Saturday, January 30, 2010
And as I left Marge, for a brief moment (actually just the length of time it took me to walk home) the sun shone, and oh, what a difference it makes.
The mist was still swirling about, and the sky was bluer than ever.......
Morning all.....this is the Abominable Snowman reporting in. Yes. It is STILL SNOWING. But this is a village in the Alps where people come to ski and snowboard, so it is all good. I have just ventured out to the shops on foot, and believe me, the combination of snow covering me, gloves on and off, scarf throttling me, and bulky coat with hood complicates things when trying to pay. Not to mention the stick getting in the way too. However, I am intrepid. I am also back home and we will not starve.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
When, and if, it finally stops, my camera and I will venture out into the frozen wastes, and take more photos. These are the "before" ones. The next lot will be the "after" ones.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
My brain is not engaging at the moment. Well, it can cope with the ins and outs of the hooky stuff, but that is about it. Maybe if I actually got to sleep a little, it may click back in gear. It is in a wandering and wondering mode right now, so I will stop here, and go and pick up the hook again......
Monday, January 25, 2010
The happy ripple, which will become a cushion cover one day.
I started making stars, and they are not quite as simple as I thought. However, they are fine, and will look better when they have been pinned and starched!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
This is the ripple scarf. I have photos of the works in progress, but need to take more of the finished thingys. They will pop up here soon! My brother-in-law was here this morning, so I went out for a short walk, with the camera. Mum can't be left yet, so that worked well. It is another beautiful day, and it was -10C earlier. Much nicer in the sun, but most of my walk was in the shade, so the temps stayed down there somewhere.
I was COLD. And numb. And red in the face, and no I did not have a hat. I forgot. I won't do that again. I loved being out in the snow. I loved having a brief walk with my sticks. I loved the crispness of the air. The silence. The crunching of snowy ice under my boots. And the warmth of the house when I got back too.
Nap time, now that I have thawed.
Friday, January 22, 2010
We should have been arriving back home around now, but clearly, we are not. I have lost track of how many air tickets I have bought and then not used for one reason or another. Ho hum.
The crocheting. I spent the evening finishing off all the things I have made so far. Sewing in the ends. I am really pleased with the way the flowers have turned out, and the ripple cushion will look great when I finally make it up. I may sew a flower or 2 onto that as well. It will look good with the Happy Quilt. Today, I think I will make stars. It is never too early to plan for Christmas, after all. And if my brother-in-law is home at lunch time, I may just go for a short walk around the lake with my camera. I want to be out in the fresh air a while. Maybe that would wake me up! My snow boots and Leki poles have to have been 2 of the best investments ever. The sun is now creeping into this room - beautiful.
Nap or stars? Hmmmmm.............
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The week since last Wednesday, that is. My Mum was rushed into hospital last Thursday morning for emergency surgery, and Marge and I have aged 50 years each since then. Mother, may I add, is doing splendidly, after her major surgery. The first in her life and she is 84. She came out of hospital this morning. Marge and I need a month in a spa, or on a tropical island to recover. My hair is grey, and the wrinkles have increased overnight.
I was looking at the list of instructions the doctors in Bath gave me back in June last year, and top of the list is "avoid stress", followed by "pace yourself", and "do not be tempted to do too much, even on a good day", and " spoil yourself". There is more. I am supposed to go for another appointment to see how I am managing the above instructions next Monday. I have just cancelled that appointment. I may have displayed ominous signs of hysteria if they had asked re stress management. Straight-jackets spring to mind. I think it is quite safe to say I am failing miserably on all counts there. But when it is your family, you toss personal things to the wind, don't you. Consider mine tossed. This is my family.
And for good measure, my daughter, down there at the bottom of the world, has wrecked her knee and is being referred to a specialist. Her computer has also expired. And Glynis went into hospital yesterday for an op to correct the break in her wrist. The one she broke just before Christmas when she slipped on the ice. It has not healed correctly and needed a metal plate. So she is in pain and can't drive for another 6-8 weeks. Her sister is due to fly home next Monday.
HELLO 2010, CAN WE START OVER AGAIN???? This is not quite what I had in mind for the new year.
So all has not been paradise, sweetness and light around my little world. However, I have conquered the crochet hook, people. I am now drowning under flowers, large and small, ripples, circles, snowflakes and the like. Thank heavens. I have sat beside Mum's bed in the hospital with hook flying at the speed of light each day. Balls of wool spilling out of the bag at my feet. Manic is an apt word here. It has been a sanity saver.
