As 2020 ends

As I look back at 2020 I know we’ve never had another year like it, certainly in my lifetime. I won’t go into the Covid saga, other than to say we worked hard at staying safe, and will keep doing so.

It’s been a mixed bag for us – highs and lows included:

Tony’s brother Roger getting a job here and moving in with us while he house hunts.

I travelled to a Hokitika a couple of times to visit Penny and Alan, and enjoyed teaching at Left Bank Art Gallery in Greymouth.

Tony’s health deteriorated a lot, and he was in Base Hospital a few times. He decided he shouldn’t drive anymore so sold his car and got a nifty red mobility scooter. It’s been quite an adjustment but we’re getting there.

I got a total knee replacement in early November and the joint is a miracle. The tendons etc around it are still painful but gradually getting better. Of course, being me, I got addicted to the pain relief. My other knee should be done by April/May.

My job continues to bring me joy, as does my art. Losing Faith, then Inky, was hard for both of us, but Goldie remains as loud as ever. Whatever life throws at us, family and friends support us, and love remains. Here’s to 2021 and all it will bring.

One Little Word 2021

Every year I join #olw – One Little Word with Ali Edwards. In 2020 my word was trust – you can read about why I chose it here. Did it work for me? For most areas of my life, yes. There are a couple of areas where I found it quite hard to trust, and that’s something I will continue to work on. Generally, I have a lot of trust that, if I am clear in my intentions, the universe will provide for me.

What’s my word for 2021? LIMIT. I was looking back at some old #olw lists on Ali’s site and saw this comment — “every limit is a beginning as well as an ending” and it was a total AHA! moment. As someone with a well-documented addictive personality, I see limits as a bad thing, stopping me from having what I want. It would be healthy for me to turn that around and see limits as being good for me; as the beginning of good choices and looking after myself.

For instance, following my recent knee replacement I’ve been struggling with addiction to codeine yet again. It would have been easier if I’d set a limit on the amount of codeine I took, right from day one, instead of having to wean myself off it again with all the accompanying withdrawal issues. Would I have managed to stick to a limit? Who knows – but it might have made me more aware and careful.

In 2021 I will try to set a healthy and achievable upper or lower limit on my:

V intake

food choices


use of pain medications, especially when I get my 2ndnew knee

time on social media

doom-scrolling Covid-19 *rolls eyes*

time spent on work when I’m not actually at work!

I’m sure there’s a lot more areas of my life where putting a limit will be helpful, even if it’s just to raise my awareness. As always, I’ve made an index card piece of art of my word, and it’ll live on the wall above my desk at work as a constant reminder.

Brief update

It’s been a long week. Tony’s ok enough, but it changes day to day. Today’s not been a good one. He’s slept much of the day and the cellulitis seems to be getting worse. The oral antibiotic is holding the infection at bay but that’s all.

We went to my work’s Christmas party for an hour last night. It was lovely for him to see people he knows and have a chat. Then we had dinner together at a local restaurant because he’d had enough people time.

I’m not blogging , or even updating Facebook, as much as normal. It’s partly that I’m not getting as much art time for all sorts of reasons, so don’t have as much to share. But I don’t want to be relentlessly negative and all too often there’s not a lot of positive news.

Except for this … my new knee is doing remarkably well. I’m well ahead of where the physio and surgeon expect for 4 weeks post-surgery. At home I don’t always use crutches, and at work etc I’m only using one crutch some of the time. I’m so very grateful for the surgery.

Addiction; myth vs reality

We all know what addicts are like, right? We see them on tv, in the movies etc all the time. If you asked people what they know about addicts you might hear things like: they have bad teeth, they’re unemployable, they don’t look after themselves. Think again.

I’ve talked before about the fact I have an addictive personality. It’s one of the things that lead to me having weight loss surgery, and being warned by the weight loss clinic’s psychologist to be careful about addiction transfer. A surprisingly high percentage of women who have weight loss surgery become alcoholics because they transfer from food to alcohol. For that reason, I don’t drink – I’ve had 3 weak alcoholic drinks in 4 years.

I had a total knee replacement three weeks ago and it’s going well. The surgeon prescribed panadol and codeine and, when I went back for a check up, they increased the codeine dose because I’ve got bursitis in my hip due to walking differently now.

I knew there was a risk of me becoming addicted to the codeine, as I’ve been addicted to pain relief before. So I’ve been careful, and watching myself. At 3am this morning I suddenly realised – yes, you guessed it – I’m addicted to the codeine. What am I going to do about it? Not much for now, except to make sure the amount I’m taking doesn’t increase.

Once my knee is fully healed I’ll go cold turkey. It’s easier on your system to wean yourself off but I’d just lie to myself about how much I was still taking because that’s what we do as addicts – we lie to ourselves, and to others. We hide the wrappers, the receipts, the bottles…

Why am I telling you this? Because as a society we need to be more honest about the costs of addiction, and change what we think we know about addicts. I’m re-reading “In the realm of hungry ghosts: close encounters with addiction” by Dr Gabor Mate. It’s not an easy read but it gets to the heart of addiction (emotional pain essentially) and has some useful advice for people like myself.


I saw one of the registrars who works with Mr Pennington on Tuesday. They’re pleased with the wound, which no longer needs dressing, and the range of movement I’ve got. I asked if I should exercise just until it gets uncomfortable, or push through? Push through, but not to the point of tears. Ok then – onto it.

Speaking of tears, since a few days post-surgery I’ve had excruciating pain in my hip. I’ve cried a lot – very unusual for me – and am only sleeping a couple of hours at a time. The Dr said it’s bursitis in my hip, brought on by the change in how I’m walking. Normally they’d consider a steroid injection but it would slow down my knee’s healing. If it’s still really bad when I go back in 4 weeks, they’ll relook at it.

If I’m still progressing well at my 6 week appointment they assess me for the waiting list to get my left knee done. By May next year I could be the grateful owner of 2 two knees ❤

I must be starting to feel a little bit better; I’ve been finishing off some art journal pages I’ve had lying around. When I can’t be bothered with any art, you know I’m feeling pretty bad! This journal is now so thick it’s hard to get straight scans – they’re not as wonky & unevenly spaced as they appear…