Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Filling in some gaps . . .

Monday 29 August

I sometimes wonder why I called my blog what I did! For the last year life has been anything but quiet!

Dear readers, believe it or not but it is over a year since my PE . . . August 13, 2015. Since then there have been a few other major family events. I'm going to mention them briefly and leave it at that.

  • Chuckles and Braveheart have separated.
  • Jamila and Levi have separated
  • Jester and Frosty are in the middle of separating/trying to sort things out

The other major thing that happened is that my lovely Mum passed away after 6 1/2 years living in a rest home. Throughout this whole time Mum hardly ever complained, suffered with dignity, keeping her sense of humour as long as she could. The main reason Mum had to go into care was Parkinson's which meant that as her health and mobility deteriorated Dad was unable to continue caring for her at home. A fractured hip and a couple of strokes didn't help either! Dad visited Mum faithfully nearly every day of those long six and a half years. I rarely saw Mum upset. Only once did I see her really upset and this was after Dad had his 2nd stroke. I'd asked Sheri to let Mum know Dad was in hospital after the stroke. Later in the day I visited Mum and she was sitting in a chair looking so sad. I asked her what was wrong and she couldn't answer, but a tear rolled down her cheek. I took a guess, not hard, and asked her if it was Dad. She nodded yes. "He's ok, Mum, he's ok. He had another stroke but he's ok. They need to do an operation . . . but he's doing ok."

"I thought he'd died and no-one had told me," she said quietly, a few more tears rolling down her cheeks. That is love, strong love, pure and simple, though they never said much about their feelings for each other.

I stayed with her a while till she was happier and before I left I had a word with the staff. They said in the morning when Mum had woken up she had said the same, and they had assured her it wasn't so, as I'd thought, but since Mum's memory was no longer great she hadn't been able to hold on to the information.

By the end Mum wasn't able to talk much even. It was hard to know if she still recognised most of us, but I'm sure she still knew who Dad was till the end.

Since Mum had been so unwell for so long, slowly deteriorating, it was for her a blessed relief to finally pass away. She had never wanted to be "a vegetable" as she termed it, however all her cares needed to be done for her for a long time. For us . . .it was sad, but for me personally it was a relief that she was no longer suffering.

The tough part was that Mum passed away on Locket's 16th birthday  :(  but Locket was very unselfish about the whole thing. Sad that her Nan had passed away, not that it was on her birthday. We did our best to have a wee time of focusing on her at dinner time but it was unfortunately overshadowed a bit by Mum's passing.

We had a lovely funeral service with lots of family and friends attending. Rest in Peace, Mum, gone to be with your Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Since then there have been a few ups and downs, a lot of things to help sort out such as probate. This has needed trips to the lawyer, banks and paperwork to be done.

It is mostly sorted now. Pa has been doing ok, sad understandably as Ma's passing has left a huge hole in his life.

I think I'll leave it there for now.

Wednesday 28 December

Well . . . that was written some months ago! And that is the kind of year it has been. One thing after another, the days just fly by and there seems to be hardly any time for anything. Not enough time for blogging anyway!

So now Christmas has been once again. We had a lovely day, first time in quite a few years that all six of our blessings were all there on Christmas Day. There were fifteen of us altogether, with the five grandblesssings there. We managed to get some long overdue family photos 😀

The last few days I've just been relaxing. Christmas Day is always busy, a meal here for all of us, then for me a trip over the hill to Featherston to take Braveheart, Halfpint and Battler home along with Peppa, the dog. Peppa came over with Braveheart as she cut her paw on something just a few days before Christmas and needed stitches. She is a lovely dog although by the end of the day I think she was glad to get back to her own place with less people!

Locket came for the ride with me and once we had done the drop off to Featherston we headed back to Wellington and over to Miramar to Charles and Lynne's home for the usual Xmas day get together there. We got there about 7:30pm and had a good time catching up with those who were there. By 9:30pm I was beginning to blink and yawn, tiredness catching up with me after a 5:45am start to the day. I got up when I woke up as then I got a wee bit of P&Q before the busyness of the day 😉

At the moment I'm using Brains' tablet as my laptop had to go for a visit to a friend. It couldn't find itself  it's operating system 😕 That sort of thing is way beyond me so I am waiting to see if it can be fixed, and, if I'm really fortunate, the photos I hadn't backed up in the last little while somehow saved! They are mainly sewing ones for my other blog, so there may be some posts I won't be able to do on there. C'est la vie!

