Wednesday, 31 January 2018

WOYWW 452

What’s On My Workdesk this Wednesday? A Crop-a-Dile!

05 Crop-a-Dile Big Bite Unboxed

Magnificent beast, isn’t he. He arrived yesterday morning. I wrote a blog post about him here. Any suggestions for a suitable name for him? He’s no wee timorous beastie, that’s for sure.

This was a staged photo taken just after I’d opened him. I’m afraid I can’t show you my desk proper this week because it is covered by my Mystery Project which has to remain Under Wraps till it’s completed. Sorry about that.

I can give you a sneak-peek of one bit, though, without giving anything away.

55 Page 6 Bottom Flap Mat Papers

This was some additions I made to some pieces of green patterned card in my stash which I didn’t much like (the piece underneath). I added some Forest Moss Distress Ink by smooshing the card through it on my craft mat, and then added some Broken China Distress Oxide, and finally distressed the edges with more Forest Moss, and a little Black Soot Distress Inks. I think this is an improvement. It was very wrinkly by the time I’d finished it, but I flattened it nicely with my craft iron, which I suddenly thought would do the job a lot more quickly than the heavy-books-overnight treatment.

My blog editing app seems to be working OK again! I didn’t do anything, so I’m not sure what’s been going on. I just hope it lasts.

Kittens

I’ve been so busy this week that I haven’t had time to edit my recent videos of Lily and Ruby, but I’ve got some photos.

They’ve both been incredibly wild and playful and now they are so big, they are careering about the place and nothing in their path is safe! When they wrestle they don’t seem to know their own strength and often make each other cry if they bite too hard! They are turning into two little adolescent hooligans. Lots of naughtiness which isn’t as sweet as it was when they were tiny (oooh how I miss that!) and my threats to sell them on Ebay if they don’t behave, fall on deaf ears. Ruby is far too busy and fidgety to enjoy a cuddle with Mummy at the moment, although they are both still cuddling up with my hubby while he’s still only semi-mobile.

They still suckle on the little black fluffy thing though, and like the babies they were when they first started doing that, they crash out, totally exhausted, after a heavy bout of play. I don’t think they realise how big they’ve got, because they still squash in together in the top section of the cat tree, but now, bits hang over the edge!

01 Squashed Together on Cat Tree 29-1-18

When a tail hangs down like this, you can lift it up and drop it, and it’s completely floppy and lifeless. We’ve never had such laid-back and relaxed kitties.

Lily got all wild up there yesterday evening and started rolling around, much to my alarm – it’s a long way to fall!

03 Lily Rolling Around on the Cat Tree 30-1-18

I know that all of us arty and crafty folk like to distress things. Years ago I bought a Tim Holtz distressing tool which roughens up the edges of card really nicely. I could have saved myself the money. Lily and Ruby do a far better job.

02 Cardboard Distressing 30-1-18

This is about two days’ work. Feline deconstructive art. Note the bits of cardboard all over the floor, too. I’m always sweeping up.

Health Update

I’ve got my second pre-assessment appointment on Friday, this time with the anaesthetist, when I am going to discuss with him my request for a PICC line to be inserted from the outset – I hope he will agree to this, so that I don’t have to go through that whole awful performance of every cannula failing, and my arms blowing up, and me not getting sufficient pain relief etc. etc. I ended up like a complete pincushion by the end of it, but got instant relief with the installation of the PICC. Here’s hoping.

I will probably get an operation date soon. It can’t come soon enough now. However, after my past experience with postponements, I shan’t believe it’s actually happening until the anaesthetic enters my system.

“Normal life” again – at least for a while

A small oasis of near normality till I have to go into hospital. Now that my hubby is so much more mobile, I’m getting my life back at last! We are back in a routine where he gets his own breakfast so I haven’t got to get up so early, and can have a more leisurely and restful early part of the day which suits me better – my internal clock is all haywire with the ME and I tend to stay up well into the small hours feeling wide awake and wired, and need time to get going in the mornings. He is also doing all the kitty feeding, just for now, and I will take back the lunch and supper feeding eventually.

