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Progress?

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

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Today I finished the rag rug for my daughter – just in time really as she is moving out at the end of the week. She’s thrilled with it and I’m happy to be giving her something cheerful and practical – and of course because I used a whole load of old fabrics up in the process.

(Lots of people asked me about finishing off the rug and how I would weave it with the nails at the end of the frame in the way – the answer was a large crochet hook and a bit of perseverence – it was perfectly do-able!).

I realised today that I’ve been so wound up with the issues relating to my mother that I have given daughter moving out hardly any thought at all. She is so eminently sensible and so clearly ready to go – not to mention that she will be living with two boys she has known well for years and it will save her a three hour commute – but truth be told, I shall miss her terribly. She has never been the slightest bother and is positively helpful and good company. I’m sure she will at least come home frequently – to watch Strictly Come Dancing or Call the Midwife if for no other reason – but it is still A BIG THING. Maybe daughter number two being away at school in England makes it seem less of a change because daughter number one will still be in the same country, but I have just realised that she will not be coming home in the holidays unless it is to babysit the cat when we are away….gulp.

There are too many things changing at the moment and it’s making me feel a bit all at sea.

On the mother front it is one step forward and one step back – I’m now (following Lind’s advice) checking out powers of attorney and have realised that although I have one for property and financial affairs I don’t have one for heath and welfare. When I did the first one a couple of years ago it would have been nice if the solicitor had alerted my to the fact that the latter even existed and we could have taken care of that at the same time…oh well, we didn’t and I shall just have to get on with it.

Mother now tells me she wants to look at sheltered accommodation near where she lives. I tell her that this is a home, and that was what she always said she didn’t want, but she seems very swayed by wanting to stay in an area she knows. I am concerned that if she doesn’t have to look after herself at all she will very quickly decline mentally. The other place I looked at (so lovely that I would happily live there myself) would require independent living at least to some extent – which I see as a positive and was what she always wanted, but I’m now wracked with doubts and agree to leave making a downpayment until tomorrow after she has visited the home in question. I honestly think that by tomorrow she will have forgotten all about it and that I should probably just make the necessary decisions and stop giving her any leeway in the matter…

I’m normally a very decisive person, but I’m scared to opt for independent living only to find in 6 months time that she has dementia and have to move her again. Of course the GP whose advice I have sought has not bothered to reply to my email…

I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. God give me strength.

More later

Helen

Difficult Decisions…

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

The last few weeks haven’t been very easy ones for me. There have been some issues with my mother, who is 87 and lives all alone in England – where we have no family left and she has no friends. So when I say alone, I mean really alone….

There have been falls, collapses, failing memory and not eating enough – but the vagaries of old age mean than mum can’t see or remember any of those things (which may just, for her at least, be an advantage) and so sees no reason to change anything in her life – least of all living in the house she’s been in since about 1957.

Truth be told, I’m worried sick and am now in the awful situation of having to make a decision for her that she doesn’t want made. Its weighing up safety and food and companionship (the latter two of which I think may probably significantly improve the memory situation) against a hatred of change. We are talking about the lady who hasn’t changed anything (or I should add, thrown anything away) since about 1982. The lady who has failed to move with changes in the world in any way whatsoever and for whom even wearing a sweater that isn’t beige is anathema…

I’m sure you see my dilemma. Making a decision which the party affected by the decision isn’t going to like. Which potentially could make her unhappy, although I doubt that, she isn’t really the unhappy type, more the placid content type. But it is going to mean change for someone who doesn’t like change.

I’m going for a flat in a very nice retirement development – where there is support if needed and meals, but otherwise where the old dears live independently. It has to be better than a home, right?

Now we have to address the issue of how exactly we do this when I live a thousand miles away….

Wish me luck folks. I’m certainly going to need it!

Helen

A rag rug and a technologically challenging time

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

I know you think I’ve just been skiving off, hanging around, watching tv and doing not very much of anything at all. But you’d be wrong….

Actually I’ve had things to show you for a week or two, but I’ve just survived that nightmare scenario – the death of the laptop, which I can assure you IS worse than losing your handbag.

I had already had an inkling that death might be nigh and had bought myself a new laptop at the beginning of January, but then all those ominous and incomprehensible things like file transfers and setting up things so that my laptop and phone would synch (note newly acquired tech speak!) all seemed just a little too much to contemplate. When I eventually girded my loins and was brave enough to take a stab at things, of course, you’ve guessed it, it  didn’t work at all. I finally contacted apple support because I realised I was way out of my depth….and had to book a phone call a week in advance. The phone call came and as I started to discuss the problem with the very helpful (but fast German talking) apple support lady not only did the old laptop succumb to the black screen of death, but the house phone died too….

