Friday, August 28, 2009

Dear Don and Cathy...

I've actually had a pretty good week and am feeling quite rested. I seem to have moved beyond needing the heavy drugs and last night didn't wake up needing something in the middle of the night.

In preparation for this last week I had gone to the library and borrowed a stack of books, few of which I have read because last week (and probably up to Tuesday) reading just didn't work for me concentration-wise.

Three of the books, though, were from that Australian Classic girls series by Mary Grant Bruce about the inhabitants of Billabong Station* in Victoria, and I hadn't read them since my early high school years. It was great getting reacquainted with their early history, because I have books 4 through to 15, but never found the first three to purchase.

Having read the first three I decided to detour from my library books to enjoy the rest of the series while I'm in the mood for their little world, and it is very strange to think that these particular young people were contemporaries of my great-grandparents** - and just now the boys are heading off to The Great War.

It is really odd to go back through a series of books that you knew really well many years ago. Even stranger when you consider a particular habit of mine.

I grab any stray piece of paper to use as a book mark. Certainly some of my books have purpose-built bookmarks given to me by friends, but often when I read my own books I find old receipts, post cards, scraps torn from old church notices or envelopes. It's almost like the thrill of an archaelogical dig to find what book mark is in an old book.

And in Book 4 of the Billabong series I found a scrap of paper, obviously torn from the bottom corner of a diary with handwriting I don't recognise spelling out "Don and Cathy" and a phone number. It's an eight digit phone number, so must post-date my high school years, but the chance of me remembering who Don and Cathy are and why I have their phone number is...

... Approximately None.

*"Ranch" for my occasional guest from the US of A.
** or at least would have been contemporaries, if they had not been fictional characters

Monday, August 24, 2009

Romance and Reality

I seem to be approaching human. No stamina and I certainly can tell when the drugs are wearing off, but I'm approaching human.

Unlike last week when I'm not certain what I did (good drugs!).

Friday I decided that entertainment should be all five hours of the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice. It's a story I know well so it doesn't matter if I doze through parts of it, it was long enough to fill the day and required no effort on my part.

I was at Mum and Dad's, so Mum sat down and made lace as we watched - and organised food at regular intervals.

I was glad when she decided it was lunchtime. It was coming up to Elizabeth's refusal of Darcy's proposal scene and I had been a bit dozy. This was one part I didn't want to miss, so food should keep me awake for a bit.

I've been describing my ingestion of food as 'eating', but that's a fairly loose interpretation of the term. It's closer to a careful slurp from the end of a teaspoon, followed by swallowing with very little attempt at any form of chewing. At the time I could hardly open my teeth and couldn't control my tongue terribly effectively. It was also necessary to have a tissue handy for the inevitable spills across my numbed lip.

So my favourite scene in P&P ended up going something like this:-

Darcy (striding across the sitting room): In vain I have struggled...
Me: Schhleeck
Darcy: ... it will not do...
Me: Schhleeeck
Darcy:... you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire...
Me: Schhleeeckk
Darcy: ... and love you.

By this time I'd twigged to the interesting sound effects and went off into the giggles, thereby ruining the scene for me forever. (Have I mentioned that laughing, smiling, giggling are none of them terribly comfortable?) Hopefully the chances of splitting the stitches are...

... Approximately None!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Some people have surgery to improve their appearance...

... others, not so much.

Surgery went well. I had none of the nausea or other side effects common to general anaesthetic, apart from headaches, which could also be caused by someone drilling and cutting into my jaw, for example.
Declined the morphine last night due to side effects (not to mention the fact it's given via injection into the thigh) and the fact the pain was irritating, but not excrutiating.
Very aware of the fact that the killer pain killers will only last about 3 days if I take the maximum dose. At the surgeons recommendation I'm trying to space them out with Advil which is an anti-inflammatory as well. Unfortunately not recommended for asthmatics, but I just have to keep an eye on any breathing issues. It should be okay, I've had similar before with no problems.
Jaw is sore, can't open my mouth much (for example to take my inhalers - my front teeth copped half the last dose) and the lower right hand side of my lip is numb. The surgeon believes that I should have that back within about a week, and I'll believe him because it's itchy and tingly. Problem is, it's numb as well, so I can't feel when I try to scratch the itch.
All in all it was a reasonably good experience of surgery as these things go. Mostly under medication it is no worse that it used to be when the teeth were giving me gyp - it's just that they didn't all used to give me gyp at the same time.
But the best thing - the chance that they will ever give me gyp again?

Mffbffl Gblymy

If this post appears today it's because I just can't be bothered.

So that means that it's a bit of a waste of time for you to have come all the way over here to see it.

