Only love

I don’t usually write when I am away from home, but I thought tonight was a good time to write, as long as the hotel’s wifi holds.

I am in Santiago and just got back from another eye scan and visit with my ocular oncologist. They were good visits. Mainly because I was calm and not worried like last year.

The scan showed a very slight thickening in my nevus, but there was no change in my vision or in it’s edges. So it is stable.

image

I feel so fortunate.
I feel like I have been given a gift.

This morning when I woke up and checked the internet, I found the new post from Sarah Elizabeth, an OM fighter, a cancer princess. I cried reading it. There is nothing I can write to express how unfair the world is. Why some people waste their lives, while others have so little time to do and feel everything.

For the cancer princess…Only love.

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.

Sara

Living on a farm with animals means at some time you have to face the death of those animals. Sometimes it is wanted, when meat is needed, and sometimes it is unexpected, like when animals become sick or injured. We have had all of these deaths on our farm, and I have helped in butchering animals as well as having sick animals die in my hands. You can usually see it coming, and I am better prepared than when I first arrived on the farm.

However there is one type of death we rarely see on the farm, and that is from old age. Most of our animals are livestock and not pets. There are a few exceptions, like Sheldon, our goose who we raised from a gosling. And Sara, our goat.

Sara came to the farm as a baby In 2001 when we bought our angora goats. Her mother died shortly after and she became attached to us, especially my oldest daughter. The two of them would play games of chase together. She is always the first to come to say hello and have you scratch her between her horns.

Sara

This year we noticed that her age was starting to show, and we knew that she wouldn’t be around forever. She started to separate herself from the flock and was slow to come in from the fields. Last week she became weak, so we kept her in the corral with her own food where the other goats wouldn’t push her.  She spent most of the time sitting, getting up to eat, and giving me the odd “baaa” when I checked in on her.

However, I knew when I saw her Sunday morning that she was at the end, and was prepared for her death later that day. I knew it was coming, and I knew she was in a better place, (wherever it is that goats go to jump and play in their afterlife), but I wasn’t prepared for how much it would hurt when I covered her grave, knowing I would never see her again. She would have been 12 this year, which is not extremely old for a goat, but was old enough for her.

 

Sara

October 2001 – September 2013

Sara2

 

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas

Feliz Navidad!

I know the world did not end on the 21 of December, but for some families it must feel like it did. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost loved ones recently.

Ya se que el mundo no termino el 21 de Diciembre , pero para algunas familias yo creo que si fué. Mi corazón va a todos quines perdieron a sus amados recientemente.

Last year I had many Christmas wishes, this year I feel my wishes have been granted. At least in my small world with the people I love.  I have my husband and daughters close, my brother and his wife are beginning a new adventure with their baby boy, and my mother is also making changes in her life. After being a little dramatic in my last post I am accepting the freckle in my eye and will leave the worrying for when it is necessary.

El año pasado tuve muchos deceos navideños, este años siento que todos se han cumplido. Al menos mi pequeño mundo con la gente que amo. Tengo mi esposo y mis hijas cerca, mi hermano y su esposa comenzando una nueva aventura con su pequeño bebe niño, y mi madre también esta haciendo cambios en su vida. Despues de ser un poco dramatica en mi último post, estoy aceptando mi lunar en mi ojo y dejaré la preocupacion para cuando sea necesario. 

I hope everyone has a beautiful Christmas with their family, either with winter cold or summer heat!

Espero que todos tengan una hermosa Navidad con su familia, sea con el frio del invierno o el calor del verano!

Christmas trees and goodbyes

This week has been one of change.  The girls are back into the routine of school and we have been waking early to dark misty mornings.  Many countries changed the hour last weekend, but in Chile we will keep “summer time” for over a month more.  We may be in summer “time”, but the season has definitely changed.  In one week the weather went from summer to winter.  (Well, not exactly winter, autumn, but without the wind and falling leaves.)

And if dark morning were not enough to change my mood my mom went back to the Northern Hemisphere.  It was hard saying goodbye.  We have done it so many times, with oceans so often between us, you would think it would get easier.

It doesn’t.

It may even get harder.

My mom getting on the plane

Her leaving hurt, for both of us.  As time passes we understand the importance of family, and with the loss of both of my grandmothers in the past two years we feel it even more.

When I picked up my oldest daughter from school this week, I saw her come out with her friends laughing, and I remembered when I was 15 and my mom would wait for me.  Now, here I am in her place, watching my little girl slowly turn into a woman, knowing she will one day be in my place, watching her children.

There are moments when we just want time to stop for a while.   Like at school pick up, at airports or summer vacations, or Christmas fun.  That is why I left our Christmas tree up for almost four months, (was it really so long?)  Today I slowly took it down, and packed it away in it’s big cardboard box.  I held onto Christmas for as long as possible, but now it is time to move forward.

Also, I didn’t want to break our childhood record of a Christmas tree still being up on my brother’s birthday, this weekend!

Our tree

So Christmas tree packed, goodbyes said, tears all spent, and time to get working!

Grandparents

Living so far away from family my father and I know that we run the risk that bad news is going to sneak up on us.  We have been preparing ourselves for the possible death of my grandfather.  He is a brave, proud man who fought in WW2, and up until 2011 had lived alone with my grandmother.

Last year his mental and physical health meant that he was admitted to a mental health assessment unit – and then into a  residential care home.  My grandmother visits when she can, but he is rarely the man he used to be.  When I left the UK in January of 2011, I cried when I hugged him good bye, because we both knew it would probably be the last time I would see him, and I was his “little princess”.

So Monday morning when my uncle called, my dad was shocked to hear that my grandmother had died.  Dad knew that she had been sick with a cold the week before and my uncle had stayed with her trying to convince her to go to hospital.  However my grandmother was a very tough and stubborn woman and she has always had a profound fear of hospitals.  She refused absolutely to go until my uncle called the ambulance and forced her.  She died less than 24 hours later.