Reader I was left on my own.

I then decided that all this stuff couldn’t be ALL that difficult, could it? So employing a combination of female logic and trial and error I have sorted it all out. I dragged documents back from the time capsule, I found things on my phone and copied the set-up, I read websites and looked at youtube.

And reader it works (although I still haven’t retrieved my old emails).

I had to sit down at this point and I’m still actually in shock that I managed everything.

All of which proves that you can in fact teach an old dog new tricks – but only if she is an old lady dog. I do not believe that my husband could have done this (but I’m saying that very quietly so he can’t hear me – three years on, he still doesn’t have email on his computer at home….).

So here I am, back in action again.

And this is what I’ve been up to…

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A rag rug made of the ugliest fabrics I could find, for eldest daughter to take away with her when she moves out in three weeks time. Beauty out of ugliness. This truly is a weekend of miracles, if I say so myself! (OK, I realise that the photo resizing may still need a little tweaking – but I’m getting there!)

On that happy note I shall leave you and return to my weaving.

More soon,

Helen

A winter wonderland and a bit of crafty pottering

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

 

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It snowed quite a bit overnight and we woke to a winter wonderland here on the hill. Unfortunately we had overslept so I just had time to snatch this photo before I whizzed off to the airport to put my husband on a flight to Asia….. I’m still managing to appreciate the little things in life and this beautiful morning was certainly worth taking pleasure in. The photo doesn’t really do justice to the hint of pink in the sky, but believe me, it was breathtaking!

Last week we found out that daughter no. 1, who is studying in Zürich, has finally found an apartment and will be moving out in the next month. She currently has a truly horrible commute (up to 3 hours a day) and a very heavy lecture load – and let’s face it, living at home with mom and dad isn’t really what being a student is all about. I’ll miss her a lot, but she’s ready to fly and I’m not going to get in her way.

What’s a mother to do?

Make a rag rug for her to use in her new bathroom – that’s what….

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So this afternoon I’m happily chopping my way through a big pile of ancient ugly fabrics – and so far so good – it’s the best way I know to use up lots of old stash and as if by magic the ugly fabrics (and believe me, this lot are really bad!) are transformed into something lovely…and useful to boot!

Just to cement my high achiever status I finished piecing a lap quilt using charm squares and a jelly roll of Moda’s Winter’s Lane. This is fabric from last year or the year before and there’s something about it that really makes me think of my Japan trip last January….

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If anyone out there is sitting on a nice piece of Winter’s Lane yardage that they would like to sell me to back this with, please do let me know!

So that’s all for now. I have a decadent week ahead of me, with the motto ‘the cat’s away so the mouse will play’ – I think I’m out having fun every night this week….what’s the world coming too? By next weekend I will be a walking zombie!

Best wishes to all,

Helen

 

A new year starts

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

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Happy new year everyone! I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and have made as we say here ‘en guete Rutsch’ (literally: a good slide).

It’s a beautiful day here – clear blue skies and wonderful snow, so as was to be expected, we have hit the slopes. I am just starting to feel the first inklings of slowing down…..I’m not racing down the piste anymore (too many broken bones in the past) and now it’s more a case of getting myself safely down the (not too scary) slopes and admiring the scenery. Notably we are near to being the oldest in the gondola on the way up….just when did that happen?

During my gentle skiing and waiting in line for lifts today I have been pondering the year ahead. Invariably I come up with the same new year’s resolutions as every year: lose weight, get fitter, live a simpler life….the first two are even more necessary than usual as the beta blockers I now take to counteract my migraines (very successfully) seem to have slowed my metabolism as well as making running a big headache and the pounds have piled on….(did I mention I felt like an overstuffed sausage in my bright tomato ski suit – which I only bought in September….?)

I’m planning to create more, sleep more, blog more and focus more, which all adds up to living more and doing more of the things that make me happy. Life is there to be lived….I could do with a few more hours in the day and I’m going to find some of them by stopping working overtime at work (which isn’t paid anyway) and also using my lunch hour to go to a gym and do some exercise…

My biggest aim for the year though is to get my almost 88 year old mother moved into sheltered accommodation in England. She’s finally showed willingness to go and that is going to be a huge task and a not inconsiderable logistical headache…but I’ll take one day at a time and see where we get.

So watch this space in the year ahead….maybe I’ll do better with the resolutions this year than I have in the past!

Have a good one!

Helen