Just some baskets

Two weeks ago there was a large earthquake, 8.3, and a tsunami near where I live. Luckily my daughters and husband were at home when it happened and we all stood outside while the earth shook. One of the walls outside our house fell down, but we were fine, and thanks to Facebook I was able to immediately inform all of my friends and family that we were okay.
  
Within minutes our cell phones were receiving tsunami evacuation text messages, which continued throughout the night. The tsunami did more damage than the earthquake, destroying parts of the port city Coquimbo, and many of the small fishing and tourist beaches up and down the coast. My daughter is studying at one of the University in Coquimbo and so classes was cancelled for a week to allow students time to recover and help with clean up. 

Parents are scared to send their kids to school and everyone is nervous with all the aftershocks we have been having. Like the one that woke us up last night rattling everything in the house. So I am trying to stay calm, (earthquakes don’t scare me that much, not like strong winds, I was very scared of tornados when I was little), but the constant moving is hard.

Experimenting with yarn and my hand spun has given me something to focus on. I have been making small woven baskets. I am really enjoying this. Like handspinning, it feels like an old craft, a connection to a long ago past.

  
  
We also have a new family pet. After a year with no cats, (we went from having ten wild farm cats to zero in less than two years), a very friendly stray arrived at our house. She is a real sweety, and my daughters love her. We have just got her fixed, and she is going to be an indoor cat, (farm life is just too dangerous for cats).

  
  

All this and a funny hat

I have been thinking a lot about cancer lately.

Probably doesn’t help that I am slowly reading The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee, (very good book), and I quickly read The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green, (my daughter wants me to see the movie but I wanted to read the book first).

Or that yesterday I went with my mother-in-law for her check up with her oncologist before she starts her 6th chemo tomorrow. She is doing well, happy that the chemotherapy has not been too difficult.

And, (the main reason), is because we have made appointments for my next scan and visit with my ocular oncologist. I know I was calm and not too worried about my iris nevus, but I seem to have gotten back into the mental “is it/isn’t” it loop.

The uncertainty of not knowing.

However, with all this reading I realized that even if the doctor does tell me it is ocular melanoma, (which can only be confirmed by removing it and performing a biopsy) I will still be living with uncertainty, just different questions; will it come back or has it spread? I talked to my husband about my fears, and he pointed out that many people live with uncertainty. My situation my be rare, but my feelings are not.

I found this comforting. We are social creatures, and feeling alone makes everything worse, but I am not alone. So, I will take a deep breath and focus on the other things in my life…

and there are many!

After taking her entrance exams and applying to several universities, my oldest daughter got into Universidad Católica del Norte to study Law. Some of her friends are going to the same university, which might make the early morning commute on the bus a bit easier. (And I know I am being completely selfish, but I am happy that she is staying close. So is her little sister, who still has 8 years before she goes to university).

I have been very busy at Casa Creatif. Not so much teaching, but administrating and organizing. We have different classes for kids from 10am till 1pm most days of the week.

Drawing class

 

Sewing class

My youngest goes with me every day, taking as many classes as she can, and even my Dad and my oldest are taking pottery classes. (He actually taught when I was a baby, but this is my oldest’s first time!)

Pottery class

Pottery class

I have been spinning and knitting, testing projects that use small amounts of hand spun.

Me

A little large for me, but fun, and who doesn’t need a funny woolly hat in the middle of summer!

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas gifts made at home

Summer is starting slowly this year. Yesterday the sun was up early and bright, but this morning it is cool and grey.

IMG_0403-0

 

But that won’t stop the Christmas cheer! Tonight is the big night, dinner with family and opening gifts at midnight. I bought some gifts, but some we made.

I have been weaving.

Scarf

My youngest daughter has been sewing.

wpid-Gifts.jpg

And my oldest daughter baking!

wpid-Cookies.jpg

Wishing everyone a Christmas full of love and happiness!

Taking control

With my mother-in-law’s cancer we have been spending a lot of time at the hospital, mostly in waiting rooms. Usually these long waits are because of the hospital or doctor, and there isn’t much we can do. However, sometimes it is because we forgot an exam result, or misunderstood a telephone call. There are so many things to remember and understand, on top of all the stress and fear, that sometimes we make mistakes.

Luckily there are some things that can help, like a healthcare binder. Here is a link with great advice on how to make a binder for a patient.

http://lisabadams.com/2014/10/06/healthcare-binder-tips-organized-patient-caregiver/

And here is one I made earlier for my mother-in-law.

BinderInside the binder there are different sections with small pockets,

Binder2

 

calendars,
Binder3and clear plastic pockets.

