Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blackberries and summer: an hour of illness forgotten

When I lived in Los Angeles, there was an amusement park called Knotts Berry Farm which I and friends went to, and at one point actually had been a berry farm (now it is roller coasters). However when summer came and I went up to see my grandparents in East Sooke on Vancouver Island, then it WAS time to pick berries. My grandfather, no fool, would use us kids to worm into the center of a blackberry patch saying, “Oh, scratches are a PART of blackberry picking, that’s why they taste so good!” My grandfather had a Victorian view of “use those urchins and their small nimble fingers!” Still, the blackberry jam and fresh baked pies were worth it.

So every year we have been in Victoria, except last year during the “medical testing marathon” we have picked blackberries. Before I moved to the UK, I would give half of what I picked to my grandfather and grandmother, who couldn’t get out anymore, so that summer would come to them: because what is summer without blackberries?

I said something to Linda during our recent Hell Week, one late night, likely between seizures when I was wearing the eye patch and had eye lock, stuck staring on a piece of ceiling stucco. I said or slurred that we should go blackberry picking. I guess this what I meant about living and choices. I can’t stop feeling crap, can’t stop the fact that I used to walk, used to feel my legs: not years or months ago, but weeks ago. Can’t stop that, can, maybe, with the support of a medical team and a transport team, can go blackberry picking, can have that bit of summer.

So after we got up, around noon from our hell night (many seizures, brain damage, stopped breathing), and I got the limbs moving, the pain killers maxed and the clothes on. With the ambi-bag, oxygen and some containers packed we headed out. It was partially sunny and there was a patch by Linda’s workplace she had scouted. Some of the patches were only available to able bodied people who could clamber but some where an obsessed person in a wheelchair could force their way into the thick barbed vines of the blackberry bushes. We weren’t the only one with this thought as the bushes were full of birds, enjoying the ripe blackberries too high to be picked.


The secret to blackberry picking is that if you HAVE to pull, it is going to be sour, a ripe blackberry will fall with a slight tug, however an overripe blackberry will let your fingers squish in and stain them. The purple hand is the sign of the blackberry picker. Linda got a head start and already had a full container when I caught up with her. She pointed out that I had brought the PERFECT goth shirt, my “Berry Fairy” t-shirt. I was the also the ‘lucky spotter’ as being eye level to a dog, I mean having a low eye level meant I could see under the broad leaves to the clumps of ripe berries behind. So as we moved along I often played spotter while Linda and Cheryl picked.
However, I picked too, since I was able to push myself amongst the thistles and the blackberry vines to start to fill my own container. So yes, I guess “Wheelchair blackberry picking” is another sport/activity to add to my list. For me it meant that for a hour or so, I felt like it was a year ago, when all that mattered was the wheelchair, and my will of what I wanted to do. For me it was summer, a “normal” summer. For those who have had the idea of “normal”, 'routine' or 'tradition' taken away by disability and/or disease, you can know what it means to do something as if the disease has gone away, to do a bit of routine that had been taken away and be free, thinking nothing of it. The greatest blessing I get are the minutes or hours when I forget; forget that I need to regulate my blood pressure, my oxygen, my energy, my medication, the time until sleep, the temperature, and the rest I need to stay alive. Instead, I had a whole hour when I could just BE.

Here we have the other part of the team, our summer berry pickers, showing three of the five containers we picked and the badges of honor: the purple hand! And the OTHER badge of a berry picker on Cheryl, the purple stain near the mouth! On the way back to the car we saw a bush just full of birds, here is a red breasted (er….bird?), along with another bird in the lower right corner. I have a theory the birds come to eat the overripe berries to get drunk from the fermentation. That why they keep sitting there looking spaced out. Blackberries bring out everyone.....except the bears, thankfully, at least not today.

Of course, I did pass out soon after we finished our picking, and had to be pushed back to the van and wear the eye patch.

I do wear my eye patch now on a nearly daily basis so if you have some cool eye patch or know where one can be found I would like to know. Since by afternoon or evening in my left eye the entire world turns blue or there is just garbage coming in (sparkly!) or the eyes don't coordinate and there are two worlds and trying to do anything makes me look drunk as I tell Linda, “Stop that……BOTH of you!” So my time of forgetting my condition, of just being in a wheelchair was over but I had done it, summer had come and blackberries had been picked. That night I enjoyed a blackberry thick milkshake.

