Finishing Law School

Finishing Law School

0 comment Thursday, September 18, 2014 |
Child has returned home from a week in the surf and sun, with plenty of stories to tell and all kinds of fun and games. The day is sunny but I can feel the fall-time creeping in as I went outside and brought the rose wine in to see if it's cleared, and it has. So, into bottles this will go! If I had a fancy corking machine I'd do these traditionally, but my hand strength is pretty shot so the best I can do these days is the bottle capper I use for beer. It doesn't make much a difference to be honest (though don't tell the purists I'm doing it this way).
I also went out and harvested some Bromley apples straight off the tree, and while I'm grateful for the free fruit (it isn't even my tree!) a lot of the apples are rotting on the branch and taking all the other apples with them. Eek! I'm not even sure they're ready! But I'm trying to gather and pick as I can though I don't have the best storage for these - today I'll maybe make a crumble.
The elderberry/rosehip syrup is on the boil right now as we speak, and I added a bit of clove and cinnamon for taste and to help with coughs. It's a shame I can no longer take this syrup but it's a big immune-system booster and sadly that's part of my problems with the inflammatory arthritis. However in a pinch when I'm feeling a flu bug creep up on me I might just throw caution to the winds anyway - I'd rather have a bit of a flare than the flu! I save some of this in the fridge for the first couple weeks of school-return (any parent knows what a nightmare of bugs that can be) and then some goes into the freezer for winter.
I've just picked the pears off our little pear tree and I must say for a little minarette I'm rather impressed to get even one pear off it, let alone four! Not bad going for our little tree, and I've brought the pears in now to ripen up in our fruit bowl.
Strawberries and raspberries are still going for it at the moment, giving me fruit to the very last. I'm having to tug out various old sheets to plan for coming frosts but I'm hoping for a bit of an Indian Summer before that happens (though I now have space heaters at the ready!)
And so it goes: child's 8th birthday coming up (dear gods above) and so I'm keeping an eye out for present ideas and plots and plans for a birthday party if I've the strength - though I'm also mindful I may be trying out some new medication and I just don't know the effects yet. Maybe I can coordinate something with the school, we'll have to see.

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0 comment Wednesday, September 17, 2014 |
One might have been able to tell I've been on a bit of a cooking kick lately; last night I had a Wilde Haire and, taking some chicken legs and thighs, roasted them, made a cream/white wine/comte-cheese/porcini-mushroom sauce and constructed some filo parcels with said chicken/mushroom sauce, half of which I froze, the other half which became lunch with rocket salad. It was amazingly good - and better still, tasted just as good (if not better) than a similar dish I'd purchased once at Tesco's for triple the cost I spent making it at home. I've made sundried tomato-and-cheese scones, spelt-and-kamut-flour bread, and this week will probably embark on raspberry-and-white-chocolate muffins.
I've been cooking for years - pretty much started when I was about four. Mum would let us slop things in a pan and "cook". Yes, it made a mess - and her own mum was part of the Valium-And-Pearls generation where how your house looked defined who you were, so she would never have allowed any of her children in the kitchen. My mum couldn't cook hardly a thing, but thankfully she let me and my sister muck about as much as we liked, and so we were creating breakfast and dinner meals well before our teens. So, for me, cooking is intuitive. I never measure anything, and only do so if I'm trying out a new recipe - even so, most of the time I adapt those as I go, if I think something sounds like it might be a better combination.
I guess I don't understand why cooking mystifies people - why people feel it's incredibly difficult, takes too much time, or isn't as good as buying food in a carton. I know someone who never knew that pancakes came in anything other than a packet until her late teens. She turns down homemade soup for canned, homecooked bread for sliced white loaf . I'm sort of baffled, but I guess it's a testament to how much we're affected by how we're raised, like it or not. Real food is going to taste strange if you're used to MSG and preservatives. It requires retraining your palate, and that takes time.
However, it's worth giving yourself a bit of a challenge - stepping outside what you think you're capable of doing, and trying new foods. You're not going to just somehow know how to cook food you like - you're going to have to actively find a way to make it. You need to learn your ingredients, find out what's good and what isn't. Cookbooks are a good start, but they aren't the be all and end all. I know most of Britain swears by Delia Smith, but I'll confess something here and say I'm not a huge fan of Delia - the times for cooking in her recipes is twice as long as it should be, and the food can be quite dull - still, she's a good starting point, just cut the cooking times in half, and learn that there are more spices and herbs in the world than salt and pepper. I wouldn't have known that if I didn't have recipes under my belt and bothered to experiment, however. There's a bit of Julia Child (I grew up watching and adoring her), a bit of the Frugal Gourmet (pre-shocking-expose on his personal life - not a brilliant man, but he was still a brilliant cook), a bit of posh French cuisine, and a fair smattering of soul-food from a dozen different cultures thrown in. Eventually, you will find your own style, get those tried and true recipes and make them uniquely your own.
