Friday, June 13, 2008

What a difference a couple of hours makes

About half an hour after I posted my last entry, the nurse at the hospice called me and asked me to come down. About 20 mintues (maybe less) after I got to the hospice my aunt took her last breath. It was wierd. One minute I was stirring my tea, watching her like a hawk, my heart pounding every time her breath was a bit late in coming, and the next minute, the nurse told me she thought she'd gone, and she turned off her air supply. She checked her pulse, listened to see if she was breathing and then she told me she had died. I was all "are you sure? Cause i think I can still see her heart moving underneath her shirt". Unfortunately, my cousin had gone back to his office to pick up some paper work and didn't make it in time. I have to say it was pretty hard being there alone (other than the nurses) and dealing with it by myself. They took her time of death from my mobile phone. I just got my phone, and I will probably always remember that moment every time I look at it.

It's wierd cause right after it happened she didn't really look that different from before she died. The only difference was that her body was no longer struggling to breath. Thinking about it though, she didn't really have that peaceful look that they say dead people get. I really wish that she wasn't scared when she died. I really wish that she wasn't lonely. I really wish that she knew I was there with her. I really wish that fucking cancer hadn't done this to her in the first place.

God fucking damnit. Fucking fuck.

I really didn't think it would happen this soon. She was fighting so damned hard the last few days. I thought I'd have a couple more episodes of Gilmore Girls to watch on the Living channel. Now I'll never know what's gonna happen with the Lauralei.. will she get it together with the dude in the coffee shop or will his girlfriend get her claws in deeper? Admittedly, my aunt is now spared from my inane banter about cinammon flavoured porridge. Damn, I was looking forward to more of that this morning.

My cousin has decided that to appease some of my overly anxious, overly hysterical family members, that he would like his mother buried in Australia. So that's where we are heading next. Back home to Sydney for her funeral. My boss ain't too pleased that I'm going home and he let it be known to me in not very uncertain terms that he does not really think I should be away for much longer than I had originally said I was going to be. I think the fact I wasn't hysterical on the phone made him think it's no big deal or that I'm taking the piss or something. I'm not hysterical on the phone because most of my family in Australia are hysterical on the phone, and it doesn't help anyone or anything crying and wailing and not keeping your shit together. I hope they can control their sobbing enough to start organising the funeral at their end, cause I do not want to have to do it from Phoenix.

Argh. It's almost 6am here and just before we left the hospice at 4.30 I made myself a cup of tea with sugar in it. I thought I'd be up for ages, but now I need to get some sleep and I'm gonna awake for a while.. Bugger.

Ok, so that's my news. I'm off back home to Sydney now. As an amusing aside, I'm going home as a brit cause my aussie passport has expired and i didn't get it renewed. I have to now go through the foreigners line and get quizzed with the tyrancial look of the Australian border police, checking to see if I'm not going to outstay my visa like all other Brits seem to do. Bollocks.

Back in the burning sun

First off, let me apologise to the people who have already seen this part of this,but it's a pretty accurate account of what's happening right now, so I've decided to blog it. Besides, it's whats happening to me right now. And it's my blog and if I want to kinda repeat stuff on it I will.

So I've been away for a few days cause I'm back in Phoenix. I was out here 6 weeks ago to be with my mum and my cousin because my Aunt, who has had cancer for the last 10 years, and is finally succumbing to it. It's been a long road, and for many of the years she's been fighting it like a hero. The last few years though the cancer has really turned aggressive, that now it's just taken her over. She's been in a non responsive state since Sunday, so I flew out on a day's notice to be here with her and my cousin. I'll be here for a few weeks, so the blogging will not be often.. it's pretty exhausting to be fair.

Everything here is going ok I suppose. Though that's a bit of misleading really. My aunt is really fighting hard, and is simply refusing to let go. Even though she's been asleep since Sunday, her oxygen levels and circulation are still good. Having said that, she's not eaten or drunk anything in days now. The nurses are just amazed at her resilience.. As is her son and I. My days are pretty much spent all day 9am-8pm at her bedside, alternating between bashing my head against the wall with work that I've brought over with me, and bashing my head against the wall to get the trash day time TV out of my head before it starts rotting my mind. It's loads of fun.

I've noticed that when the nurses either change her or turn her, her eyes kinda open. The first night I got here, they opened and I said hi and told her I was here, and she looked like she was looking at me, and she also looked like she smiled. It didn't last long but then she fell asleep again. One of my cousin's friends whose mum went through the same thing said that his mum did that, but the doctors told him it was a muscle reflex and nothing more. I'm not really sure I believe that. Sometimes her eyeballs move around, and when I ask her questions, she seems to blink in response... (well all of this is with her eyes closed so it's not properly blinking). I dunno if I'm just seeing responses or if it's really happening... but I act as if it is happening, so you know, if she blinks when i ask her if she's hot, I'll sponge her down and stuff... today she didn't really look like she was responding at all to my inane banter... maybe discussing Cinnamon flavour porridge really isn't interesting enough to blink to.... I think it's fascinating (how does something that looks so bleeerrr actually taste half decent? It's amazing what you can do with enough cinnamon and sugar isn't it?).