I also worked some on the postcard project and here are a small fraction of the ones I finished.

I hope they are speeded on their journey, and arrive when a smile is needed most.

The evening turned into something else, something I'll talk about later (and today was the recovery). This post, like that hour, is about the time I had when my only limitation was where my wheelchair could go.

Screw Bronze isn’t going to be a fantasy disability blog, but there is so much ugliness in my life, so many hours of the raw and the painful. And that kind of brutality is only going to continue and increase, so today I choose to focus on two different hours, my “fruits of summer.” The hours which include the berry picking, getting my chair in there and getting a few scratches and embedded thorns as well as the postcards; my other garden, a little less wild, but still work in finding and picking the perfect one.

I hope that whatever your condition, your stress, emotional or physical, that you were able to have that hour of “forgetting” of just being. I know it doesn’t come often, but when it does, it sure is nice, to just have the smell of blackberries, the sound of happy birds, the fingers stained purple, the insults to Linda and Cheryl that there seems to be “more eating going on than picking!”

I hope you had your own "hour" this weekend.

41 comments:

cheryl g said...

Wait, you mean the berries are supposed to go into the container not into my mouth? What an odd way of doing things.

It was a fun, sunny afternoon and I thoroughly enjoyed going berry picking. They taste better when you've picked them your self. Lucky since my arm looks a bit like I was wrestling a bobcat.

It is good when you can get a day, hour or few minutes where you can ignore the burden of the disability/illness and just be. Live in the moment, build memories and enjoy every second.

yanub said...

You look great in your berry fairy shirt! Fantastic choice for an hour of brambles and berries.

You are so right that we have to focus on our good days, or hours, or moments. The bad runs together, but the good times stand out and get us through the rough times.

I'll be on the lookout for eyepatches. Do you have any specific needs in one?

Elizabeth McClung said...

Cheryl: yeah you were really INTO those vines and vice versa! And you were into eating them too. Yeah, I need those times when I am with friends and don't feel the weight of the disability/illness. Of course, I write it because in another week, if the seizures are bad, I will look at those pictures and say to Linda, "When did we do that?" with all seriousness. That is the other side, that I know my mind is being broken up, my loved memories in bits and pieces or gone forever and I know that it will continue. But what else is there to do but go on?

Yanub: Yeah, the bad can too often become all that we have, bad and recovery, bad and recovery, so to have the good times, and pause over them is important

EYEPATCHES: need something to block my vision AND look cool - goth or punk (like say a HEART eyepatch!), or Zebra or anything but the old medicine one I have - black and boring. I put it around my head with a black band, and it covers the eye - that is about all it needs to do (PLUS LOOK COOL!)

sarah said...

LOVE the goth berry shirt! very apropos indeed!

fashionable eye patches here:
http://www.eye-grafx.com/

kathz said...

I was just thinking that I hadn't picked blackberries yet when I read your post. There used to be blackberries on a field round the corner but now houses have been built on the field so we shall have to go further. They really are the taste of late summer - and I love making blackberry and apple crumble.

Lisa Harney said...

It is criminal that you do not have a heart-shaped punk lolita eyepatch, Elizabeth.

Downright criminal.

SharonMV said...

Beth, so glad that you had that magic hour. I remember days of picking blackberries too. And making blackberry pie.

Sharon

Kelli said...

I love your "Berry Fairy" shirt. I went strawberry picking earlier this summer, and I have to agree with Cheryl. They do taste better when you've picked them yourself.

Neil said...

Eye patches could be fun to make, says I. Then I saw Sarah's link. Crap; already available. Oh well, there are other things one could put on a patch.

I didn't get an hour this weekend, but I had two whole weekends this month, so I'm happy.

I hope that your memories of the good times will last longest, Beth. Let's have at least SOME fairness as your brain 'splodes.

LIVING is definitely the best part of this life; keep it up, dear lady.

Zen hugs,
Neil

FridaWrites said...

Sounds like a great afternoon. Blackberries are the one berry my son's recently agreed to try, so I have to go in search of some in the next day or two.

