Friday, 25 April 2014

The Broccoli Chip Beverage ....

Some of you may be a bit too recent to remember the broccoli chip incident of 2012, but believe me it is the stuff of legend in our house and remains one of the defining moments in parenting joy.
In short broccoli chips are reminiscent of fish food filled, wet, old boots that have been baking in the sun for a couple of days and have provided a benchmark for the level of disgustingness of something ever since, but it would appear we have a new contender.
Sinus and I headed off to the liquor store, which is know as the bottl-o in these parts, to buy a celebratory beverage for the end of radiation.  I am no drinker... infact if you look up cheap drunk in the dictionary there is a little animation of me dancing on a table while singing eighties tunes, followed by a very unflattering collapse into a snoring, drooling mess. 
But glug glug woohoo tendencies aside, I do love all the pretty bottles and labels, and my eye was caught by this little vintage looking wonder... It had cloudy apple juice... which I love, plus maple.... which everyone loves right... and bourbon... which I couldn't really remember drinking in the last 20 years or so, but I had fond college memories of bourbon... I think.... some of those details are a tad fuzzy. The clincher was that it was called the rambler, which seemed to be talking directly to me and was totally appropriate as I am four paragraphs in and haven't gotten to the point yet... 

Now I am sure there are some people out there who think this stuff is like the nectar of the gods, and maybe my lack of drinking chops contributed, but this is impressively awful... one taste and my throat slammed shut, my eyes did a funny dance and I had trouble catching my breath. Phantom looked suitable horrified and concerned through her giggles and snorts, which is why she is such a magnificent daughter, but Sinus of course was disbelieving of my theatrics, immediately decided he needed a taste. 
Just as he got the drink to his lips, I found I was able to breathe again and managed to gasp out two words... broccoli chips... It was too late though and poor Sinus had taken a gulp, and I must say he made my theatrics look reserved, especially as he added a slight hopping and nose pinching manoeuvre which I had never seen before. The tongue scrubbing and complaining that ensued for the next few hours was truly broccoli chip worthy and we now have rambler as a beverage equivalent descriptor and broccoli chip can be reserved as the food benchmark from this day forward

Of course I needed to immortalise this new addition to our family lexicon, and now it has been done I can get back to painting up the view from the bedroom window... Nothing remotely broccoli chip or rambler about that...
Happy painting all...xx

Friday, 11 April 2014

The Numbers ...

The last 10 months or so in numbers looks a bit like this
1 mammogram
4 ultrasounds
6 biopsies
Four ct scans
I bone scan
Four specialist doctors
ten tattoos
And 5 squillion blood tests
In fact it is a miracle I have any blood left when I think of it

2 operations
16 rounds of chemo
31 jabs accessing my cath port thingy
42 doctors appointments
And so many amazing caring nurses that I couldn't count them
3 radiation planning sessions
with impressive dismounts
I have been sneezed on by the dog 345 times
And been trapped and unable to escape his toxic farts 23 times
There have been 27 doses of radiation
 and 12 or so X-rays
which in combination with the radiation has made me glow ever so slightly
I have waited in waiting rooms for the equivalent of 2 years
And taken more medication than I knew existed in the western world

At least 7698 people have examined, drawn on, cut into, and generally played with poor lefty
I lost and regained my hair four times
Lost 726 eyelashes
Ok maybe not but those suckers turned up everywhere
Lost 2 eyebrows
And gained back one and a half so far
Have cried more times than I can count
And laughed more often than I would have expected
And been laughed at a lot more times than was possibly warranted

Have eaten 5324 slices of Vegemite toast
And drunk 8265 smoothies
Slept for 634000 hours
Watched 5 million hours of TV
Read 9870 trashy magazines
Dreamt of George Clooney more times than I can count
And chocolate twice more than George
And George and chocolate together three more times than that

 I have received a huge box full of cards and letters
Emails, gifts and paintings
Extraordinary virtual tea parties, not to mention actual tea
And chocolate...
I have been inundated with incredible positivity
And people have taken the time to share their own cancer stories with me
To support and care for me in ways that have made me cry a river of tears
at the sheer generosity of spirit that has surrounded me through all this
I have not had one day when I didn't feel cared for and nurtured
Which means for the last 300 days or so 
I have felt so grateful to have such an amazing circle of people holding me up
It is actually pretty easy to look past the awful when you have that sort of support

