I had a really slow start, I confess. I had some errands to see to...bills and such like, and then came home to watch the rest of the tennis. I may just have overdone the exercises, I think. MY leg (note the "my") is not a joy at the moment. In fact MY leg is a bit of a nightmare. I am supposed to relax and massage it. Well, to be truthful, I am supposed to get a partner to massage it. You try relaxing and massaging your own leg. The two things are mutually exclusive. Blast. Oh well. I will pat it now and then. MY leg.
I am a little weary, people, so I am now off to manufacture something for supper, close the curtains as it is pitch dark already, and climb onto that couch with my recession heater and blanket, aka the cloud. TV, my book and maybe a chocolate. Sounds perfect. Not forgetting the coffee.
PS..... My sister, the other genius, suggested I start another blog, and play around with backgrounds there where there is nothing important I can mess up. I may well do that. I have been thinking of having another blog for different things. Hmmm. It could be fun!
I am too terrified of changing things, you see, so I get my friend on the other side of the world to do it. I sort of beg. I was going to say "help" but that would be a lie. I sit and say yes, no, maybe, move this, change that, go back, hmmm, and all the rest and Becky does it all.
So THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!! I am so happy with it. And it is now 1.25am, and I have been on the phone to Becky for the last 30 mins, and it is past Cinderella time. We had to talk because MSN stopped sending our messages. Of course.
Sigh. Face-lifts are wonderful. And I am not in the least bit sleepy.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
So a jolly morning was had by all. I glared at it with a baleful eye as I washed the dishes, so I could wash the pots, so I could boil the water on the stove. Sigh. And pouring water from a pot into a cup means that you inadvertently end up cleaning the counter and the floor. And by the time you get to take a sip, it is cold.
So I bought another kettle. The cheapest in the range. It works. Hallelujah!
My daughter-in-law is very uncomfortable and just wants her baby to arrive.
My son aced a test at uni.
My daughter called and her new church website is finally up and running.
The carrot cakes are shrinking.
The waist line is expanding in direct proportion to the shrinkage above.
I did 20 rises today. Then nearly lost the ability to stand. Did you read that??? 20!! Only a couple of centimetres off the floor, but still....
And I think that is about all.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
It also has crushed pineapple in, and walnuts and coconut, so it is totally healthy. Especially if you ignore the small matter of the icing sugar, which is of course, mixed with cream cheese. See.....the complete healthy meal. Fruit, vegetable, dairy, wheat. Perfect.
So if you happen to live in this village, you had better come and save me from the carrot cake. Cakes. I made 2. Jean arrived in time to chop the walnuts for me. I gave her pecan nuts initially, and then she stopped me from adding ground almonds instead of coconut. I have NO idea where my mind had gone by that stage, so it is just as well she came round! The packets did look vaguely similar. But still.
My days are falling into a routine now. I come down the stairs in the morning, (after doing exercises while I am still in bed, therapy as you bath, and therapy as you dress), and I stop on the last step and do the dipping exercises, and then the step up and down ones, before I go and make the coffee. I do the standing ones, and the balancing one as I wait for the coffee, and then the sitting ones as I check the emails.
I watch some tennis, while doing the balancing ones and the rises. If I am a passenger in a car, I do the sitting ones. It is becoming second nature, and today I managed 13 rises in a row, so it gets better all the time. Anyway, that is how my morning starts. I have no great adventures to report. Not yet. Slow and steady.
And now I think I will go and look at that cake again. Help!!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Back to yesterday. Jean, Margaret and I had planned a visit to Olney, the market town in Bedforshire I went to last Saturday. Olney, by the way, appears to be pronounced Owe-nee. Do not ask. This is Britain. Bicester is Bister etc etc etc.... And for the first time in ages, I nearly took my Leki pole with me, because I was so unsteady and hurting, but then I thought....coffee. I can recover while we sit and chat, and indeed that is what I did.
Here is Olney for you to see. Lots of cars in the Market Square made photos somewhat random, but you can see a bit, I think. There is a weekly market held in the square, but obviously not on a Monday!
The buildings are all old, very different and very quaint, and as I have said, small and unique shops everywhere.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Early this morning, I was woken by a call from a dear friend far away in the Land of Opportunity, and after I gathered my wits about me, and shot upright in the bed to try to speak in a logical fashion, I have to say, it was a lovely way to start the day. I was grinning as I hauled myself out of bed 45 minutes later. "Early" happened to be 8.15am. I was not quite with it. At all. I have become a slug.
Anyway, it was a great start. Then Peter and Glynis popped round to kidnap me and take me to Olney for coffee. I did not need much persuasion. This is a lovely old town fairly nearby, and we had a great time wandering around the shops. There was coffee, of course, and lots of chatter too. And the craft shop. The Home of the Cuttlebug. It was sitting there, but I turned my back on it. This time. I just love craft shops, and they had a SALE on. Sigh.
