Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My desk

One of the most strangely interesting entries in my old diary is an exhaustive list of what lay on my bedside table. Instead of my usual narcissistic monologue, here was an insight in the mundane little details of everyday life, the things I did not think were important enough to devote a diary entry to.

It's like when you look at an old photograph, and find yourself spellbound by the background details, overlooking the smiling faces to laugh at the old wallpaper you remember, or a coffee cup on the table that you loved and smashed to bits decades ago.

So with that in mind, voila! Here is my desk:

At the top is my year planner. Would you believe I couldn't find a poster type, and had to make it myself!? I guess I could find one if I looked harder, they must exist, but was busy and it just needed to be done. With four (maybe five) different annual calendars to juggle (plus private classes) I needed something where I couldn't quickly check, visually, what I have coming up in the next few weeks, and most importantly, when they all happily coincide and I get a holiday! So far there are only three weeks this year when that happens, one week in summer and two over Christmas/New Year.

Next comes the stack of AFWJ Journals and Directories, and folders relating to meetings, the cookbook and calendar committees and convention handbook! So much always to do there, and kept here nicely in reach. It'll be nice to stack those back in another place finally when I stop being Pres next year.

Next come a stack of photo CDs waiting to be loaded into this computer, just as soon as I get iphoto sorted and re-loaded with the backup photos as iphoto seems to have lost dozens of photos (I just get a broken line box where a photo should be), and a framed photos of my girls dressed in kimonos for the girls' festival - the photo frame plays the Hina Matsuri song.

Then there's a weight management hypnosis CD and a Lazydown DVD (a kid's show, just coincidentally next to the weight-loss CD, although if I did the dances from the DVD I think I would lose quite a bit!).

Next comes nihon-go, half a shelf devoted to the books I am supposed to be studying Japanese with, but never do, accompanied by a couple of English grammar books, and the full history of National Geographic on CD-ROM.

Hiding behind are an unused pen stand, one random AFWJ photo CD, AFWJ and other cookbooks for reference, a container full of memory sticks and cards, more CD-ROMs and a bunch of floppy disks (I think I'm hoping they'll sprout a USB hub if I leave them long enough in close proximity to my Mac). A heart-shaped cushion with "I love you Mum", and external hard drive, a fold-out mirror, a Paddington Bear purse, a screen cleaner and a heart-shaped cardboard box that was a present from Erica for something, made at kindy.

The pile of detritus scattered around the base of the computer is normal verging on bad. It gets cleaner, but has got worse too. There's a roll of selotape, a water spray bottle for cat management, a hairbrush, the ubiquitous massive tea mug I use, a letter and a money envelope, a lego figurine (knight from Erica's new castle set), a miniature jack-in-the-box, providence unknown, two earrings, a necklace and a hair clip, a peg with a strap attached (never could work out what these things were for), a broken pair of Kanji's glasses, some parts of the smashed computer screen wrapped in newspaper (there as a reminder to myself that I still have not disposed of the whole smashed screen because I don't know which type of trash to put it wish, or just take it to the dump next time we go), a fake Chanel cigarette box with no cigarettes in it, on top of some notes about the cute things Erica said as a toddler which I have yet to transcribe, a photo, a sock, a beaded hair comb, 2 pencils, a spool of red thread, a thank you letter to Kanji, expired passports (OOPS!), two camera battery chargers, a framed photo of my sisters, the video camera, an ancient Milo tin and a yellow and black dress I wore when I was 16 (about to be blogged about on a different blog), DVDs of the Tudors and some Vanilla scent.

In the second picture you can see the printer, toner yet to be put in, and a few bags and some folders in a box. That's my English teaching resources! There's a whole lot more in the spare room, this is just the 'grab bags' of the things i need every week, sorted into class folders. Under the desk (Amy's old desk, she has moved on to her upstairs loft bed with a desk under it now) are a bunch of photos to be scanned.

UGH that was scary!! I just added I don't know how many things back onto my 'to do' list from where they had fallen off despite being right in front of my eyes.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Golden Week

Another glorious, sunny, relaxing Golden Week at Victoria's in the bag.

And I'm not going to say it's always the same, but different this time, because it was mostly just the same. Except for the mini-circus and me collecting injuries like girl scout badges (in addition to the broken toe, I spent the whole drive down trying to get something out of my eye. Tammy finally gave me some eye drops and the chair collapsed under me while I was leaning back to put them in, leaving me with a streak of purple bruising along my upper arm. Well, the chair was several decades old. Finally I collected a wasp sting at the bbq on the second night, which Victoria cured with ammonia, making me smell like a two-day old nappy all night until I covered it with a plastic glove).

Oh, and I never stepped foot in the temple once! I went up to the toilet 3-4 times, but we did all the cooking in the lower kitchen, and I slept in the corner by the sofas in the old kindergarten with Erica.

Amy and Lena slept in a tent in an old rice paddy out the back of the back garden with Sahara and Sasha. Never seeing them except for when they miraculously appeared at mealtimes is par for the course I suppose.

As is the G&T's on the lawn and the endless bottles of wine, cups of tea in Victoria's kitchen, the bbq and sashimi and chips and dip, shopping and onsen trip and women chattering loudly in English in the kitchen.

This year's parent was Karin's dad Issac, who made the hummus, and made it REAL good. Victoria's helpers were another French couple, this time the girl was the outgoing one, the guy kind of quiet. They were act two in the mini-circus with their hula-hoop routine, following Yuko the balloon lady. I have to say the BBQ night entertainment this year was top-notch!