There are still a few numbers left to deal with
There are years of appointments, port flushes , scans and medication
But from next Monday night when I have my last radiation session I enter a new phase
When life will start to half resemble what it used to be
And I can embark on my new normal which is very cool
and I am feeling pretty overwhelmed by just how freaking cool my friends are

Being so close to the end of the of the crap stuff has made me sit and assess
Just how lucky I have been through this, and how ready I am for this phase to be done
So I feel impatient to get moving forward
To start getting stronger and to get back to being creative daily
So to help me along with that I joined Sketchbook Skool
And these pages are my start
It has felt wonderful to get my daily drawing habit going again

But there is one last, and very important number... 22
22 years ago today I married Sinus man and he is still making me laugh and taking care of me
It has been quite the ride... 
I love you Matt ....xx

Friday, 4 April 2014

mixing it up and paying it forward ...

I am being well and truly zapped by radiation therapy at the moment
Which is having some unexpected consequences
The weirdest being that Mushu the wonder mutt has become suspiciously affectionate
hanging around, licking and sniffing me when I get home from being cooked
I am starting to think I have the whiff of BBQ about me and smell delicious or something
Because he definitely licks his chops an unseemly amount for an hour or two after I get in
I am living in terror of the day Sinus forgets to feed him before going to work
As I am half expecting to wake up and find him attempting to gnaw on poor lefty out of hunger

I have also developed another fixation with mixers
Now I have no idea why I get fixated on certain kitchen gadgets
And my treasured blue kitchen aide has certainly not been getting much use lately
But it started with trying to remember different mixers I have known
As shown on the top page from my sketchbook
It shows the good old rotary beater, and various hand mixers
which I have blown up with scary regularity, plus my blue kitchen aide
and a rather dodgy drawing of my mother's old mixer
My memory may be getting slightly zapped as well if that sketch is anything to go by
It isn't quite right.... Anyway that led to some more sketches of hand mixers
Which I wished I owned because they are available in such gorgeous colours
And an outline which hasn't been touched yet
So yet another unfinished work to add to the list
Perhaps the one in the sketchbook needs to be a different colour
Getting a tad sick of the blue!

Also on the list of slightly unexpected consequences is need to consume vast quantities of chocolate
Well maybe vast is an exaggeration but lots
After a very long 7 months of chocolate tasting like the bottom of a bird cage
It is like nectar on my sore throat which is, in an ironic twist
Now itself feeling like the bottom of a bird cage due to it being thoroughly zapped

In celebration of the chocolates wonderful ness of my days
I also painted up a bit of a mash up of the ridiculously amazing Theo's chocolate
That Marji sent me.... It is seriously amazing
Like the crack of the chocolate world and it had me at that first delicious mouthful
And it has been wonderful training and is getting me into shape chocolate eating wise
In preparation for my favourite celebration of the year.... Easter.... 
Hello bunnies and eggs and maltesers... Of how I have missed you all 

while we are on the subject of Marji... she is having a pay it forward art giveaway on her blog
and I am on the list to receive something from her.... which makes me very excited
and as part of the deal I have to pay it forward as well
so ....

* Pay It Forward Art-making Project for 2014 *

I promise to make a small work of art for the first five people who comment on this post and say "YES, I want in". A 'like' alone is not enough of a commitment, nor is a comment about thinking Pay It Forward is a great idea.

You must in turn post this as your status update and make something for the first five who comment on your status.

The rules are simple:
– It has to be your work, made by you, and the recipient must receive it before 2014 ends.
РIt can be anything art-based: a drawing/illustration or a conceptual work of art, a photograph, a knitted item, cross-stitch, paper mach̩ Рor anything in between.

I'm paying this forward thanks to Marji Thompson.  Yes, you can be on each other's pay it forward lists.

First five, GO!

PS. It doesn't matter if you aren't an artist, try something out, google/ YouTube how to make stuff, step out of those boundaries.