Ten days since my last blog entry

A great deal has been happening and I have been getting very tired. This evening I am feeling quite happy however. We have a busy couple of days doing enjoyable things. We came to spend a couple of nights with Mum again. We arrived in the afternoon and the main event was having a locksmith get into her safe to find her title deeds, will and passport. All accomplished and she has a new key and pin no. for it. We planned on having a pork roast, which I got out of the freezer on Wednesday. Mum and I went shopping after the safe was done and bought some vegetables to have with the roast. It worked out well. She has been very ‘with it’ today and not complained about not being able to drive even once! I was sort of dreading that.

In a pile of papers in her bookshelf I found the Enduring Power of Attorney form which was filled out, but not signed and witnessed. So, at least we have confirmation that this is not an option, unless someone can talk her into it now. We can take steps to have a guardian appointed if necessary.

Last week I tried to find the Swan Shell where the wedding is to be held, but following Google Maps did not work out. Yesterday, after a meeting to discuss Matt’s new powered wheelchair, we went looking again and found it easily. Strange that we have been to that area of the Swan River so many times and not noticed it. The featured image is of the statue and fountain that form part of the setting.

So, last week I have done the full day course on dementia through DSC, spent Wednesday with Mum. We did a choir event in our normal rehearsal space where we sang ‘pass the song along’ and Mike and Lesley played music and did a video. Geoff Mortlock did a good sound recording. Mike was able to process a delightful mix of the four different versions we sang, with us in normal choir mode and dancing and moving about.

On Friday we went to the event ‘Will, England and St George’ at St George’s Cathedral with Eversley. we really enjoyed the evening of music, poetry, etc. The following photo is from the balcony scene.


On Saturday we took the caravan up to Mum’s and parked it in her garage. We stayed the night, sharing some food that I had cooked in the slow cooker during the week. In the morning Robyne came. She and I tidied things up and put stuff away before going out shopping and to Jamie and Tracey’s place for afternoon tea.

Jamie was still away and Tracy went away for about four days, which is why we stayed with Mum. The home open went well, apparently. Mum has had an offer of $460,000, more than we hoped for, but the person has to borrow 95% of the purchase price, so we are not totally sure it will work out. Stephen and I stayed with her until later on Monday (Anzac Day), then went down the hill to see Matt. Francis offered us some shepherds pie that they were having, which we much appreciated. I fed Matt his tea.

I worked at Koolunda on Tuesday morning, then went up to see Mum again on Wednesday. That was quite a difficult day, even though Jamie dropped in for a while.

I went to see Jamie and Tracy afterwards. Their plan is for Tracy to be the main carer, with help from us, and she will apply to Centrelink for a Carer’s pension. I expect this has been what Jamie had to offer her. It will mean she doesn’t have to do cleaning. She said she sees herself as being more of a ‘companion’ for Mum at present. With Jamie home it will not be problem I think, but he will be going away quite a lot. Tracy only wants to go away for a week in July, and we should be able to cover that for her.

We had a choir rehearsal of practicing our union songs for Sunday (May Day). This morning we had our next China lecture, then came up to Mum’s.

And here am I up to date. I was feeling quite depressed about coming up here, but today has worked out well and we are all looking forward to going to the wedding tomorrow.



Elizabeth Quay (Betty’s Jetty)

I think the bracketed title best describes the rather messy area that is EQ. I went over to the Sunday Market in the morning (to make our first slow cooker meal for the autumn), then we went to South Perth and caught the ferry over the river on Sunday afternoon. We enjoyed walking around exploring and had a drink at one of the bars in the older section. We enjoyed the walk and found it interesting, but there doesn’t appear to be an overall design concept, it feels like bits and bobs that are lumped together.

We stayed for the last of the daylight before heading home.

On Monday I sent 6 tins of milk formula to Della. I wanted to ask her what the Chinese thought of the visit from our latest Prime Minister and whether he behaved himself and didn’t bring up human rights issues. It would be embarrassing if he did, given Australia’s own record on human rights. We have no right to lecture other countries.