Sometimes, it won't seem like it's any cheaper or easier, and you may wonder why you're even bothering. But there are great rewards in making your own food, both as far as health is concerned, but also financially. I save loads of money making my own homecooking; muffins I'd pay several pounds for in a trendy coffee shop cost me pence at home. Fancy meals like the filo-dough concoction are comparable as well, and I get double the amount of food out of it. I'm convinced my son's great physical health, his better concentration, and the fact he only has one cavity in his teeth (compared to many kids I know who already have several) is testament to our eating habits. My health isn't fantastic, but I know for a fact if I eat processed, cheap food I feel ten times worse.
I've had people ask me how in the world I learned how to cook, and while you're going to find tonnes of information on the internet, it probably all looks rather daunting, so here's a few things I've learned which many of the cookbooks and websites probably won't tell you:
1) Don't bother cooking anything you don't enjoy. You may have found a great recipe for liver which Delia Smith has been raving about, but if you can't stand liver, why cook it? Choose something simple; maybe you like scones, or spagbol, or curry. Chances are you'll find hundreds of recipes for that one thing, and you can then try and experiment until you find your favourite recipes. But if you're not a fan of broccoli, there's no point in putting it into a broccoli fritatta. Put in something else instead. With that said, understand that just because you are not a fan of box mac-n-cheese doesn't necessarily mean you'd not like the homemade version, unless you're not a fan of cheese sauce or pasta.
2) Utilise your freezer. Freezers are so underused, seriously - and there's so much you can use it for other than keeping oven chips; cook large batches of baked goods and freeze a fair portion. Then you can take it out as needed, thaw and serve and it will taste just as delicious as if you baked it that day. Cook larger batches and store meals in the freezer to be heated up on days you lack the energy to make from-scratch meals. If anything, freezers save you money in the long run by keeping you from wasting time, energy, and money from always having to go to the store for fresh meat and produce. You can just "shop your freezer" instead.
3) Buy the best you can afford: There is no margarine in my kitchen. I cook with butter or olive oil. I use Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract, and my larder is stocked with organic, high quality flours, sugars, nuts and dried fruits. I save money by making things from scratch, which means I can turn round and buy better ingredients. The difference between a vanilla-tasting additive and real vanilla extract is huge, and I don't see the point of creating homecooked food with synthetic ingredients.
4) Give a recipe three tries before you throw in the towel. Recipes fail for several reasons; measurement errors, substituting ingredients when you don't really know what the substitutions will do, overmixing or undermixing, or even the weather. Even the greatest chefs create recipes that don't quite work, so botching up a recipe doesn't mean you're a complete failure as a cook. Recently I made some cornbread muffins which baked like bricks, due to one substitution too many (I forgot wholewheat flour makes a much heavier dough). So, I'll be baking those again, with the proper flour quantities. Give yourself another chance at a recipe - however, if you just can't get it right, stop wasting time and ingredients, and put it away.
5) Cooking well isn't about cooking fancy. You may have your eye on an incredibly complicated ravioli recipe, but don't forget that cooking doesn't have to constitute recipes which take days and days to prepare. I started cooking by making breakfast - eggs were the first things I was allowed to cook, and so I started with rather simple scrambled eggs, and then expanded into omelets, frittatas, poaching, boiling, adding different ingredients and experimenting with different flavours. All it required was eggs and a trusty cast-iron skillet - and contrary to what the cooking shops will tell you, you don't need a bunch of kitchen gadgetry to cook. To me, cooking is about using what you have, especially if you don't have the cash to rush out and get a bunch of stuff to eat.