I have never under-estimated the importance of my family to me. In this family, everyone feels the same way, and nothing has been more important than getting Mum fixed and back to full health. Whatever that takes. And thankfully, she is doing brilliantly. It takes time to recover from major surgery, and as she is no longer 20something, it may take a little longer in her case, but we are made of strong stuff in this family, and she will be FINE.
So, here I am. I have said so many times before that life can change in a second, and it is up to us to learn how to deal with the fallout. It is not about me, after all. And as I am in the mood for cliches....one day at a time. The greatest of thanks go to those friends IRL who have kept things running for me, and sorted out all the day to day things. The support has been absolutely stunning, and it is so appreciated by us all. And for all the prayers - a huge thank you.
Just one other thing.....did I mention that the emergency surgery happened to be in Switzerland??? See - nothing this family does is simple, it seems. Planes, trains, trains, and more trains, me, stick, plod, hobble....... And snow and ice and mountains, none of which I had seen till today. Up and off early and back late. The Germlish is improving in leaps and bounds, though. Germlish is what I speak - a total mix of German and English. It works.
Iam a little tired. Well, to be honest, I am unspeakably exhausted. I need a nap. Right now, I am dealing with a German keyboard which has moved all the letters around too, and I am not in the mood. I will be back.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I have made a pile of leaves to go with the flowers now, people. It is seriously addictive. Now I know why my mother has crocheted enough blankets to warm the country in her time. I think it is time to start trying the ripple. Or the stars.
I lay in bed last night listening to the reports from Haiti re the earthquake - there were no pictures on tv of the devastation at that stage. What a disaster for an already impoverished country. I just hope and pray the international aid gets there as swiftly as possible. At times, I think I have very little, until I see what very little, or nothing really is. I - we - are so incredibly rich in comparison to the world's poorest, and we should never forget that. We need to do something about it.
Monday, January 11, 2010
There was also a brief visit to cheer me up as well - to watch Missy re-arranging the furniture while we had coffee. The child moves at the speed of light, and three quarters of the photos have some blurriness in them. She is up and moving all the time!
Saturday, January 09, 2010
I can celebrate the thought that all those horrible bug things will not be about to devour my garden come spring or summer time. I hope. This cold should finish them off. By the way, can anyone tell my why birds don't freeze?
I celebrate the beauty of the snow in the fields (that is entirely different to snow on top of my car, of course).
And I celebrate the friendships I have, and the friends who have called to ask if I need anything, instead of having to venture out myself. Thoughtfulness is such a blessing.
I celebrate the joy of learning a new skill too. I am churning out little flowers at the moment. I have no idea what I am going to do with them, but it is such fun!
I am celebrating the fact that I have dealt with the current paperwork. For now. Living life to the full does not include periods of ostrich-like behaviour. Groan.
I am celebrating the last few days I have with David home. He should be going back to uni this weekend, but the weather....... Having one of my children around is a reminder that I am still a Mum.
And I celebrate the opportunity to spend time with friends. To skype with friends. To write to friends.
To be able to read, to be transported by words on a page. The smell of baking bread, stew bubbling away, apple spice candles burning in the lounge. Smells of home. The sight of the candles flickering, the sounds of the music playing on my ipod, the voices of my children, whether in reality or on skype or the phone. The little one laughing. The taste of fresh clementines, and of home-made cookies. The feel of the warm jumper I am wearing, and the feeling of achievement I had when I made those wristwarmers. Not to mention the snowflakes and the flowers......
You know, when I started this post, I was battling to think of things to celebrate. Nothing leapt out and shrieked "choose me!!" This, then, is why having a word to focus on for the year is so good. As I started thinking and writing, so much came to mind and ironically, I would never have realised, if I had not started focussing on the word, and what it actually meant to me. I could carry on all evening.
Each Saturday, I want to remind myself of the things I have celebrated during the week. It changes one's perspective!
Friday, January 08, 2010
Here it is - amazing, isn't it?? It reminds me of that movie - The Day after Tomorrow. On the topic of snow and ice, my sister wants to know why the UK bother with salt on the roads. In Alpine villages, they use only gravel, so the cars have traction. And the bodywork of cars is not ruined. They save the salt for the motorways. Or roads down the mountain. Salt melts the ice, but then that freezes, and so the next morning, you have skating rinks, as we know all too well around these parts. The gravel would go a long way to filling the ridiculous potholes appearing all over the country too. Ice is the mega problem.
The curry is bubbling away on the stove, so I am off. Stay warm!
