Tuesday, February 25, 2014

hazel nuts

IMG_8318 IMG_8329 IMG_8327 IMG_8309 IMG_8316 IMG_8303
IMG_8298IMG_8307 For all your messages and stories and thoughts and wishes and prayers, thank you!

I'm doing OK. Living the in between week; after hospital but before the appointments. I'm feeling better as each day goes past. I'm trying my hardest to stay positive, to stay in the moment, to surround myself with goodness and love. And when I absolutely cannot, I am acknowledging the thought, seeing it for what it is, noticing my reaction to it, and then letting it flow down the stream. Flow down the stream stupid lump!

I'm not great at this stream thing but I know it's worth working on.

I'm not great at taking it easy either, but my farmer boy is insisting and I'm listening.

I just want to get through this. I just want to finish picking all those hazel nuts, cleaning up that orchard jungle, and baking some hazel nut biscotti.

Biggest love


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

my left breast

IMG_8161IMG_8153I really don't know where this story begins.

Maybe it started last week when I spent days and days feeling in despair of the world. The dreadful things that people do to each other and to our environment overwhelmed me and dragged me down. I felt hopeless and teary and inadequate.

Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the fact that by the end of last week I was exhausted. It took everything I had to keep going and not to crawl back into bed. I was fitter than I'd been for years yet I felt tireder too. It didn't make much sense.

Maybe overcooking a batch of jam on Saturday morning should have given it all away. Early season blackberry jam is something I can practically make with my eyes closed. Literally. The moment the boiling mixture changes from sugary fruit into jam is something I can usually pick from across the room. I've done it hundreds of times and I don't think I've ever mucked it up before. And then I did.

Or maybe I should have stopped rushing around and spent time in the moment with my body when the left side of my chest started gradually becoming more and more painful as my Saturday progressed.

Very late on Saturday night, when I did finally stop and feel, I found an enormous lump in my left boob. And then I promptly lost it. I'm not sure I have ever been so terrified in my entire life. It felt like a nightmare coming true. I howled. I held myself. I lay in bed all night imagining the worst. Planning for the worst. Dreading the worst.

On Sunday morning as we walked down the hill to my parents' place I tried to fill my farmer boy in on the new plan: he would remarry but would have to make certain his new wife loved our girls before she had her own babies. He wouldn't listen. He wouldn't go there. I couldn't stop going there.

After I showed my parents, we made a plan to start the ball rolling with a visit to the doctor in the morning and then we sat up at the table and chatted and drank peppermint tea and tried to be normal. I have no recollection as to what we spoke about over tea, but there couldn't have been much normal. My stomach was churning, my head hurt from crying, the left side of my chest was in agony and I just wanted to go and hide somewhere dark in a ball and never come out again.

And then we came home and I crawled into bed. And Jazzy and Pepper crawled in with me. And I felt disgusting and terrified and then hot. So hot.

I have never been so happy to discover that I have a high temperature in all my life. All of a sudden there was a possibility that the lump was an infection, that the soreness was due to that infection, that if it was an infection it might not be anything else and that I might possibly be OK. Maybe.

An hour or so later I was ID-braceleted and hooked up to a drip, with a chart on the end of my bed - in hospital. Hospital. While I was there I had my boobs scanned, examined, discussed, measured, drawn on, touched, squeezed and the subject of two separate lessons to two separate surgical classes. And while I was there the red streaks on the outside of my boob slowly disappeared, the swelling went down and the soreness lessened, but the lump remained. Stupid bloody lump!

And while I was there it occurred to me that it wasn't the hospital food, the hospital noisiness and constant interruptions, all the tests or even the squeaky hospital bed that annoyed me most: It was the fact that I had a drip line permanently inserted into my right hand and couldn't crochet, and my eyes hurt and I felt too crappy to read. I was stuck in a bed or a chair next to the bed for three days and all I could do was sit there and stare into space, so sad. Such a waste of precious time. Imagine all the squares I could have made with nothing else to do but sit there and wait.

Eventually on day three, dressed in pyjamas and knee high compression stockings, after my bra had been undone at the back by one surgical student and lifted up at the front for an examination by another, I was told I could leave. There would be a course of antibiotics, there would be follow up appointments, ultrasounds, mammograms and a possible biopsy but in the meantime I could go home.

All the signs are leading to the fact that in the next little while the lump will clear up and go away. All the signs are looking more like an infection and less like cancer. But luckily for us, all breast lumps in Australia are treated seriously and suspiciously and this particular story wont be over until it is 100% clear and over.

In the meantime I'm just feeling overwhelmingly grateful. For home, for farmer Bren and my girls, for my parents and sisters, for family, for the best friends, for the medical/health system, for the kitchen garden, for my comfy bed, for the storm outside, for my life.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

10 random things

Blogging is a funny old thing isn't it. I think that probably eight out of ten times when I think about writing a blog post, the first thing that crosses my mind is - who cares? Who would even be interested in reading that? But then I load the photos and I write it anyway.

And then when I'm finished I press publish, and I exhale, and it's gone, and it often occurs to me again that blogging is so self indulgent.

And then soon after that someone in my family texts me the edits and sometimes they tell me they liked it. And then some comments come in…maybe an email or two, and I am reminded that you feel it too, you do it too, you want it too. You advise me, you commiserate with me, you question me, you compliment me, you tell me your stories. I love hearing your stories.

And then it all makes sense. I understand why I press publish and not save. It's a community thing and I love it.

So in the spirit of self indulgience, here are 10 completely random things that are going on in my life right now.

ONE: We have tomatoes. Finally. Cherries and romas and pears, oh my. If there's one thing this heat-wave has been good for, it's ripening our tomatoes, hooray!