I have started doing some cooking in readiness for when I go into hospital and for afterwards – I am making up some low residue dishes and over the next week I shall try and organise the freezer so that things are easy for my hubby to find. I am hoping not to be too long out of action this time, and hope to be doing the meals before too long, even if he has to carry and fetch for me for a while! I’ve also started putting things like shredless marmalade and white bread on the shopping list – I shall really miss my home-made brown bread and chunky marmalade, not to mention the huge quantities of fruit and veg I eat (mostly far too fibrous for Kermit to deal with after he’s been remade).

The greatest result of thing getting back to normal is that my creative mojo has returned big time, and I’m spending as much time as possible (never enough) in my studio. I just wish I could share with you what I’m up to…

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Unboxing my New Crop-a-Dile Big Bite

I’ve been bitten! At long last I have got my Crop-a-Dile. Years ago my hubby agreed to give me one for Christmas but somehow it never happened and I didn’t get a Christmas present from him that year! A Crop-a-Dile has been on my wish list for years and this week I finally got around to ordering one, and it arrived today.

The Crop-a-Dile Big Bite is a long-reach punch and eyelet setter which can reach right into the centre of a 12 x 12 piece of card. I thought it was a waste to get the regular Crop-a-Dile when the Big Bite will do this, and also perform as well as the regular one for holes/eyelets near the edge.

A ring at the doorbell and this arrived.

01 Parcel Arrives

I ordered it from a craft supplier called Craftelier, and I love their decorated parcel tape.

Opening the outer box, I found another box inside, and also this very attractive card from the company.

02 Inside the Outer Box

The packing note had a little gift attached with a piece of washi tape – a heart-shaped lolly! Nice touch.

04 Opening the Inner Box

Opening the inner box at last, which revealed my reptilian monster in all his glory. What a fabulous colour.

Here he is, standing proudly on my desk on top of his instruction manual.

05 Crop-a-Dile Big Bite Unboxed

This week I also ordered the plastic carrying case for the Crop-a-Dile big bite, from another supplier. This came yesterday, with a selection of eyelets in basic colours – you can buy extra ones in all colours on Ebay.

06 Crop-a-Dile Case

In order to fit the Crop-a-Dile into the box, you have to slide its feet off first.

Here he is, nestling in his box. You can see the eyelets in the compartments on the left, and his feet in the compartment on the right.

07 Ctrop-a-Dile in Case

Now, all I’ve got to do (apart from using him, of course!) is to decide on a name for him. Any suggestions?

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Pre-Assessment Appointment before my Hernia Repair

My parastomal hernia repair operation is now imminent. I had my pre-assessment appointment today, which took 1 3/4 hours.

To begin with I saw a HCA (health care assistant) who weighed and measured me, took my blood pressure and measured my blood oxygen level, took blood, did a MRSA swab, performed an ECG… the works! She also asked me a few questions.

After this, I returned to the waiting room and then a nurse called me in to another room, where we sat together at the computer and she went through a load of questions. I told her I had a list of things I wanted to ask, and she told me to do this first, and if I asked anything she would be covering anyway, she would tell me. This way everything got covered.

I told her that when I was in hospital last February, every cannula they inserted failed, because my veins are shot by the chemo, and eventually they put in a PICC line which saved a lot of trouble. I asked whether this could be done this time as well, from the outset, to save going through all that again. She noted it, and then suggested I saw the anaesthetist to discuss this and other matters direct – she made an appointment for me, which is tomorrow week, 2nd February.

We discussed my medical history and any special needs I have now, what provisions I have at home to make things easier for me when I am discharged (I have a stairlift, electric bed, mobility aids, etc.). We discussed the problems I have because of my ME – muscle weakness and fatigue, which makes sitting out of bed for any length of time post-op more difficult for me, and I asked that this should be noted, so that the ward staff were aware of it, and allowances could be made. I have had problems with this in the past.

