Author: melanie

100 Day Project – Days 37 -39

Covid-19 edition of the ugly bathroom tile selfie. I started doing these years ago to track the progress of my post-chemo hair growth.

This week we passed the 60 day mark of isolation. This week we didn’t get a lot of schooling done. This week I didn’t get a lot of writing done either. I’m not even sure where the week went but now it is Friday night and I am trying to get a blog post done so I don’t let too many days slip by.

Oncology was fine. I got more drugs. Always more drugs. I am, in fact, embarrassed by the amount of pills I have to take. Pain killers (more than one type). Chemotherapy pills. Anti-nausea pills and now heartburn pills to offset the side effects of chemotherapy. Sleeping pills so I don’t lay awake all night thinking about my mortality. I was also give anti-inflammatory pills this week because of back spasms but reading the list of side effects from these anti-inflammatory pills and these anti-heartburn pills makes me think I should just put up with the heartburn and back spasms. Soooo many drugs and then more drugs to combat the side effects from those drugs that come with their own side effects. All this for a woman who would barely take an Ibuprofen before getting cancer.

But all in all this week wasn’t too bad. It’s my week off chemo so I’ve had spurts of energy and during those spurts I have sanitized the dishwasher, scrubbed out the fridge, and started organizing the pantry. And then I use up all my spoons and have to lay down and doze for a while but at least I had the spoons in the first place to use up. (If you haven’t heard of the Spoonie theory here is a link to an article about it.)

Now I’m off to put Oonagh to bed and watch the second half of Return of the Jedi because I can’t seem to stay awake through a full movie these days.

How was your week?

(These current blog posts are part of my #100dayproject and are written quickly and posted without significant editing. They are what they are, mistakes and all. Much like me.)

100 Day Project – Day 36, Book mail is the best mail

We don’t get a lot of mail. Even though I foolishly check the mailbox at least twice a day we can go weeks without getting anything. When we do it is usually appointment notices from the Tom Baker Cancer Center (I know, I know, they are very much behind the times on that front) or letters from our Member of Parliament. But the last two weeks have seen a windfall of kindness arrive in our mailbox. I keep telling our girls that if they want to get mail they have to send mail but that doesn’t seem to motivate us to write more letters – something I am hoping to remedy soon.

What is even better than regular mail you ask? Why, book mail of course!

The first parcel to arrive came last week. A woman I have kind-of known for years through knitting and blogging circles asked if I wanted an extra pair of circular needles for sock knitting because she had too many. I said yes, of course, and eagerly awaited them. Then she saw my Literary Witch post about not having any Virginia Woolf books in the house and added a copy of A Room of One’s Own to the package. Of course the day after she went to the post office I wrote about having found a copy of this book on our bookshelf but, to be honest, this version is prettier so I will keep it and pass my other copy along to someone else. (Or return it to a Little Free Library where I think is how I got it in the first place.)

Ingrid from Gladstone Press – a new (2018) Canadian publishing company whose tagline is Old Books, New Looks – contacted me and asked if she could send me a copy of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. This arrived yesterday and reader it is luscious. The paper is so nice I made everyone in the house touch it (with clean hands of course) and kept rubbing it on my face so I could feel the softness. Mister said it was the paper equivalent of 300 Thread Count sheets. (Do we even know what that feels like? I’m not sure). Ingrid is not paying me to tell you all this as she gifted the book to me out of kindness but I’m just THAT into paper that I feel justified in rambling on about it. (As a child I had a large paper collection. I just really like pretty paper.)

There is even a map of Clarrisa Dalloway’s journey through London. I don’t know if this is a normal thing for copies of Mrs Dalloway to have but I was suitably impressed. I compare this new publishing house to such high quality imprints like Persephone Books and Virago Modern Classics – except it is Canadian which makes a big difference to the pocket books of those of us who would like to be collectors of high quality classics but can’t actually afford to be. (Although I do spend an inordinate amount of time on the Persephone and Virago websites window shopping.)

The Gladstone Press blog also linked to a really interesting article about The joy of reading Mrs Dalloway during lockdown which is well worth the read and has put this book at the top of my reading pile (I won’t lie, the feel of the paper helped a lot with that decision).

Last week I also received a copy of Winter Wren by Theresa Kishkan whose blog I have been enjoying for years. Theresa and I recently had a couple online conversations about the joys of novellas and she kindly sent me this one. I didn’t realize until she sent it that she and a partner have their own small publishing house called Fish Gotta Swim Editions that specializes in novellas. I’m not going to talk about this much yet because I plan to do a full review once I have read the book.

(These current blog posts are part of my #100dayproject and are written quickly and posted without significant editing. They are what they are, mistakes and all. Much like me.)

