Friday, July 22, 2016

Problem Hand and Doctors

This week, I've finally taken myself to get my right hand x-rayed. You see, since I had the sun cancers surgically removed from my right hand last year, the middle finger of that hand has been very painful... the knuckle of what is called 'the rude finger' in sign language (what a great thing to call that, right?), won't allow me to carry heavy weights.

This means I can't pick up bags of potting mix or large and heavy terra-cotta pots without my right hand simply letting go straight away. I've almost dropped a large pot on the concrete in my car port because of this; so I really needed to get something done about it.

And so, this last Friday, I went and got the x-ray done, went to the doctors and she sent me to get an ultrasound... thus meaning there's something the x-ray didn't pick up. 

Well, I received a phone call today from the doctor, she wants to see me next week.

This means, the ultrasound picked up something the x-ray didn't. Bummer. I might need to get surgery on my right hand - I hope not! I'm a writer! This'll piss me right off if my right hand is out of action for another 8 weeks again. 

Well, I'll see what happens, and keep you all posted about it. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

20 Years Ago This Month

This month has been a big one for me in the way of how long I've been around. It's been 20 years ago on 11th, July since I had a 4.3 level Melanoma surgically removed from the back of my left thigh. 

That doesn't sound very nice - and it wasn't - but it got done and I'm glad it did, because I'm alive today because of its removal.

Dr Michael Lanigan did my surgery - a great plastic surgeon - and he saved my life. I was only 22 1/2 and that was considered very young to have a skin cancer of this type. But it was also the amount of stitches I have that shock people - still. 

I got 43 stitches in the shape of a crooked 'S' - which we call 'the dollar sign'. This is because the surgery cost around $5,000 to get done at a private hospital through my private health fund. Sure it was only an overnight stay, but there was all the other stuff I had to get done too. 

My recovery wasn't great. I was stuck in bed for almost a week before I went back and got the stitches taken out. The really shitty thing was that I went into hospital 2 days before my holidays; so I was stuck with a bandage on my leg for a good part of my holidays and working on recovering from major surgery. When I returned to work, I had to put in for sick leave instead of holidays and asked for holidays again in the future - because I didn't end up going anywhere. My workplace let me do this and I ended up going to the coast about a month or so later to get in and do some proper recovery down there.

But first, I had to get my leg working again. I had to get myself walking again. Seeing it was on the back of my left thigh, this meant I was on a walking stick for about a month making it strong again. I was flat out getting up and down stairs; and I had to take the stick to work so I could use it during the day if I needed it.

However, as the last two decades have passed, I have become stronger. My leg has bothered me sometimes, but only to cramp up and warn me of weather changes - like cold snaps, rain and storms. Man, can my leg predict a storm! I've tried everything to keep it from cramping up so much, but not much helps. Yoga and 'Painaway' sprays and creams works. Sometimes a boiling hot shower does too - but they're all temporary and don't last long. Often, I have to just deal with the pain and get up and walk around in the night for hours on end; which does help. There have been times where I've taken a good walk around the unit complex late at night to pull the cramp out, come home and been able to sleep because the muscle is warmed up enough - weird, eh? Otherwise, there are shoes I just don't wear. My friends know I don't wear heels - not on purpose anyway. If I do, I'm in for a world pain the next few days from my feet and from my leg as it pulls the muscle in the wrong direction. So, if I'm going to wear heels, I make sure to wear block heels and not spiky ones.

The one thing that I do know is that I'm damned glad to be alive. I have cheated Death a few times now and I now feel as though I'm playing a game of chess with a whole new set of rules... that life is a party I'm crashing. When you are living a life where you know you're not supposed to be around, you see life in a whole new light. I know that sound morbid, but really, it's something you don't realise unless you've kind of 'been through the looking glass'. It's a weird feeling when doctors tell you that you may not be around in 5 years time; and the next thing you know, 20 years have zipped by! 