O.K. it is more than time I posted this. There aren't many days left of 2016! Three to be exact. I will try to post again before then. No promises though!

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Rollcall update

I've decided it is time to update the roll call again. Time has marched on and everyone is older. A lot of it you will know if you've read it before. So here goes.

Boar is the head of the household, my caring DH. Then there is me . . I'm Mama Bear . . . my lovelies call me that so I thought it would do.  :)

Our oldest son is Absent-Minded Professor, A-M Prof for short. His lovely wife is Moneypenny and they have two gorgeous girls, Sunshine, who is now 4 years old, and Poppet, who is 2 years old.

Our oldest daughter chose the name Smurfette for herself.

Our second son is Braveheart. His ex-partner is, Chuckles, and she is the mother of their two awesome boys, Halfpint, who is 4 years old and Battler, who is 2 years old.

Next is our second daughter, Frosty, whose partner is Jester. They have an awesome son, Chip, who is 3 years old now.

Following on is our third son, Brains, yup, after the dude on Thunderbirds.

Last in the line-up is our third daughter, Locket, it's what I've called her for years.

There's also Pa, who may sometimes be called Mr P, depending what I remember to put. Ma, or Mrs P, will be mentioned as well, though sadly she has now passed on. They are my parents. Boar's parents passed on quite a while ago now, before either of our two youngest were born.

There is a whole extended family, but they are in another post or this one would be way too long!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Lemons equal Lemonade . . . or Bitterness

It's June - Here in New Zealand today is Queen's Birthday Monday. The day we remember Queen Elizabeth's birthday. Her actual date of birth is in April. It's a public holiday and many people have the day off work.

Later today I'll be heading out with Locket, but for now I thought I'd do some writing. I'm sure I'll need a break at some stage and can pick it back up when I get home again.

I've been doing a lot of thinking since I last posted. I thought about closing both my blogs down. They serve different purposes, but as anyone who has a blog knows they do require some effort. For me they do anyway!

I've decided I will keep them both going. With some changes though. I'll post when I can, and it may be that the attention will be more on one than the other for a space of time. My sewing blog is really to catalogue what I make, how I make whatever is under construction etc.

This blog though is about life - my life, and those who are a part of it. So it will go more deeply into the personal. Thoughts, feelings, ailments. All that makes up MY life. At times I may allude to an event or period in my life but not go into detail. This is because some happenings in my life, or within my family, affect others. It may affect me, but not be my business to share fully. Another area is my health, I may share details that are personal. So, fair warning, if you think it will make you uncomfortable please don't read.

I will try my best not to offend, upset or hurt anyone within my family, however please always remember that these are my thoughts and feelings. I don't tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, but I am as human as the next person. I think  . . . . wait  . . . . yup, I just pinched myself and it hurt . . . I'm human! If you do read something that you don't like please talk to me about it. :-C

O.k. there are people who are talkers/sharers of the minutest details of their lives, so it seems to me. Then there are those who keep a lot to themselves, think it all through and eventually may share their thoughts and feelings with a trusted few. I guess there are those in the middling ground as well. I'm the second sort. I'm sure I get up some peoples noses as I have a tendency to be a bit of a Pollyanna. If you don't know what I mean watch this short clip from one of my favourite movies. I do try to find the positives in life, even in the midst of the troubles that come to us all.

Life has been topsy turvy a lot the last few years. One thing for me has been dealing with health issues. I thought I was fairly well. I had been anaemic on and off for quite a few years, I was nowhere near as fit as I'd like to be. Then in August last year I had a major medical event. If you've read my blog before you'll know what I mean. If not you can read about it here if you choose to. Since then I've had, to date, 4 CT scans and various other tests. Not nearly as many as other folk have, but still, you start to get a bit sick and tired of going to yet another test or appointment. I have anyway! Can I pleeeeease just go back to before all this!

