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Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Approaches

Just after midnight tonight, I head eastwards towards Scotland to visit with my mother. It has been a tough couple of weeks, between working 15-18 hour days including over the weekend, an overwhelming tower of things to be done at the office, emotional calls with my mother, aunt, sister. I owe emails right, left and centre and I apologise for not having replied to so many. I just truly haven't had the time nor the energy to put thoughts together, nor fingers to keyboard. I'm sorry and am so thankful for the comments you have all left on my blog.

Little by little, things are coming out and the whole truth will be revealed during this trip. I have an appointment to meet with her doctor on Monday. I believe this will be the last Christmas I spend as a daughter and know I have to be strong for her while I'm there. I have been standing up for myself more with my mother lately, and not letting her get away with her usual bending of the truth when it comes to my behaviour. I told her that I have shown her nothing but respect through this entire time and that I expect nothing less than that from her. She did admit that I have been a powerful support to her.

After we each said our piece, she said something that made me cry: "We're still friends, aren't we?" I said, yes, always. I hope I'm more than just her friend but I'd settle for that, yes. I'd like that actually.

Wishing everyone a happy festive season. No matter where our faith lies, we can all celebrate this time of joining together and appreciating each other.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Dramatic Worsening of Her Condition

On Sunday, my mother awoke with no sensation in, and no functioning of, her right hand. She didn't do anything until the next day, when she told my aunt who then travelled to be with her. On Tuesday, I felt a need to call my mother and was given the news. The doctor had been in to see her and was unsure if it was the result of a mini stroke, or was something to do with the cancer.

She was rushed into hospital, where she's been for the past two days and nights, undergoing a battery of tests and scans. It now seems that the tumor has grown and is pressing on her heart. At least we know where the tumor is now, we hadn't since she was diagnosed. I don't know much more than that, until I get a hold of her doctor.

Yesterday afternoon and through the night I spoke with my mother (x1), my aunt (x3), my brother (x2), my sister (x1), the Borders Hospital (x2). I think I got a total of two hours' sleep and I'm on the wrong side of fuzzy today. Coffee is helping a little.

Basically my mother doesn't want to talk about it, my aunt is telling me to back off, my brother says he can't go to visit and my sister wants to get on a plane right away. I'm hoping to get a hold of the doctor later today to get answers to my battery of questions. Once I have some more information I'll feel better. I don't buy into the 'leave her alone to make all her decisions' approach as she's not doing that. She's refusing to face the seemingly very real prospect of needing some proper care at home, if not elsewhere. My aunt is there now but she can't stay forever and she, herself, has only limited use of one hand/arm as a result of a car accident many years ago. The neighbours have been phenomenal but I can't expect them to be there 24/7 for her. There is already some indication that we have to modify the staircase to add on another handrail. I think we should be modifying the house to exclude use of the upstairs section.

So it seems I'm going to be the bad guy (gal?) again, having to push for some things to happen. Perhaps now is the time to exercise my power of attorney. I've advanced my leave by a week and will arrive there on 23 December, my brother (of course) is too busy to make the trip, my sister is not the coping sort and wants to jet off tomorrow (might I add without a passport but she assures me she can get out of Tenerife but getting back in would be an issue). Her presence isn't really the best thing on her own, she'd just add to the issues needing to be addressed. I'd rather be there when she is there so that she doesn't just become one more problem. I've tried to explain that this week we are covered but we need to think about next month and however many months there will be after that.

This is not looking good. The tumor will grow, keep pressing on her heart and goodness only knows how that will affect her body if she's already lost the use of one hand. Everyone around me is burying their head in the sand and saying just leave her alone and take a day at a time. Maybe I should be doing the same but that's not in my nature. I believe in facing the truths and responding to them. I've supported all her decisions so far, probably more than anyone else in my family as I've been the only one keeping in touch with her doctors and specialists. But I believe support can also include looking out for her, understanding what lies ahead, and being prepared. That remains the battle I have with everyone around me.

May I please ask you all to send good thoughts her way.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I've been reading Violent Acres for a while now and have just added her to my blogroll. I hope you enjoy her too.

I especially like her view on gift-giving today.

I appreciate that we can all (if we want) participate in the good feelings of this time of year, but quite honestly the only people I gift at Christmas are children and my other gifting goes to those in need, rather than to those who expect.

Another thing that gets up my craw is the obscene use of wrapping paper and (non-charity) cards, bows, ribbons and even scotch tape. I know I'm being very bah-humbuggy but the waste in that area alone is downright criminal!