You're right about the birds, they do get drunk!

We had a fun weekend too, went to an outdoor/camping store Saturday and to a restaurant with indoor aquariums right off the lake. Kids got new sleeping bags. I'm not surprised the Barbie one doesn't fit the 10 year old anymore since she's already taller than gymnast Shawn Johnson. Went to see Clone Wars too.

Wanted to get out yesterday, but kids went swimming with grandparents (I wasn't up to that) while husband made a very necessary trip to stock up on supplies. I used to wonder how we'd manage to live someplace where you have to really stock up for winter, but we stock up for 4 months at a time now on nonfood items. Saves a lot of time each week with the regular grocery shopping since he has to tackle more than most dads when I can't help much, plus saves money since we look for the best deals.

wendryn said...

It's funny, but my good time this weekend was cleaning the garage. I got up at 6 AM and spent 2.5 hours working on setting up a clothesline in the garage (on hot days it gets over 100 degrees in there easily - might as well take advantage of the heat) and cleaning and organizing it. By the end of next weekend I think all of the books will be unpacked, 4.5 years after buying the house.

You look happy berry picking! :)

Victor Kellar said...

Here in central Ontario, it is blueberries we hunt. We go into the bush around the Georgian Bay where Collette's family lives.

The first time we took Ms Hayley, she was quick to discovery the enticing aroma of the blueberry. This is a dog who literally stops to smell the flowers, so the berries were beyond resisting

Collette looked up from picking to find Hayley's head in the basket. "Ms Hayley!" Head comes up, tongue lickes stained muzzle the border collie blinks "What?" Since a dog can eat berries out of a basket quicker than you can fill the basket we did the only sensible thing: We taught our boder collie how to pick her own berries.

Miss Hayley has mastered the "black bear" technique of berry picking. Squirm in under the branches,stand pararell to the bush and just swipe your mouth along the branch ... in one second, a mouthful of berries. This leaves your basket untouched but now you have to break your picking into high gear; that little dog can clear out an entire picking area in the blink of an eye

Glad you had a good day, the shirt looks great, by the way

Queen Slug said...

Am I correct to understand the patch would be for the left eye?

Anna said...

You look great!
All of you!
Makes me feel really hungry.
Happy for you!

shiva said...

Blackberry picking is awesome. In fact, i think your post has inspired me to go out and find some good berry patches round here...

Actually, i'd been meaning to for a while, but not got round to it yet this year.

Last year i picked loads, with the intention to make blackberry wine, but they ended up in a friend's freezer, because i had to move to somewhere without a freezer, and then he accidentally turned off the power when he went on holiday, and came back to find his freezer full of mouldy, fermented rot... :(

Homemade blackberry wine is... very, very nice. Probably the best alcoholic drink possible, in fact (and, containing no additives - no hangover)...

And you look very, very nice in that "berry fairy" top...

Not sure what species that bird is. It's not one that you get in the UK...

Lene Andersen said...

When I was little, the entire family - my mom, grandparents, me, my sister, EVERYONE - would go pick wild raspberries in the woods near where my grandparents lived. I can still call up the sunspeckled patch of raspberries, the smell of warm sand and pines and bliss of stringing deep red berries on a long strand of grass and eating them off it. Once, my sister sat in an antnest. And the rest of the year, we'd eat raspberry jam that tasted like summer in a spoon. Thanks for bringing that back to me today.

Glad you had your forgetting. Mind was playing hide and seek with my sister's twins. Pure and in the moment.

Dawn Allenbach said...

I did have that hour, though mine was more than an hour. Mine was an hour looking at art and two hours sharing Thai food with friends. It was awesome!

Perpetual Beginner said...

Mmmm. Berries. I love blackberries - my third favorite fruit in the world (behind raspberries and cherries). I haven't been berry picking in ages, though. We always did it at Grandma's house (huge berry patches out back), and after she died, somehow we never got to doing it on our own. Next summer I should take the boys down to my FIL's place and teach them the joys of bramble-wrassling.

I'm fortunate to be in a place where the nasty, icky bits of illness are the exception rather than the rule. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself because this is take-pictures-of-Cindy's-brain week, with concommittant blood draws and related tests, plus a nasty cold. Thank you for the reminder to concentrate on the good parts of this week, of which there are several, rather than on the ugly bits.

