Thursday, May 31, 2012

hand to hand

from my hands in the kitchen, to our hands for lunch... small pies are only a few bites to eat, so much less untidy when out and about. This time I made two different fillings, my favorite Icelandic chicken (bacon/chicken/sage) and a not-really-spanikopita (spinach/mushooms/feta) and I made some "renaissance pastry" to use as a crust, basically a standard piecrust strengthened with the addition of an egg yolk mixed in. Used some of the good lard from New Seasons instead of butter, as the last time I used that there was a definite increase in flakiness and tastiness of the crust.

To prep the fillings, I sauteed a double handful of chopped up mushrooms, let them cool and mixed in spinach and about a third of a pound of mild feta. As an experiment, I tried the pre-chopped frozen organic spinach from Trader Joes. Never again!! Yes, it was chopped, but there were not only a LOT of large tough stems, but a lot of unknown undesirably yellow and brown leafage. It took over an hour to sort out the less desirable vegetation from the nice soft leaves. Next time I will start with fresh spinach, it is faster and cheaper. (with the spinach, it is always necessary to really squeeze out the excess fluid before using it as a filling, lest your pies be all watery inside) The chicken thighs simply chopped into chunks and partially cooked, again so as to be neither too juicy or to shrink down inside the pies.

The addition of one egg yolk makes a huge difference in how the crust handles. Rather than roll out and cut circles, I just cut the piecrust into a dozen even chunks and patted them out into rough circles, dolloped the filling (for the spinach), or layered a half bacon slice, some chicken chunks and a couple of fresh sage leaves, and just like playdough raised the edges and sealed them. It seemed like a good idea to differentiate the veggie from the chook pies, so the veggie got wavy crimps on top, and the chook got the crimps on the bottom and three little crust dots on the top. Final flourish was a bit of egg wash (an egg yolk stirred up with a bit of water, brushed over the uncooked crust.

Ta da... I may have been a bit overenthusiastic with the amount of filling vs the thinness of the crust, as a few of the spinach ones burst open a bit. Was okay, allowed a bit of taste testing on the one with the largest blow-out... Very tasty, if a wee bit bland. Next time will probably up the amount of feta, and add a bit more seasoning, there is always room for improvement, which is why cooking is an art and not a science. I know from experience that the chook ones are very tasty indeed, bacon and sage and chicken are a favored combination, and I had to restrain myself from testing one of those as well.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

inside 'n out 'n round about

indoors here at Acorn Cottage, there are some four-legged denizens, companions to my temporary housemate, who have made themselves quite at home:
Toby is rather more shy
but Pyewacket considers that she already owns the place...
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

In the backyard, there are eight baby pears on the Bartlett, perhaps this year there will be a pear or two to harvest?

and as you walk up to the front door, culinary sage is covered in vivid purple flowers. This was my first plant, a gift from Mr Dawson years ago, which lived in a pot as I moved from place to place. When I moved here to Acorn Cottage, it was ceremonially planted next to the front walkway.
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

Someone finally figured out that there is nowhere to buy hardware on the whole North Portland peninsula. Today on the way to the post office, there was a sign up in front of the block where the DHS office, now demolished, once was. Apparently in the fullness of time, we will be getting an Ace Hardware. Of course, there will still be plenty of reasons to visit Winks, but for simple basics, it will be convenient, being only one bus route and about a half hour, rather than two or three bus routes and at least an hour each way. Our plucky heroine is a bit of a hardware store geek, as witness the souvenirs (random bits of house hardware) brought home from the basement of BHV on a trip to Paris years ago, but sometimes wishes that she still had a car.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

nightwalking, after the eclipse

sometimes, when Gryphon comes to visit, we go out night-walking and picture-taking, an activity that never fails in interest...

This time of year, light in the sky lasts till long after sundown and suppertime

As it gets dark there are wonderful silhouettes of trees against the darkening sky to capture, and streetlight shadows make the tall even taller...

Along the top of the bluff, car lights leave tracers to show their passage...