6) Don't automatically chase your kids out of the kitchen. I get that you want to just "get on with it", don't "want to clean up extra mess", and so on. But kids learn skills by watching you, and therefore this means a little bit of patience and being willing to accept a less than 100% perfect result. At Uni, my ex was stunned that he had two room-mates who didn't know how to do laundry, wash dishes, or cook (when told to heat something in the oven, one of them put it on a plate, and then put the plate in the oven). IMO, "taking care" of your children does not equal doing everything for them so they don't have to. Eventually, they need to be able to take care of themselves, and that means sometimes, they're going to botch it up, make messes, and double the time it takes for you to get something done on your own. But, eventually, they will learn, if you let them.
There's certainly more to learn out there than six wee tips, but it is worth a start. Your best bet is just to grab a spoon, find a recipe you like the sound of, and get to it!

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0 comment Tuesday, September 16, 2014 |
Our Xmess tree is decidedly of the "Goth folk" variety...yes it's black. Yes, there are Nightmare Before Christmas baubles on it. Mwahaha.
However, this is decidedly artificial, and not really the subject of this 'ere post. I haven't done much garden whitter in here lately, which is a shame; I think I'm distancing myself from it really as I put all that work out there this year and yet, lo and behold, I have to move. It was good while I was here, and I hope the next tenants will treat the garden with respect and regard, but needs must. I'm just struggling too much to stay and discussions will begin next week to put the pitch forward how to make it happen (and of course, the Council, whilst it has to do the move once I've been granted it, doesn't want to spend the money, so I have to keep the pressure up).
I suppose it could be said I should have just moved earlier this year, but there wasn't any money on my end either in order to do so. I'm appealing and re-appealing positions for more funds now, and whilst it's all up in the air, I am feeling a bit more on the level for being able to keep me and child secure in an uncertain future.
However, there's no chance in Hades I'm giving up gardening - I just need outdoor space too much to ever give it up entirely, and I've noted with a gleam in my eye quite a few bungalows (yes, having to forego stairs is one of my considerations now) are offering gardening services along with their rents. Good news for me, at least!
I'm also still on a mission for fruit trees. Now that Ludo is back in her ancestral pile, I don't have to worry about massive Leonbergers eating all the pears off the trees, just wumps! He has been asking and asking for a pear tree, so I have certainly decided to invest, and of course there's also a mulberry. These will go into pots, as the cherry outside seems to be doing quite well in one, and I'll continue hoping for a good harvest eventually.
Come to that, when it comes to lettings I do tend to look for more "greener" choices - wood fires, good insulation, and enough space to grow some food in. I've been turned on by a friend of mine with similar mindset to a local estate agency which prides itself upon catering to folks looking for such homes. I've presented my case - rather impoverished disabled family geared to greenness - and hope perhaps they might actually be more stirred by being united like minds than whether or not they can gouge a bunch of cash out of me. The only downside is they are one council over, and due to my son's Statement I really can't move out of county - I don't want to go through all this mess again! However, there is one property they have, in Warminster, which has caught my eye - it fits all my requirements; bungalow, shower over bath, lovely garden, what appears to be a heater in the front room (albeit it may be electric, I don't care I'll take what I can get) and a heated, lighted, insulated garage which would do nicely for a studio space. The price is great as well and pets are considered. I'm crossing my fingers it will still be there for a while (and since no one really wants to move during the holidays, I'm in with a chance).
In any event, we're going to enjoy the holidays where we are, best we are able. I'm going to wade my way through loads of paperwork, meetings, and then gather my strength for the two weeks of holiday time. In the interim, I'm doing some fruit tree price comparisons.

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I'm afraid I'm going to bang on about something again - avert your eyes, but what I suspected to be complacency in the wake of the cuts announcement is now turning into something very different.
It wasn't acceptance, it was the sound of people going quiet to gear up for war.
Now I'm not a big ribbon-wearer; I try not to get into people's faces about "causes" unless they ask me. If people are cool with me without sneering about me for having a cane, for not being able to walk far, for my son's behaviour, for my skintone...whatever, right on. I don't strut around like "the only gay in the village" and wait for people to knock the chip off my shoulder. Besides, what is the good of a ribbon? You paid a quid, you pinned it on your coat and then you forgot about it. Big deal.
However, this is no longer about wearing a ribbon - this is now my life which the government is trying to snatch out from under me. Yanno, I've dealt with it before; I've been homeless and was so for several years at a stretch. But mess with my son's quality of life, turn him into a prisoner in his own home due to isolation and lack of accessibility to fun things, turn me into a boring parent because you can get HIM to things but not US as a family so he now thinks of me as not particularly fun or worthy of his love?
The hell you will.
