I've been stewing instead of blogging. I'll get to the reason for the stewing in a bit, but first to catch up. So far this week I've had blood tests, a mammogram and will go to a meeting about joint replacement. I did sleep a lot over the weekend which is the first thing I do when I have time off--sleep to catch up on what I'm missing. Sleep deprivation really kills me and even 8 hours a night is not sufficient. The other thing I've been doing is in the photo to the left. Massive jam and preserve making. There is plum jam, plum chutney, zucchini pickle relish, wild blackberry jam, tame blackberry jam (from my back yard bush) and mixed berry jelly. The last was a bit iffy; it's set but a soft set as opposed to a firm one. All of the jam and other goodies are taken in to work and I solicit donations which go to charity. The mixed berry jam has a big fan club, as do the pickles. I'll have to watch out for more large zucchini. Of course, I always keep some for myself and for gifts, but you can't make one jar of jam.
Since I have wild blackberries I obviously have been blackberrying again. This time the temperature was more in the normal range and the berries were much bigger and easier to pick. I neglected to mention in the previous entry that we saw in the range of 35 yellow-tailed black cockatoos (photo right) who all flew over in small groups with babies in tow (you can tell by their call). I know in my head that they are common in the forest but it is still a thrill to see them. While I was picking berries among the plantation pines, I kept seeing what looked like brown paper flowers on the ground and I couldn't figure out what they were. I finally worked it out that they must be what's left of a pine cone when a cockatoo has finished with it. After M had picked enough and left, I kept going for another 20 minutes and managed once again to fall, but this time by stepping in a hole created by a rotten log, and landing on my butt, and there was precious little within reach to haul myself up with. More bruises, more stiffness.
What I'm stewing about is the verdict from the orthopedic surgeon that my knees were a hopeless mess and they should be replaced, which led me to sign up to have the left one done at the end of March. He's not even going to charge me extra, just take the insurance payout. Every surface of every bone in each knee was covered in spurs and growths. While I know I said I was going to do this, I am really nervous about it. My knees haven't been the bit of me that hurts the most (that would be my thigh muscles) and I don't know where the relationship of my fibromyalgia will intersect with joint replacement. Not having anyone here when I get out of hospital means I'm going to see if my insurance will pay for an extra week of rehab so I can get around. I won't be able to drive for a while, although since it's my left knee, driving will be earlier than the other. I won't be able to run or kneel, but I can't now anyway. I'm supposed to be exercising the knee and the exercises really do make it hurt. I hope I can rely on friends for rides for a while. After 3 months the other one can be replaced. Did I mention I was really nervous? I go through this whenever I have a medical procedure, even one I know is necessary and that I want to have done. I get cold feet and the urge to get as far away from doctors as I can. Who knows, maybe new knees will make the muscles happier.
I cannot comprehend what the people in Victoria have gone through. The death toll now has hit 200. One article I read today said that the very activity that the Bear and I were planning, moving to the bush, is one of the reasons why things got so bad. Not that we were moving to forested land; even I know a firetrap when I see one. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to have your entire life go up in flames, leaving you with nothing. My brush with fire here in 2003 really put the fear in me. I freak whenever I smell smoke in the air. I don't know how much money it will take to rebuild somebody's life. Furniture and clothes are replaceable but family mementos mean more than that.