Binder

I had to improvise because I couldn’t find all the type of “pockets” I wanted, but I think it will do the job just fine.

 

Winter, in June

June. My youngest has turned 10 and my oldest 18, I can hardly believe it.

We collected olives yesterday, with my youngest scrambling up the tree and my mother helping, (she arrived this month for a four month stay).

image

Olives and Birthday tulips

Winter has officially begun and it is cold outside, but inside we are warm.

Learning to fly

March. The month, not the action.

This week my girls went back to school, and for the first time in years they are both at the same school. However it will only be for a year; this is the last year of school for my oldest. Her last year, and turning 18 in a few months, has made me slow down and focus on her. She is flapping and fluffing her wings with the thought of university, and the possibility of studying away. I would love to keep her close, but I know I have to teach her how to fly.

My youngest is adjusting to her new teacher and classmates, while taking over my studio creating in the evenings and weekends. With the confidence I gained last year in the craft fairs, and with a lot of help and encouragement from my youngest, I finally converted one of the rooms in the old cheese building into a sales room.

The room is the closest to our house and for years we have used it to store our excess “stuff”. The room really needed a clean, and this was partly my reason for converting it into a store. I took “before” pictures, but it is very embarrassing how bad it had gotten! I am a hoarder!

before corner

Before

after corner

After

before window

Before

after window

After

For now it is not open as a store but it is available to show my, (and my youngest’s) work. And we are full of dreams of opening on the weekends!

little store

I have also been busy dyeing wool in my solar oven and making neck warmers with chunky hand spun and recycled silk. I am lucky that my Dad likes silk shirts and that they don’t last him forever!

neckwarmer

neckwarmer2

With March here it is also time for a visit to Santiago and my eye doctor. I will have another scan and check up, to see if my nevus has grown.  The first year with my nevus/melanoma was difficult and scary. However, when I learned it was stable, for some reason I felt better prepared; stronger and braver for the day when I do have to fight it (if I do). I learned how to talk about Cancer. I think that was the hardest part, being able to talk to people and not have them react with dread, fear, pity, when all I wanted was to talk.

But why did this happen to me? I believe things happen for a reason, and when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with bowel cancer late last year, I was the “cold one” she could talk to. I was the one who could say Cancer, and let her say Cancer without everything crumbling around her. I love her dearly, and I know she is scared, but I hope I am helping with my “practical” ways.

Her doctor is very positive, the tumour was found and identified early, (no thanks to the first doctor she saw, who sent her home with a cream saying it was just an old person’s complaint, luckily she didn’t agree and went for a second opinion). She wanted to tell her family in her own time, and that is why I didn’t post earlier.

Two weeks ago she travelled to Valparaiso to start her radiation and chemotherapy. She will be there for about six weeks. My husband and oldest are going to visit her this weekend, with her daughters visiting the weekends after. My husband phones her every afternoon, and she says she is doing okay, and I know (like so many women I know here) she is strong. But even with her strength, and wanting to protect her children, I hope she will let them take care of her for a while.

June, month of everything

June is a month of Birthdays.

It is a month, (like December) when I notice that I am in a different hemisphere.

Both of my daughters were born in June, on a Wednesday at 10 am, but in different seasons.

My first daughter was born in the summer; flowers, sun, and sandals.

My second daughter was born in the winter; sweaters, clouds, and hot water bottles.

So as I celebrate their Birthdays I feel the cold, but expect the summer heat.

I also feel the passing of time as I watch the olives on the trees turn from green to shiny black.

Olives2013

 

As June passes I see the birds stealing the olives that have gone soft and know it is time to pick. My daughters and I went out today and collected olives, luckily it was warm because they both have colds, my husband too. That’s winter.

June 2011 is when I decided to stop drinking, (because of my migraines) and two years on I am not missing it. However, because I don’t drink, I really notice how much other people do. And how often characters on the television drink. My oldest daughter and I were trying to make a list of all the characters that don’t drink alcohol…wasn’t much of a list. If any one can think of any teetotallers on the television please leave names in the comment section.

So June has gone spinning by and I have spent most of the time looking after my daughters with winter colds, watching them grow, (my oldest just turned 17, where did the years go?), and preparing myself for another visit with my eye doctor next month.

What I should be doing is spinning and weaving! Preparing for the 4th Observatorio Cultural. For anyone visiting La Serena in July come and see all the beautiful art and crafts!

more information on their page Creatif.

Photo: http://www.artenorte.cl/la-serena-18-19-y-20-de-julio-todos-invitados-al-4to-observatorio-cultural