Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What I did on my Holidays!

Not a school essay - really what I wanted to blog about was a film I saw and a book (one of many!) I read!

The film I saw must have come out a year or more ago. But it happened to be having a return season at the cinema in Bowral when I rang up to see what was on. I'd wanted to see it when it came out but somehow hadn't. Mum had, and she had loved it, so we went! As it is in Heaven - that's the translation from the Swedish. Probably many people have seen it/heard about it. If you haven't, go and see it! Such a wonderful wonderful uplifting film - about a violinist/conductor who develops a life-threatening heart condition and returns to the village of his youth. He ends up conducting the local village choir, a mixed bunch (non-auditioned of course) of locals all with their own problems and issues.

There's a beautiful song that the woman with the husband who beats her (Gabriella) sings in their village hall concert. The words were just so inspiring that I had to search the internet to find them. Here they are (again, obviously translated from the Swedish!)

It is now that my life is mine
I’ve got this short time on earth
And my longing has brought me here
All I lacked and all I gained
And yet it’s the way that I chose
My trust was far beyond words
That has shown me a little bit
Of the heaven I’ve never found

All my living days I will live as I desire
I want to feel I’m alive
Knowing I was good enough
I have never lost who I was
I have only left it sleeping
Maybe I never had a choice
Just the will to stay alive

Being who I am
To be strong and to be free
To see day arise from night
I am here and my life is only mine
And the heaven I thought was there
I’ll discover it there somewhere
I want to feel that I’ve lived my life

It really struck a chord with me - probably it is better when you hear the music and see the lovely brave woman singing it out at the front of the choir stage, with her husband glowering in the back of the hall. But - yes, I too want to feel that I've lived my life!!

The final scene, of the choir on a big competition stage in Salzburg, with their conductor, probably dying from a heart attack, unable to get up the final flight of stairs to the stage to be with them, but still hearing them from below, was just utterly wonderful. I sat there with tears streaming down my face and a huge joyous smile plastered all over the same face!! As all the other (professional) choirs who were in the audience (and had previously been pretty snooty about this village group) slowly stood up to sing with them! Oh I'm nearly crying again writing about it ... :)

And the book that I read, which was perhaps in a similar vein, was Eat Pray Love. I know, I know, it's been out for a year or two, and I've finally got to it. (Although if I'd read that Julia Roberts was recommending it I'm not sure that I would! I don't know why publishers think that would make anyone buy a book!!!) But luckily I hadn't, and I really loved the book. It was so uplifting and - reminding me that there's so much more to life than I sometimes allow myself to remember! I know, I shouldn't need reminding. I do have that gift of Maharaji's knowledge. But I'm a very imperfect and easily distracted person and consequently am really grateful for all the reminders that come my way!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back home + new kitten

Family Christmas scene
Back home after a nice Christmas down at my Mum's. Ate lots of wonderful food (too much of course!) and enjoyed good company! This photo was from the Saturday Christmas lunch (the 2nd one!) - typical Aussie Christmas. Everyone collapsed reading their presents, and/or watching the Boxing Day Test Match (cricket) ...

The weather was pretty dismal for the first few days I was down there - I can somehow never remember how cold it can get in Bowral at Christmas! In Queensland it's usually heat wave conditions, and so when I pack I manage to remember to throw in a pair of jeans, cardigan and a couple of long-sleeved teeshirts and think that will do it. Wrong! On Christmas Eve we took the dog to the dog park (off-leash area) before going on to some friends for drinks. It was drizzling, cold and the grass was wet. No one there could believe I'd come down with only sandals to wear. I don't wear any other shoes in summer!! And so my feet and sandals got progressively wetter and wetter! And the people we were going to were not the sort where you could kick off your shoes and go barefoot!

But I don't/didn't mind, really! I had a lovely time. Managed to do some yoga a couple of times. Peter, my nephew, told me that his work was offering staff yoga and he was enjoying that. Can't remember what sort - definitely not ashtanga. I guess that'd leave people a bit too sweaty to go back to their desks!!

new kittenAnd then yesterday I collected the new kitten on my way home from the airport. (No, it wasn't on the way at all unless I had moved north of Brisbane, but ...) She spent a couple of hours hiding behind the sofa and/or fridge, but then got bolder and ventured out. By the time it was bed-time she was ready to snuggle in my bed! Right now she wants to help me type this blog! I'm sure I'm going to be exhausted running after her for the next few weeks!

Friday, December 19, 2008

christmas holidays start now!

Yes - I'm on holidays now! Not back to work till Monday 5th January.

Had a big day today - had to get up at 5.15am to get to the hospital for 7am to have my first immunoglubulin infusion - blogged about in my lymphoma blog. Apart from anything else, I was dying to get out of there as we were having our work Christmas party at lunchtime today, in some botanical gardens nearby. The infusion turned out to take a bit longer than I'd thought (hopefully it will be quicker in future) and so I didn't get there till 1.15pm. But they'd all waited for me to start.

