wings and things


It has been several weeks since a nasty skin cancer developed on Anthony’s forehead, right next to his left eye. He has had these before, many times – squamous cell carcinomas. Mostly our doctor burns them off with that nitrogen thingy, but a few years ago Anthony was referred to a specialist and put in hospital to have some of them surgically removed. The surgery went well but his meds. somehow got lost so he was off his face hallucinating. A second operation was scheduled but this time I kept his meds in my handbag just in case.

For several weeks now I have been trying to get some clarity from his doctor, the surgeon etc. because this skin cancer is painful and looks like a little red hole drilling into his head and if I hug Ants he winces with pain. The surgeon’s wife tells me on the phone that he is on the waiting list and I will be given an hour’s notice. Ming became angry enough to ring them back and beg for the surgeon to go see Ants in the nursing home before hospital but the answer was no.

I can’t lift Ants by myself anymore so I can’t drive him to the appointment especially if I only get an hour’s notice since we live a half hour away from the nursing lodge. I think I will get him ambulanced into hospital tomorrow and take it from there.



Love story 100 – Do males always love themselves this much?

Prince (our only white peacock): I just love the smell of my feathers – glorious!

King: I know what you mean, Prince – I love the angles of my shadow on the lawn.

Okay, years ago – well before Ants and I got married and had Ming and well before Ants got so sick – I asked him to explain his arrogant, strutting self-posturing.

He said (and I will never forget it), “Jules, men have to love themselves just in case nobody else does.”



Peacock feathers

To those I offered to send peacock feathers to, I apologize for not having done so yet but apparently each country has its own rules about this kind of gift. So, if you want some, you need to check out your own country’s rules and get back to me and then I can arrange.

King  and the others will be shedding again soon, so I will have plenty. I/we just have to work out the legal logistics.


Roof rats

Yes, I am over-posting, I know! But the thing is that there are rat races happening just above my head in my little office (you know, the one I just cleaned out). The pest control man who came over the other day and did several hours of work to eradicate the (possibility of) termites, charged us a small fortune, and told me that the rats might be possums who might be rats, was too nervous to get into our ceiling even though we gave him a ladder.

Tonight I have made a decision. I will buy rat poison and throw it into the ceiling cavity because I cannot stand it anymore. Anthony used to do all of this stuff but he never taught me how, or where, or what – so I flounder with what I am supposed to do. It is a very old house so the electric wires are already old and a bit dangerous which is another thing I have to figure out.

I remember when my beautiful mother at 44 had to suddenly deal with all of the stuff Dad did before he died – all that supposedly manny stuff. She did it with more alacrity than I will ever have and anyway Anthony isn’t dead.

I am going to kill those rats because if I don’t they will fall through the ceiling and swallow me whole.


Are you there?

Angelina: Are you there, Jo and Terry?

Angelina: Are you there, Robyn and Rhonda?

Angelina: Are you there, BB,CC and WW?

Julie: Angelina, will you stop it! Go to bed. Yes all of those people are there/here – angels like you!


Award anxiety/aversion

I have read enough posts lately to know that I am not alone in my award anxiety/aversion.  Despite the gratitude I feel towards other bloggers who have nominated me for various awards, most of the awards themselves, though well-intentioned by their inventors, entail hard work, resemble chain letter pressure and I keep losing the plot with what award? who nominated me? what do I have to do?

Today I decided to trace back to those culprits who nominated me so that I can punish them with the Hot Potato Award that I invented ages ago as a kind of award-shield.

Here is a list of the beautiful culprits. Their blogs are worth following because of the honest heartiness in each person’s words.

To each of these people I want to say three things:

1. Copy/paste the Hot Potato award to your blogsite. There are no rules – the award is yours.

2. If you nominate me again I will send you a cold potato!

3. I love your blog!

Now, here is a little story to explain my apparent ungraciousness and my award anxiety/aversion:

A few years ago, the university decided to introduce a teaching award. If you were nominated you had to give a 5-minute speech about why you loved teaching. So I was nominated and gave a flustered speech. I was competing with a few other lecturers, but I won the vote and was given the award. The nominations and votes were anonymous of course. I was congratulated and I felt quite chuffed to be recognized.

A few weeks later I was having a coffee with a colleague who also happened to be a student in one of my classes (this often happens on small campuses) and she mentioned the award.

“Yes,” I said, “It was a bit of a surprise because I am the least professional of all the lecturers here but that seemed to go down well – my down-to-earthness or something!”

