I’m a Tiger, I’m a Tiger!

I’m a Tiger!

Some may recognize this as the title of a song by Lulu. (Released in 1968 – yes, I’m showing my age) This is Titch, enjoying the last of the long grass before it is cut.

My husband has been working on getting the grass under control. He was busy this morning when we spotted Titch doing her Fierce Jungle Predator impression. He smiled and softly sang ‘I’m a tiger, I’m a tiger’. He doesn’t smile often – it’s part of the Parkinson’s package. I laughed. It was an instant of crystal clear communication, and such a poignant moment. If you haven’t dealt with dementia, it can be hard to understand just how difficult communication can be. He struggles to find words, slurs and mumbles as well. He pursues his own line of thought, and then comes out with something that I can’t follow because I have no context.

We went up to the neurologist on Monday. One of the major freeways across Johannesburg is closed so I had to find another route. This was less successful than I hoped… At least we got there in one piece. Much swearing, I got hooted at a few times (I’m surprised it wasn’t more) and I rode over a traffic island. Look, I was watching the traffic, trying to read road signs and keep an eye on the GPS. I ran out of eyes. We were also late for the first time ever.

My husband has been having more problems lately, struggling to find the right keys, sometimes putting seed in the birds’ water dishes. He doesn’t know what year it is and misspells his own name. All the specialist would say was that his movement is not worse (how he walks, stiffness in his hands), but that the other problems are ‘the progression of the disease’. That’s not a happy phrase. He has been put onto an extra medication to help his memory. We will see.

We go to painting class once a week. it was suggested as therapy and he enjoys it. He produces some interesting work too – very much in his own style. Our teacher was talking about copyright a while ago (and emailed us copies of magazine articles to illustrate her point. Irony rules…) He would never have to worry about copyright, what he produces is so completely different from the reference image. Here is one of his paintings.


We have a coffee break in the middle of class. The other week conversation wandered onto dementia and out came all the stupid old jokes about confused elderly people with one woman saying if she developed it she would swallow a handful of pills. I sat there wanting to disembowel someone with one of the teaspoons. What do you do? I’m perfectly capable of creating a massive scene and have a great line in sarcastic comebacks. But it would embarrass my husband and undoubtedly spoil his enjoyment of the class.


A drawing of my husband dozing over a book. Not very clear, I’m afraid. My husband refuses to go without me and I’ve got to do something. Apart from disemboweling fantasies.

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Dirty Girl

And she paints with her fingers!


Iris Scott

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In the Jungle…

What with one thing and another, the garden was pretty much ignored over the last few months.

In the Jungle

We have been attacking it spasmodically. My husband gets tired, also I don’t think sunburn on a healing skin graft is a good thing. But he gets upset if I go ahead and do it. Some progress has been made.

Hack and Slash

I’m expecting to find an outbuilding or two we may have overlooked.

I’ve been doing some crocheting recently. I’d forgotten how fast it is, certainly compared with knitting and tatting is not even in the same postal code. I made a couple of shawls in a couple of weeks, and I wasn’t even pushing it. Not an intricate pattern, but a stitch I love, Solomon’s Knot. Also known as the Lover’s Knot and (damned if I know why) Hailstone.

Grey Shawl Closeup

This was a gift. I made myself one as well.

Sparkly Shawl

There is a metallic thread through this one, although it doesn’t show up well in the photo. Don’t look at the dates which show how long ago I did them….

Here is the odd story for anyone who is interested.

I saw a mark on my son’s left shoulder that I thought could be dangerous. He can be less than cooperative with doctors and such. He has spent a lot of time in hospitals and sometimes refuses outright to be hauled off for whatever. So I made an appointment for all three of us for a ‘routine health check-up’. We went to the Dermatologist and there was no mark on my son’s shoulder… The Dermatologist, however, took one look at an innocuous (to me) brown mark next to my husband’s eye that I can find in photos going back ten years. The rest is history.

I have no explanation for the mark I was convinced I saw. I can still see it clearly in my mind’s eye. All I can suggest is that it was a vivid dream. I very rarely remember my dreams. There was one lucid dream (where you know you are dreaming and can actually control what is happening) that I had when I was still in school, and can still remember. Another dream was of my parents, some time after they had passed away. I remember saying in the dream ‘I know it’s a dream, but it’s so nice to see you’.

I’m never been one who has ‘feelings’ or ‘forebodings’ or anything like that.

So there it is, for what it’s worth.



Posted in Challenges, Crochet, Crochet, Handwork, Health, knitting, Life, Tatting, Tatting | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

All Clear!