I never would have thought disabled people could get so pissed off, but maaaan, are they pissed. They're mobilising all over the place, including a new campaign called "The Broken of Britain". I've written a piece for that too. The Disabled Parents Network is also seeing an increase in membership, and I am expecting the Disability Law Service to be overflowing with cases (and I'll be calling them myself today actually.
The outcry is huge, and I'm amazed to see it. But I guess if the Powers Wot Be expected everyone to take it lying down, they were wrong. It's good to see and while I think we're all aware that the UK is losing tonnes of money, stripping funds from the poor and vulnerable is not the way to do it.
It's an insane uphill slog, believe me - I've actually become so tired of even trying to convince various social services that I need some help that I'd given up and accepted that they just weren't going to do it. I had even almost bought that my son isn't "that" autistic as everyone tells me. But this half-term has showed me that no, honestly, I can't do it. And no, seriously, my son isn't cured; if he seems very capable, it's due to all the supplements and counter-measures I have put into place over years of research and long, awful days and nights where I had to struggle on and figure out how to manage my wildchild. "Medicated" doesn't mean "cured" - and so he's gone to school without supplements, his usual self, and people will be reminded of this. My cyst infection is back, and now there are two more cysts which are trying to infect. My immune system is shot from stress and if I have to go into the hospital again, there's no coverage for my son.
There are people on various forums I belong to who have been fighting for years for care - and we're not talking about wanting a trip to the Maldives or a summer home in France here; we're talking getting a PA to help them wash, or insert a catheter, or cook a homecooked meal rather than sling a frozen dinner in the oven. Simple, everyday stuff which they probably worked for and contributed NI payments for, and now aren't there. The whole idea of "you volunteer first, and THEN we'll help you later" is just ludicrous. Volunteer when, if you're like most families working dual incomes just to pay off the mortgage? And who trains these people? And why would I want to trust a potential rapist or abuser who hasn't been properly vetted into my house?
I am a realist, possibly brutally so - there was a time when the aged, the mentally ill, the disabled would have thrown onto the street and forgotten; survival of the fittest. That was what tended to usually happen to people like us. It's unpopular to say, but I don't expect in a society which still can't accept skin colour or religious differences to suddenly reach an epiphany and not see the poor or disabled or elderly as a waste of space. That's just the way it is, and the way it will be - to be honest, I cannot think of a worse fate for myself than dribbling blearily in front of a telly screen in my old age. When I reach that point I will leave this world of my own choice - we are an overpopulated planet, obsessed with long life-spans, but quality of life does not equal quantity of life. I'm nearly 40 - less than half what my average lifespan is supposed to be - and I'll tell you right now if I've got another 40 years of this waiting for me, I don't want them.
My issue lies with the assumption that I am a waste of space and incapable of giving anything to the world, that my son will just be a burden for his whole life as well, and therefore it's not worth wasting time or money on either of us. Bollocks: as long as I am still capable of contributing, and while my son has the potential for contribution, no one has the right to write me off. There are a lot of disabled people out there who want to work, and who could do if they had a hell of a lot more support - maybe only support at first, but enough to get things going. I've had several businesses now which I could have continued working and eventually contributing tax for if the Access to Work programme actually, you know, worked itself. If it was more easy to apply, didn't take months before you saw someone to help you make the claim, didn't get equipment and ridiculous expectations which didn't help you, didn't have employers just looking for a way to fire the costly disabled person and hire a hack for half the wages.
So, what does this mean? It means I'm fighting again - and I'm not going to stick a frellin' ribbon onto my clothes and think that's done the trick. It does mean however that I'm not backing down and I'm going to be a very noisy, very irritating thorn in whoever's side I have to jab myself into in order to get acknowledged. It means I'm getting copies of the nursing notes from the district nurse trips, getting all the paperwork from everything I ever filed sent to me written explanations WHY protocol was broken. It means writing to MPs and Councillors and solicitors and local papers and whatever I need to do to raise some dust. It means fighting tooth and nail and claw (and to my horror there's one woman on a forum who has been fighting for 10 years for DLA). It means I'll make noise, in pixelated form, from my daybed. Marching may be beyond me at the moment but it doesn't mean I'll go quietly.
My hep-mama hat is on, fresh out of its plastic bag to keep the dust off it, and I've got it firmly pinned in place.
Bring it on, sonny.

