Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I've been very depressed lately. I don't see my future path or goals. I am going through the motions of life but I am detached and hiding in a hole in my head. I lost control of that hole a few times, ending up crying in my boss's office again. She wants me to get more rest, to get over the physical soreness that remains from my fall, and get some sleep. One of those unwelcome features of how my depression works is I either can't sleep when I need it the most, or I can't stay awake when I need to. So I'm going to take a flex day and try to regroup.

Since I've joined Ravelry my knitting posts haven't been curr
ent so here's an easy blog fillerThis is the back of Cables after whiskey which is a remarkably forgiving pattern. Since the cables are random, if you miss one of them, and see you have too much plain stockinette at the end of a cable row, you can just throw one in. While this yarn isn't top of the line (Stahl Hobby) it's also light enough that I can wear it without stifling. Only cable once every 8 rows so it's actually pretty mindless.

and there's always socks. These a rather vivid colourway of Opal.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I think genetics is very unfair and practically impossible to argue with. My dear MIL has discovered that her family carries one of the breast cancer genes and therefore she has an 80% of getting breast cancer. You can understand why women remove them rather than living a life with that kind of shadow over it. My genetics, at least what I am railing about tonight, is body shape. One look at the female line of my family and one sees the heavy hips, thighs and belly that probably made us highly desirable in Paleolithic times, but are not the fashion in the 21st century. I need to stay on a 1500 calorie diet all the time if I want to approach my "ideal" weight. I can't. I love to cook, I love to eat. I enjoy a glass of wine now and then. I like to bake, make bread, have a nice piece of cheese. All of these make me gain weight. I have eaten a diet of fish and vegetables for so long, and lost 35 kgs, but I am sooooo tired of it. A piece of red meat? a potato? Everything is forbidden and when I do indulge (I am not that strong-willed) I feel guilty. It is so unfair that some people seem to eat anything and stay slim and other of us always tip the scale over that "ideal" weight. Sometimes you can't fight genetics. And I refuse to be on a diet for the rest of my life. Bring on the cinnamon rolls, the aged Jarlsberg, the chardonnay, and all the fruit I can eat. Check out this site.

My main exercise (since walking per se is not permitted with my knees) is my garden work. I love getting my hands dirty and making things grow. I do not believe there is such a thing as a "no work" garden, unless one can start with an completely blank slate and no weeds drift in on the wind. I find new weeds every year that I have never seen before and they must come from somewhere. I also have a yard planted in every noxious viney plant known to live in this climate. The entire back yard is ringed in vinca and ivy and they are both extremely hard to get rid of, especially when they creep under the fence from neighbors' yards. I was filling up the trash pack with debris today and fell, tipped over a hose, and landed hard on my right side on paving. I think I will be very sore and bruised tomorrow, but I just got up (not quickly) and got on with it. Nobody here to kiss it and make it better. Did I mention how lonely I am and how much I miss him?

Swans news: They lost to Geelong last week and are in the process of losing to Collingwood as I write. If St Kilda wins this week I think we drop out of the 8 and no finals for us. Not that we would have lasted long in the finals. Keep repeating: rebuilding year.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I have an embarrassing confession to make. When I was growing up and reading everything I could get my hands on in the public library, I was intrigued with this British concoction called "porridge." I was convinced it was the essence of British character and was jealous that I didn't have access to it. So now I live in an Anglo country, albeit one caught between English and American languages, and I learn that porridge is just oatmeal. Very disappointing, altho I love oatmeal. My mother had a long list of cooked cereals I was fed on cold mornings: cream of wheat, cream of rice (always lumpy), Ralston, and oatmeal. Today with temps here in the morning of -5C I am glad for quick cooking oats and I always have them with honey, because honey is another of my vices and Australia makes wonderful honey. I am currently working on a jar of white box honey from Beechworth. I was listening to Bush Telegraph on my iPod at work and they interviewed the author of a book about honey. I must find a copy of this and read it with a selection of honey at my side.

While I was sick, writhing in bed with my gut tied in knots (and I'm not 100% healed yet), I read Spin by Robert Charles Wilson, which rates a big thumbs up from me. Part sci-fi, part love story, it is masterfully written and the characters as well as this future world really grab you. I was thinking about Tyler Dupree for days afterwards. While I like a good mystery, they are harder to find these days, so I generally stick to known authors. Sci fi I usually buy in book stores where I can read the cover matter, reviews (are they from the Podunk Daily News or a major reviewer?), etc. I liked Spin enough to check out his other work, so I will troll used book stores, which where I usually buy known-title older books.

