Saturday, July 26, 2008

I was listening to a new podcast today, The DNA Files. Some new things have been discovered on how genes get switched on and off that I am sure will make an incredible difference to the health of millions, once the scientists figure it all out. I am pretty confident I carry the gene that is latent for arthritic diseases and it got activated big time. I think my sister has it partially expressed, showing some FMS symptoms but not all. My MIL has discovered she has a breast cancer gene throughout her family, and I am high risk as well. My mother died of breast cancer and my sister is currently enduring therapy to remove it from her. Gene therapy offers better health but I am afraid I'm too old to get much benefit from it. I also hope it isn't one of those things that is limited to wealthy nations.

Another episode of the same podcast was about GM foods. I am of two minds on this one. I would love to see rice with an added beta-carotene gene grown in areas with severe deficiencies in Vitamin A in normal diets but I'm not so sure about inserting e.coli into pigs to help reduce their waste products. What about coffee decaffeinated in the bean? Do we know enough to do this? On the other hand we've been messing with plant and animal genetics for thousands of years. If only they'd work on weed genetics and not crop plants. So far the only work I've heard about is finding herbicide resistant weeds.

I was thinking about this before I venture back into the garden to plant my latest plants from Diggers. I am trying potatoes for the first time and I have 2 dwarf apple trees to plant. I know nothing about apples so I am on a steep learning curve. Sorry about the silence but I have been otherwise occupied and very depressed so why share the grief? He really is never coming back and that still rips my heart open daily.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Apparently Blogger lost my last post, which probably just as well because it was full of anger and spite. Last week was a very difficult one for me that sucked the emotional well dry, leaving me anxious and painful in mind and body. While it may be of little interest to my readers I want to say a few things about my spiritual life.

I was brought up very happily as a Congregationalist. I did all that a child could be expected to do: Sunday school, singing in the choir every Sunday, youth group, retreats, summer camp, the lot. In my senior year of high school I lost my connection to that tradition. It was partly due to reading about other ways to be spiritually fulfilled, it was partly disgust at my father's hypocrisy at being a deacon and behaving in an unChristian manner, it was partly just that I no longer believed that I would be spiritually fulfilled or "saved" by performing certain rituals, saying certain words in certain places at certain times. I know my friend J who was brought up in the church nor my dear MIL who is still a Carmelite will not only disagree with me, but try to convince me that the ritual isn't what it's about. If it isn't, then I don't need the ritual. I have always felt most as ease in my connection to God?, the great spirit?, the universe of love? when I have been alone in the natural world. I do believe there is a higher plane but I don't believe in any of the mythology of any organized religion. In fact, the organization of religion is what lost me to the Church.

I have mentioned in the past my trying to live a Buddhist life. By that I simply mean the "be here now" part of it, not hours of meditation on the Tibetan scriptures or kneeling (sorry, no kneeling possible) in front of a golden statue. It is about meditation in removing your mind from the messy bits of daily life and calming your inner self. I am really bad at it and, if I ever manage to make to that calm place, I usually fall asleep since I am continually tired. Most of the fibromyalgia books suggest meditation as a relaxation tool, and I know it works at that but I'd like to get good enough at it that I can stay awake, alert, connected to the world but let the annoyances and pettiness of daily life wash past without arousing anger or anxiety which usually cause tense muscles. I've got quite a library of Buddhist/Zen books, the latest being Awake at Work and I've only read the introduction and know I need more training. My outward manner I know shows good humour, cheerfulness, flexibility and a desire to perform whatever job well. Inside, however I am often churning with resentment beginning with forgetting my lunch, through to the person who pulled out in front of me in traffic and continuing to be told to catalogue a book I think worthless. It extends to my poor typing ability, my frustration with my poor sight, the creakiness of my knees, the exhaustion at the end of the day, just the fact that I will never be pain free. Yes, I hear you, it would take the patience of a saint to live cheerfully with that, and I am not anywhere near a saint (if there are such things). Perhaps I just long to be more "saintly", to accept the life of pain without it dragging my conscious mind along, so I can really accept the pain and learn not to fight it. I do fight it so much and feel guilty when I don't do all the tasks life throws at me, whether it be work or housekeeping. The garden is the only place I really don't mind (except mowing the lawn) because it's where by some magic, my conscious mind goes away except for the low mutter of "need to prune that back, how can I keep the snails out of the silverbeet?, will I get good strawberries this year?" I beat myself up and feel guilty when I am forced to take a sick day which is silly. My life is full of "if only"s and "I ought to"s which are walls preventing me from experiencing the now.