The chance that I care?

... Approximately None.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Official Teeth Day

So I'm off having my wisdom teeth removed - I thought I'd schedule a post for you all - more of Grandma's letters.

I'm going to ask Mum to comment below when she knows anything. Unless she's decided to stay in Toowoomba overnight, in which case I guess she won't.

This is Aunty Judy going off to College.

She steps over the front fence of the Church.

She has her music in the bag.

The chance that you can't guess what my Aunt has been doing for a career for the last hmmmpf mumble years?

... Approximately None (particularly all the family).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One small step for Jen...

On Saturday my Beloved installed sliding wardrobe doors on the built-in cupboard in our bedroom. His company makes them, so they were at a good price, too.

They are brushed chrome surrounds and the mirror doors make the room look bigger and brighter.

It also gave us incentive to reduce the furniture in our bedroom, so my bookcase and dressing table are gone to another room, and we've combined our belongings into the shelves in the cupboard and Chris' lovely old timber dressing table (with bevelled mirror) that I'm standing next to in order to take this photo.

You can also see the curtains and patchwork quilt that my wonderful Mum made for us. The bedroom is now completed, save for pelmets over the curtains, the door needs to be painted, and carpet laid.

I haven't had access to a full-length mirror since we moved into our house just before Christmas 2007. It was very exciting to look forward to have some installed.

I may need to lose a little weight.

The chances that I'd admit to having been startled by movement in the bedroom when I got up Sunday morning, only to realise it was my own reflection?

... Approximately None.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Competition: A question that needs to be answered...

I just have to ask a question.

And that question is one that I'm certain many of us would like an answer to. I'll get to it in a minute.

I've heard some of my friends who have been pregnant express concern about the fact that any friends, relations, acquaintances and perfect strangers in the street feel obliged to tell their own pregnancy stories.

This means that either they:

1. Freak you out with the absolutely terrible things that happened during conception, gestation or labour. Therefore you feel you are not as worried as you ought to be, and had better get worried, terrified and panicked quick smart.

2. Make you want to hit them because the whole thing is apparently no bother, you'll have no trouble at all. It's just like sneezing, then you have a new baby (who will probably sleep the night through from the very first one) Therefore you are making too big a deal out of the whole thing, probably just playing for sympathy (whether you have life-threatening pre-eclampsia, a history of miscarriage, or some other nasty).

The underlying irritant for the one being preached to is the fact that, whether these women have had one pregnancy or a hundred and fifty, they have personally experienced all that there is to experience of conception, gestation and labour.

Do you know the difference between this phenomenon with respect to gestation and having your wisdom teeth removed?

Men can't have children.

Therefore the proportion of the population able to provide stories has increased exponentially. So I've been really getting hammered with teeth stories for the last few weeks. This Wednesday afternoon I'm scheduled to have all four wisdom teeth removed under general anaesthetic in a hospital in Toowoomba. I will be in overnight, then Mum will come and pick me up and bring me home.

So my question for you all is which is worse?:

a) Someone who tells you dreadful stories
b) Someone who thinks you're too worried, after all, HE/SHE was perfectly fine - and they had to walk 300 miles to the surgery through 3 feet of snow, had them out in the chair without anaesthetic, and then had been entered in a steak-eating competition for later that same day (probably in a town 250 miles in the other direction).
c) Someone who contributes SOMEONE ELSE'S stories "My husband's cousin-once-removed's father-in-law's sister had THIS happen..."
d) All of the above and they all should die. Horribly.

I'd love to hear your responses. But if you feel obliged to give me your teeth stories, not only have you entirely missed the point of this post, but the chances of me not deleting it are...

... Approximately None.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary to ME!!!

Well, I totally missed it.

I've officially been blogging for a whole year. As of last Friday.

Sometimes frequently, sometimes rather less frequently, but I've been a citizen of the blogging community for twelve months and one week.

And if I hadn't entirely missed it, I could have arranged a competition or a blog refurbishment or something exciting to celebrate.

But I decided to have my wisdom teeth out next week instead.

And although that's not very fun for you, how much fun is it going to be for me?

... Approximately None.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mice of a Different Sort...

Another picture-letter from my Grandma - after having been slack about blogging for a few weeks, aren't I glad I thought of doing this?

By the way we now seem to have approximately no mouse problem in our house anymore. No terrible smells either. I fully recant my lack of support for my Beloved's Mouse Elimination Strategy. It worked.

Can you guess what this is?

Uncle John's fish pond leaked, so he bought two (male) white mice.

They love the tread-mill, sometimes both get on it together, and spin it so fast you can't see their legs, the wheel goes - "Squeak, squeak". We hear it at night going fast.