Haven't been knitting, been plying, so I can take a skein of hand spun alpaca to BFLB. There were a lot of lost ends in one bobbin of the singles, so there was much muttering and even some scissorwork. While plying I watched Code 46 on DVD which was very entertaining near future science fiction and a love story. Tim Robbins is an actor I have mixed feelings about; Shawshank Redemption is in my Top 10 movies, but other films I haven't found his acting believable. Code 46 was believable even if Samantha Moreton sounded very much like a prima donna in the interviews. I didn't even recognize her as Mary, Queen of Scots, from Elizabeth. I am a movie fanatic but rarely view them in cinemas, because I can't pause them to go to the loo, or find the end in a bobbin of singles,.

I have reluctantly decided that when I have the money to pay a surgeon, etc., I will have to have my knees replaced. Even with losing weight, they hurt, especially in cold weather. If I could get them done both at once and get it over with...

Monday, August 18, 2008

I have now spent 36 hours with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) due to no good reason I can figure out. I ate no forbidden foods, I haven't had any stress spikes. All I have are waves of pain and severe bloating in my abdomen and more trips to the loo than normal. I've had IBS since I was a child but I didn't know what it was until just before the fibro diagnosis, and now I know that 85% of FMS patients have IBS. I had it so bad at uni (in college) that I stopped eating everything but dairy products in the cafeteria because they were so big on fried food and mystery meat. The only possible culprit, altho it was a delayed reaction if I'm right, is a rissotto I had for lunch on Friday that may have had too much onion in it. I didn't even think of it until I was wracking my brain to find out what I could have eaten. I should be grateful since this business used to be common and is now infrequent. Bur I feel like a mule kicked me. If I lie down, the lack of movement slows it down but I can't stay in bed forever.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Swans news: They Won! I watched a DVD and checked the score now and then (after last week's debacle I didn't dare hope they could beat even Fremantle). And they almost didn't. Trailing into the final minutes of the final quarter and Goodesy did some magic with the footy (as one of the commentators narrated the replay it was "show it to them in this hand, show it in the other, then kick a goal") and a win!. It does show how pathetic they can be without their stars and I hope they are cooking up another batch to fill in Mick's & Goodes' shoes. We have a few promising ones up front and some half decent backs but there's nobody in the middle with the skill and tenacity of Kirk and Bolton. But then I never thought they could play well without Kell, and they managed. Tonight it's Geelong and I don't expect miracles

I had a long day yesterday: GP at 7AM (to join the queue not actually see him) where we have to plan how I can get enough of my meds when I take The Trip, to the markets, to the hardware store to buy a new drip hose, to the chemist, out to lunch with J, home to work on the rose bush and I finally got the potatoes planted. Bintjes, 8 little darlings. The soil in that corner could use some breaking up below the top 8" so they better do their job. As expected I was sore all over and very tired the AM, especially because I couldn't to sleep for all the aches, until I had a glass of sherry at 1AM. So I slept in and then went to the grocery store. No need to buy cat food anymore since The Imp actively rejects wet food. She did like the roo I gave her and even did a bit of play with it--tossing it up in the air, etc. She has gotten very vocal since she became ruler of all she surveys. Greets me every time I come home with a tone that has a deep note of "why did you go off and leave me all alone? Pet me NOW!" There was a very noisy cat fight some time in the night so she has taken over the role of seeing off strange cats. At one point she was sleeping right up in my face and I could feel her breath. And her whiskers.

I think I'll give my body the rest of the day to heal and work on indoor projects. Move curtain rods. Take a nap. I started the pattern part of CAW and misread the instructions so had to frog the first row and I was too tired to concentrate on a second go. Now that we are getting the US So You Think You Can Dance 3 nights a week, I can't watch dancing and knit complicated cables at the same time, but there are plenty of commercials to knit in. We are approaching a local election and the ads have started. I found out from the guy handing out leaflets at the supermarket that it's while I'm away so that's another thing to do before I leave.

The hit counter has broken 10,000 so it seems like you missed me.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Later in the same day as I wrote my last post, we had a death in the family. Dear Miss Pink Nose, the Senior Cat, went to the great cat box in the sky. I took her to the vet for an assessment but she had been so frail lately and the vet said she was having difficulty breathing so I decided right then to end her pain. More tears over the little soul who had been with me almost as long as I had the Bear and only outlived him by a little over a year. I got home and went to clean the littler box and found that she had peed all over the floor yet again, I think just because her back end hurt too much to get it in the right position. The Imp doesn't see to mind, although she has done some looking around in corners and has been a bit clingy. I'll never be lonely with her in the house although I wish she wouldn't wake me up with kisses on my mouth. Ick.

The DNA Files is a really fascinating podcast. It's presented in a light way with one person playing dumb so everything is explained. I have recently learned that my dear MIL many have one of the genes for breast cancer. A relative does and they are now tracing it through the family. Her DNA test will be back in a month. I know from the DNA Files that this gene can express in other types of cancer than breast. I wonder if I have a gene since my mother and sister both had breast cancer. There are no other branches of the family to check as we are the last twigs. I supposedly have reduced my risk having had a hysterectomy (but so had my sister and my mother) and I had breast reduction surgery. After last December's scare who knows. I might ask at my next screening.