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0 comment Monday, September 15, 2014 |
A representative for a volunteer charity in the area came round to have a look at the garden and discuss possible ways to help. I will admit that I felt rather discouraged at the end of it - they knew nothing about sensory gardens, or autism, or fibromyalgia or ME. He was interested only in knowing how much it was going to cost and when his eyebrows shot up I pretty much figured that was a "No". I tried to explain that it's not as simple as just putting some raised beds out there; I could do that myself. But it's pointless to put the beds out there if I can't even get to them in the first place. It was dropped that their organisation is on call at the moment for assisting in Haiti, as it seems every charity is doing at the moment, and that they may not have the funds for anything else this year. Hm, housing, food, water vs. garden? No contest - been there, done that personally. Still, it was a bit disheartening; there's people with nothing right now, and I'm fussed about a garden?
Thing is, I've had my own slice of rough living - malnurishment and sleeping rough may be part of the reason for my current issues. In some vaguely anti-self-depreciating way, I've reached a point where I can reap the rewards of surviving without feeling guilty for it. I'm not asking for a mansion; it's a garden that I can tend for the rest of my life. I managed to dig myself out of a case of the guilts and soldiered on through the interview however, and away he went. We'll see what comes of it.
And on top of this was a bit of garden-squee; I've received some seeds in the post from a friend! Overjoyed! Hollyhock and nasturtium and some pinks, with more lovely things on the way! I have onion sets and shallots which are due, and a friend is sending coir blocks for me to plant seeds in, with a view to get some worm casts shipped in sometime in April. And - AND - a Stella cherry tree is on the way! Whoohoo! I best get some pots ready and a HUGE one for the cherry tree. There are indeed Cool People in the World - and I know there's more on the way so thank you thank you! (Actually I've had to hide the seeds as I've no seed soil at the moment and sprog would got completely spare if he knew I had seeds about - he'll have to wait a bit!)
Plots and plans for the next month on getting a growhouse for toms, as I'm on a mission to be able to harvest enough tomatoes to make pizza sauce for sprog and maybe some dried toms if there's any left over.
It has been warming up a treat but I'm trying not to jump the gun too badly - the past few summers in the UK had been rather misleading, with very mild springs and then a sudden frost in May that damn near killed everything I had outside. I'll be a bit more cautious this year, even though it means nearly every single windowsill I have will have something growing on it for a while - but you won't see me weeping about that, I assure you.
The rest of the day was not too bad, actually - I experimented with homemade pizza on a pizza stone I've never used till today, and sprog approved, assembling his own pizza and generally enjoying the process. While that cooked away, I made some giant chocolate-chip fairy cakes for sprog and topped it with chocolate icing, and experimented with achieving a pink colour with buttercream by using cranberries, with some success. Since food colouring is a HUGE no in our house, finding alternatives for cakes is warranted, and we've had some luck with using fruits and veg instead. What I manage to keep out of his main cake and icing, I can allow a bit in sprinkles, and sprog tends to use sprinkle-candies quite liberally on his wee cakes!
I'm enjoying baking again, and while my energy level is starting to pick up a bit, I'm still taking things slow. Who knows, maybe I'll even be able to make some soap this month for a change! Once the order shows up, that is...*sigh*

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Change is something which my son doesn't tend to embrace much - change is unpredictable and scary and takes a considerable amount of preparation. He can also get obsessed about change and if I ever mention anything happening in the future I have to be considerably careful about my timing or he'll never stop wanting to know "When?".
It is therefore really difficult as a parent of an autistic child not to get into a horrible rut; doing the same thing day in and day out, having a perpetual routine one must stick to on pain of nuclear fallout. I'm considerably more adaptable than my son but I do have to be sure that I am doing for myself as well as for him - it has a knockon effect.
And so I am setting quite a few things into motion to break the rut and to allow for more freedom for myself and also for my child. Independence...I need more of it. We both do: I don't want to worry about what games he's getting up to with neighbour children; I want take a shower rather than wash in a sink; I want space for my budding art and plenty of inspiration; garden space to work and walk around in whenever we like; room for cats and kids and midnight drives when the moon is so bright you can see for dozens of meters ahead; bluebell carpets merely a walk away and rhodies in bloom and early morning tea and the smell of a wood fire in the hearth.
I guess I'm a country-girl in my marrow - I realise now I really cannot stand living in suburban or urban settings; nosy neighbours and gossip and everyone up in what's going on with my side of the fence, house inspections...ugh. I'm wanting to live in rural surroundings again, but there's a lot of things holding me back in that regard, things which I used to think was out of my control...but now, I believe I just have to plan appropriately.