The round marg. container has two holes cut in it and they play in it. In the daytime they sleep in the little house John made of cardboard, but they like the floor so much they have eaten it.

Their names and 'Tom' and 'Gerry'. John helped me draw them.

How big a round of applause does 'Uncle' John deserve for helping his Mum draw mice for his nephews and neices?

... A great big one!

And what was the chance I'd end my post there?

... Approximately None!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What a Lovely Cool House

Yesterday we had a perfectly beautiful day. I was down to my shirt-sleeves in the afternoon and the sky was cloudless and breeze caressing. Spring is coming - whether this is a little reminder that it's on its way or whether its the real thing matters not, so long as I took the time to enjoy it. And I did take some time to enjoy it (while I attacked a pile of washing up - did you not see my post from yesterday?!)

This is the time of year we begin to enjoy our house, because throughout the spring and summer it is a lovely cool house. Breezy and fresh, whatever direction the breeze is coming from - and although there are a few days when I turn on the air-conditioning it's not the house's fault that the temperature is just plain ridiculous that day.

The reason that we remember to enjoy our lovely cool house is that during the winter "lovely" and "cool" are not the terms we use to describe it. "Frigid" and "arctic" would be closer to the mark. I can't count the number of days when I leave the house and can take a jumper off upon going outside, if the sun is brightly shining. The house holds the cold well, and I'm too scungy to put on the heating in the mornings.

But then, what stimulus would there be to enjoy it in summer if the winters weren't so cold?

... Approximately None.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Need a Mum... or Maybe Not

Of course, I already have a perfectly good Mum.

The problem is I need someone to come here and pick up after me, and my Mum wouldn't do that.

Or, well, she probably would if I was sick or dying, but when I'm in full health and just can't be bothered she probably wouldn't.

Actually, she certainly wouldn't.

...And even if she did it would come with a lecture and I could do without that.

But I really don't think she would do it, lecture or not.

So, maybe I need a maid.

But a maid would need to be paid, and I'm not certain the buget can stretch to that.

And I'd need to clean up first in order for him/her to clean, so it would be fairly pointless so far as labour-saving.

So I'm back to needing a Mum.

... Or to find some time today to make the house look a little less like I took a Girls' Brigade Parade Church Service on Sunday and made lots of props therefore have the remains of half a dozen crafty-type projects scattered about the house (plus the fact that the regular house cleaning didn't get done) and I have had lots of meetings since and don't want to start the huge effort of house cleaning.

Hopefully I will have some time today.

How much energy and enthusiasm do I have for this project?

... You guessed it!

And Now for Something Completely Different...

I've been a girl who has always gone to church. Initially I didn't have much choice in the matter, but eventually took on Christian faith for myself. One of the things that 35 years of church-going will do is that I know how all the stories end, and can get a bit blase about them. I also am used to some of the really odd things that Christians do at church. They are almost second nature.

I think the two of these tendencies combined resulted in the following mind wandering that happened just after Easter, but that I haven't got around to blogging about. Sorry for the in-jokes for those who don't attend a more main-stream church, or any church at all, for that matter.

A fairly normal (if somewhat stodgy) service in my lovely home church. The reader was reading from Luke, Chapter 24, verse 36, following Jesus' resurrection, appearance and the disciples' return from Emmaus.

Reader: "Whle they were talking about this [Jesus' appearance on the road to a town called Emmaus], Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you'..."

Jen's somewhat wandering brain going into standard liturgy mode: "And the disciples responded, 'And also with you'..."

Reader continuing, thankfully in blissful ignorance of my mental journey to realms not recorded in the Bible: "...They [the disciples] were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost..."

Jen's brain, brought back suddenly to the actual reading, rather than standard liturgical responses: "Wow, I have been to church way too much, I wasn't expecting that. Didn't those disciples know the correct response?!"

The chance that the disciples, scared and not following the whole point of what Jesus had been trying to tell them about the fact that he would rise from death, even thought about using the standard liturgical response?

... Approximately None!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another Letter from Grandma...

I'm aiming to include a couple of these a week when I have nothing to say for myself. I just thought I'd do a couple to get us up and started.
The chance that my whole blog will be filled with these?


... Approximately None

Uncle John is riding his bike to school.

He is just going up Thallon St, hall fence behind him, and Grandma is waving from the front door.

Thankyou for the picture of the horse. There are 2 horses in the yard beside the Church now. I'll have to draw them. (Why don't you like pussy cats???)