Last night to blow off some steam my cousin took me to this really random bar for a drink. It was a half country half hip hop bar/club thingy, with a dance floor and a queue that went round the building to get in. They were really egalitarian with their music though. 4 songs of country, with people dancing away in partners, girls with long hair trying to get it into other girls eyes whilst they are getting swung around, then 4 songs of hip hop, with people gyrating and dry humping each other on the dance floor. Then they'll do some sort of group dance song (you know, the type where the instructions are in the song ("Now turn. Now left two times. Now hop. Now hop again. Now hop 9 times, tap your head and rub your belly, Now turn again." ). I noticed that these sort of songs worked on both levels: the hip hop crowd can still dance cause it's kinda hip hopish, and the country good ol' boys can line dance to it. Then they'll go back to their 4 country songs again, and every one's happy. Really odd. We worked out it was because Wednesdays is "ladies nite" so I got in free but we missed the 25 cent beers... to be fair they are these weak arse American beers, which taste like water. Why drink lite beer? It's not cause of the alcohol content, which is the same, but it just tastes like garbage. I went out today and bought some full fat Budweiser. The lady in the beer aisle looked at me like I might as well have been sitting there drinking the oil from a deep fat fryer or something..

Also, I've watched so much shite day time television in the last 2 days it actually feels like I've been here for weeks. The freakin' Gilmore Girls is on both in the mornings and afternoons, and Living TV is like some sort of drug that won't let go. I've decided that both Oprah and Dr Phil are actually the devil. (well ok Dr Phil is the devil.. but Oprahs got some sort of witch craft thing going on cause I stayed up till late the last time I was here watching her show with Tom Cruise.. I don't even like Tom Freaking-Break-Our-Nic's-Heart Cruise.. As an Australian I think it's my patriotic duty to dislike him.. ) Argh. And there are so many game shows on in the day time. I was going to say which one amuses me the most but I honestly can't think of any. I turn into a bit of a dumb arse when I start to watch them, so if they come on I flick the channel real quick before I get sucked in.. It's like looking into Medusa's face or something.. Though I have noticed that Drew Carey must have hit rock bottom cause he's now hosting The Price Is Right with screaming, hyperactive people.. golly gosh he must have some hired goons riding his arse for boat repayments or something, because I can' think of a single reason why he's on that show. It's so fucking annoying. They must be pumping airborne cocaine into the studio: all the yelling and jumping up and down like the show has cured world hunger or something, just so they can get a shot at winning an overly priced bedroom suite that won't fit in their houses anyway.

And finally, the weather: it's 40 degrees here in the day time.. it was 34 degrees last night (at 9pm!). It's going up to 109 this Sunday (i don't know what that is in Fahrenheit.. 42 or something?). All in all, it's pleasantly warm in the Arizona sandpit that is Phoenix.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cliff Notes

I will hold my hand up high and say "yes, I'm a slacker". Slacker I am. I haven't posted, I haven't been on, I haven't done much recently.

So I can stop feeling guilty, get back on track, I am just going to give the cliff notes of what's been going on:

1) I haven't cycled much. I did my 100 miles, I felt great. Then my ribs started to kill from the car racing and my osteo said I'd bruised all in between them on my left side. Unfortunately there wasn't much I could do but wait it out. Obviously, me being me, I was very quiet about the whole thing and never a peep was heard about how I couldn't even lie on that side and every movement felt like I was being punched in the ribs. Not a word out of me. Quiet as a mouse.

Ok, maybe a squeaky, annoying, pissed off mouse who complained and wailed constantly about it. Through a megaphone...

2) Speaking of my bike, I have taken it to the shop to get a quote for fitting new gears on it... My bike has 7. Apparently bikes that aren't complete jokes have 21... When the service guy quoted me £200 to upgrade my bike up to the specs I wanted, he told me I should just go and buy a new one... So I've now started entertaining the idea of an upgrade... The thing is I kinda proud of the fact I was cycling 400 miles on the crappiest bike ever. A bike that always always gets comments from other cyclists along the lines of "you're cycling to Paris on that piece of shit? Like making life hard for yourself eh?" (To which I think "I'm keeping up with you on your £1000 road bike aren't I? So why don't you just go and piss off.").

So I went to the bike store on Monday, you know to simply peruse at the goods. All the shiny new road and hybrid bikes with their Shimano parts. Knowing diddly squat (21 gears on a bike you say? That's pretty modern isn't it?) I had to ask a shop assistant for help. And guess what? We actually had banter. Real life, honest to god, banter. Me having banter with a guy. A real life guy who works at the bike shop and who didn't talk down to me like I was some sort of cycling road hazard because I wasn't in head to toe skin tight lycra. And I'm not talking "buy a bike" banter. I'm talking genuine he-cracked-jokes-to-make-me-laugh banter. I'm not ashamed to say I actually felt a bit good about myself... Still not convinced I'm gonna spend £500 on a bike.

