Working it

I’m pretty open about the fact I have some physical problems, because it’s obvious if you spend much time with me anyway. I’m significantly weak in both arms and legs. Not “oh you need to get fit” weak, but what the neurosurgeon called “abnormally weak, spinal mumble blah blah blah”. I’ve also got remarkably poor balance. An MRI of my spine shows a decent sized lesion but we don’t think it’s doing anything. We decided not to investigate further unless things get worse etc.

My new helmet matches my bright pink bike

Recently I got approved for a Green Prescription, and a physical therapist is working with me. Our goal is to improve my balance. I recently bought a push bike and love it, but my balance is so bad I can’t let go to do a hand signal, which is a bit of a worry!

We also want to improve my strength. I can’t climb on a chair for instance – my legs won’t push me up, and my arms won’t drag me up. So I’ve got strength and balance exercises (for older people) and I’ve bought a balance board as well.

My balance has improved already, which is great. This weekend I’ll get out on my bike and see if it translates to real change. The strength exercises are more difficult and I suspect progress will be slower, but that’s ok. Any improvement is worth the effort.

#BlogJune is back!

I’ve been doing #BlogJune for a few years now. I used to blog regularly but, as life changed, blogging was replaced by art journaling as a way to get my thoughts out of my head. All the same, I enjoy writing and blogging, and the connection with people that it can bring. It’s about having limited time, so making choices about what to prioritise.

A friend on Twitter mentioned #BlogJune last night and I thought, yes, I’m going to give it a shot. Reestablishing a writing and blogging habit will be good for me. Chances are the posts will be a bit random, but life *is* a bit random at the moment.

Valuing white space #BlogJune 18

I was talking with my good friend Penny the other night about white space in our artwork. We often use similar colours and methods but our processes and end results are very different.

My art journals are about “downloading my head”l. Often colour and writing fills the page to overflowing – chaos and emotion in 2D. But my abstract landscape art is different; it’s generally my calm, peaceful view to the seen world. I don’t aim to record, but to respond.

Part of that response is a strong need for quiet space, usually white or maybe Titan Buff. I was working on 12 A4 mixed media and, when I sat back, realised I’d put too much colour on too quickly. Tomorrow I’ll look at them in the daylight. Some very strong darks might increase the sense of light, or they might need white paint added back.

Trying hard #BlogJune 11

I few to Christchurch today, and Alan picked me up for a break in Hokitika. Tomorrow I’m getting ready for spending the day working large with Penny.

I talked to staff at the rest home, who felt Tony was quite unhappy. Not surprising. I spoke to Tony and, although he sounded tearful once or twice, he was trying hard to be positive. We talked about his there is no choice any more.

We’ve both got a lot of changes to get used to and it’s going to be difficult. The only thing we can do is try our best and take each day as it comes. The photo below, of Tony with his good friend Doris, reminds me how much he has changed and why we’re at this point.

Inspired by…. #BlogJune 6

This multi-page spread in my Dina Wakley journal was inspired by Niamh Baly. I’m an avid follower and often find myself inspired by her, but this was a more direct inspiration than normal. Tony’s had a few rough days – that is another day’s post – so I spent a lot of today working on this while he slept in the lazyboy behind me. I used Dina Wakley paint, stamps, printed tissue and a page from her Collage Collective book. The quote is one I saw on FB that seemed appropriate, given all the support we’re getting at the moment. I’m pleased with how this turned out and glad I put the time into it.

Taboo! #BlogJune 5

We sing along to songs on the radio about drugs and sex, watch all kinds of things on tv. Yet there are still things society tends not to talk about and poo is one of them, so is death and dying.

Once you start dealing with both chronic and acute illness, serious pain relief, and the slow process of dying you realise there’s nothing sacred any more. Ever asked your significant other if it’s taking them ages to pee? Checked if they badly constipated again? Or cleaned up a poo puddle because the meds went too far the other way?

At the start of a relationship it’s all sweet words and date nights. Lovely! Then something happens and you’re dealing with medical issues. Over the years both Tony and I’ve had serious health stuff happen, and we’ve both done the nursing.

Now it’s my time to nurse him, and some days it’s hard. Really hard. But, after nearly 30 years, we can talk about poo, pain, death and dying. Fun? No, yet it’s also ok. The conversations matter, and sometimes there are tears, but I’d rather we talked than I had to guess. I just wish more people talked about the hard stuff.

Stress hands! #BlogJune 4

When Tony and I were Mum’s carers she was in and out of hospital a lot. Nurses would greet me by name in the supermarket. It could be stressful juggling Mum, work, newspaper, art and daily life.

For some reason I find polishing my nails soothing. I don’t generally do them because paint sticks to the polish; my hands are artist’s tools so the nails get a hard time.

This week has been difficult. (edit – this is yesterday’s post which I didn’t get a chance to post) For the first time in a very long time – possibly years – I’ve polished my nails. And, yes, the blue polish already has tiny flecks of orange on it.