Love G'ma.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Letters from my Grandma

My Mum's Mum was a pretty special lady. When I was very tiny (like 2 years old) we moved to Barcaldine. This meant that we were way away from the wider family, and the phone wasn't then what it is now - it was something only really used for emergencies, or for a three minute "are you extending?" quick message. In fact, Mum has since said that there was a while we didn't have the phone on at the house - I guess they must have just relied on their mobiles!

Anyway, Grandma didn't want to lose contact with any of her grandkids, and so in the weekly carbon-copied typed letter to all her children who lived away she started to include a picture letter for the grandkids. Looking at them now, I see evidence of tracing and carbon being used, or she would send a post card or colouring-in page (at one time there were six of us receiving them - how did a minister's wife find time without a little bit of cheating?).

They lasted from whenever she started doing them, up until we moved to Brisbane and were able to be in personal contact again. Sometimes she would include a story (often on the back) so my Mum would write it out on the page beside where she stuck it down.

I'm very glad that my Mum had the forethought to stick them into an exercise book, so that I have almost all of them. I don't think any of my cousins still have theirs, and this becomes a good way to share the riches around. My books became more special in December 1985 when my Grandma died suddenly with bleeding in her brain.

In some ways when I read them it's almost like reading a prehistoric blog.

The chance that they wouldn't be among the things I would grab in the event of house fire?

... Approximately None!

I should perhaps mention that their house had a railway line across the back fence and whenever we visited it was exciting to watch the trains go past (I believe she actually memorised the timetable so that she could get us in the right place at the right time to see them). I'm presuming this is why Grandma would have sent a photo of a sheep train to her horse-mad grandaughter.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why didn't I write a list?

Went for my annual inspection at the doctor’s yesterday, armed with my mental list of four things to ask about or for and then get out as quickly as possible.

I was pretty impressed to have got a 2pm appointment, because that’s first after lunch, and they’re usually on time again.

One of the problems of living in regional Queensland is that doctors don’t like to stay here. At least we have doctors (after all some towns can't keep one at all), but the strong pull of Brisbane keeps them moving through, so if you go to the doc once a year you’re unlikely to get the same one twice. And sometimes you simply hope that they speak English better than I can get my mouth around their name. The principal of the practice is great and has been here for years, but you need to book about three weeks in advance to see him.

I like yesterday’s doctor - he seemed a gentle and polite soul – but I am hoping that one comment was the sort of dumb mistake that I’d make, not that he actually meant to say what he said.

On my list of things to ask the doctor I had to check that the antibiotic that the oral surgeon uses is okay, given that there’s two families of antibiotics to which I have a demonstrated reaction. The third thing on my list was to get repeat scripts for my asthma medication.

Then I made the mistake of mentioning a forth thing (should have made a real, rather than mental list). I was going to ask about vaccinations for our family trip to Malaysia next year. I had made a mental note not to ask about my allergies, because they aren’t too bad at the moment and some doctors tend to get fixed ideas about things like allergies and I wanted to eliminate food possibilities to my satisfaction first before they start poking and prodding about.

But in the heat of the moment I couldn't remember vaccinations and all I could think of was itchy spots, and so mentioned them. And the doctor asked me if I have any problem with allergies, any asthma or hayfever?...

…Hello?... I’ve just asked you about my allergies to antibiotics and you’ve just printed out a script for asthma medication. I think I might have a few problems with allergies, don’t you?

I dutifully mentioned my recent problems with itchy eyes and blocked nose, hoping that it was just a typical example sentence that he always uses and that he did remember the asthma and antibiotic issues.

So now I have to have blood tests. Of course, that’s enough to turn me against pretty much any doctor.

Doctors just don’t understand the facts that :-

1) I really hate needles. Ever since I was tiny. I can’t even watch them on TV. I would never contemplate a tattoo. I hate them to the point that if we had kids I’d be conning either my Beloved or my Mum to take them in for injections because I wouldn’t be able to be calm enough to do it; and

2) I HAVE NO VEINS. Particularly not in winter. I don’t. I tell you this is true. On one occasion it took four different nurses at the pathologist to be confident to have a go. Another time they saw what they thought could be a vein and hit the nerve whereupon I passed out.

The other thing is that the doctor wants to check all the usual subjects (including glucose) so it has to be fasting, which means early morning. Early mornings are the coldest part of the day, resulting in even fewer discernable veins. And not having had breaky, I’m not keen on a jog around the block to try to get the blood pumping.

The other thing is I need to find a day I don’t have to do anything in the morning, and when I can con someone into driving me down (and more importantly BACK again). I tend to go into shock with blood tests, even to passing out - so I can’t trust myself to drive home.

And so the doctor just wants a blood test. The chance that I appreciate the “just” part of that?

… Approximately None.

They just don’t get it.