All I can say is that I've created a life and a world that I'm damned proud of. I don't care who thinks of what I do with my life - I'm alive because of Dr Lanigan; he saved my life. I'm also alive because I wanted to be here for my family and friends and my wonderful niece, Riley. If I wasn't here, she'd be only hearing stories about me from my family and visiting a grave... something I don't wish for for a very long time to come. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Haven't Stopped - Until Now

Today is the first day I've stopped for over a week. I've finally stayed home to do nothing but chill out and maybe get in and do a bit of housework and some painting.

But over the last week, I've been busy as hell. 

I've recovered from the laryngitis, but there's a cough that's hanging on from it that's going to be with me for another month or so - from what I've been told. But otherwise I'm good and well. 

Last week, I started on the last part of the three-year garden fix-up. Every three years, I spend some serious dosh on my little garden to make it take a big step forward. I know that sounds like a lot to do, but during the years in between those three years, I care for the garden, prune it, pull the weeds, fertilise it and make sure it's well. I also take notes on what needs to be done, saved for and which plants need new pots, new potting mix and what I can do with the old pots - which other plants can be transferred into the old pots that I have left. 
You see, I don't use plastic pots. I go to the expense and use terra-cotta pots, so they last a long time and not go brittle. But it costs so much money and saving up for them is something I am good at when the time comes. 

So, during last week, I moved a few things around the garden and bought myself a standard Ficus. This plant is related to the Strangler Fig and it's advisable to keep it in a pot. So, I bought a pot and all the fixings to get it into that new pot. By the end of the week, the garden had been changed around. The steps by the side fence were moved to another part o the garden, where the pots there used them, and the Ficus became a focus point in the garden. This is good... and has made the garden fix-up come to an end this year two weeks ahead of schedule. This means I can start saving for other things I would like around the place if I want to.

I then went to Bunnings and found a shelf-splitter. This is a metal shelving unit you install in your pantry - or on top of your benchtop - and you can organise your space better. I have been looking for this for ages; since Bunnings advertised it two weeks before actually. Then, I showed it to Mum and she thought it was a great idea and got me to go and buy her some.

During the weekend, though, I've been doing volunteer work, knitting and at a Birthday Party at my brother's house to celebrate his girlfriend's birthday. So, I baked my famous cream scones and whipped up some cream to take with me. It was a great afternoon and we were home by 7pm. 

This week is going to be just as busy as I have to see the doctors about an x-ray I got done last week, do the grocery shopping (which isn't going to be much by the look of things) and then work on the painting I'm halfway through. Yep, this week - like last week - is going to be busy, busy, busy. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Brisk Winter Days

School holidays are almost over and the days and nights have turned lovely, cool and windy.

I love this time of year because of these days.

I cook so much lovely hot, stodgy food and drink so much hot chocolate it makes me go out and buy another tin of Milo. 

But this Winter, I came down with Laryngitis, causing me to hibernate more than I usually would - and I don't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I did get a fair bit of reading and writing done. And a huge painting is a quarter way through; and I watched around 8 movies that I haven't seen in yonks! All in the complete silence of my house. This meant I got pretty darn sick of my own company really darned quick!

So, I started looking at the garden and thinking about what to do with it to make it more private; and once I was better, I started moving things around again. This was great to do - and I hope to do more of it, as I'm hoping to get in and do more planting. I've bought a Ficus and am going to put into a large pot and let it take up the side fence of my garden.

I so do enjoy this time of year. I'm still getting into my craft as it's such a joy to do. I've begun knitting a throw as I have enough yarn to do it now. It's looking good - even though it's just the beginning of it. Well, that's all the news for now. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Yesterday

I wasn't going to be doing anything yesterday... but then, I was asked out by my niece - who I haven't hung around alone with in ages.

Dad asked if I could take her somewhere for a few hours and I jumped at the chance of taking her to show her my piece at the Logan Art Gallery and also take her on a tour of the place.

I picked her up at around 11am, but when I arrived, they hadn't arrived home yet. Dad had taken Riley to Aunty Narelle's and Uncle Iain's place for coffee. So, I waited and texted them to let them know I was at the house. It didn't take long to return and we chatted about the plans for the next few hours.  Dad said it sounded like I had made a few good plans and Riley looked forward to seeing some nice places around Logan.