100 Day Project – Days 34 & 35: Literary Witch: Gertrude Stein

What do I know about Gertrude Stein? Not much to be honest. I know she was a contemporary of Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds and was in love with Alice B. Toklas with whom she was with for four decades. I haven’t read anything by her although have always been intrigued by her book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas but it also sounds really weird in the sense that she wrote a biography of her life through the eyes of her lover. (When I was younger she always seemed kind of scary and bossy and thought it weird that Toklas was always referred to as Stein’s companion AND secretary.) As far as female writers living in Paris during that time go I’ve always been partial to Simone de Beauvoir (whose biographies I have read having spent one summer going through all of her works in order as their timeline appeared in her biographies – although I never did finish reading all of them).

The words associated with card are: making sense, frames, and new ways of seeing. I think we are all working on new ways of seeing these days. And if we aren’t we certainly should be. In terms of frames there are many ways to look at that but this week I’m going to take it literally because I bought a beautiful vintage photo frame a while ago and have done nothing with it so this week I am going to find the perfect photo for it. That’s the thing about oracle cards – you take what you need and leave the rest. There is an interesting (but long) biography on Stein over at The Poetry Foundation if anyone is interested.

(These current blog posts are part of my #100dayproject and are written quickly and posted without significant editing. They are what they are, mistakes and all. Much like me.)

100 Day Project – Day 33

Credit goes to Sarah Lazarovic

The Mister and I have been talking a lot about what life is going to look like once this period of isolation is over. Our province is already taking steps to slowly start re-opening things. I’m going to come right out and say I don’t know what the answer is. I know a lot of people need to get back to work because they need a paycheque and those are the people I worry about. We were talking about someone complaining about wanting to get their nails done and while getting your nails done is definitely not an essential service I have thought off and on during this time about the women who work at nail salons. I’ve only ever had my nails done a handful of times. It definitely isn’t something I feel comfortable spending money on, but I remember the last two times I had them done (I think the last time was when Fionnuala was a baby) and there was a woman who worked at the salon who was from Vietnam and was sending money back to her family. I can only imagine how annoying it would be to have to listen to well-off women complaining about their right to have their nails done when you have to divide your paycheque between the family you have here in Canada and the family you are helping to support elsewhere. Those salon workers are probably not sitting at home right now comfortably pulling in a salary while they wait for their salons to reopen.

One of the things that I have enjoyed most about this time is how people have had to think twice about buying things. One day I wanted parsley for a recipe – it was definitely a “want” because the recipe could have been made without it – but how many people use up the entire thing of parsley when they buy it? So I texted a friend and her kids ran over to my place with some. That same friend was looking for specific books in a book series that I happened to have and I was happy to lend them. The sharing of food and tools and other things is hopefully making people think hard before automatically buying things. In the “before times” I could have sent the Mister to the store just for parsley and that parsley in my friend’s fridge might have ended up on the compost heap.

My biggest issue is with the travelers. If I have to hear one more time about how someone is immediately getting on a plane and leaving once this is all over I’m going to (silently) scream. International travel is one of the biggest culprits in spreading this virus and yet people will defend their right to fly with their dying breath. They may protest the oil and gas companies for providing the necessary fuel to support their travel habit – but they won’t actually stop traveling. I know, I know, it’s not like I don’t enjoy traveling either. But I am definitely thinking long and hard about where it makes sense to go and why.

(These current blog posts are part of my #100dayproject and are written quickly and posted without significant editing. They are what they are, mistakes and all. Much like me.)

100 Day Project – Days 31 & 32

This week has been hard. In addition to side effects from the chemo medication making me really tired and not being able to eat much, one of my children developed a health issue that has resulted in a lot of work for me physically. (Laundry, laundry, and more laundry.) Plus it feels like this has been a highly emotional week for everyone. School work has taken longer, music practices have fallen by the wayside, and the weather wasn’t as nice as last week so I didn’t even get to spend as much time as I would like outside.

One wonderful thing I have been doing though is dedicating time to become a better sock knitter. If you’ve been reading through recent blog entries you know I was working on a ridiculous colour work sock. I’ve finished the pattern part of that sock but I’m still not sure if I feel the need to finish the actual sock except for fun – and it doesn’t feel like fun right now. What I want to do is get good at knitting socks for my family. My girls all like ankle socks and for the past couple years they have been getting socks from the Sketchers store and they barely last a season and it drives me nuts! Moira wears through her toes almost immediately and Fionnuala wears through the underside of her socks. It is such a waste to be buying those crap polyester socks that don’t even keep their feet warm and stink after a couple wears. Wool, even thin wool, is much warmer and is naturally deodorizing so it doesn’t stink like cheap polyester socks. Today I finished episode two of Earthtone Girl‘s No Fear Sock Knitting class and I’m really enjoying it. I’m looking forward to class three tomorrow – or maybe I’m just looking forward to going to bed right now because I am DONE with this week.

(These current blog posts are part of my #100dayproject and are written quickly and posted without significant editing. They are what they are, mistakes and all. Much like me.)