She said the operation will probably take longer than two hours, and depending on how I am immediately afterwards, I may go to intensive care, or the high dependency unit, or straight onto the ward. She anticipates that I will be in for about four days but again, it will depend how things go and how I am.

We talked about pain management, and I mentioned the various procedures I had had before, and how successful they were – PCA (patient-controlled analgesia – morphine pump), and rectus sheath catheter infusions (local analgesia via fine lines inserted into the abdominal wall). I told her that my surgeon had warned me that I would experience some considerable discomfort in the early days until the swelling had subsided, because the hole in the mesh for the stoma is of a predetermined size, and initially the stoma and the surrounding area will be swollen. I am sure they will provide adequate pain relief, and she reminded me to tell someone as soon as I was experiencing pain and they would deal with it.

She gave me the usual Fresubin energy drinks to take home, ready to take on the day before my surgery – I hate these awful gloopy, sickly drinks but they do build you up in advance and give you a better recovery, so needs must! They will see me again next week when I return to see the anaesthetist, and in the meantime, if anything else comes to mind, I can always phone. One of two points she told me to refer to the stoma nurse, who I have to phone anyway once I get an admission date.

As usual, everyone is rooting for me, and I feel in very good hands.

My hubby’s health news

Today my hubby also had an appointment at the hospital, at the fracture clinic. The good news is that his broken leg has healed, so they removed the cast and put him in a boot, which he can walk on without the crutches, so he is mobile again! He is still using one crutch because he feels a bit wobbly, but over the next few days he will probably be fine. He has to wear this for a fortnight, and after that, he should be able to drive again, and most importantly, he will be OK to look after me when I come out of hospital.

Already things are easier, and he is managing to do things that I’ve had to do over the past couple of months. It has not been an easy time for either of us, and I have struggled with the stress of having to do a lot extra. I can deal with my normal day-to-day life, but during this time I have had to do a lot of things he would normally have done, and in addition I’ve had to do things to look after him. Also, Mum died in the middle of all this, so there’s been a huge amount to do associated with that, including a lot of work associated with her memorial service last week, which was a great success due to the combined effort of us all.  There are still things to do – I have more letters to write. My hubby is doing all the legal stuff which is a huge weight of my mind – with my ME brainfog, I find it very hard to get my head around this sort of stuff anyway, and with him being immobile, he’s been able to sit there and work through it all, making phone calls and emails and getting hold of the right documents and so on.

Gradually things are getting done on all fronts, and soon, hopefully this period of crisis and stress will be behind us. It’s been a very difficult time.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

I have been struggling all day trying to upload this blog post. I use Open Live Writer, a 3rd party blog editing application which normally works just fine, but every now and then Blogger plays silly-bloggers with it and it refuses to upload the post, particularly if it’s got photos in it. I did a test upload earlier and that went up fine, but after repeated attempts, this post will NOT upload, despite my trying all the usual fixes. I am now having to resort to the simply awful Blogger editor which messes up all the formatting so I apologise for the messy appearance. If I can get it working again later on, I’ll edit it and re-upload it. There were things I really wanted to do today and I feel I’ve achieved nothing. Earlier this evening I completely lost the plot again – just too much stress in my life at the moment.

At last I have something real in my studio to show you!


This week, for the first time for simply ages, I’ve been able to spend some time in there, working on a new (secret) project, for which I’ve made some backgrounds using my new Distress Oxides. I’ve had these for months but have only just been able to open them up and try them out. I love them.

As well as the Distress Oxides and the backgrounds, on the left of my desk you can see a pile of lace which I’ve pulled out of my stash. I am going to use some of this in the project too but haven’t yet decided which ones to use.

This is the first pair of Distress Oxide backgrounds.



Yesterday I made the second pair (I need two sets for the project).



I’m actually happier with the second pair, which are more interesting because I built up some layers a bit better.

I’m afraid I can’t show you the secret project until it is finished because the person it’s for sometimes visits my blog. Sorry to keep you in suspense but hopefully it won’t be for too long because I’d really like to get this project completed before I go into hospital.