So this afternoon, I decided that instead of doing the boring old exercises, I would go and walk along the pathways at the lakes at Castle Ashby. The sun was shining. There were plenty of people about angling, and places to rest, so it was a good choice. Please tell me why men like to go angling? They sit there all day with fishing rods, catch a fish, and then put it back in the water. Why?? I do not get it at all. Maybe it is just to get some peace and quiet. Hmmm. Weird.
The light was soft, and it was perfect. So here you go. Be relieved. I took 152 photos, but you do not have to sit through them all.
The path along the lake side....
Friday, January 23, 2009
I did it once.....rose up for a nanosecond onto the ball of my left foot. Sigh.
Once is better than zero. So we have some improvement. That was at physio this morning at the crack of dawn. More to follow on Monday.......
So today has been a good day so far. Progress, however infinitesimal, is still progress. And a good friend had medical tests come back clear, so more reason to be happy.
I copied a quote from a blog a few days ago about hope. My word for the year.
"If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you to go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream."~Martin Luther King, Jr., The Trumpet of Conscience, 1968
It was the bit about needing hope in order to be that stuck with me. Without hope, there is no courage, and without courage, we cannot be or do anything. Hope mobilises people. Like me in a physical sense. But in a greater sense, it is what the entire world needs right now. We need vitality, and there is no vitality if there is no hope. Vitality means life.
This morning, the UK figures for the GDP in the last quarter were published and we are now "officially" in recession. The entire country did not need the figures to know this. We have known for months. It appears that our leaders had their heads in the sand. But the expected drop was 1.2%. That was a trifle optimistic. It is bigger than that. 1.5%. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth on the radio about how many people were out of work, until one lone soul phoned in and said, hey, aren't you forgetting that 95% of the workforce have jobs?
We tend to focus on the bad things, and if we do that to the exclusion of all else, we would never have any hope. Now, I am not for a second going to ignore the misery and monumental problems so many are or will be facing. Far from it. I have written about that before. It is there and it affects each and every one of us in one way or another. But it gives me hope too, that people will start noticing people more. Eyes will see more. 95% of the workforce can help the 5%. If we look around, we will see need, and hopefully we will act individually or corporately to address that need.
I, along with the rest of the world, watched the inauguration of America's 44th president on Tuesday, and I listened to his speech. It was superb. He has no illusions about the immediate future, and we need to be reminded of that reality before we can start to fix things. We have the generations ahead of us to consider, and he certainly made sure we all knew that what lies ahead will be difficult. But he stood tall and proud and I thought to myself....he is not afraid of the challenges which face him. He is facing them head on, with confidence, and he has hope. I, on the other hand, would be running for the hills if I had to change places with him.
No matter what your political persuasions were or are, he is now the leader of the western world as well as the United States, and the entire globe is expecting much from this one man. He is however, human and will inevitably get things wrong at times, and we will not always agree with the things he says or does. But he has the ability to inspire confidence in people, and he deserves our respect and support, and most especially, our prayers. A new age has dawned. He embodies hope to so many. And the key here is exactly what he said....we are all in this together, and together we have to find a way to work it out. It will be hard. It will mean changes. but there is hope. Always.
You know, going back to that radio phone in this morning, one suggestion was that we have our governments move to coalition government like they did during the wars. Call a halt to the petty side swipes at different parties, and come up with governments of unity so everyone works together to address the problems facing us. Use the best of brains from all parties to get us out of this pit. And believe me, I don't think we have any idea how much trouble the financial world/banks are in yet. They have not confessed everything by a long way.
Now coalition government in the face of the world financial crisis makes sense to me. Probably because I am female and I think that talking is good. Working together is even better, and as all mothers know, sorting out our differences is better when dealt with by talking instead of sulking, or snarling or kicking under the table. Haven't you ever watched parliament on tv and wanted to storm into the chamber with a whistle, give everyone a time out and tell them to stop behaving like children???? I have. Every single time I watch the shenanigans. Give me strength, they even throw things at each other. Coalition. Behaving like adults. Working together.....I have hope that this may well happen. Look who President Obama has as his defence secretary.
I would also make the lot of them, especially the bankers, own up to all the misdeeds, and then say they are sorry, for heaven's sake. We all need the truth, and then we can make a plan. Fix things. Just like I needed the physio to tell me that I need to work even harder to get moving. She told me the truth and thereby gave me the tools, and in doing so, hope as well.
But I can't just sit here at my computer and say I have hope. Hope - vitality - courage. That means getting up and doing something about it. In all circumstances. A call to action. So I am levering my rear end off this chair now, and I am going to go and stand on the stair and do 50 dips this time. My record is 45.
In all things and in all ways, I will grab at life, celebrate small achievements and not waste the time and opportunities which come my way. And I have a date, by the way for Bath. I go in on 15th March. It is longer to wait than I would like, but I am just thankful I have a date. Hope, you see, does not have an expiry date.
