And home again

We had a lovely time, recorded in my weekly Dylusions Dyary.

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A wee break

Tony and I are in a Wellington for two nights, Sandra and Bruno are petsitting Faith and Goldie. I’ve been away a bit but felt Tony and I needed a break together. The trip from Otaki to Lyall Bay was terribly slow but, as always, the view from the Airport Motel is great. Our room is teensy but we don’t expect to spend much time here so it doesn’t matter.

We had dinner at La Boca Loca. We started with Quesos Fundidos – baked cheeses with corn chips – one of my absolute favourites. Then I had a beef and mushroom burrito and Tony had pork tacos.  He had a mojito and I had a couple of sips…good thing I don’t drink  alcohol now. Then we shared churros with chocolate sauce – basically long deep fried donuts sipped in sugar and cinnamon. We finished with Mexican hot chocolate with orange liqueur and, again, I had a couple of sips.

We both love Mexican and had a good evening. Now we’re channel cruising while I blog. Happy Friday everyone.

A balancing act

Recently someone contacted me regarding the local newspaper and I felt the need to explain I have little spare time (not that they had pressured me at all – the need was in my own head). That said, my life is a bit of a juggling act, and I’m fortunate to have the support I need to keep the balance. Tony has always supported me to do my art and be involved in the wider library profession, and my family and friends support me in myriad ways.

What’s going on in my life? Here’s a snapshot of most, but not all, the things:

  • I work fulltime as Libraries & Cultural Services Manager at STDC; I manage 7 libraries, the museum and an arts position
  • I’m Chair of the Professional Registration Board with LIANZA, which means I’m also ex officio to the LIANZA Council
  • I’m 3/4 of the way through the Papa Reo course with Te Wananga o Aotearoa
  • I mentor a couple of librarians around the country
  • I have a month long art exhibition coming up October with the lovely and talented Dimmie
  • I travel for work, and art, fairly regularly
  • I teach art classes locally, and am teaching in the South Island in July
  • Tony and I publish the local monthly newspaper
  • I have some ongoing health issues, and am waiting on a 3rd MRI (2nd on my spine)
  • I’m a food addict and, following weight loss surgery, need to make sure I do the right things every single day
  • Tony has some serious ongoing health issues which are increasingly restrictive
  • Tony has PoA for his cousin who has dementia, and I support him in this

Don’t get me wrong – Tony and I have a good life; we’re fortunate and this busyness is my (our) choosing. But the health issues are an unwelcome complication that mean I make sure we both get enough rest, and there’s “uh oh” flexi-time built into our schedules. Taking anything else on just isn’t a goer for now.

Tony & I 20190504

When angels run interference

Anyone who follows me knows I don’t believe in God but do believe there’s a universal power and that angels watch over me. Sometimes the angels run interference – like yesterday…

Short version of long tale. Took Tony to Hamilton to see the specialist yesterday as his legs are so sore and swollen it’s affecting his mobility and quality of life. 3 out of 4 Drs were called away so they were running 90 minutes late, but it meant we saw Vasu, his main surgeon, not an understudy. He listened, understood, agreed with me that Tony’s heart and kidneys need checking – because everyone gets fixated on his legs. I said I was concerned we’d come home and be back to square one because our Drs are nice but not hearing me. Vasu said “no, you’re dealing with me from now on and I’ll speak to our top cardiologist”. He gave us an x-ray form, and said they’ll be in touch. Angels #1.

While we were waiting, a woman came out of the ward and I was “omg it’s JEN!”. Jen R is doing a “kick ass battle” with cancer – to use her term – and was starting chemo last night. We’re online friends for various reasons but hadn’t met in person. I leapt up and hugged her hard, laughing, then hugged her some more.  Angels #2.

Archangel Michael, you rock!

Off to the surgeon

Some specialists are always going to be very formal, “Hi I’m Mr X”. Tomorrow we’re visiting Tony’s vascular surgeon in Waikato. He first operated on Tony in 2012 and has done 7, or is it 8, surgeries since then. We’re on first names basis with Vasu these days!

Tony has peripheral vascular disease. He had a small clot removed in the 1990s and was good until 2012. The first surgery with Vasu was to remove a 20cm clot. He has a ‘fem fem crossover’ so basically an artificial artery that takes blood from his good leg, across his groin, and down into his bad leg ending up in his lower calf. The artificial artery has been cleaned out a couple of times and also replaced.

His bad (left) leg is increasingly painful and swollen, and his good leg is playing copycat unfortunately. They can only fix one leg this way, so there’s not a lot can be done for the right leg. But, as always, we’re hopeful Vasu will have one more trick up his sleeve.

Once ‘we can fix it’ surgeries are no longer an option we’re left with pain relief and eventually amputation either due to complete loss of circulation or if it’s the best option for quality of life. Hopefully that’s a long way off yet. In the meantime we’re looking for better pain control, and perhaps even remedial surgery. Fingers crossed.

This photo is from his 2014 surgery.tonys-hand.jpg

This week’s dyary

I do a page in my Dylusions Dyary every week – sometimes it’s day by day, other times it’s only one or two topics. This week is a mix. I love this format because it’s whatever you want it to be. I used Dylusions stencils and paints, and Posca and Tombow pens. The photos are printed using an HP Sprocket, so they are sticky-backed.