Tis the season for giving, so give wisely and where it will really matter, I say.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Painting My Daily Canvas

Every day, I start off like this, with a blank canvas and my paints neat and organised and ready to use. I dislike having to compartmentalise my life, but right now there are so many demands on my time I have no choice. I would love to be more spontaneous, to have a capricious approach to it all, but sadly that's not a choice I can make at the moment.

Instead I'm forced to allocate in order to fit it all in. My love has multiple pots, bearing multiple colours, my work a couple of colours, my family and friends another couple of pots. I have to leave a pot for just me, for time to let my brain relax and then another pot or two for keeping my home in some sort of semblance. And sometimes I have to steal a little from one or another pot, to fulfil an obligation or promise which I can't keep with a single pot alone. Sometimes I don't call my sister back the day she calls me. Sometimes I don't answer an email from a friend as promptly as I'd like. Sometimes I have to cut short my calls with my love. Sometimes a piece of work finds itself being carried over from one day to another, or one week to another. Sometimes I just tidy and dust at home instead of vacuuming and wet mopping my wooden floors. Sometimes, my pots run dry.

As I get into each one of my days, they start looking like this. My canvas becomes a chaotic smear of colour on colour, seemingly without blueprint or plan. This is no paint-by-numbers approach, no keeping within the lines. My paintpots fall into a state of disarray and my brushes grow heavy and clogged with colours from different pots.

But, at the end of the day I get ready for tomorrow. My brushes are purged of all residue, my pots organised and replenished. My mind prepares for another blank canvas and another day. As I look back at my day's canvas, there is organisation even in what appears to be colourful chaos. Or perhaps it's just an ability to interpret the patterns and form, one colour at a time. After all, each day is, in its own way, a unique masterpiece of my life.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I Love You, I Love You, I Love You, Like Never Before

What a beautiful voice she had. While it takes a lot to beat anything Fleetwood Mac did, I think Eva's version of this song reigns.

~ Songbird ~

For you, there'll be no crying
For you, the sun will be shining
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you
It's alright, I know it's right

And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before

To you, I'd give the world
To you, I'd never be cold
'Cause I feel that when I'm with you
It's alright, I know it's right

And the songbirds keep singing
Like they know the score
And I love you, I love you, I love you
Like never before
Like never before, like never before.

P.S. As many of you haven't yet heard of her, I've updated this entry to include a link to a website about Eva Cassidy.

Update: It's true, Jonas, that this cover of 'Fields of Gold' is again better than the original. I recall reading somewhere that even Sting was awestruck by it. Sadly no video exists of her singing this live that night, but this has been strung together by someone wanting to get close to what it might have been like to watch her singing this beautiful song. Eva was an amazing talent, gone too soon.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Celebrations All Round

There have been quite a few birthdays in the air over the past couple of weeks. First there was mine and I had a great time over two evenings, on the actual day and then on the following Saturday. My bestest friends Anuja and Annie took me for Thai dinner on my birthday, at an outdoor restaurant next to the golf driving range. Just five of us: Anuja and her hubby and Annie and her hubby and the old birthday lady! The following Saturday a bunch of us had a great night at Anuja's, playing poker, cranium and some very energetic golf and tennis and bowling and boxing on the Wii.

This past Saturday, we got together to celebrate Annie's and Anuja's dad's birthdays with a great lunch, then a walk, then tea. Annie and her husband and Gavin, their little boy, Anuja and her parents and my treasure Eshaan (Anuja's little boy). Last night, on Annie's actual birthday, Anuja and I were treated to a delicious hotpot dinner then a couple of games of pool, by Annie and her husband. They are such a lovely couple, and the four of us had a great time! I was glad to learn that I hadn't forgotten how to wield a pool cue even though it has been almost 10 years since I played.

I've had some awesome food over the past two weeks. Of particular note was the deep fried chicken on Sunday, Chinese style. We scarfed that down good style. There wasn't much left on the serving plate by the time we were done :

Monday, December 03, 2007

Pure Evil

Don't be misled by the alluring pink tin, by the cute little two-bite (or one bite if you're feeling piggy) pieces wrapped in pretty gold foil. This stuff is pure evil.

You can't just stop at one, or even two. No, you are enticed back time and time again, day after day, until there are only a few left in the bottom of the tin and then you realise you've just consumed more than a few thousand calories.

They say that a serving size is three pieces. Yeah, right. No way can you eat only three. But when you realise that those three little butterscotch-encased-by-chocolate-and-topped-in- chopped-almonds clock up 210 calories per 'serving', that's when you know the pure evil ensconced in that pink tin.

Yes, I ate a whole tin in a week. In my defense it was a birthday gift and it would have been rude NOT to eat them all. Wouldn't it?


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