For the past 15 years I have been visiting both sets of grandparents and watching them age.  Every year that I go back to the UK has brought new worries about their health and quality of life.  My mother’s dad died first, (a knitter and I have all his needles), and in 2010 we were with my mom’s mother when she died.  Now my dad’s mother, also a knitter.  I still have all the sweaters she knit for the girls; from newborn up to 5 years, in all colours of the rainbow.

It is impossible for me to write in one post about my grandmother’s death; all of the mix of emotions, feelings and thoughts. Because granddad’s mind is now so damaged and confused – it is the end of an era.  It is not just who she was but also about all of my grandparents together, and about how we prepare for old age and care for our parents.

My Mom (who is here visiting me) says, “there went a woman in control – Ah that I will  have that kind of control to the end.”

Christmas wishes

I am wishing for things I know I can not have.

I am wishing for snow and cold weather, I am wishing for everyone to be free of pain and violence, (emotional and physical), and I am wishing for fairness.

I know I can’t have these things for everyone, but maybe for some people my wishes will be answered.  I hope so.  I believe that acts of kindness are returned, and maybe if everyone did something good there would be extra kindness “floating around” for the times when we really need it.

I hope everyone is with their family.

I hope everyone has someone to love and is loved.

I hope Christmas is much more than all the shopping that comes before it.

And I hope that everyone has a loving Christmas and that all your wishes are answered.

And because in Chile presents are opened at midnight of the 24th, my youngest daughter is wishing, (very hard) that she can open a present; because it is only 8.30pm!

Merry Christmas!

 

Happy Anniversary blog

Today my blog is one year old, and I have been thinking about how to celebrate.

I wanted to write something nice, not just about how last week my whole family caught some stomach bug.  One by one through the week we took our turns in bed with the “sicky bowl”.  On the positive side we didn’t all get sick on the same day; on the negative side the girls got sick in the evening and I had to sit up all night with them.

But that is not what I want to write about on my anniversary.  I have been thinking about the types of blogs I like to read and the friendships I feel I have made with other bloggers.  Some of the blogs I read are crafty or about small farms, others about lives I find interesting.   Some I maintain a dialogue with and think of them as friends, some I just observe what is happening in their lives.

I never thought my blog would be very personal but I realise now that I am not the type of person who writes just facts.  When I was young I kept a diary, and after that a journal.  From the age of 12 till 24 I wrote about every thing in my life.  This blog isn’t that, but I know the blogs I like are the ones when you feel the person writing.

So with that in mind, and as a way to say thanks to people who read my blog, I am going to share a bit more about myself.

 

Some of the things that make me who I am is the places I have lived.  I was born in Canada, (Manitoba), but then lived in the USA, (Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota, and Arizona) and in the UK, (Lancashire, London, and Devon).  I now live in Chile, (Region IV).

I am a natural blond, but started going grey after a dream about spiders when I was 20.  Now I am a mix of blonds and white.  When I was younger I always changed my hair colour, reds mainly, but last year while living in the UK I dyed my hair blue/black.  I loved it, but keeping on top of the roots was not worth the trouble.

I hardly wear make-up, never use heels or iron clothes, and prefer to be in comfortable clothes or better, PJ’s!  (which is actually a bit unusually in Chile, PJ’s are for in bed)

I have suffered my whole life from migraines.  They can be a low grade pain for 3 days or severe pain for 3 hours, or the more common headache followed by repeated, day long vomiting. I am always changing my diet and watching what I eat to try and reduce the severity and number of attacks.  (At the moment no MSG and alcohol, which is no fun, I like junk food!)  Not drinking seems to be making the biggest difference, (not that I drank much before), but I am not getting as sick.

Migraine’s shape so much of who I am, from not being able to eat certain foods to worrying about missing special occasions because that is when I always get sick.  I am starting to understand them more now, knowing that stress and lack of sleep are big triggers, and learning to anticipate them.  Luckily I have a very understanding husband who takes over when I “crash” and usually knows when they are coming, telling me to calm down and relax.

I have two beautiful daughters, aged 7 and 15.  The younger likes to do crafty stuff with me, the older one likes to watch TV marathons with me.

Let’see what else?  I am kind of specific about how and where the laundry gets hung, (my family loves to tease me about this), and I love to see laundry on the line.

I cry very easily; sad stories, the news, Disney films, some commercials…

I have a tattoo of a lizard, well it was.  Now it looks like a gila monster.

Oh, and I love wool, and spinning, and felting, and weaving, and everything related to fibre!  But then I guess everyone already knows that.

Gosling’s are not just for Christmas…

Well, actually, unlike a puppy, I guess they are mainly for Christmas.  But not this one!  Not Sheldon, (we are pretty sure he is a boy) the gosling we saved four weeks ago.  I have since learned that they can live a long time, can come when called by their name, and are very messy…hmmm, not sure if I am ready for this.

Named after Sheldon from "the Big Bang Theory"

He is growing fast and is now living in our bathtub.  Not a permanent plan, just until he is big enough so that the dogs don’t scare him.  Or his father.

Early this week we tried to introduce him to his real family, and his father took an instant dislike to his “human” ways.  Sheldon’s father came at him hissing and barking, wings flapping, reducing Sheldon to a terrified gosling and my youngest daughter to fearful crying.  We got Sheldon away from his father and realised he is now going to be a permanent part of our family.

Playing with Sheldon

So for most of the day he is in the bathtub with trips to the garden to play with my daughters, who love his nippy ways.  After everything my youngest went through, it is so nice to see her giggling and laughing as she sits on the grass chatting and playing with Sheldon.

“Better than playing on the computer”, she says.