One CT scan showed I'd had a DVT in my femoral and iliac veins. If you don't know where these are you can go here. There is a search box up the top and you can find the area you want if you type in the name and hit search. There's a 360° view as well.

So then an ultrasound was ordered. The ultrasound showed what looked like "beading" on my right iliac artery. The report showed that it was consistent with FMD or Fibromuscular Dysplasia. Say what?? Even my consultant, the Prof, shook his head to begin with and I heard him say quietly, "I don't know what . . . . ah . . . . ok!" Then he turned to me and after asking a few questions said he was referring me to the vascular team.

I went home, tried to remember the name of this obscure ailment and typed in FMD. And google lovingly threw up many articles on . . .  wait for it . . . Foot and Mouth Disease! =))  Well, O.K! I knew it wasn't that so went on a hunt! There was very little info and then I found this wonderful site. If you really want to know about FMD you can read about it here as it explains it far better than I can. I found out it is pretty rare and there are very few folk in NZ. 10 or so, but was I able to make contact with a couple. Earlier this year I joined a couple of support networks online. There was no info relevant to NZ at all, anywhere.

I saw the vascular team and a CT Scan of my renal arteries, abdominal aorta and extremities (i.e.legs) was done on 4 April. Well, that scan was clear! No FMD seen in any of those artery beds. Yipee! Part of me is very, very glad and thanking God that it is clear. But . . . and it is a but. There is another part of me that is less than impressed. On Wednesday I had the follow-up to the scan. With the vascular team. Not the consultant of course. With his registrar. Who, like the first registrar, admitted not knowing very much about FMD. Well, I'm pretty sure I more than likely know more. Not being big-headed here, I've just been doing a heap of reading. In America the leading experts recommend that if FMD is suspected the Carotid and Vetebral arteries are scanned as a baseline. Because you can have FMD in the carotid and/or vertebral arteries without it being present in any other artery beds in the body! The registrar said they were confident I don't have it. I don't have it anywhere in the scan that was done ergo I don't have it in my carotid and/or vertebrals. Believe me I did question that! I don't think the registrar was used to a patient having an opinion of their own  :-O  I told him I have some of the symptoms. Yes, they could be due to other things. However they could also be due to FMD. For now I don't know. They are not "going to go hunting" and I've been discharged from the vascular team. This seems to be pretty standard here from discussions I've had with others. So now I officially don't have FMD! The only way to find out would be to go privately and have a scan done and that isn't financially viable right now. So I shall choose to live as though I don't have it. BUT I will always keep it in mind, especially if I have any symptoms such as severe headache, stroke, TIAs etc.

Another consultant I had to see was a gynaecologist. This was because for years I've been anaemic on and off. All kinds of tests and the conclusion was that it was heavy periods that caused the anaemia. I first saw one in 2009 and their solution was a Mirena. Which I researched . . . and declined. If you are reading this, you have one and it works for you, fantastic. At that stage it wasn't for me. Part of the reason is what I personally believe. For myself I have only used natural family planning, this was a choice Boar and I made together and it has worked well for us as a couple. Fast forward six years till October or November last year and I was again off to see a gynae doctor. Predictably with the same result. Oh, and a test to make sure my endometrium, or lining of the uterus, was all o.k. It was. However  . . . a Mirena was again the best solution, in their opinion, and "we could pop it in now while you're here. It's free!" If inserted later I'd have to pay. Not convinced. Oh and the Prof would think it was the best option. Still not convinced! News flash doctors - I'm not afraid to research and, more importantly, think for myself and make my own decisions about my own body which you may not agree with!

The Prof did think that either a Mirena or hysterectomy were the only options. I had coped pretty well with everything that had been thrown at me till then. But, there in his office, at that I nearly lost it. Tissues were nearly needed! But I held it together and after the appointment I took myself to Titahi Bay and went for a walk on the beach. I wasn't ready to go home - Pa was there and I needed some time and space. I found a quiet spot and then the tears did come. For many it might not be a big deal but this issue for me was a biggie. I was angry and upset. After a bit of a cry my usual nature started to gain the upper hand. It wasn't a disaster. It was not what I wanted, but there are many worse things others have to deal with. I decided in the end to go with the Mirena, having had a clot there was a risk with a hysterectomy.