I should go rummage in my son's closet. I think we have a pirate eyepatch in there somewhere.

cheryl g said...

For those who are interested... the red-breasted bird is a Cassin's Finch.

Gaina said...

Oh dear, that just about made me cry. I've had a *horrible* weekend with spasms, crap sleep and whole boat load of other shit banging around my head so I completely connected with you on this one. I'll get my 'hour' tomorrow' when the new Slipknot CD (hopefully!) lands on my doormat and I can be transported some place else :).

I have a friend who has some pretty sweet eye patches, I'll try and connect you two and see if you can't work something out :D.

The birds are a pair of redpoll's. The male being the one at the top with that lovely red on him :).

cheryl g said...

I have to tell a story that Beth forgot to relate…

When I arrived at their place on Friday I went out that afternoon to run an errand for Beth and walked down to the store. The walk is about 4 blocks. On the way back I realized I was being followed about two blocks from Beth’s place. It was a commando squirrel... one of the squirrel minions was shadowing me. The squirrel kept about a ½ block away until I reached the apartment building. Then it ran up to sit a few feet away and watched me let myself in. In the lobby as I got on the elevator I saw this squirrel with its nose pressed to the glass of the door watching me. I am choosing to believe that Beth had sent one of the squirrel army along as an escort to make sure I got back safely. Sadly, I had no peanuts to reward it.

Abby said...

Blackberries are yummy - well worth the scratching and the snagging. We went blackberrying yesterday near the river - eighteen feet high bramble thickets with thriving colonies of nettles and thistles lurking under the bramble vines waiting for fresh blood...

And I'm glad you got some carefree you-time as well.

Oh, and if you let me know your head measurement and any fabric preferences, I'll run you off a couple of goth spiderweb or brocade eyepatches.

Abi said...

Cheryl, it sounds like a spy squirrel to me. Probably trying to gather intelligence about when Elizabeth will next be gracing them with her presence. I get the impression they have a lot invested in this!

I must pick blackberries soon, too. Like Shiva, I have plans to make wine. Like Shiva, I expect I will end up with a pile of rotted berries.

The field in which I grow my vegetables is surrounded on three sides with brambles, so I should be able to get quite a haul. Alas, the local bushes I usually use have been destroyed to make way for new houses. Behind the new houses which are not selling well.

Tayi said...

I need to go blackberry picking sometime soon- my dad has requested homemade blackberry ice cream. I need to pick the berries and then figure out how to get them into the ice cream without making it too seedy. I've been putting it off, though, because it's been raining here for what seems like forever. Its like the universe doesn't realize its August. ><

I'm glad you got to go berry picking and had a good time.

Gaina said...

Haha, Cheryl's 'Stalker Squirrel' reminds me of This Advert

Abi said...

Tayi, you should put them through a sieve before making the ice cream. It's time-consuming and awkward and annoying, but the results are worth it! Apologies if you were going to do that anyway but it doesn't work for you...

Elizabeth McClung said...

Sarah: thanks for the link, I like the blue flame, Linda likes another one - so we are going to debate over them tonight. Thanks for the fashion compliment.

Kathz: thank you for your package, I can now hide my hair loss under the skulls as it were - which makes me laugh, thanks for the head scarf. Yes, blackberries and summer do go together don't they (along with odd scratches on the arm).

Lisa: Tell me about it, it is just so wrong, and I even HAVE a red plaid mini skirt, but no heart shaped eyepatch. "Be the Kitty!"

SharonMV: Thanks, I went for it (having a medical and transport team helps). I think you will have your hour too, maybe not blackberries, or not this year, but I hope that the IVIG stabilizes things enough to give you a choice like I got.

Kelli: Thanks for the compliment on the T-shirt, I am the slave to fashion! My only complaint on strawberry picking is they are SO LOW down, while blackberries are at eye level often (if you find a hillside). But the ones you pick taste better, but I used to get a back ache as a kid so as revenge against my parents I figured since I had the pain in the back, I would eat ALL the strawberries I picked and put like 1 out of every 5 in the pail. They were not impressed.

