Tastes of Life

The CAN Company’s achievement in 2013 was little short of miraculous. Despite 2 of the 4 members being overseas for several months, and my ongoing health challenges, we managed to compile a book and calendar on the theme Tastes of Life, and stage a fabulous launch on 10 November. I say ‘fabulous’ because the feedback was fabulous.

It all started when I made the comment that, as a result of the side-effect of the medication I was taking, I had lost, not only my appetite for food, but my appetite for life as well. Lyn suggested that we explore what makes individual taste ‘tick’. For food, we have taste buds. Do we have the equivalent of taste buds for other areas of our lives—music, clothes, art, movies, literature, humour, people? Why do different people have different tastes? Do our tastes change over a lifetime? Do we gravitate towards people who share our tastes?

A fascinating topic, though I’m not sure we found any answers. Another of life’s mysteries.

My personal challenge became one of tempting my appetite back into life by offering myself choice titbits in all these areas.

We chose an art deco visual theme for the book and launch, simply because Lyn expressed a liking for a particular font to use for the titles. Being a designer, I declared that the book’s design would need to be in accord. We extended this theme to the clothing we wore to the launch—which delighted the audience.

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About 60 friends and relations attended the launch and they appeared to enjoy themselves immensely, especially the ‘performance’ part of the event. At our launches we always sing a selection of songs which echo the theme of the book. In this case our selection ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime:

We’re Happy Little Vegemites  and I Like Aeroplane Jelly (to honour weird Aussie tastes)
Rum by Gum (anon?)
Bottle o’ Wine (Tom Paxton)
The Aussie Barbecue Song (more weird Aussie tastes) (Eric Bogle)
The Honor of Your Company (Tom Paxton) … not on ‘taste’ but a tribute to all the people who have shared our journey with us.

The audience listened with wrapt attention or joined in with gusto as appropriate.

Books and calendars sold well, along with a selection of ‘taste’ cards and other gift items. With the proceeds we were able to treat ourselves to a splendid Christmas lunch, while having enough over in ‘kitty’ to buy equipment, books etc. throughout the coming year.

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The CAN Company itself is one of life’s miracles. In December 2014 we will celebrate our 20th anniversary. Since December 1994 we have been meeting at least once a month. Although we are all very different, and not slow to express our views, we have never had a serious disagreement. While I am considered the ‘leader’ the group operates by consensus. When there is work to be done, everyone pitches in without any need for direction.

In 2014 we will adopt a retrospective approach … details to be decided.

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Bringing 2013 to a close

My very wise GP keeps encouraging me to live in the ‘timeless zone’ which means, in the present moment. I have a bit of a problem with ‘present moment’ though, because as soon as you even say the words that present moment has gone into the past. You can’t grasp hold of it. So the way I handle it is to imagine myself hovering above my timeline, where everything—past, present and future—exists simultaneously. I can then look forward and back at will, while acknowledging that any action can only be taken right now.

Writing this blog seems, from that higher vantage point, to need an account of some stuff from 2013 (in timezone speak) for the sake of completion … to make way for what is to come.

The year was probably my most challenging to date, with ongoing health problems, the deaths of 6 people who had played a significant part in my life (only one of whom I expected to die before me), continuing financial issues, and the death of our precious, nearly-17-year-old cat Kasha.

Firstly the health issues

Although an MRI scan earlier in the year indicated my brain tumour had gone completely, another scan six months later showed three new ones, in inaccessible places. At the moment they’re very small and unlikely to cause problems in the near future. About the same time, it was discovered I had fluid in the pleural cavity around the left lung. Two drainage sessions later it was also found there was cancer in the pleural cavity. A number of small nodules, apparently. My doctor recommended pleurodesis (look it up if you want to know what that means). I expected this to be painful during the procedure and afterwards. Not so (you can’t believe everything you read or are told). A month later, I’m still suffering no after-effects.

It was while I was in hospital for the above procedures that my cat died … the day before I was supposed to go home. However, by this time it was the weekend and the relief doctor didn’t feel she had the authority to discharge me. In the end I threw a tantrum and discharged myself, after signing the appropriate form. I felt good taking charge of my own welfare. Intuitively, I knew I was in no immediate danger and that I’d be better off at home. In the hospital I was bored silly, couldn’t eat the awful hospital food, and I really really needed private space to grieve for my cat.

In summary, on paper I’m in really bad shape, but in the ‘present moment’ I feel fine, my only ‘symptom’ being intermittent fatigue, which is probably largely caused by the medication I’m on.  Fortunately I’ve found some effective ways of counteracting that.

I would have said 2013 was my worst year ever, except that there were a number of good things too, one of which was the launch of Tastes of Life, The CAN Company’s latest book. But I’ll talk about that in my next post.