I am off..... on my toes..... to the stairs.....and then I may just zap down to parliament with my whistle.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I decided to do my cleaning today. On my toes. So I flitted about the house waving a duster about in a ballerina-like graceful fashion. I am not actually sure how much got cleaned, but I was moving, and on my toes, and I had a duster and polish. They should add up to something at least.
Every now and then, I would drop the feet and try to rise on the left foot, and then would go tippy-toe-ing off again. Thank God there were no cameras around. God himself was probably rolling about clutching his sides.
Anyway. The cleaning. I managed to shred a veritable forest of paper today (on my toes) and then sorted the kitchen and study. (On my toes). Oh enough of the toes. I have been on them all day. You get the picture. I have also moved the boy's things back to his room and done a mountain of laundry. On........
And with that, I am going to try an arabesque and retire to watch some tennis. Jetes will follow tomorrow, after physio. (See, can you tell I went to ballet when I was little?????)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I have a new programme. Treadmill I can cope with, and standing on one (bad) leg on a trampoline while tossing a ball in the air?? Got it. There are others. I can do them. I try hard.
Enter the NEW exercise. Hahahahahahahahahahahha. HOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO. It is simple, she says. Just stand on this thick block of foam rubber, and on your bad leg, rise on to the ball of your foot. Without holding on to the railings.
Simple. I can do that.
NO, I CANNOT.
The muscles in my foot/calf/thigh/rear end/arms/stomach/back/neck/head........ they cannot make the leg rise. No matter how hard I try. I can do it with ease on the good leg. All I had to do was rise and fall for 3 minutes. And after those three minutes of hell, I could only do it with 2 feet at a time, and holding on with both arms. When I tell you I was drenched with sweat and the language had taken an unexpected nosedive into the gutter, you will get the picture. I do not do "I can't". Just ask my kids.
And the evil physio woman grinned and said......."That one is going to take some work, Linds. But you are good with challenges!" I was restrained. It helped that every muscle in my body was screaming at the time. I staggered out to the waiting room, where Jean was waiting, and I looked as though I had just taken part in a marathon. So we went to Waitrose for coffee to recover.
So ask me what I have been doing all day????? Up. Down. Up. Down. On both feet without holding on. I don't do "can't" so I will breeze in there on Friday and announce that I can.
If it hasn't killed me by tomorrow.
Monday, January 19, 2009
- Am about to be a Granny?
- Have a son who is soon going to be 32?
- That my daughter lives across the world?
- That my baby is at university?
- That I am living here in the middle of England?
- That I have a sister living in Switzerland?
- That my friends IRL are spread around the globe?
- That I am a widow?
- That the days of my youth and childhood are so clear in my mind?
- That things which seemed impossible back then are common place now?
- That communication is at the speed of light?
- That I am 54?
There are times, you know, then things suddenly seem to stand still, and you see in crystal clarity where you are right now, and then the awe comes, as you look around your life right now and think..... how can it be?
It seems just yesterday that I was a child, playing barefoot in the garden, with a big bow in my hair. Just yesterday that I was a student standing on the steps of a cathedral about to be baton charged by police. Just yesterday that I walked down the aisle dressed in a beautiful wedding dress with a long train behind it. Just yesterday that I drove myself to the hospital to have that very first child of mine. Just yesterday that my friend Linds and I said a tearful farewell at the airport when she flew off to a new life in NZ. Just yesterday that I walked into this house and wondered what on earth Geoff had got us into. Just yesterday that David fell down the steps with Diana. Just yesterday I watched all 3 of my children finish their schooling. Just yesterday that my Dad died.
So many memories all stuffed into the nooks and crannies of my brain. Some infinitely precious, some hysterically funny, some which fill me with pride, some which were certainly learning experiences, for want of a more suitable word or two. Some heartbreaking ones in there too.
How can it be that I have forgotten so many things? How can it be that I am standing at the dawn of a new era in my own life? How many dawns do we get? Does anyone know the answer? Of course not. Granny-hood is something I am about to embrace with great delight, loads of enthusiasm and oodles of love. But my memories of being a new mother are so clear in my mind....so how can that little baby be about to become a father?
I look in the mirror, (and today was probably not the best day to do this, seeing that I have failed to straighten my hair and it is OUT.OF.CONTROL.) and this stranger looks back at me. A woman who has lines in the corner of her eyes, and rather appalling dark shadows underneath them. A woman who is certainly not in the full flush of youth any longer. A woman who has more grey in her hair right now than highlights. A woman who looks every one of those 54 years. A woman who has experienced most of what life can toss at her. Pain, joy, sadness, happiness, love, rejection, accomplishment, failure, peace and turmoil. Just your average woman.