Neil: I take it your weekends refer to your SCA time - I am glad you like it so much, I am glad they have it near where you live.

I also try to focus on the times when I do go out because while this blog COULD be full of pictures of the wall near my computer, I think blackberries and farmers markets are the better parts and yes, I hope my emotion keeps the memory there or at least allows me to re-remember it - the many, many proofs I memorized in Geometry however can be wiped away without any noticable loss in quality of life.

Frida: First, how are you an expert in drunk birds? And I am glad your son will try blackberries - a nice sweet one is worth all the seeds (though linda drains them out for jam).

So now that the Barbie one is too small, what did she buy instead - what is the new bag decorated with (a certain Kitty?)?

I like the resturants with indoor aquariums, I took Linda to one in LA where you drink bowls with flames on them of some exotic punch. Sounds like a fun time (yours, mine is just an old memory).

Wendryn: Hey getting things done makes ME feel good too - like getting some stuff FINALLY on ebay. Yes, we have many boxes, so you are doing great. Garage organized eh. We moved BACK from Wales with some boxes that were still unopened after the nine years there and sit here, unopened for a few years more. I am sure all the "important treasures I can't live without" will be found in there! Wonder what you will find in your boxes next week!

Victor: At camp, in Ontario, I remember picking wild blueberries. I can see that teaching Ms Hayley is the only way to end up with berries yourself. Still seems unfair the way she can eat them faster than you can pick them.

Queen Slug: Correct, for some reason that is unknown, the muscles of the LEFT eye as well as the neurological signal are weak so after a seizure or TIA, the LEFT lid is droopy and shut but the right side of the face is sliding south - can't explain it - the doctor says that the section of the brain which controls the muscles for that eye is getting cut or pressed on. So while I am RIGHT side weak in muscles, I am LEFT eye weak and that is the eye I patch. Long explaination for short question eh?

Anna: I think it was a good time for everyone - things are better when done with friends I think, particularly if getting arms scratched to get berries are involved.

Shiva: I can't claim credit for inspiring, I think the blackberries do that, I just remind how good they are!

Well, I am sorry you lost your batch last year, I hope you get to make your wine this year.

I just like the fact that we are out there, friends picking berries in bushes that are full of little birds, sort of actually communing with nature or co-existing for a time.

Lene: We would pick the wild raspberries in East Sooke too - but they weren't as plentiful. Ohh, bummer for your sister, especially if the ants bit her. Does she have an ant phobia now?

Yes, one of the things I like so much about places like east sooke park or other places on the island is they have not just the smell of loam and cedar tree but of blackberries all mixed together - what a beautiful scent - something that can't be bottled or made into a soap. I am glad I brought back a memory for you - as you just brought back one for me.

Wish I could meet these twins. Glad you had your hour too.

Dawn: Sounds great, it is fab when there is those days or half days which make all the little drudgery of disability disappear and fade into the background. I am glad you had one of those.

Thanks for all the comments - I have to head to bed now, will be back in a couple hours!

Neil said...

Konnichawa!

Yeah, my weekends were SCA events, and while they were a few hours' drive away, they were awesome. And my Beloved picked Saskatoon berries on the first weekend in August, at the event south of Lloydminster. Saskatoons in pancakes, in oatmeal, and straight from the vine are wonderful.

We have a small raspberry patch in our garden that also gives us great fruit. Of course, many of the raspberries end up in our mouths before they get to the kitchen!

Cheers,
Neil

Jennifer said...

Blackberries are wonderful! I almost forgot to go picking when I was visiting my grandparents last week (they grow wild all along the road)-what a sad story that would have been.

Also, Wheelchair Blackberry Picking sounds like an excellent sport. I think you need an outreach organization, spread the joy.

Jen
(longtime reader, first time commenter)

Laura said...

Beth,

I am glad that you got that hour of summer without illness. The berries look so good. You look so vital and like you are having fun. I hope that the price afterward wasn't too high.

The other members of the berry team look like they enjoyed themselves too. What is berry picking without eating almost as many as you put into your container? I remember the days of berry picking. There are so many people that have never had that experience. Oh, but what they have missed.

