Nothing is easy………

Aright, I know that it takes time to recover from surgery and that you need to take it easy blah, blah, blah. But, out here in Port Orchard it is trying to be spring and I have vowed to get my garden whipped into shape this year. The thing is I seem to be having a spot of trouble with my left arm. Do you remember I had that axillary cording business after the mastectomy? Well something similar seems to be happening again. I don’t know if when I had this last surgery the surgeon somehow pulled something tight again. I don’t have the cording that shows like guitar strings down my arm but I am experiencing pain when I stretch out my arm. Still, I am not going back to physical therapy as I think I can just work it out myself.After two years of hospitals I now avoid going as much as possible, you understand.The rest of me seems to be healing ok, those long scars are looking much better now.

Back to spring in the garden. I decided to hire myself a little muscle. Yes well, I can’t call Dave exactly muscle-bound (He;s more on the small wiry side) but he is helping me for a couple of hours a week to do some of the more strenuous tasks that need doing.After fifteen years of marriage, I think I know my husband is never going to come around to loving days spent at one with the dirt, so I took matters into my own hands and advertised in the local paper. We have now successfully redone the compost bins (with the help of Peter after all) and I am full of good intentions to keep then in tip-top shape and that compost turned and used. I mean I have the chickens and they freely give of their eggs and their….poop! So I need compost bins. I now have three for compost and one for leaf mold. Something my brother (the real gardener in the family) swears by. If you don’t know about it click on the link above, this is what we sould be doing with our leaves insead of blowing them all over the place.IMG_3373I also managed to plant a few brussels and red cabbages in the newly weeded raised bed. Oh, this is going to be a great year for the veggies. Gosh mabe I’ll start a gardening blog!IMG_3375


Living in the Pacific Northwest…the good and the bad

First off, I am pleased to report my new boobs have been inspected at a post, post surgery appointment last week.I had one little stitch that had worked it’s way to the surface and felt sort of like a stiff whisker… had to come out. I did have a go myself but pulling stitches out yourself is beyond creepy. I am not sure how much longer this tight feeling will last,’m pretty used to it now, but it is always there. I am told to massage them vigorously every day with oil, but I have a feeling they will never be perfectly symmetrical  and that’s ok. I call them my Barbie boobs because she didn’t have nipples either.

This is the bad part of living in a wooden house in a place that has lots of rain. My beautiful orange bathroom looks like this at present.Yes, I know,scary isn’t it? Apparently, when we had the new windows put in, twelve years ago, this one was not sealed right and no flashing was installed. So, for the past dozen years it’s been a steady drip, drip, drip! Grrrr, how I hate the bloody rain sometimes, that and shoddy workmanship. This all means more and more bills to pay, oh enough of this let’s have a look at why living here is so great.A visit to the beautiful Lake Crescent last weekend with our friend Julie. The rain stopped for a day and it was magnificent.I mean honestly, this lake is stunning at anytime of year, but, with a low lying mist….mmm, so atmospheric. I felt as if I might be standing on the edge of a Scottish loch.This was just a cool shot as the sun popped out for a minute.A walk into the old growth rain forest. Trees with green hair…..fantastic. You expect a dinosaur to come tromping out at any minute.But, no, these were the only wee beasties we encountered.There was a big buck with them and we were a little tentative that he might come charging at us to protect his girls.If I had to choose between a leaky house (oh,did I mention we have one in the living room too) and not being close to this much beauty. I’ll take the leaks because it is so worth it. Hope it’s not too soggy where you are. If the weather is getting you down today, remember there is a turkey coming soon….YUM!

Cake update, award shows and work

First off, I have to tell a little tail on the continuing saga of the Christmas cake. She’s fine by the way, tucked away in her huge tin in the front cupboard. No this is about the next time I used the oven after her (not sure why it’s a girl, probably because she’s so fruity} baking. I noticed very quickly after turning on the oven that a bit of smoke was whisping out of the back vent. On opening the oven door….billowing, choking, kitchen engulfing smoke. “What the???” Turn off oven and inspect. The problem was a large pool of liquid on the oven floor. Now this is just a guess but, I think it might have been bourbon overload spillage, so, be warned.