Friday, August 08, 2008

I've made a decision since something has changed in my situation. I have decided to tell you why I have been self-censoring and for the most part stop doing it. The trouble I've been having has decided to make itself public so I will tell you my side of the story without getting into sordid details.

When my dear Bear died, the whole scenario played out very quickly and I was mostly concerned with being brave and supportive and not thinking about him actually dying. He knew he had been putting off writing a will; we had talked about it for years and the will form was in the kitchen table for him to fill out and the papers making me the beneficiary of his pension funds. But he never got around to filling them out (he was a world class procrastinator) so there he was dying in front of my eyes without a will. I quickly filled in a basic will making me the executor and sole beneficiary. Despite what other people think, we had no real assets except the house and cars and a large debt on the land we had just bought. While I didn't like it, we lived paycheck to paycheck and when i was able to squirrel away a few thousand dollars it went on house repairs and maintenance. He signed his will in front of the assembled family, witnessed by his sister and his uncle, and I asked his eldest child, E, if she trusted me to distribute whatever money there was to divide and she said yes.

A month later and I'm plowing through the mountain of paperwork that pops up when someone does and I get to claiming death benefits on his super funds (pensions). Unlike estate law, pension funds here are distributed by the trustees of the fund unless you have named a binding beneficiary. I tried to get that form done as well but I missed that it had to be witnessed so the fund declared it invalid. Now the distribution of his 2 funds was in the hands of the trustees. By law, all children are automatically dependents, although not necessarily financial dependents. The children were not responding to my requests for them to sign the paperwork, and I made them an offer of an amount of cash, approved by their mother, if they would choose not to claim for the funds. The next thing I know I get a letter from a probate lawyer acting for E asking me details on the estate, my income, etc. I paid a whopping amount to get another lawyer to tell them there was nothing in the estate to be divided and to go elsewhere.

So they have all claimed on both pension funds as financial dependents. This is the point where is gets a pit tricky and I can't go into detail. Let's just say that E has claimed all sorts of things in her submission to the super fund that are either not true or irrelevant. She went through my blog and listed every time I bought something, every time I worked in the garden (to prove I wasn't really disabled), not knowing or including every time I couldn't get out of bed or all the bills I was faced with lacking the Bear's salary. She accepted the ruling of the first and smaller fund, as did I because I just wanted it done. The second fund is quite a bit larger and she has contested the ruling of the trustees, and now gone further to the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal. From my understanding of the law, she has little legal standing in this because she wasn't financially dependent on the Bear when he died and I was. It's not that the fund didn't award her anything, it's that she thinks it isn't enough. At any rate, it has pushed the settlement of this whole mess even further into the future. Since I will be out of the country for 2 months I may not get any action till December. Meanwhile, I must live on my salary which is much less than a normal salary due to the disability portion which is only 75% of my real salary. With the mortgage taking a large chunk out of that I will have to eat into the payout of the first fund which I had been trying to maintain intact to generate income.

All of this has put me in a state of high stress for almost since the Bear died so I am trying to heal myself from that while dealing with this extremely petty and invasive attack by his children. If they had ever shown any affection for him in the 16 years we were married, I would be able to see the point. But they ignored him, avoided him, didn't visit for years before he died and now, on the basis of a relationship built on phone calls, they claim financial dependence. It's not something I even have any control over because it's now between the children and the fund and my opinion hasn't even entered the picture. This last bit on going to the Tribunal totally mystifies me because she made the complaint before the fund made a decision.

So there it is. We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming. I am still going to the US and aside from a very few nights in 2 months, I will be staying with friends and generally not buying much (as if I needed more yarn or fiber) except at outlet malls and those American foods I adore and can't get here. I'll drink a lot of root beer, eat lots of breakfast sausage, etc. My sister is still undergoing treatment for breast cancer and BFLB is stable with her liver cancer but who knows with these things. I will also see friends and relatives I haven't seen in ages and maybe get a little family history done as well. Yes, I am taking a cruise in Hawaii, with my dear MIL. I have always wanted to see Hawaii and the cruise is surprisingly cheap considering what it covers. I want to see volcanoes and go snorkeling before I'm too old to do them. I have also learned that I cannot fly from the east coast of the US directly home without being in great pain from sitting too long, so decided to break the trip coming and going with a side trip. the Weaving School sounds very daunting but I have been encouraged by the the instructor to do it without a lot of weaving under my belt.