Health Update
Tomorrow I have got my pre-assessment appointment at the hospital, in advance of my upcoming operation. It’s at 1.15 p.m. and could take up to two hours. I remember the one I had before my first operation – they were very thorough indeed, and by the time I eventually went in, they had everything set up for my particular needs – an airflow mattress and foot pumps to prevent DVTs etc. I have started making a list of things to mention, including asking for a PICC line from the outset, remembering what awful problems I had this time last year, when every single cannula failed (and I had quite a few!) because all my veins have been shot by the chemo.

I can’t get this operation done soon enough now. Things have gone from bad to worse recently and I am now changing my stoma bag every day (and on a couple of days last week, twice in one day) as the stoma keeps retracting and causing seepage which produces skin damage. I have also had several days when I’ve felt very uncomfortable, with some pain and quite a bit of irritation and discomfort, and I am conscious of it most of the time now, whereas in 2016 when everything was absolutely fine until I developed the hernia, I could forget all about it most of the time.

My hubby has an appointment at the fracture clinic in the morning. We are hoping that they will be pleased with him and possibly even take the plaster off.

Mum’s Memorial Service
Last Thursday was Mum’s memorial service, and it all went very well. My hubby was very naughty with his broken leg and on several occasions I saw him walking on it without the crutches – he was told last time at the fracture clinic that he could put partial pressure on it, but NOT that he could walk on it!!! I really told him off and got shouted at for being “bossy” – I told him that if he jiggered that leg and we had to go back to square one again, he wouldn’t be out of plaster by the time I had my operation and then we’d really be up the creek without a paddle. My surgeon has told me that I am on his “urgent” list and this can’t be delayed much longer.

Anyway, we all contributed our various “bits” for the service and my singing went well – I got some very nice feedback afterwards, and it really meant a lot from two people who are both accomplished singers with a lot of inside knowledge of vocal technique etc. (one is professional). The organist from our church came and accompanied me, and played the hymns during the service, and he and I are planning to do it again in our church at Easter, if I am in a fit state after surgery!

I kept my piece about Mum fairly short and light, and made them all laugh when I recounted all the funny things Mum used to say! When we were growing up, she would often ask, “Are you wearing a vest?” (She was still asking me this when I was 40… lol!) and how she would never want a whole one of anything, so when the four of us went on a picnic, she would buy three Mars bars because she didn’t want a whole one, which of course meant that nobody else got a whole one either! She always used to mix up her metaphors and came out with hilarious malapropisms, for example, “This home-made wine has a lot of sedative at the bottom,” and “these shoes fit like gloves.” Once, she said, “I couldn’t do that, not by a long cheese,” and my favourite was when I was just starting out in adult life and not sure what I wanted to do, and she said, “It’s high time you settled down and got your teeth into something concrete!” Ouch!!!

I made a display on a table at the side, with a lot of her favourite things – some special books, photos, her binoculars for bird watching, a favourite hat… We put the portrait of her in her WW2 Women’s Land Army uniform on an easel, and I found her music college graduation certificate and some favourite music books.

Throughout the service there were musical interludes which I’d put on a CD – favourite Schubert songs, a Chopin Etude played by Alfred Brendel, her favourite pianist, a song by Thomas Arne which she always used to sing at our annual musical weekends, and some madrigals. One of the hymns we chose was the popular harvest festival hymn, “We plough the fields and scatter…” – an inspirational choice by my hubby, to celebrate Mum’s Land Army days, which were such an important part of her life. He also read a lovely poem about Land Girls and the service they provided this country while all the men were away fighting.

Afterwards we all gathered at the back of the church for sandwiches and cake. I was thrilled to see all my cousins there – one had only returned from Australia the day before and was still jet-lagged! People had come from as far away as Yorkshire, the other end of the country, and the little church was full. We all felt that it was a happy and uplifting occasion, and we came away satisfied with a job well done.