When I still had my Dalmatian, she would go and eat the neighbors berries that stuck through the fence. Then come back to me with a purple muzzle and then I knew it was berry season. Yes, a Dalmatian with a purple muzzle, pretty funny looking.

The red card with the running skeletons is about how I feel about running and the tattered winged red head was pretty nice too.

Your shirt sure dies fit the occation.

Take care,
Laura

Devi said...

I'm glad you got to have your piece of summer; and that "Berry Fairy" shirt is perfect indeed.

FridaWrites said...

Didn't you hear? I'm also an ornithologist specializing in migrating birds' eating habits. Not really, I just read an article about it once. Sometimes birds can get dangerous crashing into things from being drunk.

My Bird (not a drunk bird) didn't pick an HK bag since we were at a camping store. These bags are just for sleepovers (or, more often, for camping out in our bedroom, for children who still get scared sometimes but won't admit to anything but insomnia and a need for mom). Our camping bags are too hot for indoors and are for winter campouts.

There's a restaurant near my sister's in Colorado that has a diver that goes into the aquarium. Apparently that restaurant is just as famous for food poisoning, so people just go for desserts (I think they're not made there)--and to see the diver and cool aquarium.

There's also a famous and expensive fondu restaurant in Littleton that's famous for being really haunted. Kind of want to go there too someday. Food and entertainment, can't beat that.

A Bear in the Woods said...

I used to loooooove going blackberry picking when I was a kid, although I personally favored the goose berries which kind of grew in the same spot as the black berries, but lower, I think. Or maybe it was higher.
we had a mulberry tree, but I didn't like them.
We'd go out for hours picking and eating berries, but we'd always bring home enough to make a huge cobbler.
Your berry fairy shirt is awesome.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Perpetual Beginner: It is never too late, the blackberries here are just ripe, if you want to get some embedded thorns in RIGHT NOW - but yes, what is a childhood without a purple face, purple hands, and purple stains on shirt?

Well anytime they ask for an MRI, that's probably not becuase they are trying to find car keys. So with that AND a cold, ug - hope that quits soon so you can enjoy stuff.

Cheryl & Gaina: I suggest mudwrestling to settle the "which bird is it?" section (in swimsuits of course!).

Gaina: I'm sorry your weekend is so well, shit, to use your phrase. And yes, I hope you get some repreive, some waft of outside air.

Good, because nothing better if you have to wear and eyepatch to make other WISH they could wear an eyepatch.

Cheryl: that is so unfair, because if I had been there, I could have fed him - you should have let him in!

Abby: Blackberries are yummy, the throns are sort of like the rose metaphor only I get to eat these - so I am not sure how that works in therapy, probably badly or about sex. Still prefer picking and eating blackberries.

Um, okay, I will have to ask Linda for my head measurements, but yeah, brocade or goth spiderweb would be perfect, I just have the plain jane "medical black" edition now.

Abi: See, now that people are going back to school the squirrels want to know where I am (since I bring 2 of the two pound bags of peanuts with me - hey, I know when to buy love!).

Make the wine, enjoy the wine. We actually bought blackberry wine at the Farmer's market - I found it recently looking for pudding (it was on my lunch list but it turns out ONLY LINDA knew where it was). So I should open that soon.

Tayi: Wow, homemade blackberry icecream? Linda might be able to tell you how the straining is done, I just do the picking.

It did pour rain the whole next day (which is when I got your card and actually the thought of the city burning cheered me up!), so we got them just in time. Sorry that day of sun didn't make it to you.

Neil: Maybe I was too far north to pick saskatoon berries? I don't remember them (that is not saying much these days). Or maybe it was that I didn't want to have 50 'squito bites? Wow, your own rasberry bush, talk about having your luxury come right to your door!

Jennifer: Yes, I think that is one of the great things about Blackberries, they are so plentiful that no one has yet figured out how to stop us from having a taste of summer for free (well a little effort and a few scratches on the arm!).

It was an excellent sport I will say however that the same thistles you push down as you push your way INTO the blackberry bush, also STOP you from reversing back out - a sort of hazard, I had to go on my back wheels in a wheelie and spin around to avoid sitting in the middle of the field yelling "Help!" which wasn't the image I was going for!

Thanks for commenting, as you see, you don't always even have to comment about the post, since many of the people comment about each other's comments. It is all pretty 'whatever works!" here.

