Saturday, October 23, 2010

1980 was probably the peak of my adult life, although I didn't know it then. I was healthy, very happily married, in my dream job, and the future looked bright. As the '80's progressed bad things happened. My mother died of breast cancer in 1981 and I felt numb with pain for about a year. She was 74. A few years later I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and began the dance with pain. At the same time I did my right knee and had the first arthroscopic surgeries. Shortly there after, I was diagnosed with kerataconus and started the routine of eye exams and new contacts every six months or so until I had both corneas replaced in 1989/90. During the end of the '80's, my marriage fell apart as my husband was away on business more and more, and I was more consumed by moving up the food chain at work.

Enter a brief interlude when I met the Bear, shed my old life, and ran away to Australia. Bliss, aside from financial pinches until I reentered the workforce determined to be a drone. Then fibromyalgia struck me with its fairy wand and I knew serious pain, daily pain, pain that ruled my life. I really missed my friends back in the US because I had so few friends of my own age and background here. I cannot fault the dear friends I made working at the Library and they have helped me survive a lot, but I'm old enough to be their mothers. I lost one of my US friends who shared chronic illness in the early 2000's and it hit me very hard. She was one of the inner circle and losing her was a blow that took a long while to recover from. Then there was the Bear. You blog-readers know what I went through 3 years ago and I haven't recovered yet. Then there was my sister this year. On the visit to the US for her memorial service I made sure I made time to see BFLB in Ohio, who has been suffering from kidney cancer for 10 years. I never dreamt it would be the last time I saw her, probably the last time I will speak to her. In the past 2 weeks the cancer has caught up to her and the doctors have run out of miracle treatments (and she had her share of whiz-bang medical technology used on her). As of today she is in a hospice and is unresponsive. BFLB is also one of the inner circle, the one who was my knitting guru, the one who managed the dream of building a house in the country on a nice block of land. Her husband, St. H., was a good friend to the Bear and the four of us enjoyed our visits together. Now I worry for St. H. because he has to go through the deepest valley of losing your true love. He's known this day would come for 10 years but I don't think that makes it any easier then it was for me who only really knew what was happening the last 2 weeks of the Bear's life.

I feel like this has been cumulative and I don't know how to handle any more grief. But I also know that being of a certain age means you know more people who are likely to leave this plane in the coming years. I'm not a religious person so I have no firmly held beliefs as to what lies after death. Their spirits all live on with those who loved them; maybe that's what life after death means. But we who are left behind feel an awful hole in our souls where that bit that was bound to them leaves with them. I will always love those people listed above and still think about my mother almost daily. I still wake up thinking the Bear is still here. Think of your loved ones and cherish those still with you.

On my own personal battle, my surgeon has instituted 2 weeks complete rest for the knee, trying to let it heal. I hesitate to speak too loudly but after 4 days, it is less painful and slightly less swollen. I sincerely hope this most annoying restriction works, because I am going mad being kept away from my garden at the peak of its neediness.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Today we start with photos. To the left is the last of the black alpaca, now sorted, deseeded and clean.

Some of it is long enough to spin from the locks, while other bits will have to be carded. It was very soft when I was cleaning it so I have high hopes of the end result. I am currently spinning some of the pale grey Shetland I brought back from the States.

To the right is the superwash merino/bamboo

blend I spun a while back. It feels very light
so I am hoping it will make decent light weight socks.

I finished Rainbows End and enjoyed it completely. Especially as it takes place in San Diego which is one of those places I'd love to live (and we almost did via the Bear's job). I am now reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, which sometimes feels like I've read it before but then a lot of his images have been "borrowed" by other authors since it was written 20 years ago.

I had my doctor's visit today and he is still mystified by why my knee remains swollen. He aspirated (stuck a needle in) it and drew out some fluid to be sent off to the lab. I have to get another X-ray and see him in 2 weeks. We are hoping there is no infection because that would be very bad
but what else is going on is a mystery.

I spent a very lazy day in bed yesterday while thunderstorms threatened but never materialized. Today is warm and sunny and my knee feels even worse after being stuck with a needle. So much for gardening. My car is covered in pollen and windblown wisteria blossoms since that is in full bloom. My baby apple trees are blooming, as is the pear. The backyard is alive with the humming of bees.

Today is the first official day of retirement. If it weren't for the knee, I would be dancing in the street, or at least in the backyard. Instead here I am writing in my blog, feeling depressed. I have been thinking about the Bear a lot as his birthday approaches. I keep going over what I could have done to prevent his early demise. What if I had thrown a tantrum early on and threatened to leave him if he didn't stop drinking? He would have known I'd never leave him. Should I have accompanied him to the GP every time to tell him what the Bear didn't? I think of all the wonderful times we had and then the image of him in the oncology ward comes up and I lose it. If he were here there wouldn't be a thought in my head about going back to the US, but that seems my best option now. Meanwhile I can still sometimes smile and think of my dear boy.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

This Friday was officially my last day of work. Thursday was the last day I was physically present and had my going away party. The kind folks I worked with combined enough money for me to buy a Kindle (Hooray for the weak US dollar!) as I discovered my weakened hands are having trouble holding books. It don't mean I will stop buying books because I can't imagine a knitting book on a Kindle! Best sellers I don't intend on keeping can be in digital format. While I really enjoyed the work I did, I was having more and more difficulty actually making it to work. I could have done large chunks of it from home but that is frowned upon for OH&S reasons. What difference does it make to the end project if I do authority work lying in bed?

My current difficult-to-read paperback (bound tightly and printed into the spine) is Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge. I had admired his earlier stuff but thought he had retired or died, so finding a new book as of 2006, that is actually about digitizing library books is a treat. Wearable hardware and constant connection are among the future (2025) as he imagines it. I almost think that free wireless broadband access should be a utility that everybody should have access to.

The genealogy research has so far gotten me back through the Stanton line on my mother's side to the Puritans who came to New England in 1635. I've learned about the Revolutionary Battle of Long Island (which I don't remember from school) and wonder if some of the mysterious movements of some ancestors to Canada were because they were Royalists. Ancestry is a very deep well of information and the farther back you go, the more people are related to you. I am technically an only child but I now have thousands of relatives.

I've had two dream in a row where i was working on a cruise ship. What does this mean? I'd do the cruise around Hawaii again in a heartbeat.

I watched the movie District 9 on DVD last night and found it very disturbing. The new improved Peter Jackson seemed to think it partly a comedy, but this from a man who used to make splatter horror films. I've lived in the southern hemisphere long enough that I can understand South African English better than I can some of the varieties of the King's English I hear on British TV. I thought it a cheap shot to paint Nigerians as the bad guys instead of using native black South Africans. Politically correct but a cheap shot. I encourage watching the movie but be prepared for unpleasant ethical responses as well as a lot of shooting and splatter.

I was planning on a lot of garden work but we have rain forecast for the next 3 days. Maybe I'll just start my squash seedlings and do housework.