The results are back and we caught the Melanoma in time. We do just have to be vigilant about check ups with the Dermatologist. Many, many thanks for all the positive thoughts and messages. All greatly appreciated.

Because the Melanoma was so close to the eye, he needed to go to a plastic surgeon. I’ve never seen a skin graft before. She did warn us that it would look bad. Yes. More than 5 cm in diameter, a deep dent and right up against the eye. Apparently it will take about three months to heal. I’m not complaining. I’m just tired of people asking’what haaaapened?’  Me, I’d just put a dressing over it to shut people up. Husband doesn’t seem to mind the questions and doesn’t want to put anything over it.

It’s a weird story how we even ended up at the Dermatologist in the first place. I don’t know about sharing it yet. I’m no believer in premonitions or anything like that, but weird is the only way I can describe it. I think Shakespeare covered it, as usual. ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies.’

My poor blog has been rather neglected over the last year or so. I don’t dare say I will post more regularly. To add another quotation, Robert Burns this time. ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft agley’. Go pear-shaped, if you want a translation on the last three words. Although that is British slang which might be from the second world war. And that’s the start of a rabbit-hole right there…

I’m crocheting myself a shawl. If that makes me an old lady, so be it.


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Holidays, Health and Handwork

My husband came through the operation well, now it is just waiting for the results. It just looks so uncomfortable. The dressing is right up against the eye, and has been stitched on. The plastic surgeon said no dressing would stay in place otherwise. In the hospital she said we would come for an appointment next week Thursday – the 27th. The rooms phoned this morning and said Monday the 24th. Go figure. They can’t be taking the stitches out, it’s less than a week after the operation. Knowing my luck, it will be both days. With a 200 km round trip each time.

This must be one of the worst times of the year to be doing this – it’s so full of holidays and half the time people you need to see are away. I’m really not in the Christmas mood, what with one thing and another. However, I really don’t want this blog to turn into me wailing in the wilderness, so let’s change the subject.

It has been quite a hectic year. We had our car stolen, right out of the school parking area. My classroom faces the parking area and I can see the car from my doorway. Looked out between one class and the next and the car was gone. It was insured, but we had to add money to get another vehicle. A little hatchback. Lighter on petrol, at least. It’s only a 1 liter engine. My brother would have called it a motor-bike with two extra wheels and ambition.

I am keeping on with the handwork – surprisingly soothing in times of stress. Busy on another jersey for my husband. I’m not liking the wool. There are uneven areas and I can foresee problems. I’m doing some crochet as well. So fast compared with tatting.  I have a side project with tatting. Some years ago I tatted a pot plant for a friend of mine. The pattern is on Homemade by Meta.

Tatted Pot Plant

I liked it, and am busy with one for myself. A very simple pattern, so it is a good carry-around project. In other words, not easy to mess up if you are not concentrating. It is odd how small the tatting thread in comparison with knitting and crocheting. It’s size 20 and I have used 100 before today. (The higher the number, the finer the thread) This is Ben Fikkert’s Josephine Cross in 100 thread. A great site to visit. The pattern is there, although I don’t seem to be able to link directly to it. Look under ‘Galleries’ and then ‘Other Stuff’.

Ben Fikkert’s Josephine Cross


Perspective is everything, really. Shakespeare said ‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’. I can say, ‘What a terrible year, our car was stolen, my husband has even more health problems’, or ‘The car was insured, we got another vehicle. Maybe we caught the Melanoma in time’.

So on we go. Blessings and best wishes over the holiday season, however you celebrate it (or don’t).

Posted in Challenges, Christmas, Crochet, Crochet, Handwork, Health, Knitting, Shuttle Tatting, Tatting, Tatting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

On We Go…

We saw the plastic surgeon today. Because it is so close to the eye, she will have to do a skin graft. My husband will be going in on the 18th. He will be walking around over Christmas with a big dressing on his face. Anyone says anything humourous and I am likely to spit in their eye.

She sounded pretty sure that the Melanoma hadn’t spread. I don’t think I will relax until everything is over. I’m assuming they will send what they cut out away for analysis.

We will go back two weeks later for the post-op check up. I suppose we will hear the final result then. I’m going to have a fun festive season… My husband doesn’t seem to be concerned. I’m glad for him – stress doesn’t do him any good.

Thanks so much for all the comments and good wishes. Each and every one is appreciated.

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Some Positive Thoughts Needed

This is just a quick post asking for thoughts and prayers for my husband. He has been diagnosed with a melanoma. Present indications are that we caught it very early, and that it has not spread. He will be going to the plastic surgeon on Monday, hopefully to have it completely removed. We won’t know for sure if we caught it in time until it has been removed and tested again. They have already tested a specimen.

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