...and as we walk home in the late springtime darkness, the streetlights glow and the wisteria is in bloom, sweet scent and happy memory.

Monday, May 28, 2012

homemade potstickers aka Peking ravioli

'Twill be a busy day today with Rafny and the cats moving in, so not a long post...

Last night our plucky heroine got a wild hair about craving potstickers. The ground pork that had been bought as a meatloaf component was instead mixed in with some chopped frozen shrimp and scallions, seasoned with some garlic and soy sauce, and turned into potsticker filling.

Instead of making my own wrappers from scratch, wonton wraps were cut round into circles and shaped into the familiar crescents. Was not too difficult, just very fiddly, as each thin round gets a teaspoonfull of filling, dabbed round the edges with water, and carefully folded round and sealed

Once made, the cooking is the same as storebought ones: hot pan with cold oil, sizzle 'till browned on the bottom, add some water and cover, steam until the filling is cooked and the wrappers are translucent

Ta da - the tasty result! ...just like their name, quite a few stuck to the pan. (notes for next attempt, try adding in some chinese cabbage, and go to 2:1 ratio shrimp:pork)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

new era

Our plucky heroine is currently in the middle of shifting things around at Acorn Cottage, to allow space for my pal Rafny to move in temporarily, along with the two large cats she shares custody of with her sweetie Barret. Making room for a human is comparatively easy; making this place suitable for feline habitation is a lot more complicated. Wool fabric needs moved to the cat-free zone, the tiny bathroom needs rearranged to suit the needs of both species, and all accessible appealing trinkets need boxed up for the duration...
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

Moved some fabric from shelves in Rafny-room-to-be (was guest room) to shelves in studio, and SCA closet. I have a scary amount of fabric, as witness the additional stacked boxes now in my bedroom. Will be moving the sewing machines into the studio as well, for the interim. I foresee many lost things being found, and many new things being lost... BTW has anyone seen my good sewing shears??
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

Along with shifting mass quantity of supplies and tools, am still smackdab in the middle of getting the travel vests finished for my Mom, must needs be shipped out posthaste on Tuesday. First one (reversible, sunset/autumn-leaf color to khaki-green paisley) is finished and I am at the point on the second lighter-weight one of binding the edges, so will make that goal in time, yay!

Since the second vest is ponte knit in plain solid brown, it seemed to be just a bit of fun to do some detail work on the pocket. Took a strip of the selvedge edge, which had a wee bit of fringe, and stiched it along the top of the pocket, turned then topstitched it with both straight stitch and zigzag.
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

Decided that an attempt committing to post every day there is access online will be a good thing. The tendency is to write when the bright world seems bright, and maintain radio silence to a greater extent when darkness rises. Since one of the disciplines our plucky heroine has held to for long years is to pay attention to blessings and beauty, there is always something to focus on instead of the dismal medical/insurance/lack-of-care situation, which so far is not moving at all. So, instead of extra whinges and tears, look for more updates on walkabout-lookabout, more tree bark and flowers, and more ongoing projects, as well as random thought...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

wildflowers - known and unknown

As mentioned, our plucky heroine, while not yet up to bushwacking, really enjoyed what she could do on the recent trip up to Mt Hood... (note to self: must get busy in the sewing room, pinafore dresses are no more suitable for woods scramble than they are for beachwear! As strength returns, sturdy trousers or overalls will be needful) While other rangers disappeared into the forest to look for deer sign, there was plenty interesting to see just along the forest service road, or in nearby clearings:

there will be wild strawberries later in the year

1000 ft of elevation makes a big difference,
Trillium is done down where we live, but blooming on the mountain

Vine maple blooming, backlit in a clearing

As suspected this is our native Red-flowering Currant

my guess is something in the manzanita family?

Oregon anemone, or blue windflower, beautiful and
a somewhat uncommon denizen of moist forest in the springtime

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

quickie update - more later

In which our plucky heroine might escape the Zombie Leg Wraps of Doom...

Just want to reassure folks that I am still upright, still rambling round, and so on; just trying to play catch-up here at Acorn Cottage, got a lot of ground to cover in the next week or so...

