Friday, 31 December 2010

Resolutions 2011

When I was at school I learnt to play the clarinet. I played for six years. It got to the stage where the theory associated with the inevitable and interminable music exams got too damned difficult for this right brainer. It really put me off. I gave up.
And I haven't played again.
In fact other half doesn't really believe I play at all. This is partly because I haven't been seen with it for years. It is ( I think and I hope) locked in a filing cabinet in the garage. Go and get it? It is locked. Not sure where the key is. Looks like a new year lock breaker.
I am determined to find it and play it. If I can't find it ( and that would be awful) I will get another one. I am really excited about it.
I also want to start singing. My voice has never been brilliant. It has never been trained. It is ok- describable as a 'good choir voice'. So I hope to join a choir too. I want more music in my life.
At the moment I can't imagine ever feeling well enough to sing or blow into an instrument but I know it will come in time. And the thought of it makes me feel happy.
Happy New Year to all my bloggy pals,stalkers and occasional visitors. I hope 2011 is peaceful, healthy and prosperous for all of you

Monday, 27 December 2010

Over optimism, great expectations and differences

Peter and Santa Peebles 2010
Much is written every year about how many of us have too high an expectation of the festive season. I think I fell foul of this a little this year- and I think I can definitely be forgiven.
As regular readers know, this was the Christmas I wasn't supposed to see. And if it had been left to the local oncology team I definitely would not have been a participant. Making it through, therefore, is an odd experience, and I suppose if you haven't been through it I think it would be hard to imagine quite how it feels. I suppose a reprieved prisoner on death row might get it... that's as close as I can think of. I have sometimes felt like a last minute guest: delighted and surprised to be invited to a party which I really wanted to be at, knowing that the invitation only arrived in the nick of time.
So, expectations? Other half, teenager, mum and I were booked into Peebles Hydro Hotel in Scotland for Christmas. Four nights. 23rd- 27th. It is a great place to spend Christmas. Lots to do for everyone- an easy place to relax. The trip became the family goal, the light in a dark world, something to be aimed for and get excited about. Something for me to work towards as I convalesce( ARE YOU GETTING THE PICTURE........?)
I suppose you know what's coming. All of you who have similar 'damn and hell' type of festive seasons. Can you hear bells ringing?
Thursday 16th December Midnight. I woke up with teeth chattering violently, followed by dramatic soaking sweats. Sky high temperatures. Not good. Down the drain goes the three day break to visit other half's family in the North East. I had a wound swab taken and a water sample. The surgery rang to say the latter looked dodgy so I had to go straight away onto MORE antibiotics. I duly did so, and immediately developed an intolerance to them. I will spare the details. Needless to say they had to be stopped.
I crawled on through the weekend temperatures roaring and appetite gone again. Boy- was I feel sorry for myself? I looked like hell. I felt like hell. I felt the pressure mounting. And I was so tired ......... all those last minute jobs were not being attempted. I had ground to a complete halt. In bed. Asleep. Again. No appetite and brimming with self pity.
Monday limped around and daktari was on the phone again. He had some good news ( really?). No urinary infection. Brilliant. So could it be flu then- it certainly felt like it? No- 'it is a wound infection' he announced cheerfully. Welcome to new and different antibiotics. I was relieved that at least I knew what the problem was, but daunted that we were just starting to tackle it on 20th December. I continue to sleep, sweat, shiver and grumble... and grumble.... and grumble.
23rd December lift off to Peebles. I felt like death warmed up. I felt like hell on wheels. I looked like something from ' Night of the Living dead'. Other half had done all the packing. I had pointed weakly from packing pile to case. But I was DETERMINED to get there. After all..... this was the big pay out. The reward for being a good patient. This was going to perfect? Er........
And we got there. Brilliantly navigated through the wintry weather by other half. We made it. But inwardly I fizzed. I raged. I didn't feel much better. And I was so convinced I deserved to be better. It was nearly a week, but still I limped on with boiling hot face, or shuddering freezing body. This was my holiday in Peebles. And I was ill again. I felt guilty to be an atmosphere hoover to the others, sorry for myself and as angry as hell that I was missing out. Great expectations. Dashed. I slept on. I ate very little. I sulked.
And then on Christmas morning, I felt a lot better. Was I starting to recover at last? We opened our presents, we had a lovely day. I saw Santa. But I didn't finish dinner, and was in bed by nine. I missed the music and the dancing. Small but slightly optimistic sulk.
Boxing day. I woke up full of life after a lovely long night's sleep AND NO TEMPERATURES. No flannel on the face, no fantasies about rolling in the snow naked, no more layering myself up with woolies and hot water bottles when the cold struck. And energy. After a week of absolutely none at all......I could feel it fizzing through my veins. A song in my heart, a zest, and a bit of appetite....
So I sprang ( well....) out of bed. Breakfast ( yes food- finally!). Festive flower arranging. Fab. Sugar craft mice ( picture tomorrow- very proud of). Brilliant. Quick rest. Bar. Dinner. Cabaret. Coming to life and ready to start the holiday. 27th December. Check out. Home. Bah wretched humbug. I was starting to get into the swing of it all. And like Cinderella......... home too early.
And to cap it all we came home to very heavy snow. Sigh. More snow.
So, what have I learnt from all this? To be honest that is still percolating. However, I do know for sure that I had a massively over- optimistic view of how well I would be by Christmas. I am still amazingly frail and susceptible to bugs and beasties. I am glad I have an cheerful and determined outlook but sometimes it can trip me up and give me false perspectives. This can lead to disappointment. I don't ever want to become someone who always expects difficulty ( self fulfilling prophecy) but sometimes I need to be better at just accepting and enjoying things the way they are. I need to get better at letting go of frustration and irritation, and be more accepting and cheerful of the situation as it is. I have given the Grinch a run for his money this year- unattractive behaviour and not fun to be around. Understandable and forgivable, but toxic all the same.
To finish on high note. One thing I haven't had to worry about this festive system is overindulgence. For once, no post festive remorse and diet plans for me. A blessed change. I have lost lots more weight.I am getting to be quite the sylph. My liver is healthy and smiling as I haven't been drinking. I will enjoy looking at the sale clothes- for once I can shop anywhere.
The other thing I realise, having had a nasty blip, is how far I have come since 29th September... how much more independent and sprightly I am now compared to those first dark days. Much stronger, much more resilient, and hopefully wiser.
I hope your festivities went well. I hope the bugs and beasties, bad weather and lack of parcel deliveries didn't spoil your fun.
I will continue to get well again......I need to get a spring in my step for New Year's Eve.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Christmas drinks 2010

