Liz's colonic journey

Archive for December, 2012

Favourite time of the year

So my bloods were good this week, in spite of the infection that knocked me out on Thursday of the last round. I’m on the second last round of the last cycle of 6 chemo cycles – 6 months worth done. I’ll be meeting Doc L after I’ve done the last one in the first week of January. Hopefully the CT scan, will show that the mofos got halted possibly regressed a bit.

Xmas is my favourite time of the year. I love the bling and sparkle and colours and lights, and I’m a total sucker for Christmas carols. When little kids sing them, I’m a soggy mess. Mind you I get weepy hearing little kids singing anything together, and brass bands – the Floral Dance gets me every time.

And On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at was one of my dad’s fun songs. Milligan-esque dark humour (he who’s epitaph reads “I told you I was ill”) which talks to my twisted sense of humour. You have to read this with a deep Yorkshire accent. (Ba’Ta-at – without your hat).

W’ere hast tha bin sin I saw thee?

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Ta-at

W’ere hast tha bin sin I saw thee? x2

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Tat x3

Tha’ll go an get thi dearth o’ cold

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Ta-at x3

Tha’ll go an get thi dearth o’ cold

Tha’ll go an get thi dearth o’ cold

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Tat x3

Then we shall have to berry thee

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Ta-at

Then we shall have to berry thee  x2

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Tat x3

Then'(t) worms’ll come an ate thee up

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Ta-at

Then’ worms’ll come an ate thee up  x2

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Tat x3

Then’ ducks’ll come and ate up worms

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Ta-at

Then’ ducks’ll come and ate up worms x2

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Tat  x3

Then we’sh'(u)ll come an eat up ducks

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Ta-at

Then we’sh’ll come an eat up ducks x2

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Tat

Then we’sh’ll av all av eaten thee

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Ta-at

Then we’sh’ll av all av eaten thee x2

On Ilkley Moor Ba’ Tat x3

You can see why Brassed Off is one of my favourite movies of all time, neh?

This week’s achievements have been getting a tree and dressing it. We went for a real tree from the Rotarians, unfortunately it’s looking a bit verlep from standing in the hot sun all weekend. Still I’m enjoying its scent. On the plus side, it will be worm food in the next year, thanks to Delysia and Calvin. D volunteered Calvin’s worm farming skills towards getting Pat’s worm farm established again. (Tip: Worms don’t like pineapple or onions or citrus.) See the things that one discusses when invited to a delightful Hi-Lo-T by Joan C. That was Wednesday last week. Such a clever idea, to invite friends to a tea hosted at a lovely new art/garden centre – “Spade” – 183 Lothian Rd, Durban North. Then Joan generously gave us all a Christmas gift voucher for the goodies at the shop. This is how Delysia and I came to be discussing the benefits of Worm Wee.

Dressing the tree with all our chotchkas – Elvis, Seven of Nine from Star Trek, a tram car from San Francisco, a scottish sporan, Micky Mouse Ears from Disneyland, a totem pole from Alaska  and other lovely memories sent by my special mate Karen in LA.

We met on the internet back in ’99  beta-reading some Alt-Xena fanfic – it was actually a take off of Survivor which was just hitting the airwaves in the US.(Castaway   The link is still active! Beware 50 Shades of Grey is tired by comparison and not nearly as funny.) Fun times that taught me a lot about writing (when I should have been doing my Master’s write-up!). My favourite tree dec from Karen is these two snowpeople.

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We have apples with the names of family and friends who we can’t be with this Christmas. And some cute Mauritian dodo and angelfish keyrings to remember this year’s adventures. Shock horror – We don’t have any Aussie decorations. It’s hard to buy Christmas decs at Easter!  I love our tree -it’s a 3D snapshot of the years we’ve been together.

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So that’s this week to date. Last week was fun galore, even though it started with a weak Monday. I fell over on the Thursday of the e-Learning festival with an infection that made me feel like I wouldn’t make the new year. This was after having an absolutely lovely time at Sharon’s with the A and B walking crew. Forgive the pic quality, I need lessons in cellphone photography.  I just want you to note the clever table decs that Sharon made with prezzy bags with interesting spices, indicating our seats. We had to guess who’s was who’s on the basis of the pics Sharon had pasted on the bags. Great fun. My pics were a pic of Terry Pratchett and a teacher teaching class. Pat’s were a pic of a golden retriever and a family tree. So clever. The food was healthy and delicious – a glorious evening with special people.

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This made Thursday’s crunch a big shock. Apparently the chemo port that is installed in my chest can start playing up and getting noo-noos as the body tries to reject them. Hopefully I won’t have to get mine replaced. We caught it early and the Onco sisters and the Godfrey, our excellent pharmacist got the antibiotics delivered to the door without asking, almost before Pat had got me back from having the take-away pump/ needle removed. Amazing. The drugs worked immediately enough for me to attend the elearning festival online at least. Sleeping a lot through the weekend had me awake and feeling better, so that I could go to our PaperHeaDs overnighter and catch-up on Tuesday.