Firstly, as much as I hate being "benefit scrounging scum" I need help with rent and transport, at least for now. Obviously, there's nothing else for it on the former but to start getting Housing Benefit and fighting the battle for it - it shouldn't be such an issue with the advocates now, it's just a matter of going one ongoing battle at a time. So, working on that once I get a few other things in place.
And one of those things which needs to be in place is my DLA appeal. To my surprise (though I honestly shouldn't be surprised at all) it is looking as if I may qualify for High Mobility - at which point I also qualify for motability; a scheme which awards me a new car tailored to my driving needs. Now I am not a massive fan of cars and what they contribute to the peak oil issue: however since horse and carts are a bit difficult to maintain if you're limping along, I'd rather have something I rarely have to worry about, and will get me to art shows and exhibitions, to outings and drives with sprog day or night as we see fit. My soaping business suffered considerably because just trying to get anywhere with my kit was nearly impossible - the same will happen to my writing and art if I don't get with the century and get more mobile. And, since mobility is already a problem for me, I'll have to find ways to make that a minimal issue.
I am under no delusions - rural life is busy life; wood needs to be stacked, gardens need tending, groceries need to be brought in from somewhere and stockpiling planned carefully. There's rats and mice and huge spiders; cottages are rarely insulated well and usually run on oil so it's important to budget. Also I am well aware of the cuts and the fact that benefits are going to be axed left and right, so setting myself up in a situation I cannot sustain on my own if need be will never do, but that too I am trying to combat by working (whether the common herd sees 'art' as 'work' or not). Again, independence is the name of the game here.
But I also think it will encourage independence in my son - to go outside and play as he likes, when he likes without always needing to stick right by my side like glue. This is sadly something he doesn't get in this suburb where half the kids are known delinquents and the police patrol every ten minutes.
Another garden project, another business venture (and let's hope I can stick with it before something else goes utterly wrong with my health), another chance to share even more time with my son in the outdoors as well as time indoors doing more than just sitting around the telly yet again.
By late spring when the bluebells bloom, I'll hope to be in the country again, walking through carpets of uninterrupted blue and chattering our "family-speak" together with me and my son, a language only we both know.

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0 comment Sunday, September 14, 2014 |
Just back from rheumatology appointment and have received the first doses of medications I'm about to be tried on to try and slow the joint destruction down. At the moment I still have "mystery arthritis" as they're not sure what category I'm in right now. However they are finally taking it very seriously and I've had more blood tests, injections, more stuff scheduled in the future and things progress pretty quickly, so that's all good news. The side effects don't look like they're going to be a lot of fun if I get hit with them, but it just means I have to be rather vigilant and just be sure not to write off a symptom and try and tough it out.
I'm glad for these developments as the past week has been...Difficult. With a capital D. It's often a toss up whether the pain in the joints or the crushing fatigue is the worst bit of the issues I've got at the moment. It's difficult to say. The lawn is overgrown and looks neglected but I just know there's no way I can tackle it today; I'm so fuzzy and brainfogged I didn't entirely trust myself to get home without sticking to a very careful plan of just getting on the bus and staying on it. Operating equipment with whirring blades is definitely right out! I sleep through most of the day and only get up when child gets home, and so I've been doing for the past week. It makes me boring but I hope today I can break out my china and we'll have a little tea party together. The lawn can wait a bit (though it hurts my pride, it really does!)
In sort of squee news, I've bought two HUGE canvasses which were on clearance - I've wanted to work BIG BIG BIG for a while now, so I'm looking forward to giving those a shot. I also have water mixable oil paint as well to play with, and looking forward to experimenting with that. With the arrival of new paint child's painting interest is up again - he hates using "baby paints" as he calls typical tempura with some disdain! - so I often let him break open mine and have a play. I don't really think of it as "wasting paint" as there's no other way to learn how to use the stuff, and sometimes just watching him I get a feel or idea for a new technique. Besides, it's just another of those little things we can do together.
But for today, I'll be putting my wrist splints on, popping some food into the oven (foresight has required I have a stock of prepared food on hand, maybe not handmade by me, but locally made by others so my principles are intact), and doing blissfully nothing at all today while I wait to see what the injections and pills do to me.
Here's to hoping we're taking the right steps toward me gaining at least a small percentage of my life back. I'll take that, smiling.

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