The first place we were off to was the Kingston Butter Factory. I took her here first because it's a place of historical interest and it's also got an artistic area as well. I told Riley about how it used to be a real place of industry for South East Queensland until demand became too big and they had to move production somewhere else and close down the factory. She thought that was a pity, but great the building still stood - I said that it was unused for a very long time and became very much rotted and needed a lot of fixing by the council. 
When we walked to the place, she was amazed at how pretty it was and how quiet the area is. I told her that there's the Butterbox Theatre as well inside - and that I used to work there as a volunteer too. She loved that. 
We looked at the craft area upstairs and I asked if we could look at the theatre - as it was locked up - and the lady who had the keys let us in. I told the lady I used to work with the Butterbox Theatre Company and she asked if I remember Judith (the lady who ran it) and I did. We looked inside and Riley was amazed at how big the place was. I said that there is rumoured, and I could confirm those rumours as I have experienced things with the theatre company I just can't explain away and what happened don't make sense. Riley asked who it would be haunting the place, I told her that it's known as 'the lady in white' and but she's more active at night than in the daytime and she used to be a Butter Factory worker. But then, that's only what I've been told. 

The next place I took Riley to was another historical place: the Kingston Pioneer Cemetery where the Mayes Family is buried. She loved it; as it too is quiet and off the beaten track a little. She was amazed I knew about it. I said that I found the place years ago and the Logan City Council has looked after it better by putting a fence around it and a sign up for tourists. But it's still an open cemetery and one of the first in Logan City. She was touched to see some of the oldest residents of Logan were laid to rest there - but sad that some of graves didn't have headstones. I said that some of the families could only afford the fences, but not the headstones; and it's been so long, that not even the Logan Council knows who's buried here anymore. It's really sad when that happens. I was going to take Riley to Mayes Cottage but the place was closed until Thursday.

We took off to the Logan Art Gallery. I took the back way, along Jacaranda Avenue and we showed up at the Gallery at around midday. The place wasn't very busy and I Riley was really impressed with it. I walked her around the gallery telling her the history of the whole place and how long it's been open, what was there before it and how long the building has been there. Then, I took her out to the workshop and showed her that and the store room there and out into the garden as well...she was amazed that Logan City wasn't the only city of its kind in the world. I said there was a city just like Logan City in Japan - our sister city - and we communicate with it artistically every two years. 
I showed her the exhibition where the children have done their artwork; and she was surprised at how good year 5 artwork is. I said that the way they teach children over there is different to the Western way of life; it's more structured and the kids there have less distractions. She loved the Allsorts Exhibition and saw my work and took a photo of it; marveling at the stitching and how it was just amazing on its own and so different from all the other work in the exhibition.
Then, Jillian took her out the back and she let into the world of how exhibitions are put together; and how fast exhibitions are changed over at the gallery. At some bigger galleries, they take a month to change over an exhibit, whereas at the Logan Art Gallery, it takes a little over a day to do that same thing; and the people who work at getting it all done are there from around 9am until 5pm. They are constantly working to get it all right first time around. 

After the gallery, we walked out to the car, and Riley said she learned a lot about galleries and said that it must be a great place to work at the desk of. I said it is and that I'm constantly learning new things as well. 

We went to Diggers in Logan Central for lunch. This an RSL (Return Services League) for return soldiers anyone can join. I swiped my card and because Riley was under 18, she could walk in as my visitor. We had a wonderful vegetarian lunch of feta and spinach cannelloni and huge ice coffees as well. It was great to eat a lovely meal in a nice place without having to yell over traffic or any young kids. She really liked that place; and said the meal was huge! We couldn't finish our meals, they were that big!

Before long, we were back on the road and heading back to my folks' house to meet up with my parents to take Riley home. Dad, Riley and I sat down and had a chat about what we did and Riley said it was a great day. I made a status update on Facebook - mentioning her - and she loved it. 