I think I have told you how happy I am  to be able to watch some British TV on my lap top now. So, the other day when I was mopping my floors, no, I mean resting up before going back to work. I found an awards show that was called  The Pride of Britain awards show, so, I thought that would be good to have on in the background whilst I mopped, sorry rested. I love award shows with all the celebrities in their posh frocks and evening garb and to all intense and purpose that is what it seemed to be, untill I saw the first recipient. A nine-year old little girl who had pushed her younger sister out of harms way when a mad old woman put her car into reverse by mistake and mounted the pavement, crushing this little girls leg. The award was presented by her favorite pop star. The next award went to an elderly couple (and I mean in their late eighties) who raise money for charities by doing crazy stunts like abseiling off a twenty storey building …….What! I couldn’t do that. Oh, another of their fund-raisers was to sleep on beds of nails. Alright by this time I am on the couch with a box of kleenex. The whole show was about people who have done amazing things for their fellow man. The beautiful young woman who is dying from Hodgkin’s lymphoma who has single-handedly increased the amount of people on the bone marrow registry by hundreds of thousands. She was so beautiful, a frail elfin with parchment thin skin and a huge smile. I was a goner. What a fantastic idea for an awards show. Why don’t we have one in American? I don’t know about you lot but, I for one am sick and tired of hearing about all the negative shit on TV (don’t even get me started on about this election) This award show makes you want to go out and help someone not bash them over the head with a rolling pin.

Back to work this week. First day… problem. Second day……bit sore. By yesterday I was exhausted and feeling a bit beat up but have the whole weekend to rest up and maybe do a bit more knitting. I just made these baby booties in three sizes, for a friend at work, quite pleased with myself and a great way to use up that leftover sock yarn I can’t ever seem to thow away.

Goodbye drains….

Finally got rid of those pesky surgical drains, honestly they were quite uncomfortable, also the stitches (nice and neat as they were) have gone also, I took my first total immersion bath yesterday…..aaah heaven! The first day I came home from the hospital and really I’m not sure you should take my behavior as a  good thing. I thew up twice before I got home because the anaesthetic had not really worn off and I found two spots on my stitch line s that were, well, not to be too graphic, oozing a little blood. I used a couple of those butterfly band-aids and they worked a treat. I am feeling happy to be through this and have dispensed with the narcotics now that I am feeling so good. For me, the hard part is remembering not to lift things that weigh more than 10 lbs, it’s pretty unrealistic , even wet laundry weighs more than that, but I am trying. I will be back at work this coming week so get your holiday cuts and colors booked.

The cake progresses
First big challenge was constructing this……two layers of parchment with a pleated bottom if you please, took me a good half hour.Took liberty and added extra lemon rind because I love it.Now it did seem that to combine all these ingredients into that little cake pan would be imposible……but.HEY PRESTO! It all fit inside. I did have to cut down that parchment paper a bit, I mean, how silly does that look?Right, here it is then. All ready to get tucked away in a big tin for a couple of weeks. Smells divine and weighs a bloomin’ ton. Just put one more drizzle of bourbon on before I put it to bed. This must be one of the strangest blogs out there. Cancer and cooking, who knew the two could go hand in hand.

Ah, Time on my hands…..

Well, what do you do with yourself when you have all this time and nothing to do. I’ll tell you what, you learn how to get British TV programs on your lap top, that’s what you do. OMG, its brilliant, I can watch all my favorite shows (ok, it’s not perfect, sometimes it does that buffering  thing) but on the whole I am able to watch just about anything, even the finals of the Great British Bake off, yep, I know you’ve never heard of it but it was the most watched show in the uk and I got hooked after just one veiwing. I have also decided to make a traditional Christmas cake (as I have decided it is my favorite food in all the world and you cannot get it over here…..anywhere! Trust me, I have been looking for the last twenty-eight years) all it is really, is a great big fruit cake soaked in alcohol and topped with marzipan and icing. Simply, a match made in heaven. So, because you have to make it a long time ahead, I thought “Why not? I’ll give it a go while I have all this time on my hands and come Christmas, one slice should put you under the table. You see, you feed it booze every week or so, to keep it moist. Americans have a strong aversion to fruit cake because the stuff I’ve tried over here is disgusting, but I’m telling you this is the bomb.

