Tuesday, 14 February 2012



It's February and my birthday is at the end of this week. It's time for a fresh start. A time to take stock, and a time to look forward.

My father-in-law sadly passed away recently. The funeral was held in Scotland last week. And my husband has started to make preparations for retirement ( in 2 years time !! ) handing in his notice this last week or so. My daughter has been offered a place at Edinburgh University in September - they're the last university on her list to reply, and up to this point I had thought she would be just a stones throw away in Leeds. ( I fully expected her to be made an offer from Edinbrugh, but didn't want to think about it and put bad luck on it.)  So it's a time of endings, and a time of beginnings.  I'm finding it a bit overwhelming if I'm honest.  I've reacted more strongly to it all than I expected,  I'm feeling as ancient as Methuselah and thinking of my own life folding inwards. But my excuse is that it's all come at once. It's not been the best Christmas - with father- in-law in hospital and going downhill - (his passing was expected, and he was 94 the day we buried him ) but we've sadly come to expect difficult Christmases. It just seems we've had a bad run of them over the last few years.  I think looking forwards I just have to say that the only way is up. Upwards and onwards.

So, on a positive note I have much to look forward to .
  • I've just paid my subs for my allotment. I've been down to survey the damage of a few months of neglect and it's not as bad as I thought. I'm planning on getting down there after half term to start tidying it up and my gardening friends have volunteered to come and help me in March. I'm now planning what to put in and will devote a post in the future to it. And as I got a camera for Christmas you can look forward to some photo's - with a little help from my daughter in figuring out how to include them !
  • I'm going to Paris !!!! With my daughter. It's a joint birthday present for us both from my husband.  I've not been properly abroad since our honeymoon so I'm a little trepidatious . It's the language that worries me a little , but my daughter has a smattering so I'm hoping we'll manage.  I'm really excited. I was forced by my family to look to the future and apply for a passport last year - I found the whole thing really stressful as the desire for travel is something I put in a box a long time ago. Coupled that with my oncologist warning me about travelling when I was diagnosed. I kissed goodbye to the hope of travel completely at that time, so opening the box was very painful, particularly as it felt like a leap of faith into the future. But I booked a 3 night break yesterday and I'm really excited about it. It would have been better to book ahead - it's ridiculously expensive !! - but we couldn't plan ahead as we've been living day to day since the end of november when my father-in-law was hospitalised. I think we'll have a great time. I'm just worried that after this I'll want to get out there and travel the world ! I think my husband is too. His idea of a holiday is definitely not a city break.
  • I've enrolled on a dressmaking and pattern cutting course. I am really excited about this. I think all the stuff that's going on in my life has led me to it. I'm feeling ancient and washed up. My husband's retiring, my father-in-law's gone before me ( and I was certain the old coot would outlive me !!) , and my daughter's off to start her life in Scotland. I'm feeling ancient and ugly. I can cover up in the day. Put on my hair and my eyes, my makeup and my boob. I can look great by day. But at night the crone cannot be denied. I'm as ugly as sin, and lopsided to boot. So I'm determined to make a nice nightie that won't make me feel like Quasimodo. And to have that I'm going to have to make it myself. If you look in the fashion magazines peplums are making an appearance this year on clothes and they can hide a multitude of sins. I've also noticed and been interested in the work of some Japanese designers over the years who are designing clothes with a very strong architectural feel. Their clothes are very structured and the fabric takes on a life of its own. I'm hoping to incorporate their ideas into a few nighties for the mastectomally challenged. This may sound a little project to you, but I can assure you it's not. I have found 2 nighties on the Internet in the five years I've been looking, and 2 in catalogues. But they've all been pocketed. In those nighties the bodice has to be tight fitting so that the prosthesis sits properly, but not only do you want something loose for night so that the lymph in that area can flow, but the bodice can still move around when you sleep. I tried pocketing a nightie, but on waking in the morning and sitting up I looked incredibly peculiar with humps and lumps where they shouldn't be -the pocket having curved around my body. So I'm on the quest of the perfect mastectomy nightie. And that fills me with more excitement than you can imagine.  There's Hope !!   Perhaps I don't have to look so bad first thing every morning when I walk past my mirrored closets, and stare in the bathroom mirror above the sink. There's just no getting away from how I look on a morning! I've been fine with this for 5 years now . Let's face it, it beats the alternative. But I've been more bothered than I can say since December. And I know that it's to do with the 5 year anniversary marking a minor miracle of survival, and also with father-in-law's , husband's, and daughters plans. I know it's about being overwhelmed because it's suddenly a really big issue for me. So I'm taking positive steps. I'm taking the bull by the horns. I'm getting off my butt and doing something about it. And I'm even considering doing a foundation degree in fashion to that end. Part-time of course, and done locally.  But I'm considering it - finances allowing. It would be nice to have a big project for when I have uninterupted time without having to run around after my daughter and before my huband stays home and dominates my life. I secretly ( is it still a secret after you post on a blog ?1? ) think I should have something which occupies my time and gets me out of the house in place before said husband retires. I've given my family my time whenever they are around in the past, but I can't maintain that. I had been hoping to enjoy the next year when Rosie goes to University to travel the country visiting galleries and cities I've not seen unencumbered by time restraints and domestic duties. Finances won't stretch to that now, so I need to think of something else. Working is out as no employer in his right mind would employ someone with my diagnosis, so perhaps this project will fit my bill. Here's hoping. But, it's one step at a time. I'm going to see how ten weeks of pattern making and construction feels. Starts next Tuesday.!!
So I'm making a fresh start in this next year. These are exciting times. I just have to keep looking forwards with optimism. Concentrating on my positive future opportunities certainly feels a lot better than thinking about past difficulties and regrets. I just need to pace myself as I have come very close to being overwhelmed. but I haven't capsized yet ! I think being positive and proactive is the only way for me right now. Off to pick up my tickets for Paris now. Will hopefully have pictures for my blog next time !! 

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