It was a huge few hours with my 17 year-old niece and she loved hanging out with me and seeing some places around Logan City... places she's never been to before - and one where she was revisiting after a long time. I'm so glad I could show her around in the comfort of my car and it was a lovely Winter's day too.

Well, it was a busy day yesterday and a busy one today - and there's another couple coming up too. Today was shopping day and I got out late and came home late; but with the cold weather, I wanted to take my time. It's always nice to have a day dedicated to grocery shopping; where you don't have to rush to get it done. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

It's Back!

My voice, not the laryngitis... and it's so good to be able to talk to people and go out! I had no idea how social I've become since owning a car; and man, I missed driving and getting out and about after a few days stuck at home.

Besides, I didn't really feel all that social when I couldn't talk; I mean, how would I ask for something when all that came out was a whisper - or nothing at all.

So, yesterday was my first big day out to do things - and I made sure it was a good time. I went to the gallery to look at my work on the walls and chat to everyone. Jillian thought I might be contagious, but I'm not. But I didn't stick around for long; I had places to go and things to do before the weekend was out.
Then, I off to Arndale to pick up some pens (write a book in longhand with) and a few paint brushes. I happened to pick up some other things too while I was there. Once home, I set up the house as a studio and worked on a painting I've been working on since Monday for about 3 hours before putting it all away and watching 'Paper Moon' - a movie I've never seen before - and then got myself some dinner.

It really started to get cold as I put on a dvd and I got into my knitting and watched a few episodes of 'Orange is the New Black' Season 1. My neighbours gave me Seasons 1 and 2 to me saying that they got them all on blueray and thought I'd like them - and I do. It's a great show. I got to bed around 12:30am... and it was freezing! 

This morning, I was away early to the Rochedale Fruit Markets to buy milk, cream and the paper as well as some mushrooms and pumpkin and a plant... it was nice to get those things so early.

Once home, I put on a load of towels in the machine and made coffee and breakfast of pancakes.  It's been a good day, but cold. I'm hoping to warm up more soon to get back into my artwork for the afternoon. Until my next post, take care, stay safe, and remember, I'm always here.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Laryngitis

Since Sunday morning, I haven't had a voice - quite literally. I woke up and my voice was completely gone! 

I thought that over the day, it might come back. But nope, my voice had packed its bags and taken a vacation from me - leaving me to wonder exactly what the hell happened the night before at my class reunion? I had it then, but now in the bright sunlight, it was gone.

During the day, I called Mum and she was shocked to hear how I sounded; and she ordered me off to the doctors the next morning (as the weekend rates of doctors are disgustingly huge!). 
So, on Monday morning, I was at my local doctor's trying to figure out what the hell happened. Dr. Ross Taylor (a doctor Mum used to work with when I was in high school) looked down my throat, tested out my breathing and felt around my neck and said I had slight case of Laryngitis and to stay home - away from anyone and cancel any social appointments I have this week. Most of all, he said not to talk.

So, here I am, on Thursday, and this is horrible. I have needed to go out and do things - like to craft group, get the tyres on my car done and tomorrow, I have a chiropractor's appointment - but I have to put all that off until next week! It's not a good thing to be sick; but it's even worse when you can't be around people because of your voice. 

Last night, Mum dropped off some groceries I'd normally go out and buy for myself. She stayed outside while I came out and took them off her. She heard me try to speak and said it sounds like I'm not getting better; but not to worry, I will, and it will happen suddenly. One day I'll be without a voice, the next it'll come back. 
I really hope it happens soon. My life is really quiet at the moment. I don't mind the silence, but I'm really getting sick of my own company... not being able to go out isn't fun. And the car is just sitting there; and yet I don't want to spread this around. It's not something I want anyone to have; and yet I don't know where I got it from.

Well, I just thought to check in. So far, I've finished a dishcloth, done 3 loads of laundry, cleaned up the lounge room, found a diary I've been looking for, written 8 - 10 pages in 'The Red Ledger' about books, cleaned up the office and made the best batch of scones ever (and yet I can't share them with anyone!)... the things you can get done when you're stuck at home, right? Well, at least I'm getting them done. Well, until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Over The Weekend...