There is a whole procedure to having a Mirena inserted! First they have to decide whether you are eligible - that phone conversation with a nurse was interesting! She more or less queried why I wanted a Mirena. I stated I did not want one but had been told I had to have one. Oh. There were criteria for the funded ones. Reason? - heavy periods. Oh, well, it's not just having heavy periods . . . you need a low haemaglobin. Is 75 low enough? I queried. Oh! You have been through the mill haven't you! Yes.

Anyway it turns out that you need to see the doctor, then it needs to be applied for. Ok - appointment made, doctor fills in the form online. Then you need another appointment for a smear, to check you have no infection. The first appointment was before Christmas. The smear was early this year. It was that particular nurse who informed me I would be eligible to have the insertion done at the Family Planning Clinic! For a lot less than the medical centre would charge. Thank you, nurse, for informing me of this  . . . and why did the hospital not tell me it was an option? So I rang Family Planning and the first appointment I could get was February. One was also made for the insertion later in March. This was a good thing because the results from the smear showed I had a common infection called bacterial vaginosis which needed a course of antibiotics. I did go to the first appointment at Family Planning but I ended up cancelling the second. Mainly because I had another infection, not bacterial but fungal. Not the common thrush we ladies can get. But golly-gee-whiskers did it irritate me! A different one. So no way was I getting anything inserted with an infection "down there"!

It's as though my entire body has gone a bit haywire since the PE! And I just have to say . . . anti-coagulants such as Rivaroxaban, Warfarin, and to some extent I think Asprin, and periods are not a good mix! I have mentioned this to radiographers, blood clinic ladies etc and they nearly all say, "Oh! I hadn't thought of that!" Seriously, it was one of the first questions I asked the doctors when I was still in hospital. Oh, we don't think it will make much difference. WRONG! Many women, I have found, say it makes a lot of difference. I sure found it did!

I did some more reading and research, then I made a decision. When I saw the Prof in March I had been on Rivaroxaban 2 months then Warfarin for 5 months. A total of 7 months. So a decision was made jointly by Prof and I, after he had listened to my reasons. 1) Go on to Aspirin and Atorvastatin as preventatives against more clots. This won't mean I won't get them, but will lessen the risk. 2) Stay on iron pills to stabalise my haemaglobin. 3) Not get a Mirena. I felt that my body needed time to adjust after the PE and when I came off the Warfarin. Also if I was starting two other new drugs how would I know what I was reacting to if the Mirena was added to the mix? Plus the fact that when a Mirena is inserted you can have bleeding for a few months - which seemed counter-productive to me when my haemaglobin needed to be stablised! 4) If my periods didn't settle down in the next 3 - 6 months we look at the situation again, possibly looking at a hysterectomy.

So that is what happened. However . . . the same CT Scan that cleared me of possible FMD also showed some thickening in the wall of my uterus. So an ultrasound of my uterus was ordered. It was done recently and showed I more than likely have adenomyosis. I say "more than likely" since I've already had one "more than likely" or  "consistent with" with the FMD and further investigation showed I don't appear to have it. So heigh-go, heigh-ho, it's back to gynae I go!

* * * * * * * * *
Well! Can you believe that was written nearly two weeks ago? Once again life intervened and despite good intentions that I was going to finish it off I didn't. When that happens, especially after a time lapse, I have no idea what I was going to say next. So I'll proof read it and publish it. 

And the title? Well, you get thrown some curve balls in life and I believe you can choose how you deal with them. Most folk go through a stage of shock/numbness when major things happen. When that wears off the work sets in. I mean the work of dealing with whatever the curve ball is. This is when we can choose our attitude, how we are going to live beyond it and many other things. It will be different for each situation and person. 

For myself I choose to live as well as I can. I am so very blessed! I have a strong, caring husband, 6 beautiful children and their partners, 5 precious grand-children. We have a roof over our head, food on the table every day, a warm fire in this cold weather and many more comforts! Our health is o.k. I can see, and hear, and speak. 

