Tuesday, March 29, 2016

It's been a long time...

I can't believe how long I've left this blog without writing. Sometimes, I feel as if we are still recovering from all the drama of 2013 and 2014. Chris is still affected by his illnesses and by being in a state of post-chemo. But sometimes I feel like age is catching up with both of us. I turned 60 last month (oh my!) and sometimes I feel every single year.

The last four months were a bit crazy. My GPs were trying to adjust my meds so that I would retain some meaningful pain relief. Hard to do when the body gets used to what it is using. I had been using buprenorphine patches, but they started to give me a reaction - not where the adhesive was, but where the medicine was. So, we did some switching around and now I am on morphine in tablet form. It is giving me pretty good pain relief, but I have to admit to feeling quite lethargic much of the time. But, I am going to challenge myself with daily goals - most of them about my business.

Stuart and Callie in Australia
But we have had some lovely adventures over the past several months as well. Callie and Stuart took their delayed honeymoon in February. They went to Australia so Callie could meet all of her new family. They had a wonderful time, and I am beyond thrilled that she has had the opportunity to travel to Australia. I am sure it won't be the last time. By the time the honeymoon came, they had already succeeded in conceiving, but, sadly, Callie suffered a miscarriage two days after they returned. She is feeling better now and I know that in time they will conceive again and I will have another beautiful grandchild to adore and spoil.

Speaking of adored and spoiled grandchildren, Catherine has her first loose tooth! I have no doubt she will be without it within days. She is at her dad's right now, as she is on her Easter break. So, I feel sure the tooth fairy will be visiting her in Fife. If you've seen photos and wondered about the missing tooth on the top centre, that was a tooth that had to be pulled when she was three. She had been playing on a little trampoline at daycare when she hit her mouth and broke the tooth. What remained died over time and had to removed. So she has been rocking the missing tooth look for over 3 years now! It will be amazing when she has a full mouth of teeth again. She is doing so well - school is excellent and she continues to show that she has a real talent in art. My dad would be so pleased. And, most exciting of all, Catherine is now "penpals" and "Skype pals" with her second cousin once removed, Chloe Murray. So nice to have family connections back in the States. I'm not sure when they will be speaking again, but apparently Chloe announced after their first conversation that Catherine was going to be her best friend, and she apparently has been begging her folks to visit Scotland. (Chloe is the daughter of my cousin Todd and his wonderful wife Ina.) It makes me feel so happy knowing that Catherine has this connection with my darling Uncle Gil's granddaughter. Family was so important to Gil, and I know that he would thrilled that Catherine and Chloe have come to know each other.

Despite everything else going on, I have remained busy with my design business. I have worked very hard over the last 18 months perfecting, or trying to perfect, my metalsmithing skills. I'm so pleased with how far I have come, and I'm looking forward to creating more and more detailed and intricate designs. I recently completed this pendant in copper, with a beautiful bezel-set garnet. The design is lovely, but I didn't feel it was perfect for selling, so it became a gift for a good friend. And while other friends and customers have said that my "not perfect" is probably perfect by anyone else's definition, the artist in me demands perfection in anything I wish to sell. But I am pleased with the outcome of using this technique, which reminds me very much of eastern or medieval textiles. I will be applying this technique to other copper and bronze pieces and to silver and gold pieces, as well. I was hoping to have a new collection of sterling/gold pieces ready by the beginning of April, but I have been busy putting together a fairly sizeable stock of bronze and copper jewellery so I am prepared for the many markets and events I have scheduled for the remainder of the year. The new collections will add brooches and bangles to my copper and bronze work and brooches, bangles, and rings to my silver/gold work. I am registered with the Edinburgh Assay Office and hope to send a package to them at the end of April so that my maker's mark and the hallmark can be applied to the various pieces. So exciting!

For a while, I was afraid I was going to have to give up my business. I had noticed a slight hand tremor a couple of years ago, but prior to Christmas it became quite pronounced. In fact, it got to the point where I was finding it almost impossible to do my work or even transport food from my plate to my mouth. After seeing my GP, I was given a referral to a neurologist so we could ascertain what was going on. While a diagnosis of Parkinson's was discussed, my GP felt quite strongly that I was suffering from Essential Tremor - an inherited neurological complaint that, as a friend who suffers from it says, is annoying but harmless. Beta blockers are controlling the tremors now and the neurologist - a lovely Spanish gentleman - confirmed the ET diagnosis. Phew!

So that is what has been going on with us here in our little corner of the world. I have, of course, been keeping myself abreast of all the developments in the presidential politics back home. It is all a bit frightening on the GOP side. On the Democratic side, I am pleased we have two qualified, intelligent candidates from which to choose. For me, well, I have to declare that I feel the Bern! Will be interesting to see what happens this summer at both the conventions. (My prediction for the GOP is a brokered convention with John Kasich winning the final nomination after two ballots.) The voting problems in Arizona appear to be quite serious, and I find it hard to believe that a state that contains so many venerated institutions of higher learning would be so backward as to pass laws that make it easy to discriminate against folks based on gender identity. But it appears that North Carolina is going to be hit where it hurts. Will be interesting to see how things develop there.

Love to all of you and I know, like me, you are enjoying the longer and warmer days! C'mon Spring and Summer!

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