But in my mind, I see that 20 something or 30 something year old. Full of dreams. Some....a great many, in fact, of the dreams have been accomplished, and some have been discarded, leaving space for new ones to grow.
It is easy at times, to just look at the present and often, to despair, but then in those moments of crystal clarity I talked of at the beginning, it is like seeing all that is, all that has been and all that is still to be, and then the question comes. How can it be? So many things. So many emotions. So many memories. They only come like this when you are older, you see. Sometimes it feels as if your heart cannot cope with any more joy or pain, and yet, still its capacity grows. And sometimes you feel as though you cannot find any more places to tuck away all those memories in your brain either. Full up. Limit exceeded. But you do. Of course you do.
I am so lucky. My brain chooses to discard the bad parts, generally, and remember only the good parts. The lessons learned are engraved on my heart, but the memories are allowed to fade. And new dreams replace the old, and new goals are set to focus on once again.
It is at times like these that I have to acknowledge that there has been some infinitely divine plan working throughout my life. Or else how can it be that the little girl running through the sprinkler in the garden back in Cape Town in 1958 is the same woman who is sitting at her computer in the centre of England writing this today? Soon to be a Granny?
Every one of those grey hairs was earned, believe me. The memories come at a price. Living the past 54 years has been a roller coaster, without doubt. But the term roller coaster is very apt, because the down times have been offset by the soaring heights throughout the years.
So that face, the one in the mirror, is the reflection not of conventional beauty. Oh no. That never was and never will be. (It has taken 54 years to admit that, people.) It is the face of a woman who is turning in the circle of her memories, asking in a whisper....How can it be? Why me? Why here? Why now? How have I been so blessed? How can so many years have passed? How can this heart grow any bigger? Where can I store all the new memories?
And the One whose plan it was, just grins, I suspect, and thinks....wait till you see what I have in store for you next.......
Sunday, January 18, 2009
This is a quiet place. No footsteps. No strange music. No voices. No thuds and srashes. Silence, except for the sound of my fingers on the keys here.
The quilt is now on the Moses basket and the seal you can see is a gift from David to the Bump. He had a seal from Switzerland when he was a toddler, and it is still in his room as I speak, so a lovely soft seal from Switzerland, a girly seal too, might I add, is the perfect gift from the uncle to be. Please note the baby monitor too. It apparently plays soothing lullabies. We did not have those things when my babies were born!
It was great to spend some time with Andrew and Ann. This is the last time I will see them before the Bump arrives, and so I had to inspect the nursery and all the little clothes and the Moses basket, the cot, the baby bath..... you know what I mean. All the wonderful paraphenalia little ones need. Sigh. Such fun! Then we arranged toys in the cot, and, as Andrew said, all that is missing now is the Bump.
Granny 2B2 and Grandpa2B had invited us all over for supper, so off we went, and oh my word, what a feast! Roast lamb with all the trimmings, and wonderful blackberry and apple crumble for dessert. I ate way too much. It was divine. Perfect. The two Grannies had a "granddaughter" discussion, and made sure we all had each other's mobile numbers, and ran through check lists to see who had what where. As Grannies 2 B do, of course. Such excitement!
Then this morning, we set off to take David back to University. It is just 45 mins from A and A, so not far at all. Such a beautiful city to be living in, and he seems to know it so well already. It is going to be his home for the next 3 years at least. David is happy to be back at uni too. His friends came barrelling into his room just as we finished getting the things unpacked, and so I took that as a sign it was time to depart. He has his life there, and he wanted to get back to it! This is all good, of course. He is happy.
Friday, January 16, 2009
The house will feel decidedly empty when he is back in res. He is really looking forward to going though. And I have just cut his hair. He is reluctant to spend money, this child. He is more frugal than just about anyone I know. Me included. He plays badminton twice a week at uni and thoroughly enjoys it, and he has done well academically so far, so all is good. Right place and right time.
But it is lovely to know he is home too. I have got used to having someone around again! Right. I am off to watch the packing. I will be back.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
At the moment, I am looking at TV reports from New York and the plane which landed in the Hudson River. Thank heavens it seems that all the people on board are safe. A miracle. It is live on air here in the UK. Reason to give thanks. Not so much, however, if you happen to live in Gaza. Will the madness never end?
And I have been reading, in contrast, all the requests for prayer on the LPM blog, by people directly affected by the credit crunch. People who have lost jobs, lost homes, are facing bankruptcy, not knowing how to feed their families. And I just want to weep for all those hurting people all over the place. What I have been thinking too, is that so many of them have blogs. So many posted anonymously, but they may well have blogs as well. And how many people are actively talking about their dire circumstances? How much is a hidden burden? How many write as normal, and never mention that they are in trouble? For how many reasons....We can't all only be happy, bouncy carefree people. The loss of security is a terrible thing for a family. The loss of a home even more so.