There are so many others in this country who have so much less. So every day I thank God for what I do have.  

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A bit of earthmoving!

19 January 2000

There is a section next door to us, well it's beside and then to the right of us if you are facing it from the street. It has been empty the whole time we have lived here, which is 30+ years. It's had gorse removed, it's had several different owners, it's had a bit of earth removed by one owner . . . but still not developed. Until now!

We knew this was going to happen . . . and got back from our holiday to a different look. The work of cutting the drive had been done, but not the removal of the tonnes of earth. I didn't think to take a before photo.

The drive being created.

The hilltop was higher than the mamaku tree fern behind and to the left of the digger!

 You can see the original height of the bank below our fence on the boundary . . . and the depth it is now.

Another perspective . . . the concrete is the end of the current driveway. 

Whilst the earth was being removed there were trucks going up and down all day. It didn't bother me, but it did mean I had to time exits and entries as our drive merges with this one at the road end.

The trucks had to go up front first for traction. Often they reverse in to properties so they can come out front on. These drivers had to reverse down the drive. If I'd just got in the car to go out I'd be able to hear the reverse beeps and get down our drive while the truck was backing down next doors.

There was a roadworks guy there everyday, but if he was in his truck I would creep very slowly up the road till they could see the car . . . and give me the thumbs up that it was clear to go up our drive. Thankfully it was the same guy every day and so he knew who we were and where we lived pretty quickly.

Now we wait to see what is built there, the style of the house etc. The owners who have it now are building a single house on the section. At one time the previous owner wanted to put several townhouses there, so we are glad it is going to be a single dwelling  :)

Monday, 4 April 2016

Some Time Away

10 Jan - 18 Jan 2016

Early in January my older brother, Vidor, came down from his home to stay. He did the same last year which gives us a chance to go away for a week. Vidor stays here with Pa to be here if Pa needs any help and to cook a main meal each day.

We headed over the hill to the Wairarapa to our favourite camping spot. 

Not something you see everyday here - a wedding. The brides family have been coming here to camp for 40 years!

Another shot - didn't want to get too close even though the groom had said we were welcome to come and look.

I really like this way of protecting growing veges. I took the photo for reference for the gardens up the back of our place.

Half-pint fast asleep the next morning. This is the hammock-type sleeping space Brains used to sleep in when he was little. 

Lil Battler decided he'd like the whole bed once I'd got out of it! The boys stayed with us for a couple of days as their parents had a few things to sort out.

Breakfast time! Half-pint enjoying his. For some reason meals always seem to taste better in the open air! The small orange and green chairs we found at Bunnings. We bought six so there would be one for each grandchild and one to spare!

A long time since this buggy was used! Locket used to sleep in it, and Brains before her. It's done many rounds of the camping place! Lil Battler enjoying a snooze  :)

Early morning and I love the way the sun is lighting up the underneath of these clouds.

This one too. This was before the sun had come up from behind the hill.

The sheep come pretty close on their morning walk through  . . . this one moved just as I clicked, she was looking right at the camera!

The hazy crescent moon on the night of the 14th Jan. I'd love to have a camera and lens capable of taking more detailed shots.

I managed to finally finish this cross-stitch embroidery. I started it quite a number of years ago so it is good to finally get it to this stage. Now to fully complete it!

Boar and Locket working on a puzzle. We picked it up at an op shop in Carterton.

Love how this cloudy mist is just sitting here . . . not long before the heat of the day caused it to dissipate.

Sunshine decided to stick all her stickers to her face so I couldn't resist getting a photo of that! Poppet is just happy to sit on Moneypenny's lap.

I woke up and got up quite early on our last morning. It was really peaceful and quiet and I needed a bit of time to reflect. I took this photo at 5:37am.

It was a little chilly - early morning chill - so I covered up with my new blanket. I bought it from a stall in North City Plaza in Porirua. The items are all made in Nepal. This blanket is Yak wool and it is lovely - soft, light and warm  :)   I saw it on the stall and I just had to touch it . . . and then I had to buy it!  :x

 Harvesting the yak wool


 The raw yak wool.