Last weekend involved a fun Ranger trip up on Mt Hood, friends, guns, some gentle woodswalking, and wildflowers!

Still have not found a suitable replacement for my Opinel, but the St Johns Flea Market is worth checking out anyway...

Good R & R time with my dear G, (though he missed our field trip). He pulled into the driveway just during the middle of the solar eclipse this weekend!

More horrible med-foo: the new diagnosis (lymphedema) being not-covered by OHP, despite being directly caused by my surgery in January! May be able to escape the necessity for weeks of leg wrapping if my limbs respond to the obnoxious tubes of compression instead, which will allow me to wear human shoes, at least, instead of shuffling around the city in layers of leg wrapping and velcro cast sandals (can you say "zombie prey"!?!)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bang! said Max

Okay, well since there is little that can be done right now about the ongoing and ever expanding medical foo, our plucky heroine took a time out on Saturday to go out - out of the city, and out onto the mountain, out along forest service roads with some of her Resilency Ranger pals... Yes, it is time for sudden loud noises, a powerful antidote indeed!

After a rather sketchy start getting everyone on the same page, we managed to get out of town before noon, and it is a real blessing to have parkland so close to go play in. Our trips up on the sides of Mt Hood are partially scouting trips for the hunting boys, for deer season later in the year, and partially trips to go shooting outdoors. There are various places where this is possible, depending on conditions...

There is still snow over the road to where we went last summer
and on examination, it was obvious that we needed to look elsewhere
along the way, there were various stops to look for signs of deer, since there is great hope for a successful hunt this fall,
by those with enough experience to make that happen...
eventually we did find a suitable partially sunny gravel pit; much fun was had before it was time to go home

Thursday, May 17, 2012

a few good things

something heartening - isaac mowing...

My backyard had not been mowed all year, since yardwork was far lower on my priority list that healing. It has been looking very much like a tiny hayfield and almost impassable, with a narrow footpath between the yardgate and the hen house. All that grass flowering and seeding creates a mortal lot of pollen, much to my detriment. So I asked for help, and was gratefully surprised that Isaac, the son of my dear friend Rois offered to help. He came all the way here on transit and bicycle from their home in Beaverton, on the other side of west hills...
This kind young man spent the entire afternoon with my electric weed-whacker, turning the jungle back into a semblance of lawn, in addition to several turns round and about chasing wayward naughty hen Sparkley that kept escaping. The worst of the lawn-hay has been dumped into the henyard for the chooks to play in, and he will be coming back again tomorrow to mow down the shaggy bits. Kids these days...are a blessing and an honor to know, this one is pretty special!
~  ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~  ~

something lovely - lilac blossoms...

I admit it, I am not the best plant mother, in fact am rather slapdash about the plants here at Acorn Cottage. They need to be fairly self-sustaining to make it, and with great delight I have managed to keep this lovely dwarf lilac alive. A gift from my friend E, it blooms at about the same time as its larger cousins, but down next to the porch, where the sweet scent is a very breath of springtime.

~  ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~  ~

something tasty - sushi dinner...

Though gradually eating my way through the frozen packets of soup left from my convalescence is an easy way to answer the question of dinner, tonight I felt well enough to indulge myself in a trip downtown and a few plates of sushi. After days of plain white bread and white rice, the tummy is finally calm and the desire is for something crunchy and something fishy. Salmon, and tempura, yes yes yes. Something I do not cook at home...
~  ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~  ~

something worth watching ...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"...I will get by... I will survive"

walked into the drug store today and the muzak was playing Touch of Grey by the Grateful Dead... our plucky heroine will happily take all random omens of good fortune that come her way!
~  ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~  ~

Summer Pasture is an amazing film, and if you have the time, do go watch it on the PBS site, it is available for free through May 18th
Locho and Yama are nomadic herders in Tibet's high grasslands, who carve their existence from the land as their ancestors have for generations. As traditional nomadic life confronts rapid modernization, Summer Pasture captures a family at a crossroads, ultimately revealing the profound sacrifice they will make to ensure their daughter's future.