And who, as one poster said, is thinking about the children who are having to live through all these scary days, not old enough to undertsand the worries their parents face, but too young to do anything to help? Mums and Dads who have no time to play any more, because they are consumed by worries or fears. Tempers fraying. Patience worn thin. Children with old eyes. So often overlooked, by parents under extreme duress, normally loving attentive parents, close to breaking point. Parents who love their children dearly, who are sweating blood to try to keep things together as economies crumble, and jobs evaporate.
Grandparents who are facing the same problems. Older couples who are having to watch their families lose everything, and, because their retirement investments are vanishing into thin air, are unable to help as much they may wish to help. Adult children are watching their parents too, lose their life savings, and are unable to help them. Families being separated by distance as they search for work.
It is happening all around us. Need is all around us. Maybe a lot closer than we think. The fabric of society as we know it is so thin, you know, and people are very good at hiding their worries from the world at large. We all know of people who have lost their jobs. People who are struggling. And it is all our problem too. Every single one of us can help in some way. We cannot stay cocooned in our safe little worlds and think we are insulated from the darker side of life. We belong to communities. More than ever, now, we need to reach out and help where we can. Get involved. Support small businesses. Donate food. Donate time. Money, if we have it. Jobs, if we can find some. Give advice about frugality, about ideas. Teach skills we may have to others who may be able to use those skills to earn enough money to survive these really tough times.
Next week, a new American President will take office. He must have the most unenviable job in the world. Would anyone care to trade places with him? I don't think so. I wonder if he has ever wanted to change his mind about the job. So much lies on his shoulders. And he is simply one man who has been chosen to try to lead his nation, and a great deal of the world too, out of the economic abyss, and into a time of hope. I would be running for the hills. He needs a nation united behind him, and a multitude of prayers.
But there is that word again....did you catch it? Hope. All those comments on the LPM blog had hope. And while there is hope, people will keep trying, keep believing in tomorrow being another new day, and keep trusting that things will get better. Little by little. Hope. It is a good word.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The purpose of this award is to give it to someone who is showing gratitude or a good attitude ("if life hands you lemons, make lemonade") within their life or blog.
The rules are these:
1) put the logo on your blog
2) nominate blogs that show great attitude and/or gratitude.
3) have your friends pass it along to more bloggers!
Thanks, Chris! And in a totally unusual fashion for me (I always forget to pass on awards or even actually mention them even though I am deeply honoured and very grateful I promise) I am passing it on IMMEDIATELY to my friend Kelli from Living in Grace .
Now most of you will know all about Kelli. She is waiting for a kidney transplant, and is covered in prayer by bloggers from around the globe. She has a wonderful family, who love and support her, and who are the lights of her life, and her attitude to the formidable challenges she has faced and continues to face has been nothing short of remarkable.
Having a great attitude, or showing gratitude is just a part of human beings. All women, like me, have days when the attitude could use some work and the gratitude totally vanishes. It is called being human and applies to us all. What makes some people like Kelli remarkable, is that she is blogging about the dips as well as the zeniths. She is throwing it all out there. And she is unwittingly giving a master class in grace at the same time.
You deserve this award, Kelli. I salute you!
And then my friend Janine at One Breath at a Time gave me this Your Blog is Fabulous award. Thanks, Janine! I am very honoured, and am sitting here grinning at the thought that someone considers Rocking Chair Reflections a fabulous blog!
The rules are supposed to be to pass it on to 10 fabulous bloggers, and to then list 5 addictions I am willing to confess to. Hmmm. Well, given that I have about 180 blogs on my favourite roll, and that I only read fabulous blogs, of course, this is somewhat of a problem. I also happen to think it may dilute the award if I give it to too many (like all of you). I am very tempted to do just that.
Anyway. I am now going to give it to 5 special people. New rules. Set by me.
Vee, from A Haven for Vee
Sandra, from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Crystal, from Be the Change You Want to See
Britt-Arnhild, from Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods
Barb, from A Chelsea Morning
All lovely women with fabulous blogs. Another reason for narrowing it down to 5 is because I cannot keep up with all the http thingys, adjusting urls and generally messing back and forth on the computer. Sigh. I am also not known for my patience, but I am working on that too.
The light was spectacular.
I am wearing a skirt. Tick.
I am actually wearing tights. This is progress, uncomfortable though it may be. Having stuff tight around my leg took some getting used to.
If I do exactly what they say I should, there is no time for anything else in the day. At all. This may be what they meant when they said it would be difficult.
5x+ texture de-sensitising. 5x+ mirror therapy. 2x exercise sessions. Then there is in bed therapy, getting dressed therapy, bathing therapy. Add in the physio, trying to go for a walk, cooking and all the rest and there is no time for anything else at all. But I don't care, if it works. Physio first thing tomorrow again. I can do this.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Yesterday did not get off to a great start. If I tell you I was doing the washing at 1am and putting things in the dryer at 2am you will get the picture. I did not sleep much. I went off to physio and shot through all the exercises, and have discovered that the wobble board and I can do great things if I am not wearing trainers! I stayed on balancing for between 5-10 secs, which may not sound like much, but given that my previous record was 0, it is a superb improvement. Those toes can grip hard.
