ME and Ophelia

Sunday, March 14, 2004


Almost over and Spring is here

Last Friday afternoon, a dear friend brought me daffodils and greenery fresh from her garden, along with shopping from an out of town village farm and nearby supermarket:

Big wedge of Somerset Brie cheese - cut into three, wrapped in clear film and foil for freezer. Brie is usually made in France but the British (who are great cheese makers too) are producing excellent Brie here in the SW of England, in the neighbouring County of Somerset, famous for it's scenic countryside, cider making and world class cricket.

Slab of Gruyere cheese which is easier to find than Parmesan, less costly and does the same job when grated for Caesars salad, Italian food, dressings etc. Cheeses that can be grated, like Cheddar, freeze well if grated beforehand.

Eight cans of tuna steak in brine, and large jar of French mayonnaise. Fresh tuna has only just become avail here. Small portions suffice as it's dense, rich and filling. Tins of tuna in brine or oil are good, quick, nutritious, versatile standbys to keep in cupboard:

Drain tin of tuna. Mix with two big dollops of mayonnaise. Add lemon, salt, pepper - plus some drops of tuna brine or oil to moisten mix (sandwiches become soggy if too much is added). Serve as a quick topping on shredded lettuce, salads, sandwiches, toast, crispbread, baked potatoe, hot pasta with grated cheese.

Usually, I add crushed garlic and finely chopped crunchy things like capers, gherkins, spring onions (aka scallions in USA), bellpeppers, corn, celery. Chopped cucumber works OK but turns mix watery if not first sprinkled with salt, left to stand for a few hours, and drained before adding to tuna mix -- or to thick Greek yoghurt for Indian curries etc.

Lastly, in the shopping, was a tin (not spray) of Liquid Gold wood cleaner and preservative - not a wax or a polish - with many uses, plus a huge box of Persil non bio washing powder - and a treat of wonderful pastries that we enjoyed with cups of organic green tea.

Glad it's the weekend. Rest from domestic scene. Too much activity going on here past four weeks. TNT delivery of Apple PowerBook has not arrived. New housekeeper induction means I'm still explaining food stuff and what needs doing around the house.

Still planning menus, recipes, shopping lists for ingredients and household supplies. Phoning orders to greengrocer and butcher. Receiving deliveries and making payments. Sorting lists for errands to bank, fishmonger, supermarket, arranging cheque encashment and wage payments.

Starting to taking its toll on my health. Things are not happening with a certain swing. Yet. Time will tell. Soon, it will be April. Quarter of year gone. On what?
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Life is for living today

Recently, I explained to someone that in order to manage, I have to spend each day's energy on advance planning for the next day and week -- by not living life today, I'm living in the future. They replied "ah well...that's life".

My answer was, "No, that's not life -- spending days laying here alone is no life. My limited daily energy is expended on organising basic household tasks, personal care and food. Apart from blogging, that is all I do. Each and every day. Day in day out. Week after week. I want to scream."

When helpers forget to do stuff - it spells frustration for me. Explaining what's needed each time and the materials to use. It's getting too much for me at the moment juggling housekeeping tasks and supervising seven hours of work for two people. Not to mention dealing with everyone else who turns up at the door or on the phone.

Each morning takes up every ounce of my day's energy. I'm losing ground I gained in January. By the afternoons, my breathing becomes so laboured that I don't have the energy to lift a fork or chew. Evening passes by in a blur, feel too ill to be hungry.

If only daily household stuff could get magically sorted without my input and management. I could then utilise the stamina I have to walk 50 yards down to the beach and back. Or be up to having more visitors and conversation. Or writing emails and letters. I've still not been beyond my front gate since last March. Can't imagine when I can start on the six-week-total-rest-programme.

Years ago, my parents had a pub restaurant. On their first opening day, for a laugh, they chalked up a sign behind the bar saying: "Free Beer Tomorrow". The locals eagerly turned up, asking for free beer. My mother chuckled "tomorrow". They laughed. Next day, they turned up early again and asked for free beer. My father chuckled "tomorrow".... Took them quite a while to get the joke. Tomorrow never comes.
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For help

Further to my post yesterday: carers or patients in need of practical help and advice could phone Dial UK and ask to speak to a local adviser.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 3/14/2004
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