Sunday, March 27, 2011

Still watching ...

Yes still watching the unfolding drama in Japan, all of those nuclear power enthusiasts must surely be taking a second look at the idea that it is a good way to go?
Thankfully we are nuclear free here in Australia even if we do contribute massively to the global coal fired power station mess with our exports. There has been a growing push to re-examine the nuclear option, possibly as an alternative to any tax that may be put on us as polluters. I think I will be dusting off my 'FlowerPower" beads and placards stowed away since the Seventies to hit the streets if there is even a hint that we build nuclear power stations . And here I thought that I could decline into a sedate old age!

I received this postcard from my friend Fumiko and it really brought home how worrying the situation is for people living in the shadow of a potential nuclear disaster.
The statistics on refugees are even greater in the last few days
Every time I sit down to do some painting of a vaguely 'Japanese' subject like the persimmons I wanted to paint for an Autumn etegami, the crisis insinuates itself into my thoughts.
I do really hope there is a rainbow waiting for the Japanese people at the end of this dark night.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Does posterity (or the internet) care?

I've thought long and hard about talking about my health issues on this blog but here goes, just for posterity! My problem for those of you who are interested, is a lung condition called bronchiectasis, (it is similar to cystic fibrosis) acquired as an infant through ingesting a mercury compound in a teething preparation. Basically my lungs cannot clear mucus and this leads to infections, lowered immunity etc.,etc.
My last stint in hospital was only seven weeks ago so I was disappointed to be back in so soon despite doing everything right
After a week in hospital on two intravenous antibiotics and one inhaled antibiotic I have been sent home on the "Out and About" program where you basically self administer the drugs. Hopefully this phase will last for a week and then life will get back to normal just doing my regular therapies and not the intravenous ones.
My day is thus...I get up in the morning to greet my  "Cough Assist", (you too could have one of these for the paltry sum of $10,000)  this is simply a vacuum cleaner for the lungs....don't even try to visualize it! My first reaction on using it was to think my lungs might be sucked out into the tube LOL.

Then I nebulize an antibiotic and hypertonic saline separately, that takes about 40 minutes, I do this at least three times a day.
The next step three times a day is to give myself a bolus or 'push' of antibiotic into the vein (more about that later, you still with me?) and following that I have puffers (2) and nasal sprays (2). PHEW! I' m getting exhausted just writing about it.

Then comes the big daddy, once a day I change the 'Baxter bottle" which contains the third antibiotic in an infusion into the vein near my heart. Fortunately for the last  5 years I have had an implanted device that allows direct access to my veins as there was no more easy access to be had. The aforementioned bolus goes into this line as well.
Okay so that's my life at the present. The other issue is to try to regain a bit of fitness after lolling around for weeks but that will come slowly. Strangely I remain cheerful and I count my blessings every day. (Pollyanna!).
PS Just be pleased I didn't have a colonoscopy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Back home and happy about it!

Back home this AM and as usual astounded to see the growth in my garden (those things that have survived the tender ministrations of the Prof that is) , I can't help posting a few of my indifferent wobbly snaps, just for the hell of it! This one is for you Debbie, an even more exotic frangipani. It  is in a pot by the pond.
The waterlily is actually blue but the sunshine was so brilliant in between light showers of rain that it washed out all of the colour.

The lotus seed head has already dropped seed into the pond, I wonder if it will grow? They are notoriously difficult to grow from seed but they run like crazy. The bougainvillea is a fairly common type but always good value.
Tomorrow when I have gathered my wits a bit I'll regale you with a glimpse of my life as a 'not so patient' patient....can't wait for that!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Etegami from Japan.

I received these etegami a while ago from Japan, the first one from Fumiko is a beautiful papercut depicting a monster who goes from house to house asking if the kids are behaving themselves and extracting a promise from them to be good. A bit more in your face than the old "Santa Claus won't give you any presents if you are naughty! Apparently folk will dress up in monster costumes and scare the pants off the kids, how seriously they take it I don't know but it would have scared me.
It seems the monsters have been stirring in the earth in Japan. The scale of the earthquake and tsunami devastation is hard to grasp.
The second one is a wee bit less scary and sent by DosankoDebbie . It was made as a Valentine's card, beautiful and inventive as always. Debbie sells her work through her Etsy shop which can be accessed through her blog (see sidebar).
I will be off the radar again from tomorrow, back to the Five Star Resort on the hill (otherwise known as the hospital) for a few days or maybe two weeks however it pans out but keep those cards and letters (and comments) coming folks.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Earthquake horror.

 It has been hard to escape the images we see on our TV of the devastation wrought by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on friday. To all of my Japanese friends and those who take an interest in my efforts to produce  etegami, I wish them well in the weeks and months ahead. Recovery will be slow and painful and those who have lost family and  friends may never fully recover. Thankfully my daughter-in-law's parents live in Kyushu well away from the devastation so we are spared that worry. My own  (almost trivial compared to this) experience of being flooded gives me some insight into how difficult the recovery process can be and I did not lose anybody.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quilts and etegami,

 who could ask for anything more?
Among the wonderful etegami I have received in the past few days are these two from "Senior" (Shungo), he always surprises, After getting a few of his quite masculine images these arrived. Two very delicately coloured images using his favourite flower the camellia and a kokeshi doll.
The camellias in the first one remind me of those hats Japanese brides wear in their traditional wedding costumes. Both etegami are prints done by carving some kind of ceramic plate and hand coloured. I love them.

The beautiful lap quilt I was given was a wonderful surprise. Made by Mrs.T who is the mum of a young woman I met in hospital and whom  I have kept in touch with. It is especially special because I know it was made just for me as it incorporates references to my interest in all things Japanese and also my obsession with cranes, usually the origami kind but now extended to the fabric kind! A lot of work and thought have gone into the making of this quilt and I really appreciate it. The gift of another person's time is the most precious gift.
Thank you Mrs T. and thank you Bekka for giving me your friendship when it was such a trying time for you. Rebekka has been in hospital going on 5 months and always tries to cheer other people up, a real hero in my book.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Sweltering through these last days of summer, yesterday was 38 degrees C and today is a wonderful 24!
Summer is drawing to a close and one thing that epitomizes this for me is the carpet of frangipani (pekaki) flowers on the footpaths around town. The air is redolent with their fabulous perfume and the trees heavy with flowers. All too soon their fleshy limbs will be bare. and the perfume will be a memory.
This etegami is made using a stamp I carved, inspired by my Japanese friends who are exploring many different media, I hope it gives the feeling of the flowers spiraling to the ground to be crushed underfoot by passersby.
As a nod to the wondrous event which will travel the length of Japan in the coming months, starting in the south and ending in Hokkaido in May (?), Sakura blooming  I have done this etegami.
 What a marvelous thing to think we all  experience the Earths wonders at different times of the year.