It rained all day. I arrived looking like the wild woman of Borneo. Rain and long straightened hair do not combine well. And never wear suede boots when it rains. The boots and the socks inside them were sodden. I was a picture of stunning-ness. Especially when I took the boots off. Sigh. I need to work on the image. And never get on the scales wearing sodden suede boots and socks. I swear they added 10kgs to the weight.
Jackie was a true star. She drove and she also stayed with me through the appointments and took notes. And asked questions. And was generally superb. I am so lucky she is here. She is also the one who found the hospital after doing much internet exploring for me.
It took 2 and a quarter hours to get there, but the journey both ways was fine. Wet, but no traffic problems. And the hospital is right in the centre of Bath. Just round the corner from the Roman Baths, and in the middle of a wonderful shopping district, full of narrow lanes and unique shops. It is very old. The hospital, I mean. We sat there waiting, imagining what it was like when it was first built. Imposing staircase and all. I did seem to be the youngest person around, but that was just fine.
And then we met the first of the 2 doctors. Amazing. The doctors both clearly love their work, they smile constantly, but real smiles, and they both told me how well I was doing, and how hard I must have been working. This was the very first time a doctor had said I was doing well. Wonderful.
Anyway. After 2 hours of questions, prodding and poking, having to imagine things and talk about what I am imagining and all the rest, the second doctor (who is actually a consultant nurse with a PhD in her speciality which is CRPS and who is one of the heads of the clinic) said I will be going in for a week of intensive therapy and they will do all the thermal imaging etc while I am there. They will train me to do all sorts of exercises to improve my mobility, and deal with the pain. I will be working with physiotherapists, hydrotherapists, cognitive therapists, doctors, etc. They watched everything I did, and pointed out some things I am doing subconsciously which I need to work on immediately.
I refer to my leg as "it", or "the leg". A separate entity. I hide "it" by wearing trousers/pants deliberately, so I can't look at it. I pretend it is not there. I think of it as having a mind of its own. I have detached it from my body. I protect it by always sitting where it is furtherest away from other people. I arrange everything subconsciously so that it is shielded. I seat guests to the right of me. I arrange my cooking so it is all right sided. I sleep so that the leg is protected. And you know, it may sound ridiculous, but it is SO RIGHT. I have to change things. I have to wear skirts. Look at the leg. My leg. Touch my leg with different textures 5 times a day. Actively change how I see my leg so that it becomes part of my body again. This I can do. I am short-circuiting the neural pathways that have evolved.
And the mirror. This is fascinating. I sit on the bed with a mirror, a long one, between my legs, so that I can see the whole of my right (good) leg. Then, in the mirror, I can see 2 legs just the same. Good ones. And I have to do some exercises, looking at the good left leg in the mirror, even though my real left leg, which is hidden, may not be doing quite as well, my brain is seeing two perfectly good legs working well together. It is hard to explain, but it is simple and so effective. I have to do this 5 times a day at least. This I can do too.
They say that it is rare that they see someone at the beginning stages of the onset of CRPS. They usually get referrals after all else has failed, so this is fairly unique for them to have the chance to work with someone at the start, relatively speaking. I know that there is a chance it may never go away. But, if, 3 years down the line, there is no improvement, I will also know that I have done everything possible to heal myself. I am SO lucky to have this chance.
There was loads more, and although you now know more than you may wish to know about what I am doing, it is good to write down the fact that I have hope. I have already learned new things. I can help myself. I can do this. I am wearing a skirt, even though the leg, my leg, is cold.
I fell asleep in the car on the way home. So tired. Totally drained. But smiling. They said my attitude was superb. That I am not a victim. That I actually sought them out myself, and got my GP to refer me. That I am willing to push through the pain and not let it stop me. That there is a possibility that I will heal, because I believe I can.
So, if you see me refer to "the" leg, or "it", please correct me. Yell, if you have to. I have found a place which specialises in what is wrong with me, and it is all good. It may be excruciatingly painful, but it will work. I will keep believing.
I have hope!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Am I making any sense? I know what I am trying to say, anyway. Having hope means you are never overcome by circumstances. Not possible when there is hope in your heart, no matter what the head may be saying. You see, as I heard in church this morning, believing in your head is not enough. You have to believe in your heart. Now I am a good authority on the state of my heart at the moment, and I can say with assurance, that hope is there in buckets. Spades. Whatever. Loads of it.