Wonderful friends
Wonderful husband

Last night some lovely friends of ours invited us to Christmas drinks at their beautiful hotel the Linthwaite House Hotel ( staying in the Lakes? stay here. Fab views, fab decor and fab food). I had a very weary sleepy day yesterday and didn't think I would make it ... but I was so determined that I got dressed and thought 'I'll give it my best shot'. I am so pleased I did. I had a wonderful time.

Once I walked into the hallway I started to perk up. Such lovely decorations. Such lovely smells. Such a lovely welcome. Before long I was sitting with a bacardi and coke, with energy rising by the moment.

When our friends invited us to join them for supper at a local bistro we decided to go along. And again- had a great time. It all felt very festive. And as these folk all have boys in teenager's class we never run out of things to talk about. The boys are all very good friends and through them the parents have become very good friends too. I love it. For the record I had a very nice seafood and spinach pancake and salad.

Thanks so much to Gail and Simon, Wendy and Tony and Lilla for a very happy evening. Thanks to Wendy for the photographs.

I savour every moment of a nice time these days- not one drop passes by without me relishing it. I would never wish serious illness on anyone but it certainly does make you stop and appreciate the good things in life- especially lovely friends and a wonderful family.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Life savers

Teacher was teaching about taste using Lifesavers sweeties.
The children began to identify the flavours’ by their colour:
Orange ............... Orange
Finally the teacher gave them all HONEY lifesavers. None
of the children could identify the taste.
The teacher said, 'I will give you all a clue. It's what your
mother may sometimes call your father.'
One little girl looked up in horror, spit her lifesaver out and yelled,
'Oh my God! They're ass-holes!