I cannot tell you how great it was to finally break our tomato fast. To eat them in salads, on toast and straight off the vine. To have that little plate up on the window sill for ripening the greenies. And for the colour. What a difference that red makes to a dish.

I'm so pleased that we waited though. It was totally worth it.

TWO: The kitchen garden is pretty awesome all together at the moment: carrots and leeks and onions and lettuce and rocket and basil and tomatoes and peas and beans and beetroot and other things that I'm sure I've forgotten. There is nothing quite like telling the girls to go and pick their own afternoon tea.

THREE: Part of me feels like I am dealing with all my girls being at school this year for the very first time. Last year when it really was the start of this new phase, I was writing my book, and then we went to Israel, and then I spent the rest of the year publicising my book and I was too busy to notice. But now I'm noticing. And it feels a bit empty. And the house feels quiet. And I miss them.

IMG_8176FOUR: I'm asked often what wool I am using to crochet my blanket. The answer is anything 8ply I can get my hands on. I have raided all of my baskets of odds and ends left over from olfd projects. And once, only because I had used up all the fun colours first, I bought eight new balls of wool from a shop in Malvern. All different brands, all different colours.

I've crocheted 162 squares of my summer blanket so far. Every time I finish 12 squares I join them to the main blanket. I think I'll keep going for as long as the white holds out. I'm loving this project but I'm starting to think about the next.

FIVE: I'm reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I am seriously loving it. It's slow going though, reading and rereading each bit because I want to savour it, and I want to take it all in, and I want to remember it.  Such a great story. Such an incredible story teller.

It's made me think about a journey of our own. Maybe for a week? I love the idea of walking a long path through wilderness. Carrying all our own gear, slowing down time, noticing what's out there, thinking thoughts all the way through….maybe….

SIX: The blackberries are ripe for the picking and we've been picking. And eating and making this cake. In the next day or so I think there will be enough for my first jam of the season. I've been looking forward to standing over a bubbling cauldron for a while now.

SEVEN: This morning on my run around the big block I got a notification on my phone telling me that there was a bushfire a few kilometres up the road from our farm. Let's just say there's nothing quite like the rush of adrenaline to make me pick up the pace and make a run for it. Luckily I came home to find that it had been a false alarm…phew!!

EIGHT: I took this picture of fighting roosters a while ago and keep forgetting to post it. It terrifies me and at the same time makes me think of my run in with the white rooster.

NINE: My farmer boy has trained and is now a projectionist at the local Daylesford Rex cinema. My girls laughed when I told them I thought it was sexy to be dating the projectionist. But I still think it is.

IMG_8008 TEN: I heard a senior weather forecaster on the radio today talking about the fact that we've had almost all of our extreme heat for this season. It will still be hot but not as hot and not for as many days in a row. Even though some of the heat has been scary this year, it made me feel sad. Summer is coming to an end. I kinda miss it already.

So how about you?
What have you been reading, growing, baking, thinking about?
If you feel like writing 10 random things on your own blog leave me a comment and I'll come and visit.

Thanks for reading.
Big love,

Friday, February 7, 2014

ups and downs

IMG_8019IMG_7680IMG_7477 I'm all over the place. Honestly I don't even know how to compose this blog post.   Such a big week, so many emotions, so many words, too many ups and downs. Sigh.

Early in the week we had days and nights of the most ferocious winds that tore through poly tunnels, broke beautiful established plum trees in half, ripped apart tomato plants and made such a mess of so many eucalyptus trees. That wind kept us up over nights, rattled us to the bones and reminded us of how teeny and insignificant we are in the scheme of things. It also made me question a lot of what we do here and why. It made me teary and oh so weary.

On two mornings this week I broke my I am not a morning person rule, and got up with the sun to run around the block. There is something so moving and uplifting and thrilling about running through the cool summer morning's air, watching the light sparkle on its way through the forest trees, over the paddocks and in the cottage windows. I have never, ever liked to get up earlier than I have had to, but running 5,000 steps alone, in complete silence before coming back to face the chaos of the pre-school rush, might actually change me. It is good for me. There is hope.

Then there are the back to school resolutions from my last post that I have managed to smash through already. I haven't been going to bed earlier, I haven't been all that organised, I haven't really got a grand plan yet and I have not at all risen above the school yard bitchiness. Not even close.

But I have had a bit of extra time. When I got the crazy, mad urge to try to knit a feather (top pic), I did.  I also made some yummy treats for lunchboxes and delicious dinners. I thought I might sew a skirt, but once I had gathered the fabric, tracing paper, scissors and tape measure, I felt overwhelmed and put it all back again. But I did find a new belt on a quick dash into an op shop yesterday. I haven't been into an oppy for months. It was fun. And I had a few long overdue coffees with friends. Uninterrupted conversation is such a gift.

And then I had this moment this week at a meeting with one of my girl's teachers, where I looked over at my three sitting around me listening quietly and I felt like I could burst with pride. Explode right there in the classroom. Such great love. Such good girls.

I knew all along all week that I needed to write a blog. That I would feel better once it was out. But I didn't. I don't know why I didn't, but I didn't. My laptop stayed closed and I found a zillion other things to do instead. I didn't read any blogs or write any blogs this week. Weird.

I could go on. So many highs and lows but not many in-betweens. I'm feeling a bit directionless. Like the wind unbalanced me. Like I don't know where I'm headed. Like I need a grand plan that gives me butterflies in my stomach. I love the idea of going with the flow but it's not working for me at the moment. It's making me want to escape and run away. It's making me want to pack up and drive north. Or maybe just back to bed with my book.


Thank goodness for the weekend.

Thank goodness for knitting (thanks Dad xx)

How're you feeling?

Big love


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