Today's now tells me I moved furniture a bit too much in cleaning yesterday and I need a bit more sleep. I can't be in the now while I'm asleep which is maybe why I resent needing so much of it.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I am afraid I am going to have to censor my blog even more than I had done, by never naming names, etc. It turns out that random comments in blog have been taken out of context and are being used as evidence against me in dispute resolution regarding Brian's superannuation funds. I will not go into details or name names, although I'd love to drag the whole sorry mess into the open. From now on it's knitting/spinning/weaving, Swans news and not much daily life kind of stuff because that stuff has been twisted and used against me. I was wondering who was reading my blog, well now I know one person has been hanging on every word.

Swans news: After a long string of wins, they lost badly to the Magpies on the weekend. Very low scoring game (I couldn't bear to watch). However, Barry Hall did it again and took a swing against a Collingwood player. This happened 2 matches after he returned from a 7 week suspension for a similar action before. The Swans management, not just the tribunal, is very tired of this behaviour and has suspended him internally and are not giving dates when he will return. He's supposedly getting counseling on anger management. This is not meant to defend his actions, which are simply wrong, but he does get targeted by the opposite team, winding him up till his temper blows, but if he can't control his fists in those situations, he shouldn't be playing footy. Simple as that.

We've had heavy rain and it was fortunate because I had just bedded down the berry plants, all tidied up, top dressed with cow manure and mulched with lots of leaves. My spinach seedlings and silver beet are doing well. The rain is not good for my arthritis and I ache all over. Lyrica does an outstanding job on the major pain, but, as my GP has said, I'll never be pain free. The arthritis is in the joints and the fibromyalgia in my muscles. My knees especially don't like wet weather. I am still trying to avoid surgery but a day like today makes me think twice. Since I can't afford a surgeon, I'll make do. No mountain hiking in my future. Lyrica also does nothing for fatigue and as I reach hump day I can feel it creeping up on me. By Thursday I'm exhausted and really have to pry myself out of bed on Fridays if I want to go to the markets for fish & fruit & veg or even do those routines we all have like vacuuming or other sorts of cleaning. I do wish I had a self cleaning oven like I had in the states but they are rare here.

On the knitting front I found a quantity of bulkier weight hand spun in a darker grey. Unfortunately I wound it off in a mess so I have to untangle a very large mass of grey spaghetti before I have balls I can knit with. I think it would look very good in a zip front jacket. Doing this while having 2 cats on your lap is not easy.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Two photos of me from behind. One to show off my hair, which I am exceedingly proud of. My hairdresser always marvels at how healthy it is, considering all the drugs flowing through my system. I am going grey, but it's happening in streaks so one could think it's highlights, but it ain't. It's so slippery I cannot keep a hairclip of any sort in it; they all fall out almost immediately.

At right is the hat I've been slaving over. I am also proud of that considering it's my first stranded colour work.Others on Ravelry say theirs are too big but I have a big head and it fits fine. Very warm as well.

I am now stuck between projects. I wanted to knit something out of handspun but the stuff I pulled out is not suited for what I want to knit and I can't find a pattern anyway. Maybe I'll go back to the project I was going to knit anyway, which is a cabled cardigan out of grey superwash for wearing round the house and out and about. J and I are off to Victoria for the wool show and other delights next week and I'd like to have something other than socks to knit. I am spinning alpaca so I can take a skein to BFLB when I go to see her in November.

My working in the garden and the joy and satisfaction it gives me have made me decide to stay in this house until I retire at least. I feel more confident A.L. (after Lyrica) that I can do the work required and there's something about working with plants that I find very Zen. I am going to pick up 2 more apple trees at Diggers, having decided the apples are OK. These are dwarf heirloom varieties and the fruit bat in me is happy.

Today's family tree find was my great-great-grandmother on the Canadian 1851 census. Her place of birth is given as USA but her husband, Joseph Stanton, said Canadian. He was a farmer and my great-grandmother was there at 10 years. My mother's side of the family seemed to hop across between the US and Canada a lot which makes them doubly hard to trace.

We are not mentioning the passage of the first of July. It was difficult and I felt very fragile all tad but it's over with moderate tears. J came over to keep me company and we ate pizza and planned our holiday. I dread thinking about the price of petrol to drive the Camry there, but I guess there's no escaping it. At least it has a big boot.