This Year: Life, the Universe and Everything.

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Even though I’ve been wiped out for this entire week afterwards, my birthday outing was worth it. The day before, I had found a third-hand mobility scooter (at a third of the price) on Craigslist. I have been looking for one that could handle rough dog park terrain (big wheels, decent suspension, strong motor), but could still be dismantled and put in a car (ie: not the fun Harley-esque one I had my eye on, similar to my friend Jak’s). My husband drove two hours round trip to buy it and I was able to take it to my favourite off-leash dog park: 40 acres of trails, fields and river access.

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The weather was sublime. Actually, that was the only blip in our day: as soon as I arrived, I had to park in the shade, strip off two layers of shirts and have my husband reach up my yoga pants to peel off my compression stockings. Plus, I was drinking hot chicken soup. I was kicking myself for not bringing sunscreen. But, after that, all was well, if a little harsh and bumpy on my bones. This 4-day payback headache I have is probably from jostling my spine on the gravel and mulch (and I won’t mention the horrible nausea that hit me at 10pm and the relentless barrage of nightmares that followed that night because this is meant to be a happy post).

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Big smiles. 🙂

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I couldn’t get a photo, but there were huge blue herons flying into the nests and babies up in the trees.

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My boys playing with a new friend.

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That evening, my sister and her boyfriend came over and she suggested getting take away food from a nearby restaurant, which I hadn’t even considered. So, we ate dinner at the table (as opposed to my usual on the couch with my feet up, reclined) and I had a delicious beef tenderloin and coconut rice. They accidentally put some Gorgonzola on my steak and, oops, I forgot to scrape it off. That was a celebratory taste explosion that I haven’t encountered in 2.5 years.

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“The hills are alive….” Pretend I’m spinning…

Then, to top everything off, two days later, I got a visit from my dear friend, Z. She came bearing flowers and a bag of gifts for me to open and, the best part, her little girl, whom I consider a niece. Baby A chatted away, which is all new! The last time I saw her she hadn’t quite found her words around me. What a treat.

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42, the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.
It’s going to be a good year. I have faith.

Kinda.

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My Funny Valentine

As a Valentine’s Day present to my husband, I decided to get marginally dressed again. I put on a bra and a red dress. Unfortunately, the dress, although clean, hadn’t been worn in a while and it smelled musty, so I switched to a pink sweater (pink and red are really living on the cutting edge of colour for me; they scream: I’m dressed up! I’m making an effort! ~ 90% of my wardrobe is black and grey) and leggings that have pockets and corduroy-type ribbing, so they give the impression that they are more civilised than mere cotton leggings. And I put on my new boots. I won’t take a picture every time I put boots on, I swear, but I never thought there would be a pair of flat boots that I liked and, more importantly, were proportional to my munchkin frame.

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Unfortunately, after two changes of clothes, my battery is almost dead and I’m dizzy and incredibly drained. I woke up feeling okay, excited that I wasn’t feeling evilly ill, but how dare I pull on leggings that take a bit more effort than PJs and bend down to put on boots rather than slip my feet into slippers? It was too much and it’s only 11am. I know I will be wiped out when my husband gets home.

The entire plan was: get dressed, brush hair and maybe put on make-up. Although, all my make-up is 2+ years old and putting it on means holding my arms up in front of my face, which is a lot of energy, and it also means having to take it off. Exhausting. I wracked my brain to think if there was something I could do to surprise him. Cook dinner? No way. Clean the house ~ or even just the sitting room? Nope. Buy a present? Too late to do it online and I wouldn’t know what to get, anyway. And we’re trying to conserve our savings. So, I think my present is going to be yet another card thanking him for saving my life every day (because, make no mistake, I would be in a very different predicament without him) and wearing clothes that kind of fit me.

The funny thing about my husband is, he would never notice what I’m wearing. I could be sitting on the couch in a ball gown and he wouldn’t bat an eye. I kind of love that about him. I certainly never have to feel self-conscious about looking slovenly. He tells me I’m beautiful even on my sickest days. Love is blind.

One of the most distressing symptoms over the last year is hair loss. Never could I have predicted that I would be upset about my hair. I don’t really like hair. I’ve always preferred men with shaved heads and, half the time when I’m talking to people, I’m thinking about how much I want to tuck their hair behind their ears or put their hair in a ponytail. I find it distracting (and kind of gross) that every woman on tv has what I call “hair curtains”. Long waves down the sides of their face that are pulled forward so they have this weird part in the back of their head and no hair down their back.