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
I did say this was turning into a weather blog. My life is being ruled by the weather at the moment. I cannot risk falling and damaging more of me. Enough already. So today, as it is Epiphany, the tree came down, and all the decorations are now packed away. I will miss the lights on the tree, and the warmth and cosy atmosphere the whole thing helped to create in my home. I don't have a fireplace, so I have no dancing flames to watch and so the tree did splendidly instead. Having David around to pop everything back into the loft helped too. He will be going back to uni soon, so I am making a list of things for tall strong young men to do before then!
And I have Shanghai Pork bubbling away in the slow cooker. It smells wonderful, and if it tastes anywhere near as good as it smells, I will post the recipe. I had to make the marinade yesterday and leave it to sit in the fridge overnight.
So that is my rivetting news for the day. My crochet hook is calling.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
In a stoke of genius, they decided to put in a real ice rink for the holiday season. Real, not artificial ice, that is, and it has been unbelievably popular. I love the little penguins to help little ones learn to skate!
Monday, January 04, 2010
Ah well. I have a warm recession heater on my lap and hot coffee next to me. It is not all bad. And the sun is shining. This makes me see the dust and the state of the windows, so I am ignoring it all. Lalalalalalala.
Remember back in early November when I said I would tell you about Psalm 46? I just remembered that I have yet to do so.
The day before I went to the other inquests in Oxford, I had a call at the crack of dawn from the Coroner's Office to tell me that a lawyer was coming down to attend the inquests and wanted to speak to me, and here was her number and call her now goodbye. I was still in bed at the time, and hurtled out of there (in a manner of speaking) and flew down stairs (in another manner ...etc etc).
As I reached the lounge, en route to the computer to google her and make sure she was real, I had the overwhelming urge to sit down and open my Bible. I had been praying for a miracle/angel/divine intervention for a while, because, my friends, I was tired. Very weary. Battling the giants has been hard. I had been reading through the Psalms, and even though Psalm 46 was one I had read a week or 2 before, I knew I had to re-read it. Right then. Before I googled her. Before I spoke to her.
Now, if you know me, you know that if I am On a Mission, it is head down and full steam ahead around here. But this time I stopped. Sat down and opened the Bible. Re-read Psalm 46. The words "Be still and know that I am God" really have had a huge impact on my life in recent months. And I stayed on the couch for quite a while thinking about the words I had read, and why I had to read them.
Anyway, I emailed Glynis and Jean, who were coming with me, and told them Psalm 46 was required reading before we set off for Oxford the next day. And then I googled the lawyer, and eventually spoke to her, and made arrangements to meet before the inquests etc etc. You know that bit.
And the next morning, off we set at the crack of dawn. A stunning day. Bright blue sun rising. Glorious scenery. We talked about it as we drove. And when we arrived at the courts, Jean got out of the car and said to me - "You get the UCB Word for Today notes, don't you?" "No", I said, I don't. She stood there and looked at me and said "Are you sure?" Well of course I was sure.
And then she hauled out her copy of the Notes and said "Read this. I thought you got the notes, looked at today's words and then asked us to read Psalm 46."
No. I had not.
Wednesday Nov 4 Comfort in troubled times
"......God will help her at break of day."
When your world is suddenly turned upside down, remember, God's plans for your life haven't been cancelled! When you feel trapped with no way out, here are some things to remember:
- Look for the river. There is a river whose streams make glad.... (Psalm 46:4). In Old Testament symbolism, rivers represent God's supply for for your every need. When every human source of supply seems to have dried up, don't fear, look for the river. (We crossed many beautiful rivers on the way into Oxford, and we talked about them as we drove over the bridges)
- Look for the city. God has planted His "...city of God, the Holy place where the Most High dwells" (Psalm 46:4), right in the middle of your circumstances. God's city, the symbol of His presence and power, guarantees He's still in control and that He will restore peace and order to your troubled world. (I was giving Jean directions into the city, and told her to head for the beautiful church spires we could see. The ones belonging to the churches and chapels in the centre of the city.)
- Look for the signs of God's presence. "God will help[you] at break of day." (Psalm 46:5) Daybreak, a symbol of new beginnings, gives you confidence that beyond this time of trouble and testing, a new day is at hand. "Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning". (Lamentations 3:23) (The most stunning sun rose as we journeyed down, and we talked about the beauty of the rising sun, and the dawn of a new day, and we speculated about what it could have in store for me/us.)