The day that Jester, Frosty and Mr Magoo came to visit we went for a walk to the top of the hill. Except for Mr Magoo, he was in the blow-up boat with Pop (Boar). There is a family graveyard belonging to the Morison's up there. Apparently we are related somehow, on my Mum's side I think. I'll have to get the family tree records from my sister so I can check it out.

Not a great shot as it is panorama which always seems to skew/curve the shot! The track meanders up  the hillside. Basically it's a sheep track!

Here is the beginning of it.

It goes behind those trees and then disappears up the slope. I was really pleased with myself when I made it up. It was the steepest walk I'd done since my PE. Jester gave me a hand in one place on the way down as it was steepish and on the edge of the bank. I didn't have my trusty walking pole so was grateful for his steadying hand.

I love the rustic look of this old wooden gate. Most of them now are metal, which last longer, so it is cool to see these ones still in use.

Hay bales . . . always seen in the paddocks in summer. The rectangular ones are still made but these are more often seen these days.

Sheep trail . . . just because!

Manuka or tea tree . . . Captain Cook made a tea drink out of the leaves.

Soon after I took these photos it was time to head home. We'd packed up everything and needed to get back as Vidor had to head home to Opotiki.

We had a good trip home and managed to get the Compact-A-Van onto it's deck before this storm rolled in . . . looking north were the storm is coming from.

Looking south . . . the rain has just started here, big drops pelting down, but the sky to the south is still clear. Not for long though!

It was a good to be able to get a break and some time away. A bit of time to rest, relax, think over things and appreciate the beauty of the world that God created.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

A New Window

It's a month since I posted anything! Being busy, and tired at night  . . . the days go by so quickly and then before you know it a month has gone past. So to continue with playing catch-up.

6 January 2016

Boar has been working on making a new window for the south side of the house. He did a lot of it after he'd finished work for the day, over a few evenings. He has access to the machines in the joinery factory. Last year he bought home a couple of double-glazed panes of glass that were the wrong size for a job . . . but the right size for us  :)  It is for the upstairs and is the side that gets all the cold winds and weather in the winter here in Wellington.

Painting the frame . . .

The sashes that will hold the glass . . .double glazing to help keep in the warmth in winter.

And it's in . . . and keeping the weather out!

The view from outside. I had to go up the neighbour's path to get this shot.

This is the one on the lower floor that Boar did a year or two ago. It's the only other window on the south side of the house. Hmmm there has been a lot of ivy growing which has been pulled off. Nearly time for a repaint! Lovely hydrangea though  :)

It's been great over the summer. There was a window in the space but this is so much nicer than the other which was an aluminium frame. It served us well and has now headed over the hill to Featherston to be recycled as part of a glasshouse at the home where our son lives.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Titahi Bay walk

On the 4th of January we decided to go for a walk. Since Brains has his learner license Boar got him to drive us there. A while ago I'd walked to the right of the entry to the beach. You don't get far past the boat sheds when you come to a wall. However there is a track and also you can walk around the rocks a wee way before you hit water.

Looking between the point on the left and Mana Island on the right you can just see a smudge of the sounds in the distance. Not so clear as some days.

It's a pretty sheer  rock face although has quite a bit growing on it. The tide must come right up to the greenery as there is a lot of driftwood there.

It continues on for quite a way but I wasn't game to go through the water or scramble round the rocks.

Lots of little pools with seaweeds in them.

Brains walked out a fair distance

Boar, Brains and Locket had a good look in the rock pools.

I was intrigued by the formations on this rock

A lot of different plants growing between the rocks. Must be tough as they survive the tide washing over them!

A different plant with sweet wee flowers.

Some big waves must have deposited this log here.

More seaweeds

Someone enjoyed a feed of mussels!

Precariously poised rocks.

A bigger rock pool

I wonder if it was the waves constantly coming in that eroded the rocks in these almost straight lines!

The art you see if you look up!

A close up because it really amused me. looks a bit like a sheep with wonky horns  :)

The colourful toilet block.