Laura: That's funny, that's what I said to Linda, "I took all the pictures where I look sick out so now noone will think I am sick at all."

She said, "That's because you look HAPPY, but if they notice they can see your hospital wristband, your med-alert braclet and your lifeline wrist alert." Hmmmm.

Berry picking is very much an experience of Canada for me, not something I did a lot of in LA. Crossing the street to avoid a couple guys lounging with odd bulges -that was more of an LA sport.

The joggers, well yes, that is how some look, that is how some of victoria will likely continue jogging (I mean we have 70+ year old joggers here so why not dead ones?). The girl with the red hair and wings was a gift from one reader to the project so I used it (imagine that!), and sent it out. Nice, would have liked to kept it but that wasn't why it was sent.

Devi: Me too, no matter how much it rains now, I will have that day and that memory and so will Linda. Yes, it was a very appropriate top!

Frida: Oh, just wondering on your newfound assurance on drunk birds. Bummer on not getting the HK bag - someone told me there is a HK badminton racket and I sort of want it just to drive the 25+ guys at badminton crazy (there is a ratio of about 15 guys to each female). They are always going on about how badminton is "serious" - so the HK racket would be perfect for them.

Love the resturant that survives besides giving food poisoning. Odd how every town seems to have one of those.

Bear in the woods: Ah, you like the sour as much or MORE than the sweet? I had gooseberries and you needed some heavy duty sugar and cream on those berries.

Thanks (re shirt), I don't think I have ever had a "mulberry" - I always thought that was slang for something. Not sure what exactly, maybe cockney for a wack up the head.

shiva said...

A mulberry is a berry which looks and tastes a lot like a blackberry, but grows on a big tree that looks a bit like a beech tree or something similar. A bit annoying, because the vast majority of the berries are well out of human reach...

I think they are originally from China, and have some connection to the manufacture of silk (maybe the moths eat the leaves, or something?).

Useless information, of course. Wikipedia probably has better info... ;)

Neil said...

You weren't too far north for saskatoon berries when you lived in North Battleford. You just had to get out of town to where the blackberries were growing. We were camped in a pasture for the August long weekend, and the saskatoons were in the bushes around the pasture.

rachelcreative said...

My hour or so was to see a photography exhibition of Ansel Adams work. You would have liked it I think.

I can't login to my email so will have to do this via a comment. Check out this site for eyepatches - I draw your attention to the skulls and bats in Holiday section and lots of spiders and more skulls in Holiday patches.

She also does leather patches, suede patches and bling patches!

http://eye-grafx.com/

I also found this site but not so good for the goth http://www.eyepatchheaven.com/styles.htm

Gaina said...

I've just emailed my friend Rebecca about eye patches and she will probably get in touch with you via the blog :)

Lisa Moon said...

I love your shirt, too - and I'm not into fairies, but this one is so cool!

Ah, yes, forgetting the ilness/disability for just a while... I have to say that there is very little time when this happens for me, but when it does I tend to feel elated, like maybe it all really WAS a horrible mistake and that it's finally stopped (that 24/7 burning pain, etc). Then, it eventually comes back (especially if I decide to take advantage of less pain and you know, try to do 'normal' stuff like standing for 5 minutes) and it all seems so unfair all over again.

I'd say I am getting to the point where that's not such an emotional rollercoaster for me, but it is not the truth. It still hurts to, well, *hurt*.

But when it happens, I try to enjoy the simple lack of painful sensations and the opportunity to 'forget' just for a while...

Donimo said...

I definitely had a moment last evening when Sarah brought in the mail. Whoah, Nelly! Both of our postcards arrived and we were very taken with them. So much going on! So nasty! So sweet of you. I must write you an email and ask for a bit of a guided tour as I have a few questions about both the card and the stickers. But yeah, wow.

I haven't had a very good summer, but, like you, I try to really pay attention when some good times come around. I'm hoping to go see the Superdogs show at the PNE before it closes. Those high flying dogs make me forget my troubles for a bit.

puppybraille said...

Thank you for sharing your hour with us. That was beautiful and made me think about my own need for han hour like that. I'm already looking for opportunities for that.