My friends are reminding me that the hospital does not say it can cure CRPS, but that it can teach you to cope with it better. I still believe in complete healing. It can be done. And I am claiming that complete healing. The doctor in Switzerland said that he believes I can beat this, but that it will take 6-12 months of very hard work. That I can do. He says I have the right attitude. I will not give in and become a victim here. He has also seen people make complete recoveries. That is what I am focussing on. Hope.
Trust was last year's word. I learned a great deal about trust throughout the year. And in the end, trusting, which does not come easily to control freaks like me, was the freeing of my soul. I decided to do as my daughter once suggested and walk away from the quest for justice from one of the hospitals involved in Geoff's care. Less than a week later, I had a call which could possibly change the course of our lives. Trusting. Letting go. It is difficult for me, you see, because I have a mind which wants to peer round the corners ahead of me. I set out on journeys, visualising the roads ahead. I know where I am wanting to head. I go for the knowledge. I read, learn, file things away, so that I am prepared. So do you see how hard letting go and trusting can be? I am still a work in progress.
But hoping.....now that is different. Hope. So much potential in the word. The more sceptical of my friends will say, face the facts, look at this logically, don't get your hopes up, be prepared for disappointment. I listen, and I know. I KNOW that the hope in my heart is right.
You see, I believe that my leg was damaged for a reason. That I have been forced to rest for a reason. That I have been stopped in my tracks for a reason. That I have been led to Bath for a reason. That my life has undergone a revolutionary change for a reason. That I have been given the time to look inward for a reason. That I may not know that reason yet, but that it is all part of a plan for my life. I can shrivel up in a ball on the couch, wail oh woe is me, and become a victim, or I can look up and say, I may not know the reason, but I understand that there is one, so when you are ready, let me know. Soon would be good. But in the meantime, I will do whatever I have to do to get better.
If I had not damaged myself in June, I would not have had the time to read as much. Or spend time with dear friends. Or work on the quilts and gifts, or have time with my son. Or had the time to just be still. I wouldn't have had the time to teach Margaret to make her quilt. And she would not have been here helping in my garden. I would not have spent as much time on the computer, or blogging. I would not have discovered new friends. I would not have forgotten the days of being sworn at, or pushed about. I would not have learned that I can be even more frugal than I was before, and that is saying something, let me tell you! I would not have learned how to accept help graciously. I would not have had to let people stand in the gap for me. I would not have learned how to receive. Giving is so much easier. I would not have learned humility. Or how difficult life can be when you can't walk fast, or on uneven paths. I would not have had the time to think as much.
Being forced to rest has, in retrospect, been a huge blessing to me, although not to my hips. But that can be dealt with in time. It is in preparation for something. I just don't know what right now.
But I have hope. And because of that, I am going to Bath tomorrow. I will keep believing in my heart. And in my head.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
It is COLD. You may have got that by now. It was -5 this morning at 9 when I went to town. The bills, you know, they needed paying.
Anyway. I have no scintillating news at all. Apart from the fact that I discovered a real shop which sold American food! Yes! I even got some peanut butter chips/pieces! Such excitement! I also discovered that the good old South African style receiving blankets for babies, made from brushed cotton, with cute little prints on, are unobtainable. No-one knows what I am talking about here in the UK. So if you are in SA and reading this....here is a wonderful export opportunity! And while you are exporting, please send me a suitcase full of them. Immediately. Thankyouverymuch.
I did end up buying a white brushed cotton sheet, and will make some myself, but I cannot find printed fabric anywhere. Sigh. The things of great moment which occupy my mind. I really do need to discuss some more fascinating topics here. It must be the cold. It has frozen the brain cells. I will improve, I promise.
Once my teeth stop chattering.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
So I told the physio I had not had any sleep, and she said...."Oh, what a pity, so let's start on the wobble board shall we?" Right. Evil. That is what she is. No let up at all. No sympathy. Get on with it. So I did. And, unsurprisingly, everything hurt even more, and I could hardly do some of the exercises. So I am home now. Feeling drained. Weary. Exhausted. I may well give in and go and have a nap on the couch. Just as well I let my friend take me there and bring me home.
Bath. Monday. They will sort it.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Right, where was I?? I never did mention that an "insurance investigator" came to visit last Friday, did I? Well, he denied the actual words, but we knew just why he was here. He had copious forms to fill in, which made me feel dreadful, but he was just doing his job, I suppose. They already had all the information. Still. Not a good feeling at all. I had all the paperwork and appointments and prescriptions etc at hand and he seemed fine. And I showed him the leg which is undoubtedly a sight to remember, though he was not that interested in visual evidence. But. There is always that BUT. I hate jumping through all these hoops. My bank manager, on the other hand, bashes his head on the table and says what on earth do you think insurance is for, you silly woman. He is right. I know that. I now have visions of investigators hiding in hedges.
You will be pleased to know that the hair straighteners have arrived. Sigh. They are beautiful. My hair will be tamed again. And that my car is full of life and bounce now that the battery has been replaced. It has a new heart. But what joy! It goes! I turn the key and it roars into life! A miracle! You may just guess that I am a happy bunny if my car goes and I have tamed hair. It doesn't take much to make me happy!