And we had such a lovely time! Even though it was predicted to be an extremely hot day - 37degC! - trust us to pick the hottest day of the summer to have an outside party! But we had a nice shady place to sit and eat and talk. (And fight off the scrub turkey that was hoping for some scraps!) One of the people brought her 7-8 year old son Isaac with her. And we had a (child-sized!) cricket bat, stumps etc. and ended up having a great game of cricket after lunch. It was hilarious - lots of diving to catch the ball from the boys, and underarm bowling from the girls! Plus the work humourist Paul was shouting out lots of hilarious comments and 'sledges'. (I know a lot of these terms will mean nothing to people who don't follow cricket, but ... !)

It was a really lovely day. I looked at all my workmates and thought what a great bunch of people, and how sad it was that in a couple of months we'll mostly be scattered in different jobs either in the University or elsewhere. Kind of an 'end of an era' time. It will be really sad to see it all end. No more outrageously funny emails from Paul. Cup cakes from Kylie at morning tea. No more morning tea sitting outside the front of the building with everyone each day.

But, once again, a really lovely day, some great memories to store up!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Doctors and Yoga and the kitten

Well, I saw my specialist today. No surprises, (although I wish there had been!) I've posted about it on my lymphoma blog - had a bit of a hissy fit about it all but feel better now! Having the first infusion on Friday.

Yesterday a friend came in to work and we did a yoga practice at lunchtime. It was really wonderful. We can't do the normal Friday one as (apart from the infusion) we've having a big Christmas/farewell party at lunchtime that day. I'd lent her the Ashtanga NY DVD on Sunday, and she brought it back - she really loved it! It made me watch it again last night and yes, it is a really inspiring and touching DVD.

Apart from the last minute Christmas shopping stuff, I also need to buy some stuff for the new kitten! I'll be bringing her home on a Sunday afternoon straight from the airport ... Ooh, it is exciting! There will definitely be heaps of photos coming.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It was fun!

Party was fun - although a lot of work! Even though everyone helped with the washing up etc., there was still a bit to do after they'd left. But I finally managed to collapse with my feet up and a glass of wine, and reflect!

Susan and Lyn (and my mother!) will be happy to hear that I didn't go with the plastic plate option in the end - I borrowed the pretty plates from my work. (Which very annoyingly were just a bit too big to fit into the dishwasher!) Everyone had a good time - although I sometimes think that when you're the one having/organising the party, you spend most of your time making sure food is appearing (I let the drinks take care of themselves!) and that people are having a good time, meeting others etc. So it's hard to sit down and chat to friends for any length of time. But still, I did have a very enjoyable time - and hopefully it will remind me that entertaining can be just that - a lot of fun!

Unfortunately I left my camera on my bed, and so forgot to take any photos! Memories will have to remain in my head, and not my Macbook ...

Now I've got a quiet week, gearing up firstly for Wednesday's appointment with my specialist, and then on Sunday for the flight down to Sydney (and thence the NSW countryside) to spend Christmas at my Mum's. Everything's slowing down at work - people are starting to leave - for the holidays I mean, although actually 3 people will be leaving for good at Christmas. All a precursor for the departures/redundancies early next year - they are either going to, or are expecting to go to other jobs in the new year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Party organising

It's been a very busy week so far, but I managed to fit in some yoga at lunchtime today - that was so nice!

Now I'm surrounded by lists of dishes to cook, things to buy, things to borrow, things to do, etc etc. I'm having a Christmas BBQ lunch this Sunday and it's suddenly rushing up on me! I keep inviting people and I should have stopped a little while ago I think! There won't be enough chairs now - oh well, people can sit on the floor if they need to sit!

I'm borrowing glasses from work and my cousin is bringing extra cutlery! I was going to borrow plates too but suddenly thought last night - really, with 20+ people coming, we can just have plastic plates and throw them away! The dishwasher would have to be going continuously otherwise!!

On Monday night I went to a friend's graduation ceremony. Then yesterday lunchtime was a big secret party for our boss whose birthday is next week but he'll be on holiday! We wanted to thank him for all he's done for us over the years, but particularly over the past few weeks/months with the big 'restructure' (aka getting rid of 75% of our group) that is going on. I told my Mum about how wonderful he's been, always doing the best for his staff, and she (an ex-army wife) said - well, he was in the army wasn't he (he was!) - an officer always looks after his 'men'! So very true ...

(I haven't blogged about all this yet and I think I'll still leave it for a while! Don't want to dwell on negativity when I'm not feeling like that at all! It will all come out soon - we've got till the end of February at the moment!)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Immune system gone missing!

Sigh! I checked with my GP the results of a blood test I had done recently (my specialist being overseas for a couple of weeks) and it appears that my immunoglobulin levels are seriously low. They are an essential part of one's immune system. Unfortunately that probably means that I can't get out of what he (the specialist) predicted I'd need to have - monthly 'infusions' of gamma-globulin for at least a year! Double sigh!

It all makes sense - in the last month or so I've been on antibiotics twice, and each time have been feeling great when I've been on them, but a few days after coming off, I'd start coughing at night again etc. I'm 10 days off antibiotics right now and am feeling OK in the daytime but coughing and having sore throats etc at night. My white blood count is down again too, but this is probably because they've having to do so much work fighting off infection.

Anyway, I've got a prescription for enough antibiotics now to last me till I see my specialist on the 17th December. And then we shall see what he has to say (as if I didn't know!)

Oh well - it could of course be a lot worse. And at least when I get back onto the antibiotics I'll start feeling better again, so that's good!


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