We went to a talk at UWA on Medieval History and it’s ongoing relelvance today. A very interesting view of our past and present attitudes to the so called Dark Ages and our co opting of imagery to suit present day war.

Today I did training through DSC on Dementia and Intellectual Disability. Thing is, most of it was on Dementia, we had to make the links ourselves to our own work. Thoroughly relelvant for me and very helpful indeed. However, its difficult to see Joy, my mother, in that context, which is a good thing, perhaps. I still see her as the individual she has always been, but with a few problems.

Gumnuts, Elizabeth Quay
I gather this is to represent an indigenous spirit.
This Japanese man is paying for his holiday with some busking. He appreciated a small donation, and posed for this photo whilst continuing to play
I call this one ‘Me and my swan’

Saturday rest

I’m having days of feeling unwell, not every day, but fairly often. I am putting it down to the stress of things at the moment. We have a resolution of sorts with my mother. The doctor at St John of God has done some memory testing, including what I have reported, of course, and diagnosed Alzheimers, which he explained to her and us as a steeper memory loss than would be expected for her age. He has given us a list of things, some of which are aimed at helping to slow down the rate of loss. He has also suggested that she not drive, and I have taken the initiative of taking away her car key. However, at the moment the plan is to hid in in the house, and she may get hold of it. My concern was mainly that she drives herself to Mundaring, but it is also a worry in the local area.

Mum seemed to take it quite well, but I am not sure how well she understood it. Marie was at the appointment as well and took her home. Robyne and Tracy will both see her this weekend. I find that although I am somewhat relieved, especially as Mum and I discussed going into a hostel as ‘respite’ for a short while. Even Tracy has said that as it is Jamie’s idea that Mum move into their granny flat he should take more responsibility. At the moment his plan is to go prospecting as much as he can for the winter. Which leaves Tracy to cope with Mum. Not that she is unwilling to drive Mum around and spend time with her, but she should not have to have the full responsibility of being the primary carer. Still, at least the women in the family are all sharing responsibility. I should feel less overwhelmed, but I don’t somehow.

Other important things this week: I took my A7RII to Camera Electronic to have the sensor cleaned. Stephen and I had a Rod Evans lunch on Tuesday and found we could catch a bus into North Perth and fairly easily get there on foot, so this may be my preferred method of going there in future. Lovely to have it ready for action again.

I took 10 meals and 10 soups to Mum’s on Wednesday. We went over to look at the new things done by the electrician and enjoyed a cup of tea with Tracy. She is doing the cleaning step by step, including washing windows and curtains.

Working Voices Committee had our first meeting on Thursday evening at Munch Tce. Some of us had food, others had water. It was good to get together to discuss things. Cherry took notes as I was eating. We enjoyed the rehearsal with Raelene, but are still wondering about her commitment to the choir and also whether the choir is going to survive.

Friday morning was the appointment at St John of God for Mum. I went up to her place early and found that although we spoke about it on Wednesday and I rang her Thursday evening she could remember that something was happening, but not exactly what it was. When she spoke about feeling muddled I said that that was why we were worrying about her. She acknowledged that she is lonely and feels she would do better with more social interaction. That is how the notion of going into a hostel for a short period to see how she likes it. As compared with living in the granny flat. I think we need to get her there (moving date is now May 7th) and get her really settled, with her routine established, before trying something different again. The stress must certainly be contributing to her problems.

The reason I wanted to hide the key was because I thought she might forget about not driving, but also because it is very hard for her to give up the freedom of driving, even though all of us are willing to take her whenever she wants to go out. But, one can’t just decide on the spur of moment to get something done, and that is hard. Different for Stephen as he is so good at working how to do things by bus/train.

The next thing was taking Matt to the football on Friday night. It was enjoyable and having the powered chair was great  in terms of being able to get around. He will have to give up this better chair this coming week and apply for funding for his own chair. They think he will qualify for most of the cost from the government, but he had to be able to demonstrate that he can use it to qualify.