So I am spending my time slowly piecing together the cot quilt. A cot is a crib, I think? You know, the wooden thing babies sleep in with bars at the sides? Well, the Bump will be sleeping in that when she is a few months old and too big for the Moses basket. So she will quite obviously need a bigger quilt. I am sorting that one.
What with physio, endless exercises, cooking, cleaning, sorting, reading, sewing and all the rest of daily bits and pieces, I have nothing scintillating to report. Normal....well, as normal as it is possible... life continues. Friends drop in to visit. The phone rings. Emails to answer. Son to enjoy. He goes back the weekend after next.
And Bath on Monday. I am pinning everything on the experts there. I am ignoring the fact that my left arm now tingles and looks different. Or that my little finger on my left hand does not seem to be working properly either. CRPS can jump limbs. I stick the fingers in the ears and go lalalalalalalla and think...Bath. Monday. They will sort it. My friend Jackie, who has been to all my medical appointments recently, has changed her working days so that she can take me down and be at the consultations with me. Thank God for friends like this. Bath. Monday. They will sort it. Repeat.
So I am off the the cutting board again. I will be back later with, hopefully, something rivetting to discuss.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Can I just say at this point, what a lovely bunch of friends you all are. Thank you so much for all you lovely comments. You cannot begin to know how much they mean to me. My evening was completely buoyant after reading them. So, in case you didn't realise this, thank you so much from a really blessed woman somewhere in the middle of England.
And today followed closely on yesterday's sloth. I woke at 9.30 and did not get out of that bed till 11. I am ready for student life, I think. I cannot remember when last I was such a slug. But it felt great. Especially when I turned on the TV and started listening to the goings on in the middle East. Sigh. Will politicians never learn from the wise sages out there....talk, people, don't fire rockets. I had to listen to the PM rabbitting on about the economy too, and that was enough to make me pull the duvet over the head.
Then, in a motherly fashion, given that the boy is home, I realised that we actually needed some food, so I grabbed the wallet, and headed for the car. Hahahahahahahaha. It is on strike. Nothing. I fear the starter motor has expired, if that whirring noise is anything to go by. Humph. That was not pleasant. So, after phoning the Miracle Man Who Deals With Cars, and arranging for him to come and resurrect the car on Tuesday, I set off to the shops. On foot. Clutching the Leki pole. I counted steps there, as a way to distract me. There were no mountains to look at, and my mother is right, the pavements are diabolical. They slope, and then are very uneven. And have I mentioned that the leg is a nightmare at the moment??
But I got there, and like an idiot, spotted that a jar of sauce we like is on offer at half price, so I bought 4. And then remembered I had to carry everything home. So off I toddled, and made it to Jackie's house, stopped to try to learn how to breathe again, had coffee and got a lift home.
Plans??? Better not to make them. I am now going to have a nap to recover.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
It continues to be freezing here. Temps seldom rise above 0 degrees C. The Bump's quilt is almost done, and I feel the need to go shopping. Ridiculous really, because I don't need or want anything. I just want to go and look and see what is in the shops. On a Saturday. The last day of the school holidays. When the entire world will be shopping. At the sales. I am mad.
For some reason, I am restless today. Unsettled. Sigh. Maybe I should just go for a walk. I need to be back in the mountains.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
A new year.
It is like opening a new notebook, and smoothing the page down, and starting anew, isn't it. I love notebooks. New ones especially. The smell, the clean pages, the possibilities....
This is the first day of a new year, and, as I glanced at the blogger dashboard before starting to write this, I noticed that I have written 800 posts. 800. I never check the number, and it is not by design that I reached a round number on the last day of the year. It was chance. And in a way, it is like finishing an old notebook and starting a new one. See what I mean? 2008, and 800 posts. It just seems finished. Rounded.
I can't believe I have written so many posts. Totally unbelievable. Amazing.
And now I start on 2009 and this is the 801st post. I am rambling already. Nothing new then! I have been busy quilting. I cut out the quilt for the Moses basket for the Bump on Tuesday, and stitched the top together yesterday and started quilting in the evening. It is small, because the Moses basket is small, and I have so many ideas that I wanted to have lots of opportunity to make different things for her. Anyway, the fingers are numb so I am stopping for the day.
I really should write something profound for the first day of the new year, but profundity seems to escape me at the moment. The words sleep, coffee, bed and pillow seem to be looming large in the mind, and as it is only minutes till tomorrow, I will just post this and then retire.
Retire. I sound like a doddery old duchess. And I am not. I mean I am giving up on meaningful posting for today. If this is the state of this blog on the first day of the year, heaven help us for the rest of it. Mind you, the only way left is up. And now I am rambling uncontrollably.