Saturday, May 24, 2014

On the kitchen bench

I was rewarded for forcing myself out the door this morning to go for a walk.
I'm hoping that if I keep pushing myself to be active in the mornings
the dizziness might improve.
(The plan doesn't seem to be working, but it does help to alleviate boredom).

So I dragged Emily out for a walk around the block
and we came upon a garage sale - the most interesting kind
where the entire c1960s contents of the house are on sale.

I was most restrained and just bought this cute Pyrex casserole dish ($2)
- I've always wanted a snowflake Pyrex casserole dish :)
and I love the size of it, great for veges and small dishes;
and a sweet little jug ($1), just a cheap reproduction, but it makes me happy.

And we bought a wheelbarrow, but that doesn't fit on the kitchen bench.

And actually, now I remember that it's still at the garage sale,
waiting for Steve to collect it later.
I couldn't wheel it home, and Emily wouldn't.
Lucky for her - when we got home there were two cute boys on the doorstep
collecting for the Salvation Army.  Bad enough to be seen carrying a casserole dish, 
let alone pushing a wheelbarrow!

Also on the bench today,

pears in a cute white bowl given to me by my mother-in-law,

and a finger.

A plaster-cast, creepily realistic mold of Laura's finger,
complete with Laura's favourite turquoise nailpolish,
made in a science class some time ago ...
which somehow last week appeared on the bench 
and seems in no hurry to leave.

Adding a certain something to the everyday kitchen vignette.

* * *

Hope you are enjoying your Saturday.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

One day ...

Just reminding myself that exactly four weeks ago,
on a similarly sunny morning,
I was in a kayak with Laura, heading to explore an island or two.
Feeling energetic and intrepid.

Noone in that kayak had a headache, noone was dizzy from surgery, 
noone was tired of being sick and helpless and stuck at home
(despite their best intentions to just get on with it).
Noone felt that their patience was being sorely tried
and that everything about their life was just one big unsolvable mess.

Instead, we powered on, focused, landing on one island and then the other,
treading gingerly in our bare feet on the mushy reeds and strange plants.
We discovered large bones (pelican?)
and tried to pick out Steve and Emily back on shore,
waving anyway, in case they were looking.
Then we paddled back, feeling triumphant, and just tired enough.
The sun was getting too hot for so much activity, and it was time for morning tea.

One day, we'll feel like this again.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Back into the Piano Studio

Since Saturday I've started to feel more normal.
It's almost 3 weeks now since my surgery
and although I'm still a little tired and dizzy,
I'm well enough to ease back into things, including piano teaching.

Come into my piano studio. 

 This is by far the darkest room of our house,
so I've tried to give it a cosy feel with warm walls (Dulux Puppy)
to help the dark furniture blend in.

This is where I spend time each week teaching my 10 or so students.
I bought the piano just before we got married, in time to move into the house
before the wedding. I think I bought it before we owned any furniture (first things first).
(Actually, I'd recommend that order to anyone, 
it's much easier to fit the rest of the furniture around a piano 
than to fit a piano into a house later, pianos are picky about where they like to be.)

 This is some of our sheet music, surrounded by more instruments, music and teaching aids.
My harp normally sits here, too.

By the piano is a watercolour by my mother-in-law,
painted from a newspaper photo of Yehudi Menuhin's hands and violin.

Over the piano are three favourite old songs.
Two of these belonged to my Nanna, and my great-aunt.

This room is really known to us as "the study", not "the piano studio".
Over the other side of the room is the less-pretty section  
- desk, computer, more instruments, an old wardrobe, and files section.  
It's a busy room with a lot going on in here each day.
A fair amount of juggling objects goes on -
Steve even does his morning workouts in here (somehow).

It's warm today, up to 25deg. I've opened up the window to let in some fresh air.
I'm looking forward to teaching again this afternoon, it's been a long time since Term 1.
I'm thrilled that my most advanced student did brilliantly in a recent significant exam,
and am looking forward to catching up with my students in the coming fortnight.
And now, I'll be able to hear naturally!  
(No more avoiding those high notes that the hearing aid just didn't cope with.)

But before then, I'll be resting up a bit to save my strength ;-)

Friday, May 16, 2014

2 weeks on

It's been 16 days now since my surgery,
and I still feel very much a patient.
My days are spent mostly sitting,
watching Downton or movies, reading blogs on my iPad;
and reading books or magazines (when my eyes can cope with that).
Which all sounds ideal, until it's all you can do.
Sometimes I've had to go back to bed, too tired for anything.

 I'm still enjoying flowers around me.
Above are the last of this bouquet from some of my students:

I think I like them better as they are now ...

Yesterday I spent an hour ordering groceries online,
with the aim of getting our non-perishables for the next month delivered,
plus some fresh food for the next few days.

Now my kitchen is filled with 37 bags of groceries 
I'm not allowed to unpack
(because of the bending and lifting).
But at least I won't have to send Steve out to the shops 
quite so much for a while.

Thank goodness I've been able to crochet these weeks,
I think it has kept me sane.
This was one of my projects, you might see more of it later.
I've also finished my poncho and started knitting a cowl,
projects for another post.

Another little project I finally managed was making 
a little shower cap for my ear!

I still can't get my ear wet, so a shower cap works fine for most days, 
but after about a week I really need to wash my hair, 
and am nervous about just using
a vaseline-soaked cotton ball (standard post-op protection advice)
so I cut up a shower cap and added elastic to make this itsy-bitsy ear cap,
and tried it this morning (plus the cotton ball and vaseline) with much success. 