My hubby is continuing, in his immobile state, to deal with all the paperwork associated with Mum’s death. Now the service is over, and he’s done most of the work required by the solicitor, and hopefully his leg is on the mend, we may be working towards getting our normal life back! I’ve no idea when my operation will be, or how long it will take for me to recover, but at least we are moving in the right general direction on all fronts now, and we can see some light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel over the past couple of months.

Kittens
Today, our babies are eight months old! Can you believe it? I can’t. How fast time flies, and how much they have grown in the time we’ve had them.

Early days (9 weeks):



and now:





They are still extremely playful and naughty. The other morning I came down to find this:





Lily had knocked over the kitten food box and pulled the pouches out and managed to open one and eat half the contents!!! She is very bright, and remembered that box was the source of all that deliciousness, and despite not being able to smell anything through the sealed pouch, she showed great determination in opening it! The open box of pouches is now being kept in the cupboard. Hmmm.

Test blog post

Having problems publishing a post to Blogger using Open Live Writer. Am getting error message: “Can’t publish files. The remote server returned an error: (500) Internal Server Error.”

Monday, 22 January 2018

Breaking Out my Distress Oxides

Today I actually opened my new Distress Oxides! I can hardly call them “new,” actually – I bought them months ago but haven’t had a chance to try them until now.

I made two background sheets for a project I am working on at the moment – sorry I can’t be more forthcoming about that, but it’s got to be kept secret for now.

23 Distress Oxide Backgrounds

At the top is a mixture of Cracked Pistachio, Broken China and Faded Jeans, and at the bottom, Spiced Marmalade, Fossilised Amber and Fired Brick, with a little Peeled Paint all over. I used a combination of smooshing on my craft sheet and blending directly on the cardstock and then spritzing. I am quite pleased with the result but it doesn’t look quite as good as some people’s that I’ve seen online. Perhaps I need to practise more!

They are now under a pile of heavy books to try and flatten out the wrinkles a bit.

It is such a joy being back in my studio again…

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Hospital Appointment

This morning I had my long-awaited hospital appointment to see my specialist colorectal surgeon. I had been promised an appointment before the end of the year, but this was not forthcoming – the whole system in the NHS is in a mess at the moment…

I was becoming increasingly concerned about the state of my parastomal hernia and anxious that it might cause another obstruction, as it did this time last year. This led to an emergency operation performed by a general surgeon who was not qualified to do more than a simple sutured repair of the hernia, and I knew that such repairs had a 100% failure rate. Mine did not even last the year, and my last CT scan in August revealed that the hernia had returned and was “substantial.” When I saw the surgeon before that, he discussed with me various options for repairing it should it become necessary, but nothing was decided at the time as a scan was needed first.

Today, he examined me and said that it was quite large, and he could feel the intestine quite easily. He reassured me that large hernias are less likely to cause obstructions than small ones which tend to be more restricted, and this has set my mind at rest somewhat.

He said the time had definitely come for something to be done about it, and he is going to book me in for an “urgent repair.” This is not emergency surgery, but will presumably take priority over more routine operations. I am hoping it will take place in February rather than March, but we shall have to see what is available.

He described in more detail how he will approach it. As he suggested in the summer, it would be preferable to enter at the stoma site, rather than opening up my whole abdomen yet again – this will be less traumatic for me, and will reduce the risk of causing further adhesions. He will need to enlarge the stoma wound, and also make two horizontal incisions, one on each side, to give him better access, and he will perform a sublay insertion of  biological mesh. Biological mesh (i.e. created from organic material such as pigskin) is generally thought to be superior to synthetic mesh and carries a lower risk of infection, although it is considerably more expensive. The sublay technique means that the mesh will be inserted between the muscle layers of the abdominal wall, as opposed to above all layers (higher rate of recurrence) and underneath all layers (can cause problems being in contact with internal organs).

I found this very interesting article online, which covers all the options for this kind of surgery, and the associated risks of infection, recurrence, etc.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4226750/

He said that in view of my M.E. and the weak state of my muscles, he will need to insert quite a large piece of mesh to ensure adequate support.