She looked at me strangely and said, grinning, “I nominated you.”

I was shocked. “Why?”

“Just for a laugh,” she said, cackling.

That’s why I don’t like awards.


Butterfly haiku

The utterfly looks

for the B that will heal it

under the grey rocks.

The utterfly has

enormously big nostrils,

like big purple eyes.

The utterfly finds

its missing B in the hug

of an old, old man.

The utterfly finds

its missing B in the smile

of a young, young man.

The utterfly speaks,

sheds its mothy shabbiness,

enfolds its own B …

And becomes a butterfly.


Love story 99 – Pip

After the kidney infection episode and I was out of hospital, Anthony rang to say he would come and get me and bring me down to the farm to convalesce. I was surprised at this gesture as (a) in those days Ants would not leave the farm; (b) he wasn’t that great with generous gestures; and (c) he never bothered to see me when I was actually in hospital.

“Do you have to come to Perth anyway?” I asked on the phone.

“Well,  yes, to pick up Pip.”

“What do you mean?” (Pip was my own little mini-dachshund who Ants was looking after while I worked and undertook my postgraduate studies in Perth.)

“I’ve just had her mated, Jules – it’s no big deal.”

“Okay, but she is my dog, Ants – you could have asked me!”

The next day he came up to my flat to pick me up and, expecting to see Pip in his arms, I became a bit alarmed. Ants sat down at my little table and sipped the coffee I gave him and then told me she was dead – that she had tried to get out of the pen she was in and strangled herself. He wiped at his eyes as I sobbed, then took my hand in his and said, repeatedly, ‘I’m so sorry, Jules.”


A stitch in time

Years ago, when I was working as a nurse in Perth, I was walking home one day and I suddenly felt a peculiar pain underneath my left lower rib. It was like a stitch or a slight cramp. It persisted off and on over the next few days until one morning it woke me up. As I got dressed I realized I was shivering even though it was summer and the pain was definitely more than a stitch. I didn’t have a car in those days so I decided to walk to the closest doctor’s surgery which was about two kilometres away. By the time I got there I was actually holding my side in agony, sweating profusely and feeling faint. The doctor immediately sent me to hospital in a taxi and after many hours of waiting and tests I was diagnosed with a severe kidney infection and ended up on a drip and very sick for over a week. After I was better I decided never to forget that kind of strange stitch-like pain, subtle to begin with, but soon agonizing.

Two days ago, during my little blog-breather, I was cleaning out my office when I felt the same stitch-like pain and that night I tossed and turned with the shivers – a fever. This time I didn’t wait and saw the doctor immediately who took samples and, long story short, yes I have a kidney infection again. Thankfully it isn’t as progressed as last time so I am on a course of antibiotics and that should be that.

I might be very good at looking after people who are sick but I am very bad at actually being sick. When I twisted my ankle the other week anyone would have thought I’d had my foot amputated; when the rooster clawed me and gave me a skin infection I limped around for so many days that Ming told me to stop my nonsense; when I then got asthma for a week I allowed google to scare the hell out of me; and now this.

The three things that scare me most about being sick are these: firstly, I am easily scared; secondly, I am needed; and thirdly, my family and friends will say, “you aren’t looking after yourself – you’re run down” which will make me feel guilty for being sick.

How come, when I am no longer working and no longer having to physically look after Anthony, I am run down?  Of course there are logical reasons like not eating healthily enough, not exercising, not getting enough sleep etc. etc. – we all know the drill – but now that I am beginning to admit-to-admit I am a little tired, I think it is simply that I am so sad. No, I don’t mean depressed, although of course that is a factor, I just mean plain old sad – sad about Anthony and his Parkinson’s disease and not being home with us anymore; sad that he is sad; sad that Ming is angry.

Chronic illness sufferers are so much more heroic than ‘come-and-go’ illness wimps like me. I salute them for their courage, determination and wit – and have met many via blogging. They don’t make a fuss about a stitch; they don’t let the sad stuff get the better of them; they soldier on, unfalteringly beautiful, and Anthony is one of these people.

Oh – google has just become my friend again – it says, “It is usually young women who develop kidney infections.” Ah, it’s good when a stitch makes you young again!


Blog breather

I am taking a break from writing and reading blogs for next two days so that I can attack the chaos of my little home office which has become like a junk room. So I won’t be posting for a couple of days (I can hear the brokenhearted sighs just faintly but the sighs of relief are rather loud!)

See you Friday!