Lunches have been haphazard, depending how I've been feeling,
this was one of the best ones - leftover potato
and a chickpea omelette.

Laura has been home sick with headaches and nausea
four out of days this week.  Meaning she has missed most of her Year 9 NAPLAN tests.
The thought that we might be headed for a repeat
of last year is just too much for me to cope with, at the moment.
I'm thankful she is old enough to look after herself
and have never been more grateful for the invention of the iPod.
Hopefully she might improve when things go back to normal with me,
she's a sensitive (but sweet) little thing that way.

 In my mind, today was to be the last day of my convalescence.
(I finished Downton season 4 just now, so it must be time to get better!)
Next week I plan to ease back into my normal activities,
starting with piano teaching. 
But I still feel foggy and tired and sometimes dizzy for a lot of each day.
I'll see how I go on the weekend before I confirm anything.

Fortunately I usually feel much better in the evenings, somehow,
the other night I cooked most of the dinner and dessert by myself.

So, I'll keep rolling with the ups and downs a bit longer,
ever grateful that my surgery has been successful,
I can hear well, and the sun is shining.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mothers Day 2014

Mothers Day began early for me 
when Steve surprised me with flowers on Saturday night.     

Lucky me!  More flowers.
(And more floristry practice for Steve,
arranging them in a suitable vase or jug,
he's getting quite good at it now ;-)

I had hoped to manage to go to church in the morning,
but it was not to be.
We all enjoyed a sleep-in and after a late breakfast
I was given these lovely presents.

including some fun jewellery from Steve, 
that I picked out on our holiday at Green Point,

this sweet ceramic bird from Emily also came home from the lakeside.

Emily also gave me some very cute fabric.
Laura gave me a notepaper cube
and some nutty treats.
Steve also gave me Downton season 4,
just what the doctor ordered for this next week of rest.

Steve moulded cookie dough into hearts for morning tea.
(Such a romantic).

Dinner was delicious, once again provided by Steve
who is of course doing all the cooking these days.

After lunch we played Cluedo and then went for a short walk 
(just around the block).
It was lovely to do that again.
Steve made cupcakes for afternoon tea.

I am so thankful to my wonderful Steve, 
who has taken such good care of me the last two weeks, 
giving up so much time to manage everything,
and still made the effort to make 
my Mothers Day a special day.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A short walk away

After spending so many hours on the sofa in the living room

I love taking a short walk to my craft room

to see my pretty things

and dream of doing some craft in there again soon
when I've got a bit more strength.

It's a bit chilly in there at this time of year,
time to get out the heater.

So I don't stay long.
After a few minutes I'm back on the sofa,
a bit worn out, and glad to be sitting down again.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I can hear!

Yesterday my surgeon removed most of the packing in my ear,
and I can hear!
Of course, I have been able to hear all along, really,
but only in my left ear, and then for the last 5 years
I've had some (somewhat distorted) hearing 
via a hearing aid in my right ear.
But now, I'm hearing clearly in stereo! Woohoo!
And over time it will get even better.

In fact, most things are just too loud, my brain needs to adjust.
The girls have been at band camp so things have been quiet around here,
this afternoon I will see how I go with a full household of noise!

In the meantime, I'm still pretty tired and am watching lots of TV,
enjoying reading blogs, reading and crocheting.
It's a hard life, but someone has to do it.

A week on, I've been blessed with more cards and flowers
from friends and students, people are so kind.
I feel that this post should have photos of all the things
I'm enjoying hearing now, but that might wait for another time.
Seeing all the bright flowers and cards 
reminds me of my happiness
that the worst of the post-surgery times are over,
and that it has all been worth it.
After months of anxiety and planning and questions,
a quiet joy has settled over my life.
Something that was lost for so long has been restored.

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.
Isaiah 35:5-6

God is good.
Don't you think He gives us small tastes
of his kingdom now?

Thank you for your well wishes, too.
They mean a lot to me.

I hope you have a lovely day in your neck of the woods!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


convalescence (ˌkɒnvəˈlɛsəns)
1. (Medicine) gradual return to health after illness, injury, or an operation, esp through rest
2. (Medicine) the period during which such recovery occurs

It's been a week now since my ear surgery, and things are going well.
I've had the expected symptoms of dizziness, some ear pain and tiredness.  My tongue is numb on one side and my ear is uncomfortable from being stuffed full of packing.  I've had some days where I felt miserable, dizzy, or exhausted, but am definitely on the mend now.

And there have been consolations.

Flowers in hospital from Mum & Dad, 
and tulips from bible study after I arrived home.

Much, much Downton.
And I'm catching up on lots of chick flicks.

I'm crocheting my poncho, almost finished.

Dreaming of my next crochet projects, and garden plans

Emily made me the cutest birdy to cheer me

and the bunny dish Laura gave me at Easter still makes me smile.

Today I managed to make simple Mothers Day cards.  Just.

Steve has been an untiring nurse / housekeeper / cook / errand-runner
picker-upper of things I can't bend down for / hairdresser (keeping the ear dry!) /
florist and much, much more.

Mum and Jacqui have helped with some meals, and there have been texts and
emails, and tonight there were more flowers from some students.

Tomorrow I visit the surgeon to have most of the packing in my ear removed.
I should be much more comfortable in the ear, and I should be able to hear!
From then on I need to rest for at least another week,
and be patient while my hearing comes and goes a bit while my ear settles down
over the coming weeks and months.