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Getaways are so good for catching up on where we all are – more time than a quick lunch or tea. We missed all the members who couldn’t be there, but ate like queens to make up for missing them. I miss our writing Getaways. Linton House in Shakaskraal was beautiful.  The swallows nesting on the verandah were fascinating. I caught one mum feeding her chicks. I’ve never seen them so close up. They’re an absolute joy to watch as they swoop and dance in the air. Unfortunately we could only manage one night, but it was quality – sharing triumphs and tears and the beauty of friendship with unique people.

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Wednesday morning was Joan C’s Hi-Lo-T with even more delicious, vegetarian delights and treats and gooood coffee already mentioned. Lunch with Andrea at the fabulous KZNSA gallery was great too, even though we didn’t eat lunch – I couldn’t squeeze another thing into my tummy, no matter how tasty!

No wonder I was feeling strong on Thursday and even better on Friday. The e-Team worked, or rather Mari and Preggy worked until 3 (campus closed at 12!) while the rest of us supported them morally and festively, everybody brought a seasonal festive dish – Prega’s mum’s mild cheese curry (can’t remember the name again, Prega!) with Gita’s rotis took the prize, I think. I’m thinking of Christmas as an extension of the beautiful Diwali and Eid celebrations.

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Can you see why I love my job?

Love my life too – must be doing something right! I’m blessed to be on the planet with surrounded by the most amazing, giving, caring people. I don’t know any horrible people – don’t know how many people can say that.

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Conferencing

It was ambitious, signing up for HELTASA. It was worth it. Last Monday, I really didn’t know how I’d keep my bod moving from Tuesday through to Friday. Yet Tuesday was just about getting to the airport, getting on the plane, getting to Stellenbosch and finding the hotel. Ok, so we landed at 1.30 and eventually found the hotel at 5pm, but we had fun on the way.

Don’t believe the driving instructions of a manager of a Debonair’s store! It goes without saying that relying on the navigation function of one’s smartphone is stupid. In the end it was my gut instinct that found the hotel. True, I had run ten kms around that hotel in the past, but it all looked strange to me, from the car’s vantage point.

Then it was just a matter of getting up in the morning and getting to Neelsie’s on the Stellenbosch Campus on time. I was green with envy at this mini-mall serving the university community’s every need from a grocery store and interesting food vendors, to the bookshop and art stalls, to a travel agent, 3 banks and a 2 venue movie house. Three storeys of student friendly entrepreneurial activity, with plenty of room to sit around and share a coffee. I dream for DUT.

There was a fair amount of walking between venues, more than I’ve done for quite a while. I managed to nearly knock myself senseless walking into a parking zone’s descending boom just before Bwalya and my presentation. Luckily she sparkled and I didn’t need to say much.

It was lovely to see so many people that I haven’t seen for ages. Too many to name, but each so special and each making a difference in their own unique ways. I was rather boggled at how many people I knew and who know me from all the years of working alongside each other. It was humbling, but I was chuffed that my memory didn’t let me down for the whole week. Chemo fog lifted. So great to have a week away from the schedule.

I feel a bit guilty that I didn’t make the dinner get togethers. Sorry guys. I missed you but 6 to 18:00 was as much as the battery could manage without a kip in the middle of the day. Feels stupid but it’s the reality.

I listened to great papers and stunning keynote addresses. I loved what Tai Peseta had to say and Crane Soudien was intensely provocative. I’m only sorry we had to leave before Ron Barnett’s plenary session.

I have to say that Mari’s presentation of her and Chris’s work on moving Jewellery Design physical exhibitions to virtual spaces and the use of haiku moving to Twitter in the form of haiga, was one of the most challenging and beautiful things I’ve ever seen in academia. Hopefully they’ll create a virtual space to show it off to more people.

The company was grand and the ideas stimulating – great conference!

This is Bwalya and Sibongile looking terribly elegant for the traditionally themed Gala Dinner at Moyo at Spier Estate. (I missed this, but am grateful because the dancing on rocks seems to have cut some feet up.)

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This is Bwalya (aren’t the Shweshwe dungarees special?) and I during our Cafe conversation presentation – pic care of Mari.

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This is the beautiful talking stick that Bwalya created to ensure that everyone got a chance to speak.

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And who can beat this beautiful view of a Stellenbosch sunset (7.30 nearly my bedtime) from the hotel verandah.

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Magnificent.

I had a good long rest over the weekend. Pat had to put up with me grunting – I’d used up my entire word allocation for ten days.

Tomorrow it’s back to chemo, a got to do. I’m looking forward to our e-Learning festival Wednesday/Thursday (online conference) and Friday – awards ceremony.

All in all a very happy last ten days.

Well done to the workers – most people don’t see what you do in detail – but it all makes a very unique difference.