3) C and I went to see Cabaret on what we're dubbing "Alistair McGowan Mondays". She has a thing for him. And in Cabaret we got to see his bare arse. Oh my yes. And we got to see the bare arses of almost all of the women in the musical. Along with their legs, their stomachs, their breasts (in and out of skimpy lace bras). Can I just say that musical theatre has changed allot since I was girl... Set in 1930s Germany just before the war, it touches on how the coming of the Nazis heralded the end of the hedonistic days of pre war Berlin. And despite all the T&A, it was excellent! However, the end of the first act has got a boy from the Hitler youth singing and someone waving a swastika. Never have you heard an audience sound so confused... On the one hand you want to clap because it's the end of the first act and the musical is really good, but on the other it's still very difficult, even after all this time, to applaud when you've just seen a massive nazi flag waving on stage. A polite British clap was what they got.

4) I am very slowly discovering that I am in fact an excellent ex-girlfriend. Dr D has a new lady friend and a few days ago I helped him work out what to cook his girlfriend for dinner. I mean he can cook, but that's only cause I taught him how (A small aside cause I know I'm going to get yelled at for this: Dr D: vegetarian chilli, beans on toast and canned fish does not count as knowing how to cook before I turned up ok. I taught you. Deal with it). I took him round the supermarket, I told him how to make the sauce, what herbs to add, how to cook his spuds, how to present it on the plate so it didn't just look like meat and two veg. Essentially I helped him woo his girl (I was going to say to "helped him get laid" but that's way too crass, even for me.). I rock. I'm gonna make some other man a very good ex-girlfriend someday. Ah bless.

5) The Magic and Calv are lording it up in Florida. They went last week to see the space shuttle launch (lucky bastards). I got this text from The Magic, which made me chuckle. Only geeks would say:

"Fuck me. That was fucking awesome. Calv can't stop grinning. His cigarette almost seemed post coital".

Now I'm not sure how The Magic knows what Calv looks like "post coital"... Hookers in Florida maybe?

6) And finally, I'm back to making cakes for fundraising for my cycle ride. I pretty much think of only the London to Paris cycle these days. That's about it. So to help raise some funds I have been making cakes for the office and asking for donations... Yesterday it was a flourless clementine & almond cake (thanks Li for the recipe!), covered, no smothered, in dark chocolate. It looked just a like a big Jaffa cake!

So that's pretty much a round up, Cliff notes style, on what's been going on. Now I can come back and blog about all the angst action that's going on.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Possibly Unacceptable Documentation

I am so sick of writing documentation specs at work that no one ever reads that I am seriously contemplating leaving this sentence in, and seeing if anyone even notices:

“Essentially, the desired functionality would be to allow the user to copy, rename and move cf files without T fuking it up.”

Tempting… very tempting…

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My First Centrury

So how did I do? My first century cycle ride? My first 160 kilometres? The same distance from London to Bournemouth, or Sydney to Newcastle?

Well the good news is that I did it, and I didn't die in the process! The bad(ish) news is that it took me 11 hours (including lunch and stops) to finish it...

I have to be honest and say I didn't actually cycle the whole thing, because there were some really large hills in there (one of which went on for a mile at about a 14 degree incline) and the first 40 miles were absolute killers. What seriously didn't help though was when I started the ride, I got a guy from Halfords to check my breaks. 6 miles into the race, and I'm struggling - really struggling, and I'm slightly panicking that I can't get past 9 miles an hour. I started to almost cry thinking "I can't do this, why can't I do this?" and then wondering how I was going to get out of the London to Paris cycle - what would I tell everyone? How would I get their sponsorship money back. It's about this point my mind wonders back to the Halfords guy and I remember that there was something funny about my back tire when he was fixing it. I get off, pick up the bike, spin the back wheel and stop, the guy from Halfords tightened up the break too much, and the wheel was rubbing the whole way, so I was practically cycling with my brake one the whole way.

I met some really nice people along the way (once all the hard core serious cyclists got out of the way) some of which are also going to be doing the London to Paris cycle in July. One group of guys I met were a guy, his father in law and a friend. His father in law was definitely a fan of tough love. During the day I met them on and off, and the father in law told me the following: I wouldn't be allowed to complete it since I had walked a part of it, at the top of the killer hill (with the "sting in it's tail") he was at the top and said "there's an ambulance here for you", and he also told me "You have to catch up with my son in law, you're way fitter than he is!". Tough love.

Some of the more bizare comments I came out with include "Only 46 more miles to go!" "Only 35 more miles!" "Yay! Last 20" "Oh God, why are there still 12 more miles to go??".