Tin dropped us off a little way from the stadium and we walked in the rest of the way. With the powered chair we could even walk further and save dealing with some of the traffic. We arrived a little before the start of the match and Matt was quite ready to go home after the first half, which was when we had asked for Haidar to pick us up.

Matt had tea before he left, and didn’t have much of his drink, but ate all of the snacks provided. He is definitely having difficulty with the chair being tilted a bit far back for eating. I propped him up a bit with his jacket. It was a mild evening, so jackets weren’t actually needed.

We had planned to go to Fairbridge for the day today, but when we looked at the cost it felt like too much to pay, especially as I didn’t want to drive home in the dark. It makes the full ticket including camping seem very good value. A pity to miss out entirely, but the timing is bad for us this year. There are other music festivals during the year and we are taking in at least one of them, the Denmark Festival of Voice.

I have pleaded for a day at home, rather than going out to see a movie. We walked over to the shops before breakfast this morning for a few things and I’ve suggested we watch a movie rented from iTunes in the afternoon. We can have another walk before dinner time if we want to get out again.

The featured image is of the West Coast Eagles warming up. They were well in front when we left last night, but I’ve not checked on how the night finished up.

I almost forgot, but how could I, that we went over to see Marie Hastings on Thursday. This is the first time we have seen her for about 3 years or so. She is looking very well for a woman who is still in a lot of pain over the separation. The house looks lovely, she has put in crimsafe screens on the doors and windows, and white shutters instead of curtains in the kitchen and bathroom. Everything was very clean and tidy, unlike our house.

She is babysitting Alyssa all week and Shane for a few days, so it was a chance to see them again. She keeps herself busy with her interests and the grandkids, who are a continual delight even though it’s a big commitment on her part. I am so happy that we have reconnected properly again, after trying to connect via emails and phone calls. We hope to get together again fairly soon. She doesn’t seem to have got any older, unlike the rest of us, although I realise that she works hard to be positive and energetic around the children. Shane still ‘minds’ her when she reinforces good manners, etc., I think because she is consistent in her expectations and does it in an authoritative (not authoritarian) manner. As grannies go I think her children have struck gold and I hope they appreciate her. The grand children love her, of course.


Les Liaisons dangereuses

On Saturday we caught the bus to Fremantle to see a film of the play. It was quite wonderful and really drew us into the story. Good acting by actors that we know from TV. We walked down to the harbour for a cup of tea, then had a walk out on the South Mole before having chowder, wine and beer. This summary doesn’t really capture it, but all I can do for now.

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We caught the train home and walked from the station to our house. For once, I exceeded the goal of 10,000 steps. But, I was very tired indeed, even the next day.

Sunday was rather nice as Marie and Geoff came for lunch and we discussed the possibility of a trip to Karijini National Park in our caravans in July. We discussed it and I showed photos from when Stephen and I went in 2014.

In the even we had Matt to tea and he enjoyed dancing around (going in circles) in his wheelchair.

Today I took my Sony A7RII to have it’s sensor cleaned, picked up some frozen meals from the Rod Evan’s Centre, renewed my driver’s licence, bought a couple of tins of milk formula and got the car filled up.

I was a bit on the alert for the possibility of being rung up about work, but nothing happened. We spoke with Marie Hastings on the phone, Stephen in the morning and me in the afternoon. It was lovely to hear her voice on the phone after probably about four years. She spoke about some of the events that have been difficult for her, but was also a sympathetic listener when I spoke about my mother.

Stephen’s choice

Choir was enjoyable on Thursday night with the return of our new choir director, Raelene. She is in Perth for a couple of session with us, then back to Melbourne for daughter duties.

Our China lesson with Gary Sigley focussed on an area of China that we haven’t been to yet, which served to make us want to go there (Dali). He is doing some socialogical research into ‘Mountain Changers’ – city people choosing to go to live in the area to escape the rat race and enjoy the clear, healthy climate.