~  ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~  ~

Found some nice drapey denim color rayon at the Goodwill on my way home from work, about three and a half yards, almost sixty inches wide, for five dollars...except it was only $4.50, since the clerk gave me a senior discount (a. I did not know that Goodwill did that, and b. do I look that old?) The question is, shall it become a new summer dress, or an experimental pair of pants? Only time will tell, as there are travel vests and reflective safety shirts to be finished before sewing for me will happen.
~  ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~  ~

In med-i-foo update, there may be sensation returning to the large numb patch on my upper right leg, if the random stabby pains and occasional itching-that-cannot-be-scratched are an indication. Could maybe mark out with a sharpie the extent of the numb area and see if it changes, but since it is merely an annoyance rather than a dangerous symptom, have mostly been ignoring the whole thing. Still would be nice to have skin sensation back again...
~  ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~  ~

This afternooon, another of those keep Portland wierd moments on the Tri-met bus home. There was a man at the front with two large kiwi vines, in pots, bungeed to a handcart. He got to talking with the lady across the aisle, who had also been purchasing plants, an assortment of culinary herbs. From halfway down the bus, the scent of the different herbs drifted my way, lemony and sharp and savory, as she passed the various pots around to the nearby folks to sniff and nibble. Only in Portland...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ah that's better - a tropical sunset

My beloved mother enjoys travel. (indeed my entire family of origin does, I travel far less than would be my wont, given appropriate resources) Quite a few years ago, I made her several reversable "travel-vests" with internal and external pockets, but not in the photographer vest style, but rather more subtle, in colors that would coordinate with her other travel clothing. Initially inspired by a Threads article written by the woman who designs the Saf-T-Pockets pattern line, I modified the construction to use my own favorite techniques. ("Can you say bound edges, I knew you could...")
While she was visiting, we made time for a trip to Fabric Despot, where she chose several different options for two new travel vests. The new reversible one will have a subtle khaki-green print on one side, and the other side is a vivid print with all the colors of a tropical sunset, or a New England autumn. This is a real bold choice, but one that will look wonderful with my mother's coloring and beautiful hazel eyes, as well as coordinating with many of her summertime clothes. It is fun for me to work with colors so far outside my own palette, and to make more useful fun things for the woman who taught me to sew many years ago...
~  ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~  ~

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday musings

"...once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky."
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
to have without holding, to love with open hands - that is still a challenge, but one that is well worth the effort, when the alternative is considered...
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

There are a few plants flowering now in the yard here at Acorn Cottage, gifts from friends in the last year or two; survivor plants, that can make it through without coddling, since our plucky heroine has not much garden mojo lately. The Dwarf Lilac, a gift from E, is covered with tiny lilac colored flowers, a miniature delight to the eye, and over in the front walkway bed, the Star of Bethlehem, a gift from M, has managed to overcome a rough start and is now a modest patch of sparkling white.
(Gryphon took this picture)
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

Today was my final brachytherapy, yay! (forgot to bring my camera to document R2D2 the radiation robot) Now hopefully will be able to deal with the additional issues causing trouble in my left leg, and eventually get back to some semblance of life as we knew it. The radiation oncologist suggested that my gyn-onc (Dr Rockstar) would be able to refer me for further treatments, and also mentioned in passing that there is/are some internal lymphocele visible. Not sure what that signifies, but will surely find out. Bah to all this med-foo, I say! Fingers crossed that there will eventually be better health here, I am so very weary. Last night did not manage to sleep till after 2AM, mind circling round with worries, and leg pain...
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

Toshi is the two year old Akita that lives with my dear friends up next to Mud Bay, he came down here to help when his human pal J was here for a week after my surgery. This video makes me all kinds of happy, to see him having so much fun, and to see Mud Bay in the sunshine. I miss living where I could see the water every day, true, I can go look at the river, but it is a very different and less intimate scenery.
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

Still, life continues, with lovely things to see, and to make, and dear friends to spend time with. Each moment is a choice of what to pay attention to. Be kind to each other, and enjoy each day in the bright world...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

not just for mothers

our tiny plucky heroine
with support from Mom
I love my mother dearly, for who she is, her tender heart, her eye for the whimsical and wierd oddities in this world, her clever fingers that taught me at an early age so much of the handwork skills that have brought so much enjoyment into my life, her determination and bravery through all that life has brought her way, has been a great gift to me in addition to the fact that without her, I would not be here walking in this bright world in the first place. So to her, I say, not just for today but for every day, I love you so much!