The teacher had to leave the room.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Wellingtons ( thanks to my aunt for this one XX)

(Anyone who has ever dressed a child will love this one!)

Did you hear about the Pre-School teacher who was helping one of the children put on his wellie boot's?

He asked for help and she could see why. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little wellies still didn't
want to go on. By the time they got the second wellie on, she had worked up a sweat.
She almost cried when the little boy said, "Miss, they're on the wrong feet."
She looked, and sure enough, they were.
It wasn't any easier pulling the wellies off than it was putting them on.
She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the wellies back on, this time on the right feet..
He then announced, "These aren't my wellies."
She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, 'Why didn't you say so?' like she wanted to.
Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting wellies off his little feet..No sooner had they got the wellies off when he said, "They're my brother's wellies, my mum made me wear them.’
Now she didn't know if she should laugh or cry.
But, she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the wellies on his feet again.Helping him into his coat, she asked, "Now, where are your gloves?"
He said, "I stuffed 'them in the toes of my Wellie's".

She will be eligible for parole in three years!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

No waiting!

Last year mum and I made these penguins at Peebles hydro hotel where we spent Christmas 2009. We had such a happy family Christmas. I never dreamt I would have such a traumatic and turbulent year in 2010. I didn't realise that 2009 could have been my last Christmas. We never know what is round the corner- good or bad. Just as well I reckon! We booked last year for this year- Christmas 2010. At times we thought we would have to cancel the trip but we didn't. And now, against all odds we will go again as a family AND I AM SO EXCITED. I have never taken my wonderful family for granted. Since I lost my dad in 2001 I learnt that nothing lasts forever. But this year I love them more than ever and value them more than ever. Not only have they all put in a tough emotional and physical shift on my behalf, they are without doubt the focus and priority in my life.

Through the grace of God and a million prayers from all over the world I will see this Christmas after all. I felt odd about Christmas for years after dad died- I found it so hard to feel happy without him there. But someone pointed out to me: would you like teenager to feel the same way about Christmas if you died? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I want him to celebrate my life when I die and feel happy and grateful at Christmas, valuing friends and family and having a great time. My dad loved Christmas and I have now promised myself that I will throw myself into this time of year whole heartedly as long as I am here to do so. I am sorry that I was sometimes down and miserable and negative about it. Never again. He is happy and at peace now ( and if heaven is all about doing what we loved to do - he will be at the Ashes at the moment with other half's dad!!!)
A friend suggested we have a low key budget Christmas this year. I told her she must do what she feels is right for her BUT FOR ME NOT A DAMNED CHANCE. I am going all out to have a ball. No budgets, no economies, no quiet and no low key for this girl. I feel like Scrooge after the three spirits- it's all out.
Much as changed for me since last Christmas. I am now vegetarian on doc's orders ( though I can eat fish thankfully). I now comb M@S shelves for veggie ideas. Also, I now longer have a bladder!! Now that's a bit different eh? I am now known as a urostomate which means I wear a urostomy bag to catch urine. Its a big transition and I really knew nothing about it pre my operation. But every cloud has a silver lining. I don't have to get up to the loo in the winter nights, I never have the urge to go to the loo at an inconvenient moment, and I have a ' NO WAITING' card. This explains to long queues of people that I should have immediate access to the toilet in the event of needing to get in there ( in case the bag needs replacing or emptying - then it is damned urgent let me tell you!), they should step aside graciously. I have only used it once thus far ( today in fact) and everyone was really lovely. I was nervous but there was no problem. I thought - I guess there has to be some compensations. And having no bladder means it can't cause me anymore bother, pain and nuisance. And that suits me just fine.
Enjoy your preparations and take a moment to think. If you knew this Christmas was indeed your last, would you view in differently?