We had lunch at Mercy Hospital, then a long wait to see Stephen’s specialist. He asked about a particular medication which is being used by a friend of his for pain management. Stephen was hoping that he could be on a similar 100mg dose per day. Turns out he would need to take 300mg 3 times a day, 900 mg in total. A third MRI (MVI) had confirmed that he didn’t need a blood thinner for the blood vessels in his brain, that leaves him where he was before with a choice of taking it for his Atrial Fibrillation. He chooses not to take it.

If not taking the medication he would have to have a full 12 months seizure free before she would be willing to allow him to drive. He has chosen to accept the ban rather than go on more medication. He is already used to using public transport and going shopping in our nearby shopping centre with a trolley.

The specialist said that often young people do not accept being banned from driving and will ‘doctor shop’ to try to get around it. She seemed to appreciate him being reasonable. They discussed the recent case where a man killed a motor cycleist whilst having a seizure. Unfairly, the man faces gaol over the death, even though it was a first seizure and he had not idea of what had happened.

That has implications for us in terms of going anywhere that involves a lot of driving, including towing our caravan. I can, of course, tow the caravan. I’m so glad we did our trip to the Eastern States last year. At least we have had that holiday, even if we might not be able to do that type of trip again. Because even if Stephen is driving again we might not feel comfortable about him towing the caravan. He has always been the main driver and I am feeling the strain of picking up the slack.

Home again

I went for a walk in the nearby park yesterday evening while the light was still good. The photos I took don’t show how pleasant it was in the fresh cool air, with lots of bird sounds. Jarrah forrest all tends to look the same. I took a few photos. The featured image is of the sign for the park, not a national park but a regional park.

Mum and I enjoyed the Rod Evans special meals I had brought with me. We both found that we couldn’t eat the whole meal, even though they were very tasty. They took a long time to defrost, so I made sure Mum’s meal for tonight was out of the fridge around lunchtime when I left. Not standard, as it should stay in the fridge. But our experience last night was that it took ages for them to defrost.

This morning we had lots of visitors. There was Cheryl, the agent and friend of the family. She is to be the marriage celebrant for Bec and Grant’s wedding at the end of the month. Other agents and the ‘boss’ of the real estate agency also turned up, along with the photographer. We had to put lots of things away so that he could take beautiful photos to show off the house. I have a sense of faith that the house will sell, given all the focus shown. However, they have lots of homes on the market, and it is a matter of finding the right buyer.

Mum coped well as she was moved from one space to another outside as well. Melissa came with the children, but took Jax home when he became tired and a bit grumpy. Still, he was happy for a couple of hours. Alyssa was perfect, of course, she is quite ladylike now she is older, she seems confident and doesn’t seek attention and thereby attracts adults to interact with her in a positive way. Just the way I would imagine Melissa’s daughter to be!

I arrived home at about 1.30 p.m. I had stopped off to get bread at the Mundaring Bakery on the way. Stephen did some shopping as well, so we are well stocked up.

There have been a few emails about choir matters to sort out. We have a few things on at the moment and our newish choir director is back from the East for a little while and will be catching up with us tonight.

Just a couple more photos:

with flare (1 of 1)
Nikon D7200 and 16-85mm lens. I hadn’t realised I would end up with flares, but they add a bit of interest to an otherwise boring shot.
Autumn Flowers (1 of 1)
Autumn bush flowers
25 (1 of 1)

Tuesday and Wednesday

Yesterday I worked in the morning at a house where I haven’t been since before we went overseas. It was interesting to meet up with people again. We were busy, but not absolutely flat out. Once resident was in hospital.

I came home to lunch, Stephen cooked us a meat and vegetable meal, then we rested until it was time to go to an ACS (Australian Computer Society) event. Presenters has 15 seconds per slide and about 5 minutes each. They all managed to do interesting presentations.

Afterwards we wanted real food, not the admittedly lovely light spread on offer. We walked up to have a look at the new Perth library, the only new public building in Perth for 40 years, according to the City of Perth website. It certainly looks lovely, but was closed, of course. We then caught the bus back to our normal stop near home and went to one of our local restaurants for a pleasant little meal. The staff were very friendly, which made it a good experience. The food was very nice as well, of course.