As far as my health goes, the biggest problem are these post surgical drains you carry around all the time.I have to wear a sort of a sports bra that is most uncomfortable where it touches them. These two seem very sensitive and touching them is miserable.. The best thing is my daily shower. For some reason it feels really good to run warm water over them.I won’t have them for much longer as I get them out this Thursday along with my stitches, that was quick wasn’t it? The stiches look very neat (well done Dr V, I bet she got gold stars in dressmaking) in case you are interested I’ll post a little close up shot.

One long day…

Well I stuck to my guns. I said I would come home the same day as my surgery and I did. Left the house at eight am and arrived back home with new boobs at ten thirty, fantastic. I really didn’t want to spend the night in hospital if I didn’t have to. The operation went well by all accounts and I was out of recovery by four thirty and feeling quite peppy. I ate something (a requirement to being let go) and kept it down right until the nurse said ” Alright, you can get dressed” then the minute she left the room I grabbed that pink plastic kidney dish and neatly deposited my bid for freedom “Quick Peter, lets hid it, no, I’ll flush it, she’ll never know” One minute more and I would have got away with it, but, after some pleading on my part a quick gig around the bed to prove my steadiness to go home, she finally gave me a hug and sent me on my way with all the usual paraphernalia  (gauze pads, ointment, drugs, cups for measuring drain out-put etc etc..) I managed to eat a few crackers on the ferry but left them in the bathroom too. Slept fitfully, because I have to get used to sleeping sitting up again for a bit and am pretty sore today. However, I managed a walk down the road and have my appetite back. The boobs don’t really look much different from before but they do feel a bit softer, too sore to go poking about much and the drain sites are really  tender. So, it’s princess time for me for a week or so, in fact I think I’ll just ring for a cup of tea:-)

Off on my Hols……

Gosh, I must apologize for not posting sooner. I have no excuse other than a busy life. Back at the start of the month Peter and I decided to throw a little summer party for our friends on this side of the water who have all been so incredibly supportive over the last year and half. We started having a big summer party a few years ago when I had the harebrained idea to roast a whole pig. I don’t want to call it a fiasco because it was a great party, but, if I just post this one picture of me and the pig and I tell you thunder and lightning was happening all around me at the time, you might notice the smile on my face is a little tense.

The sun never did come out that day but at least it stopped raining and a good time was had by all (except the pig of course) This year the weather was beautiful and because gardening has not been on my list of allowed activities untill recently, I must thank my husband for all his hard work in a last-ditch effort to make the place look nice.

We even managed to find and put up the hammock, you can just see it behind the tree.

Last weekend it was time to summon the ramblers together for our bi-monthly walk and it was decided that we would cheat a bit and all go on the Port Townsend Farm Tour…Well we were walking and it was a rural setting so I think it counts. It was a spectacular day with fifteen different farms to visit. I left my camera at home but did take a shot on my phone of this extraordinary Jacobs sheep, an ancient breed from Syria. Pretty cute huh?

Now I am getting ready to go off to England tomorrow to visit my brother Chris and his wife Helen for ten days. I will be back to work Oct 5th then I have surgery scheduled on the 16th to get these skin expanders taken out (hooray) and some nice soft silicone  implants put in their place. For now, I am looking forward to surrounding myself in Britishness. Will keep you posted whenever I can.By the way, I have noticed that I have a lot of new people around the world reading this blog and I would love to hear from some of you. The power of the internet makes this big world seem very small. At my last count forty seven different countries are reading me I can hardly believe it’s true….Hello out there………….