- "Come....see the works of the Lord..." (Psalm 46:8) Reviewing the record of His mighty acts builds your faith and reminds you that He is the..."same yesterday and today and forever". (Hebrews 13:8). If He took care of you then, He will take care of you now. (I have made no secret of the fact that I have only survived the past few years because He has most certainly taken care of me. Then. Now. Forever.)
- Look to God and be at peace. Based on the tested and proven foundation of His power and faithfulness, you can live by the Scripture, "Be still and know that I am God..." (Psalm 46:10). (I loved that verse so much, I had even embroidered it onto the Happy Quilt I made in the weeks before.)
I stood there with the booklet in my hands and looked at my friends. I could hardly believe the message we had been given. If anyone had ever had a shred of doubt, there was no way to possibly explain the series of coincidences. No doubts. No coincidences. Just absolutely real. Confirmation that He had me in His hands. He had the court, the lawyers, the hordes. In. His. Hands. He was pulling the strings. He was in control, and He made absolutely sure I knew that.
So when, a few hours later, the message from the Coroner and the lawyer came that I was going to be back in the hot seat asking the questions, I just grinned and said fine. I can do that. No problem. No panic. No notes. No information re the deceased people....BUT......I had every assurance on earth and in heaven that whatever happened, He was there.
You know what happened at the inquests. The posts are back up again, by the way.
I will say it once again. He is what has sustained me. He has given me the strength. He has given me the courage. And in the end, I have had no option but to rely totally on Him. He has never ever let me down. Not for one second.
This, then, is my God.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
I don't know what has happened to global warming. Here in the UK we have apparently moved to global colding. It is perishingly cold outside and the snow is threatening to reappear. The ground is frozen solid. Up north, the snow has not gone at all. More keeps falling. Thank heavens for the recession heaters I made. I am tired of wearing 47 layers of clothing, though.
This post is moving all over the place, much like the mind is at the moment.
Late this afternoon, I happened to be outside, and looked up into the darkened sky, and I saw so many planes criss-crossing the heavens, in all directions. I stood there looking at those flickerign lights, and wondered about where they were going, who was on board, and what kind of adventures they were about to have. I wondered about far off places I have only dreamt about. New beginnings perhaps. I thought of places waiting to be explored. Of hemispheres, and different stars at night. Of friends and family scattered all over the world.
This is what happens at the start of a new year. A new decade. The wondering. The dreaming. The open notebook time, with pristine pages waiting to be covered with writing. My writing. A story yet to be lived and yet to be told. This is the second day in a new decade for me. A new year for me. For each of us. What, I wonder, will the writing tell of? Where will I go? What will I be doing?
There are 2 ways to look at the wide open spaces, aren't there - with fear or with anticipation. The unknown can be a frigtening thought. Change can induce fear. Or, anticipation can generate excitement, and change, delight. Ah, I am thankful I was born with an adventurous spirit.
Change. Adventure. New opportunities. Climbing out of the rut. Doing something different. Pushing aside the familiar, and trying something new and challenging. Getting out of the comfort zone for a while. These then are the thoughts chasing about my head at the moment. The thoughts which have made me restless.
It is possible that I have spent the last 12 months marking time. Perhaps for the simple reason that I needed to rest and gather strength for what may be waiting this year. Or that I was not ready. Or maybe there is another year of marking time ahead for me. I have no idea. Anything is possible. Wildest dreams become attainable when we leave ourselves open to those chance opportunities which pop up now and then, but only if we have the courage to grab them with both hands. We have to be willing. To trust. To go. To try.
This is a time of wonder.
Friday, January 01, 2010
And after fumbling my way through the "how to get started" bit, and trying to work out where the wool in my left hand actually goes without being too tight or too loose, I managed a little square. I learned how to chain, and do slip stitch and double crochet. They even supplied the wool and the crochet hook. I know it has mistakes and a few holes, but it was MY FIRST ATTEMPT!!
And then I scrounged around in Mother's cupboard and found a ball of wool and tried a larger version. I am now as blind as a bat, because I had the hook and wool so close to the eyes to see what I was doing that I gave myself a headache. And the world is blurry. And yes, the pink version also has mistakes, but I am getting there. I am intent on making stars and ripples and fun things as soon as possible. I did tell you that the patience needed more work, didn't I! So I am On a Mission. Keeping the tension even is hard!
So that is how the first day of 2010 has been spent. I was too busy trying to get it right to cook, so we had breakfast for supper, aka egg and bacon.
This bears no relation to the post I intended writing. Tomorrow. If I can see straight by then.