This morning I set off for my visit with Mum with the firm intention of remaining calm, no matter what. Mum was pleased to see me and spoke about how muddled she is feeling at the moment. In fact, the visit is going very well. I bought some meals from the Rod Evans Senior Citizens Centre, frozen versions of the lovely meals Stephen and I enjoy. We had a soup each for lunch, then shared a desert, and we plan to have a main course each tonight.

Cheryl who is the real estate agent selling Mum’s house, called in to remind her about the photographer coming tomorrow.

Mum and I went over to visit Tracy and take a walk though the house. Mum practised using the new handrails for the stairs, and she seemed to do quite well. She may need reminding not to use the outer railing.

I had a look at the new stove top. It does seem almost impossible to get them with knobs unless you go for gas. Tracy may have to show Mum a few times how to use it. I’m finding that Mum does not remember things, like our plans for dinner, but this is quite a minor problem when someone is there.

Petition Kitchen
The law buildings are in the same area. I liked the name of this little bar ‘Petition Kitchen’.

Monday evening

A not very eventful day. We walked up to Hillview Tce so that I could drop of my monthly statement for my supervisor. We walked back again, stopping at the Dome cafe on the way back, then going into the shopping centre for a few things. It was a walk of under 4kms according to my phone, so nothing like the walking we did when we were on holidays. Still, it was an alternative to going for a swim. We stopped doing that a few weeks ago and it is hard to get started again.

I bought some dumplings for lunch from our local Chinese restaurant. Walking past all of the great places to eat just in our little section of Vic Park is guaranteed to make you hungry even thoug we had a good breakfast of tomatoes and egg. Using up the squashy tomotos in the fridge.

I’m feeling much more relaxed today overall.

I wanted to mention here about the Mahler concert. I’ve been picking Stephen up from WASO chorus rehearsal for a while as they moved back to the Fortress in Northbridge. We thought the move to the Concert Hall for rehearsals would be permanent, but it was not the case. Stephen was unsure about whether or not to perform in the Friday and Saturday night concerts in case he had a seizure on stage, but decided to go ahead and it all worked out.

Eversley was able to come with me on Saturday night (we had free tickets). She is a Mahler fan and I’m not, but the concert was actually grand – it was the Resurection Symphony and the only item on the programme, which meant the audience became deeply immersed in the music. We went to the pre concert talk which was great as well. The speaker told us quite a lot about Mahler and the background to the music. It was a really special night. We couldn’t actually see Stephen on the stage as we were in the wrong part of the auditorium, probably more relaxing for me as I wasn’t watching him and wondering if…

This afternoon Stephen started to do practice on his recorder, so I got out my violin. I wanted to check to make sure everything was working as it doesn’t like just sitting in it’s case. As usual, it wasn’t much out of tune. I tuned by ear, then used the electronic tuner for fine tuning at the end. Lovely to see the green dot once the strings are on pitch. There is still one note that particularly ‘sings’ when I play it, I wish all of the notes sounded like it.



Sunday evening

I worked Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning at the hostel where I first worked with Disability Services. I like catching up with the staff and residents. The only challenge is in finding the work quite heavy at times, although it must be admitted that most of the time the work isn’t hard.

On Wednesday I was speaking with Jamie and we worked out a date for Mum to move to the granny flat and yesterday we canned it because I realised that both Jamie and Tracy would be away for a few days after the move. I’ve been very stressed about the whole thing but talked with Marie a bit, then clarified a couple of things with Jamie and Tracy, and now feel much calmer. Joy is not feeling calm at all, but very stressed especially as she can’t make sense of the timescale. She thought Saturday morning was the day of the move, despite things not being packed up.

Matt came home in his new wheelchair tonight, with a few patches of paint missing. Odd. It is much easier for us to drive than the old one, but we had difficulty giving him a go as I only worked out that the plug was in the wrong position at the end of the night.  Hidde mentioned that the tilt was still not right for eating, but he has a mealtime management review coming up and he made a note in the diary to check up on this.