If I've further offended E there's nothing I can do about it and besides, it won't have any bearing on what either the super fund or the Tribunal decide since they are interested in the law and the circumstances existing at the time the Bear died so anything said or done now here is irrelevant. I have been very depressed over this entire state of events, which has also suppressed blogging, and I will try to push it into another of those little boxes in my head so it doesn't hurt so much that the one person I thought I could trust utterly betrayed me.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

This self-censoring has taken all the fun out of the blog. I hope it will be over soon, but it may be just as I go overseas and then who knows what I will be able to do. In preparation I have been drafting a new will which will go to the Public Trustee since I wouldn't want to burden anyone I know now with estate business. I also now know how important having a will is.

I have planted both apple trees. I attempted to divide the rhubarb but it was so entangled that trying to separate it broke off big pieces of root. I will have to replane as that rhubarb has been underperforming for years anyway.

Lyrica does wonders for pain but nothing for fatigue. I am totally exhausted and come home and take a nap most days. That's what I get for not resting when I can.

Swans news: they played absolutely horrible football and lost to the Bulldogs by 16 points. They shot off to a great start and then apparently sent in the evil twins or the reserves of the evil twins because after that they didn't know what to do with this funny ball that occasionally came their way. Drop it, mostly. It was disgusting to watch and the lack of Goodes and Mick showed how bad they can be. Yes, Roosy, I know they are young but still... J and I even left the match in the beginning of the 4th quarter as it was so painful to watch.

I am going to try and get gauge for Cables after Whiskey as soon as I finish J's bed socks which are 3/4 complete

Friday, August 01, 2008

There is so much I can't blog about that I feel rather stifled. I am a person who has strong emotions, both positive and negative. I am not manic-depressive since I have never felt mania, but some times are better than others. My ex who has volunteered to chauffeur me on the second stage of my trip in October has seen both sides at their worst. He is in his protective mode which I value so much. Not that I would have ever given up my soul mate, but if my ex had been at the level of maturity he is now (having gone through some bad patches himself) and I had been less rigid in my expectations, we might still be married. But I doubt it; too many promises had been broken long before I met the Bear. I am much better at managing my emotions now, and the grief for my Bear stays in its box most of the time. I have gotten a book out of the library that is a guide to channeling strong emotions for those of my spiritual bent that I hope will give me some ideas. Right now, I am very good at putting on the game face or whenever is needed for long periods of time, but it only means that the bottle get uncorked sometime and it all comes out, usually the bad parts. Funny how I don't get overcome with the effort of holding happiness in check, eh? More socially acceptable to be happy that to be unhappy.

I am knitting a pair of bed socks for J our of hand-spun merino and silk (green) which are very mechanical for me. I have to generate a new knitting project since my dream cardi hasn't materialized, so maybe I'll pull something out of the stash and knit something else. That grey superwash wasn't what I had in mind for the dream cardi but an Aran variation like Cables after Whiskey might be interesting to play with.

Started reading Robert Silverberg's The Alien Years, which was written in 1998 and starts with "seven years from now" and he manages somehow to make it still feel 7 or so years in the future. Silverberg was one of the authors the Bear and I shared so I feel a connection reading "old" sci-fi, which he probably read several times altho I bought this because I didn't recognize the title and with that publication date, I should have remembered it.

It has been extremely windy all evening and I was beginning to worry about trees falling down. There are no big ones of that character near the house. High winds always put me on edge. There goes the roof/window/tree/whatever. Sometimes being a homeowner is too much worry about all the things that could go wrong.
I just finished The Harsh Cry of the Heron by Lian Hearn which is the last book in the Tales of the Otori. The first three books were totally captivating and this one led to a bittersweet end. I was crying while reading the last few pages in which the story finishes, not as one hopes, but as life is. If you haven't read these I encourage you to do so. They are deliberate and beautiful and restrained while deeply emotional and violent as only their time was. I'm not going to say more to keep the illusion you may discover as your own feelings.

Another cold and wet day here. I was trying to dig a hole for my apple tree on Weds. and, aside from using some muscles that have been on holiday for a while, I discovered a pipe. It is only a plastic pipe that was installed as part of overflow mechanism from when we had a swimming pool but it will have to be removed and I ran out of light before I could do so. I am thinking of removing more of the pavers in that area and putting in a different surface. Decomposed granite or even woodchips. More places to fight couch in, but the large paved area in the back of the house heats up in the morning and then radiates heat back to the house all afternoon and evening. If I am going to stay here, I have no need of a large paved area outside the back of the house. If I could be assured of keeping them watered, I'd do more in containers. Not this year while I'll be away for the crux of the planting season, unless my house sitter will water things carefully. I could plant seeds of lettuce in the big terra cotta pot for table use and plant basil in it when I get home. If the basil goes into a pot the snails can't eat it, right?

I have spun 2 bobbins of while alpaca ready to ply to take to BFLB. It hardly made a dent in the white alpaca, but it seems very silky and soft.