Hair curtains.

Hair curtains.

Weird back of head.

Weird back of head.

So, what do I care if I have less hair? Well, my hair loss makes me look even more sickly because it is concentrated in the front and on top. You can see my scalp too much and there are clumps of short hairs that are either breaking off or just won’t grow any longer. I was on a Facebook group and someone mentioned that, because she was in the military and constantly wore her hair in a bun, she was going bald on the top of her head, so she cut her hair short. Light bulb! I’ve worn my hair up every day for the last 17 months that I’ve been housebound. So, I’m cutting it short. I’ve had my hair very short before, so it’s not a big deal, but I do have a few concerns: 1) I can’t dye my hair now, so there is a lot of grey. I’m not sure how I’ll like short greying hair. 2) I can’t wash my hair very often and, when it’s dirty, it’s nice to be able to put on a hat and still have the illusion of clean from the long hair coming out below the hat. 3) You can put long hair up in such a way that it gives the illusion of being more “dressed up”. But none of these things will sway me because I have to wear a CPAP! The headgear on a CPAP mask is hell with long hair and is undoubtedly contributing to the hair loss.

My sister’s hair stylist is going to make a house call, bless her heart. I wish I had longer, lovelier hair and I could donate it like Marie did, but I just don’t have the patience to grow it. The point of all this is to say that I guarantee my husband doesn’t even notice when I cut my hair. I have left the house with long blond hair and come back with a dark brown bob and, even when prompted, he couldn’t figure out what was different. When he met me, my hair was very short and fiery red. He’s pretty much seen it all. Luckily, days before I met him he had shaved off his long hippy hair. I sometimes wonder if I would have fallen for him if he had a ponytail. Probably. Love is blind.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

1998

1998

Title Credit

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today, I turn 40 years of age. We have a big day planned. We’re going to the beach with the dogs. We’re going to throw the ball and walk in the sand and let them chase birds. They haven’t been to the beach since last summer when E. was visiting and I still had some energy.

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I’m not going to go to bed afterward. Instead, I’m going to stop by the grocery store and buy all the fixin’s for a fry tomorrow morning: eggs, bacon, sausages, bread, tomato, proper cow’s milk for proper tea… I might even look for decent baked beans and black pudding. Then, this evening, I am going to take a shower, wash my hair and put on make up for the first time in 9 months (gasp!). I am going to put on a dress ~ it is beautiful and still fits me and I feel sexy ~ and some very high heels ~ I’m able to walk in them properly, without shuffling, and they don’t hurt my back. We’re going into town for dinner, meeting up with friends and family. It’s going to be a long 5-course indulgence and I’m going to ignore all my diet rules. I am going to rip apart fresh-baked bread, taking the time to inhale its aroma before slathering on creamy butter and savouring every bite. I am going to close my eyes every time I take a bite of pasta ~ I don’t care what kind it is ~ and be fully present in that moment, witnessing every chew with all my senses on full-alert. I am going to order the most decadent dessert, something with pastry and chocolate ~ eggs, sugar, flour, butter ~ and revel in every single mouthful: no guilt, no worry, no blood sugar issues, no inflammation issues, no intolerances or allergies or leaky gut or bowel dysbiosis or nausea. There better be a cheese plate involved at some stage and I might even have some wine. Dry red wine. A whole bottle. Maybe I’ll sneak outside to share a cigarette with someone. We’re all going to talk over each other and laugh hysterically and the noise won’t bother me. I won’t be confused and overloaded by too many conversations at once. I won’t think about pain or exhaustion or how I will sleep tonight or how I will feel tomorrow. Because I will feel fine. I will feel tired and happy and full and grateful. Oh, and tomorrow morning, while eating that lovely breakfast, I will realise I’ve won the $600 million lotto.

Well, a girl can dream, right?

No, unfortunately, today will be like every other day. It’ll be a little bit worse than the norm because my sleep vanished this week and I’m crippled with new muscle pain on top of the old stiff exhaustion. But, it’ll be a little bit better than the norm because my sister is coming over and my husband isn’t working. Three people and three dogs? It’ll be a carnival compared to my usual still, silent days.

Goodbye 30s, you actually were literally the best of times and the worst of times. I have three birthday wishes for this new decade: Continued good health for those I love, better health for me and relief from suffering for all people and animals on this earth. That’s not too much to ask, is it? 🙂

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May 18th, 1973