But I, through fortune's turn and various hard choices, did not and will never follow in her footsteps. There are no children of my body that will look to me as I look to her. As a young woman, I chose not to marry the alcoholic man that was the only one that offered to share my life and bed, carefully chose to make certain that I did not bear a child to raise alone, and for years now that has not been even an option, even before the most current surgery took away those parts of my woman's body. Maybe 'tis only as a child of the fifties and sixties that there is a bittersweetness in the idea of a Mother's Day, for as a child the paradigm was to grow up to be a mommy, despite all the other things that were already possible even then... There is no holiday for single women, no fairy tale in our culture of the happy ending for the woman alone. So be it. That means it is up to all and each of us who walk outside the storied path to find our own celebrations, our own happy endings...

I read this quote over on a message board, and thought it seemed appropriate to the day:
As much as this day is for the Mothers of this world, I submit that we are all Mothers of this earth, Daughters under our Higher Power, and Sisters by choice ... To all [nurturing, loving women], the sisters and daughters of this world, I propose that today be Sisters and Daughters Day. No matter where you are and what you've done in your lives, you've made a difference. You've loved, you've nurtured, you've befriended, you've given hope, you've shown strength, you've led by example, and you've made a difference.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

what to do with an excess of salmon

in which our plucky heroine ponders if "an excess of salmon" is actually possible...

Last weekend, while parents were here, dear G bought a Very Large fillet of wild salmon, which was actually too big to fit in the pans here at Acorn Cottage, and indeed larger than four people could eat for dinner. While the most straightforward thing would be to simply cook it in two batches, and have leftover cold cooked salmon, my memory turned to a special treat that my Mom made years ago - "gravlax"

It is a very simple way to transform the taste and texture of raw salmon, (not that plain raw salmon is not just as delectable, as witness the very popular sushi), and takes only a few ingredients and a bit of refrigerator time. The directions here on "Cooking for Engineers" are what I followed, with only a few changes. (There was no fresh dill available, so I used dried dill instead, and since I am not at all fond of the optional black pepper, that was not added.) The chunk of salmon sat in the fridge in a covered glass storage container, with a smaller glass lid tucked atop to keep the salmon under the brine. After a few days, the salmon was noticeably denser and darker, so was removed from the brine, rinsed off, and placed in a smaller container in the fridge.

This morning, a very small sharp knife made translucent diagonal slices, which were just the savory thing to put atop a slice of lightly toasted sourdough spread with some cultured cream cheese. The gravlax is neither intensely salty or sweet, but has a delicate salmon flavor. Probably if fresh dill is used, there would be more of an overtone of that herb than is possible with the dried dillweed. It is, nonetheless, a wonderful thing on a Saturday morning, almost so tasty as to cause me to forget entirely to take a picture, hence the partially eaten aspect... If you like salmon at all, this is easy and wonderful!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday fragment

I reckon this comes under the heading of "if you don't ask, you don't get"...

Yesterday was my third brachytherapy session. This one was easier to handle, if only because I knew what to expect. In addition, I called the day before and spoke to the nurse about how very painful the positioning was, and asked if there was any way to adapt how I was required to be positioned to make it less agonising for my sacroiliac and tailbone. In response to my request, this time she put a heating pad under my lower back, and also used quite a bit more pillows to raise my lower legs and thighs in a way that helped my back be less curved. It helped a lot, still not what I would call comfy, but I did not spend the whole time I was there with tears leaking from my eyes from the pain, and on leaving the office I was able to stand and walk without pain as well (last session I limped for several days afterwards)

Dunno why it did not occur to me to speak up earlier, other than that not being greatly experienced in the ways of medical-land, I have no experience with what aspects are a necessity and what are able to be modified. While there is no way to make the procedure terribly dignified, it turns out not to be necessary for it to cause intense pain...
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


in which our plucky heroine is determined to continue putting one foot in front of the other...