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As 2018 ends

It’s time for me to look back at my year. At the end of 2017 I said I don’t have major goals for 2018, in many way it’s just more of the same, but perhaps a bit more refined. So, my aims are:

  1. Painting more
  2. Doing art/craft regularly
  3. Stay at goal weight while eating a little more normally
  4. Drinking 1200 mls a day, every day
  5. Walking 4,000 steps minimum, every day
  6. Connecting with people who feed my soul, through snail mail and Twitter
  7. Making sure I am a positive influence in the world

I have painted more, I even did a joint exhibition with Dimmie Danielewski and hope we can keep working together. I’ve also done very regular crafting, including ding all the ColourMePositive weekly challenges.

I’m walking more than 4,000 steps every day (sometimes 6,500 steps, which is a lot for me), drinking 1200 mls, and eating fairly normally. I got a bit too thin, down to 60kg and looked scrawny. In trying to fix that I’ve tipped the other way, sitting at 69kg, and working my way back down again. I think 65kg is about right. It’s tricky learning how to keep that balance! I haven’t been in hospital at all this year and, although I still have some health issues, I’m so much healthier than I was at 139kg.

Tony and I have been together almost 27 years. His health issues cause some difficulties but we manage ok. We’re fortunate compared to many, and lucky to have each other. One of the things we know is when you’re in pain, and limited in what you can do, companionship matters so much. 

I’ve connected with amazing people, both online and in person. A real highlight of the year was my trip to the West Coast to meet Penny Kirk, a fellow WLS success and art journaller, who works in community development – so we even share similar social concerns. We talked honesty about our lives and how we ended up so overweight, did art together and ate a fab brunch at a local pub. I stayed with Alan Fowlie, an old family friend, and did the tourist walk at Hokitika Gorge. The shapes of the river beds, and the colours of the water in the gorge, have made a strong impression on me and I’ve been doing a lot of art since then, trying to capture what is in my head.

Work has been great – I’m proud of my team, and enjoy my workplace. Of course there have been challenges but without them it would all get a bit boring. I love that we make a difference in people’s lives. Some changes in the structure at work as 2018 ended mean there are some additional challenges for 2019 – bring it on!

I’ve been doing the Papa Reo course through the Wananga this year. It’s not the first time I’ve tried to learn Te Reo and it’s hard going for me but I’m finally making progress. I won’t go on to do the next level, but at least can meet, greet and do the basics now.

Do I have any goals for 2019? Nothing concrete just to continue being happy, creative, and connected with people who matter to me, while trying to make a difference in the world. The words that spring to mind for me are kindness, authenticity, diversity and creativity – not bad goals for any of us I guess…

 

Paint under my nails…

I’ve had an arty sort of day. I’ve worked in my art journals, but also felt inspired to grab a canvas and spread some paint around. Not sure if it’s finished yet, will leave it lying round and see what I think. As usual, there are messages in my art journal pages, which some people will recognise as relating to them…

Last night Tony, Sandra and I went out for dinner then enjoyed the Rocky Horrow Show shadowcast by Flash Mob Taranaki. I haven’t laughed so much in years. “Eddie – drawn, not sketched…”

week 44boundaries 2018-11-4choices 2018-11-4IMG_5034rockySandraTony and I rocky

 

 

An anniversary, and some art

Yesterday Tony and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. We went to New Plymouth yesterday on the hunt for comfy shoes for both of us. Thanks to the wonderful staff at Fitzroy Shoes, and Ziera, mission accomplished. We did other bits and pieces too, and had dinner at Morrieson’s Cafe on the way home. After 26 years together, we remain each other’s best support. We’re fortunate…

I’ve also been doing some art; this week’s CMP18, a new page in my Dina Wakley journal, and a page starting to process my thoughts around having to move Tony’s cousin Alison from her rest home apartment to the resthome itself due to her rapidly deteriorating dementia. img20180318_09585057week 11IMG_2555alison 18 march

As 2017 ends

As 2017 ends I can look back on a busy year with some unusual highs and lows even by our standards. Here are some of the things that stand out, from both sides of the ledger, in no particular order:

  • Losing my voice due to medical misadventure
  • Library conference, which was awesome
  • Getting down to goal weight, then 10kg below that!
  • Flying to Auckland for a shopping weekend with my sister, Ailsa
  • Spending time in ICU due to medical misadventure
  • Getting my voice back after about 7 months
  • Tony didn’t need surgery this year – fantastic!
  • Discovering I didn’t have a stroke but do have a spinal issue
  • Faith got settled on new heart & Cushing’s medication and is doing well

I don’t have major goals for 2018, in many way it’s just more of the same, but perhaps a bit more refined. So, my aims are:

  1. Painting more
  2. Doing art/craft regularly
  3. Stay at goal weight while eating a little more normally
  4. Drinking 1200 mls a day, every day
  5. Walking 4,000 steps minimum, every day
  6. Connecting with people who feed my soul, through snail mail and Twitter
  7. Making sure I am a positive influence in the world

That’s it – nothing too dramatic and no rocket science. Just a happy, balanced, quiet life. I wish you all peace, joy and a magical 2018.