It's been a very wet and wild weekend here in Brisbane and down the East Coast of Australia. I went out on Saturday night and totally enjoyed myself at my 25 year class reunion for high school. I thought it would be terrible - seeing I had to go stag - but it wasn't. A lot of people went on their own. We had a great time and I left at around 11pm after catching up with so many of my old friends; who all chatted and caught up with me too.

Then, I woke up on Sunday morning without a voice! Yep, I found it hard to sleep in Saturday night, but I thought I was coming down with a chest infection from the last few weeks of not having early nights. But nope, I had caught something in the last week that's taken my voice from me... and after going to the doctors today, I was told I have a mild case of Laryngitis. I can't go out to any of my social places this week - but I can get my car looked at for new tyres - however, there's no Queen Beez Craft Group and no seeing my folks until my voice is totally back to normal. Most of all, no talking or singing (especially in the car... yeah, I love singing to the music in my car). 

Otherwise, while I had no voice yesterday, and it was a miserable day, so I got in and watched a few movies after making a huge amount of popcorn and grabbing a half-bag of chips that were left over in the pantry. Yep, I got right into watching 'The Matrix' Trilogy - and in between the first and second ones, I made dinner and ate it (which was home made lasagne - which was delicious! I have more to eat tomorrow night). By the time 'The Matrix - Revolutions' was finished, it was around 9:30pm and I had to clean up the kitchen from my cooking and the day.
The rain was still coming down and I didn't want to go outside just to put out the rubbish; so I tied it up ready for today. My throat was really sore and I thought to get up nice and early to get myself to the doctors to find out what the hell was wrong with my voice. Thankfully, Laryngitis is only a virus - and like all virus' will go away on its own. I just have to not talk or sing. Well, that was my weekend. I'm off to have my lunch of Lasagne. Yeah, I know, it was going to be tomorrow night's dinner, but I guess I can make more if I need to. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Big Weather Event - Again.

This weekend, the east coast of Australia is going to be hit again with more rain; and maybe thunderstorms.

I thought to go on Facebook, but thought this would be better. I would like to let my friends know that I'm going to be okay. I'm probably going to be online for a good part of Sunday, as the rains will get worse, but otherwise, I'm staying home for that day.

This rain has been coming across our huge country from Western Australia and dropping huge amounts of rain onto drought-affected areas of our country. This is good for the farmers and bad as well. It means we might get some flash flooding - as it was a big thing for us a few weeks ago; and people are still recovering from what happened then. 

I don't want anyone to worry though. 

If Brisbane floods again, it doesn't mean Logan City will. Parts of Logan will, but I'm nowhere near those parts; and I'm safe. So, I'd like to say that I hope you all stay safe over this very wet and wild weekend. If it's flooded, don't attempt it and take a different way home. Stay safe people... make sure your insurance is up-to-date and if you don't have to go out onto the roads, don't. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Catch Up

It's been a busy couple of weeks. I've been dating a man - which hasn't really worked out. I've been at the Logan Art Gallery working my shifts and I've also been working on new work - a new painting - for the bedroom as well.

However, this week, I came down with a slight cold and so made myself a huge batch of my 'Cold Buster Soup' - which you can find on the labels 'Recipes' on the right hand side. It's a great soup to have; especially during the colder months of the year - I really count on it.

I'm also writing another book - this is a part of a bigger book on writing and collecting and life. It's all going to be hand-written and then typed up. I hope it ends up to sound as good as I'm planning it to be.

There's been plenty of rain around lately and so I haven't done anything with the back yard lately; the lawn mower hasn't been out of the shed and so the lawn has gotten long. I hope to get to it after the rain goes away. But then, isn't that what Winter is for? The rain to come and feed the plants while it's cold?

I'm also saving up again to get into the markets next year again; which means I'm also working on more over-sized pegs and other things to get it going again. It ought to be fun to get back into my routine of that again. Well, there's not much more to report... seeing I've been just catching up on everything around here. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.