Was wonderful having four days to visit with my Mom and Dad, the weather was cooperatively warm and bright, giving them a change from New England, which currently has our grey rain. It was odd but comforting to have them take me to my radiation appointment on Monday, have not had parents take me to doctor in many decades, and I know it was reassuring for them to see the treatment center and staff.
To complete the trip back to childhood, we stopped for ice cream afterwards; Ruby Jewel Scoop Shop makes some really delicious treats
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

G came down for the weekend as well, so it was a mixture of meet the parents and intense sewing madness to complete more safety gear. I am doing well to find projects that are absorbingly complex without being too strenuous, and the sewing is a good one for that. G decided that a camera pocket would be a good addition to his work vest. Somehow, since the pocket-shaping ended up with two little points on the outer top corners, G looked at them and said "owls"! To which I replied "I can do that..."
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

Random travels round and about yesterday - came home with a summertime straw hat from Goodwill, which after being bleachwashed and set out in the sunshine, will be trimmed with a summertime hatband, and have the inner edge lined with petersham for comfort. Truly, not sure it be possible to have too many hats. In addition, this book on photography came home to live on the craft bookshelf. Simply written descriptions of camera functions, many good examples and suggestions about photographing crafts, and a number of useful tutorials on DIY photo aids, this should be a helpful book indeed. And in the discount movie bin at FM, found a copy of Into The West, which has been on my very short list of films to own for the last several years. Will be a treat to share the bittersweet whimsey with friends who've not see it.
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

This part of my journey, the radiation part, is in some ways the most difficult, but am determined to get through it and out the other side to as long and healthy a life as possible. Med foo was quite unpleasant, the second (of four) brachy treatments yesterday... Tried to have a better attitude, wore my stripey purple socks to give the techs something fun to look at, wore my power necklace*, brought the prayer blanket and my own pillow from home, and tried to be less hysterical and more calm... still felt like a bug pinned to a board for over an hour, but halfway through now... got to tell the story about superpowers, which got a few smiles...

I did not realise that there would be a CAT scan before each treatment, and that each time they reconfigure and recalculate the radiation. (so not only am I getting radiation in my ladybits, but also the radiation of my entire lower torso from the CAT scan four times in two weeks) I had hoped that after the first time, with the very long time pinned to the board that the next three would be only as long as the radiation itself, but I need to wait "in position" each time while they do the new calculations. Ow Ow Ow! While having the probe inserted is not "comfortable" it is not too bad, just very wierd. The painful part is lying on a very hard board, flat on my back and unable to move for almost an hour. My tailbone and my sacroiliac joints are absolutely miserably painful, and that pain lasts for hours afterwards. I wish that there was either a way to soften the plank that you lie on, or that there was a "massage option" for afterwards.
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

Put one foot in front of the other, continue to step towards the unknown future,
trust that there will be ground under foot, and a future to step in to...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

random kibbles and bits

light is there even when it looks dark, and infrastructure remains solid, even when unseen.

Tomorrow will be a houseful of guests, my beloved parents will arrive from the other coast, and my most dear G will drive down after work so we can meet them at the airport...

small brightness, that at after nine in the evening, there is still blue light in the sky, truly the year is turning...
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

Discovered a remedy for tablecloths stained with tea, a common occurrence after Crafternoon - white vinegar... yep, found on the internet... Not being willing to tea-dye my favorite ikat cloth to beige and blue, nor bleach it lest the lovely dye pattern become faded, I tried an online "helpful hint for homemakers" and soaked the splotch overnight in white vinegar (after washing it with soap and water), then tossed in the laundry. Much to my surprise, it did get the tea stain out of the cloth. Worth remembering...
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