He warned me that because the aperture in the mesh through which the small intestine will pass in order to form the stoma will be quite tight, initially post-operatively, I will experience some discomfort until the swelling and bruising subsides. I can live with this if it means a secure and long-lasting repair in the long-term.

Also, because he will need to make additional incisions in order to gain better access, management of the stoma post-operatively may be somewhat problematic because I shall still need to attach the bag and the adhesive will be in contact with these wounds. The stoma nurse said that they would be monitoring this while I am in hospital, and will advise me on the most suitable products. The products I currently use will most likely have to be changed afterwards, and it will be like starting again with a new stoma, but at least I now have nearly three years’ experience behind me of how to manage various problems, and the whole idea doesn’t freak me out as much as it did initially!

I am very glad that this decision has now been made, and that we are definitely going ahead with a proper repair. The stoma nurse told me afterwards that my surgeon is very expert in this kind of repair, and I told her that I was very happy to put myself in his hands as he knows me, and my particular needs associated with my M.E. and so on.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

WOYWW 449

Yet again, yet again… Still no change on Shoshi’s desk! Still, we have been up to our eyes in other stuff to do, and art has to take a back seat for now.

We are making progress with arrangements following Mum’s death. We are having the memorial service for her on 18th Jan. and I have now completed designing the order of service booklet, which is now with the printers. I am very pleased with how it turned out – not only have a added lots of lovely photos, but I have put in little pictures in the various bits of white space, of things that Mum loved – birds, spring lambs, cherry blossom. It looks really pretty!

My hubby and I have worked out approximately how many people will attend, and he’s booked the caterers for afterwards. As we did with Dad, we will have a cream tea at the back of the church after the service.

I am in the process of compiling a CD of her favourite pieces of music, some of which will be played during the service, and some before, and others afterwards while we are having the refreshments. I have also been practising my singing. I managed to source a transposed version of “I know that my Redeemer liveth” in D major rather than E major, because I find those top G-sharps a pretty tall order these days! I have had a practice session with the organist and it went well.

My hubby has made use of his enforced immobility and has been making good progress by phone and email, dealing with the solicitor and sorting paperwork to do with Mum’s affairs, while I have been cooking and looking after him and trying to keep on top of everything I’ve got to do!

I am starting to get replies to all the letters I sent out as I worked my way through Mum’s address book, and I have had such lovely letters! Everyone has such nice things to say, and each one has different reminiscences about Mum, and about Dad too, some of which I knew nothing about, and others have revived happy memories. I shall treasure all the letters for ever.

Kitties

The kittens are so enjoying having my hubby in there with them all the time in the flat, and while the weather has been so cold, they have loved cuddling up with him.

06 Sleeping on Daddy's Leg 6-1-18

An armful of kitties!

09 An Armful of Kitties 6-1-18

Lily squashing her tail. She gets so relaxed that you can lift her tail up and drop it, and it hangs completely limp.

10 Lily Squashing her Tail 8-1-18

Somehow she managed to worm her way inside my hubby’s bag when it was fastened closed.

07 Lily in Daddy's Bag 6-1-18

He wasn’t best pleased to find that she had chewed the papers that were inside! I told him anything was fair game, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether you try and protect stuff or not – if they want it, they will get it! The stuff we find on the floor in the mornings… We’ve learnt to take a lot of stuff out each night when we go to bed.

Ruby’s favourite position is sleeping on top of her sister. Lily is so laid back that she doesn’t seem to notice.

11 Ruby Sleeping on top of Lily 9-1-18

Health Update

I have got my appointment at the hospital tomorrow, and it can’t come soon enough now. I am sure the surgeon will agree to go ahead and do the operation now. I have been getting more and more problems, and recently Kermit, my stoma, has started retracting periodically, and causing major problems, and it seems that everything in that area is unstable and in a state of flux.