I skipped the river swim due to my foot, and was happy that Erica didn't seem interested in the river - until the next day, when I knew about it only when she appeared in the back garden soaking wet. Erica being another year older and more sensible is probably why I felt this year to be particularly relaxing - instead of panicking whenever there was a quiet moment, I rested. Since Lena was 5 when Erica was born, I guess that means this is the *most* relaxing it's ever been for me, despite the fact that being an old hand now means I do a lot more of the cooking, cleaning up and shopping, since I know where things are!

The trip there was great.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


Mum said I had to update, so here I am.

But that was on Sunday, when the most exciting thing happening was our hilarity at the delay on Skype between Josh screaming and his mouth opening. Small things amuse small minds.

Monday was a holiday, Golden Week has begun, but it's chopped in half this year, so it'll feel squeezed into two weekends.

Then I cam home on Tuesday after going shopping with Erica to find Vanilla on the sofa, just sitting in that typical cat paws-under-body style, blood pouring out of her left ear. Lena got me a damp cloth to clean it up, and a dry one, and I wiped and wiped, and held the cloth down on her ear a bit to see if I could stop the bleeding. Whenever I thought it might have stopped, I left her for a bit, but then I'd notice it welling up inside again.

Meanwhile I was running around like a headless chook trying to find the cage door for the cat box to take her to the Vet. To do that I had to clear all the cat stuff out of the spare room where we stashed it for Amy's birthday party. I eventually found it on the shelf of our home-made cat tree/feeding station thingy, but not before cleaning up the spare room!

It looked like a murder scene inside the cat box, as she kept shaking her head and scratching. We were actually triaged at the Vet's and bumped up ahead of two customers. They couldn't find the source of the bleeding, and I began wondering if my fears of some kind of hemorrhage weren't actually true. They put the cone of shame on her to stop her scratching, and he gave her a pain killing medicine that made her really dopey, and had a further look but still couldn't find it. He offered to keep her for a few hours to see if the bleeding stopped, so we left her and came back two hours later.

The bleeding had not stopped. The Vet suggested a general anesthesia next, so they could check more thoroughly, so she was knocked out, complete with tiny oxygen mask. He found the cut, deep inside her ear, and cauterized it with an electrical zapper (complete with friendly Vet's stories of the time he cauterized and treated his own arm wound with his Vet equipment!).

He was already commenting on how unusual it was for such a small cut to bleed that much, so the idea of hemophilia came up at that point. He took a blood sample from her thigh (remarking at how thin her blood seemed), and checked it, and at that point said it looked fine, so I was hoping again at this point that it was just an unusual bleed.

We left her there, and I rushed home and rushed off to a class. Kanji interrupted my lesson (at Joyfull restaurant near home) to get the cat box out of the car, because the Vet suggested bringing the other two in for tests. He quietly told me it was a serious illness, which got me quite worried, it was a challenge to finish the class!

But I did, and called him and he told me to wait for him outside the restaurant (he was at the mall over the road). He told me the Vet had said Vanilla would quite likely die, but the Vet was watching her and giving her blood, and they had decided not to test the other two, because of the nature of the problem. So I went home, very sad, to crying children (Erica happily had fallen asleep on the sofa). We all had a restless night, which for me included  a horrible dream.

(We were on some kind of boat, it was sinking. I was trying to save everyone of course. I looked up and saw a massive typhoon bearing down on us, and I just knew there was no way - we would die. The only thing I could think of to do, as there were no props to use, was lie on our backs and float, and tell the kids to think of something pleasant. I had to be the Mum who had to tell her children they were going to die and try to prepare them, every mother's nightmare. I held the baby on my stomach. My right arm was around Amy's head, and she inexplicably and oddly - even in the dream I thought it was odd - wanted to think about trying beer for the first time, because she never got to try it. Even my dream self couldn't handle seeing what came next, and I 'cut' to a news show with a very very bad report of the disaster, with a kid brought on the show to show everyone how the kids in the disaster would eat their candy. Then I was in a helicopter, with the realization that I was alive. And the kids weren't with me. I had hope they too would be found, of course, but also had to admit that it was not likely that they survived being in the open ocean in a typhoon. Genki was saved and inside my sweater. I woke bawling of course, feeling guilty for getting angry at Erica and Amy earlier in the week. Lena was beside me in bed, which I think is why I didn't feel she was gone. And of course waking to the realization that one of my little loved ones really might be gone). 

I avoided calling the Vet's all day as I had to work, and knew it would be nearly impossible if I thought my kitty was dead or dying. As it was, my tiredness and sadness meant the students didn't get their (parents') money's worth today - slack teacher!

I picked up the kids and we all trooped off to the Vet's to check on her. She saw us and miaowed and kissed our hands! She wanted to come home! She was finally stabilized, but the diagnosis was certain now that he had done more testing. Hemophilia. No cure, no treatment, just rush her to the Vet if she ever gets cut. He said he worked until 3am to stabilize her. She's coming home tomorrow.

Where we will forever have to keep her inside, because she cannot get pregnant (fingers crossed she isn't now from the little escape she had a month ago) and she can't have the operation either. Of course it also means that treatment if she gets ill will be limited, and she won't ever be able to have an operation. And we'll have to rush her to the Vet if she gets even the smallest cut. I don't know if it means we will be going through the whole (expensive!) blood transfusion and three days in hospital thing every time she gets a cut, but the thought of leaving her to bleed to death is just horrific.

And of course the other two might have it too!

The only good thing is that my broken toe (now just aching, but I still can't wear even my most comfortable shoes) prevented me from bringing them in to get spayed, which I had planned to do three weeks ago. If I had, Vanilla definitely, and maybe the other two as well, would have died on the operating table. At least this way we have time to get used to the fact that our kitties will not live long, and spoil them rotten while they are here!