My dear pal Rois sent me this song today, wish I could add it to my little music player, because it is a really good one!
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~

(from xkcd

Got through today, just barely, with help from friends and family seen and unseen. When I arrived in the basement of the cancer center (where the radiation happens) and was told that they needed to take my photo, I lost it. Now mind you, I do not like having my picture taken. Pretty much not at all. And it was a most unpleasant surprise. So I refused, and bargained with the idea of bringing in my already taken picture, but that was not good enough. Really, I think it was about me losing all control in the situation. I am in tears now again, even thinking about it. Such a small foolish thing to reduce me to small and powerless, in a situation where I already feel pretty crushed and lost. (could have stuck to my refusal, but then I would not have been able to proceed with the treatment, since I was told that it is the law that your image is tied to their records) The rest of the afternoon was just unpleasant, something to be got through, which I did. Feeling mostly like a bug pinned to a board, which the machinery kind of does to you.

Would have handled the whole thing better, had I not allowed myself to be knocked off balance right at the start, off my center of cheerful strength. When home again, a long walk was tiring but not soothing. Channeling the little engine, and remembering that this is 25% of the way through...

dog is wild-eyed
startling at shadows

a Kaylee kind of super-power

In which our plucky heroine is gifted with a paradigm shift...

While checking out at the grocery store, one of my cashier pals asked me "how ya doing - the last time through the line, you were having a pretty rough day..."; when I told him I was getting irradiated this week, he said, oh, so you will be getting your superpowers then, right??

I said my first thought - "Yeah, I am getting a cheerfulness ray... so that when folks are having a bad day, I can zap them and their day will improve"

He was impressed, said that I managed to choose a superpower that could not be used for evil but only for good...

Was the first ever comment about the upcoming procedures that were both lighthearted and positive. Not that I mind being told how strong I am, or how this is just the next step in the journey, or that I'll get through it to find a "new normal", but sometimes I do not feel strong, often I wish I did not find myself on this path, and I was quite happy with my old normal, which was working quite well thank you very much! Perhaps someday, in the may it be long years from now future, looking back will show what learning is core in this challenge. Now, in the middle of it, the meaning is impenetrable.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

random Tuesday thoughts, or seeking a counter-spell

in which our plucky heroine realises that magical thinking is not increasing functionality...

(from xkcd, different years, but pretty darn valid yeah..)

There have been all sorts of changes in my usual behavior in the last few months, most of which I am less than happy about. B.C.(before cancer) Life was improving and pretty groovy most of the time, and I was quite cognizant of that, and pretty much counted my blessings everyday. Had got to a balance place in my life, home of my own for the first time ever, a circle of solid friends and acquaintances, barely enough work to keep the whole kaboodle spinning, and the best of all unexpected things, a beloved person as my special friend... I did not need cancer to tell me to appreciate my life, or to notice the small joys and beauty in every day. That is one of the things that I do a-purpose, and have for many years... If there is a message in this challenge, it is not that one.

Instead, my natural procrastination has turned alarmingly peculiar. There is no desire to work on studio projects, some of which need completed. It is as if part of me feels that if my work is not done then I am not done. This is not clarity, is not even useful magic, is not useful at all. There has been thingmaking, starting with the most basic of sticks and string, but no metalworking, or enameling. Had an interesting conversation this weekend with G about the gifts of the muse, and about choosing different areas of focus. And about how putting effort into an area sort of primes the pump, and then the vision and intention starts to flow more freely. Perhaps just sitting down at the workbench would make a start. I keep thinking about that Chuck Close quote: "Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work..."

What I want to do right now is sew, when not sleeping or socialising, or going walkabout-lookabout. Knitting is soothing, sewing seems like just the right amount of challenge, work is exhausting, and studio time feels impossibly difficult. I know it is not. Tell me that if the work on my bench is finished that it will not mean the end of my days here in the bright world. I know that we come and go with no consideration of our chores here. I start irradiation this week, and pray that I have made the right choice.  Our only real task here is to live well while we are here, to learn as much as we can manage, and above all to practice lovingkindness...