A couple of days ago the stoma nurse phoned me and asked me to come in and see them, because they are now doing an annual review of all their patients to check on the products they use. Apparently if you change what you are using, maybe to another brand, or you stop using a particular product, the GPs aren’t always very good at keeping their records up to date, and the nurse said that mine had a list as long as your arm, most of which I haven’t used for ages! The idea of the annual review is to prevent over-ordering and wastage, which sounds sensible. I just hope they aren’t going to tell me I don’t need this or that, because I do know what I need! Anyway, I told her about our current situation with my hubby being unable to drive me etc., and told her I was due to come in on Thurs. anyway to see the surgeon (it’s in the same department, colorectal outpatients) and she said she’d fit me in before I see him, which saves another trip.

I should know more after Thursday. Hopefully it won’t be too long before my hernia gets fixed. Once we’ve got the memorial service out of the way, there won’t be so much for me to do, and when my hubby has had his next appointment at the fracture clinic towards the end of the month we should know more, and how much longer he’s likely to be in plaster, and then once I’ve had my operation things should at last start to settle down again. I just hope they don’t keep me waiting too long.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

WOYWW 448

The start of another year! Where on earth did the last one go… Anyway, to see what Shoshi did, see my previous (very long!) post reviewing the past year. What a rollercoaster it was.

Anyway, what’s on my desk?

06 Derwemt Graphik Line Painters

My Christmas present from my hubby! A complete set of Derwent Graphik Line Painter pens. Now I’ve just got to find the time and energy to use them.

It really is my ambition this year to get stuck back into art again. I’ve got so many ideas and things I want to play with. However, it will have to wait until after Mum’s memorial service because I’ve got a lot of work to do for that, finalising the details with my hubby and then designing and printing the service booklets. I’ve already made a start but there’s quite a bit to do still. Also, I need to knuckle down and practise my singing so that I am ready to sing “I know that my Redeemer liveth” at the service. I found a wonderful website where I could purchase it as digital sheet music, transposed down a tone so that I don’t have to struggle with top G-sharps! I have also downloaded their app which enables me to listen to it as well as read it, so I’ve now got the accompaniment in D-major to practise with. Then I’ve got to get together with the organist to practise for real.

My poor studio is a dust-gathering dumping ground. I need to do some major tidying before I can work in there.

I also need to finish my socks for the homeless.

I still have a load of letters to write about Mum, and post-Christmas, and I’m still looking after my hubby with his broken leg.

He went to the fracture clinic on Friday and they are happy with him. They will see him again in a month, when they will decide if it needs pinning after all, but it will probably heal OK on its own. So we’ve got at least another month of this, and after that, all being well, they will put some sort of walking plaster on it which will make him a bit more mobile, but it’s going to be ages before he’s driving again.

At last I have an appointment to see the surgeon about my parastomal hernia – I am seeing him on 11th Jan. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with it and can’t wait for a decision to get it fixed once and for all. This has been going on for far too long.

The kittens, now 7 months old, are getting so big, and they are very lively and naughty! It’s a nuisance not being able to let them have the run of the house because of all the visitors dropping in at all hours and we can’t risk the kittens escaping outside.

05 Ruby Giving Lily a Hug

I love how they have their favourite little things to do. Ruby is much more of a baby than Lily and is more mischievous and playful, and she’s always rushing under the plastic sheet that the litter tray stands on – I think she likes the sound it makes! Lily never does this. Also, over the past couple of weeks, Ruby has discovered that it’s really fun to walk around the back of the wooden armchair – the difficult way!

04 Ruby Walking on Back of Chair

She falls off sometimes but it doesn’t deter her. On this photo, you can see what I call her “dirty sock” – that little grey spot on her right sock! She’s such a funny little thing.

It appears that Lily has taken over Beatrice’s role as our resident Computer Queen. She’s always messing about on my hubby’s laptop, and the other day he found her watching a Youtube video she’d selected, entitled “Snipers Firefight with the Taliban.” Not exactly my personal viewing choice, but each to their own!!

Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s hope it’s a good one.

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