DE QUERVAIN’S TENOSYNOVITIS…ain’t so chic

Being pregnant has been an experience which has brought with it so many surprises. Quite apart from the joy of expecting our little one, my “advanced” state (politically correct way of saying I am now huge) catches the attention of other mothers when I am out and about.

On the way to my phsyio appointment today I stopped a short while at a second hand bookstore in a trendy Canberra neighbourhood, en route. I had spotted one of Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic books and could not resist the urge to pick it up given my own love of pretty vintage. The lady in the bookstore beamed and after some chit chat announced she was also going to be a grandmother for the first time.

A woman in another shop stopped me to wish me well and proudly told me her baby was now fifty two years old!

The weather was sunny as I passed a string of cafes and a huddle of new mothers coraled by a multitude of prams. I found myself feeling so glad to live in a place like Canberra where people do engage in polite chit chat.

The thing about pregnancy  is that you suddenly have a connection with any other woman who has ever been through it before. They know the pain and the pleasure. They also know that you are headed for that big event, a rite of passage called labour and birth. I admit I feel like I am on a conveyor belt as the unexpected is about to befall me. Yes, I get the gist, I know its going to hurt… but I don’t think I will really appreciate what that means until I have gone through it. At times, now that the baby could pretty much turn up “whenever”, it does feel a bit like I am waiting for lightning to strike.

At my appointment, the physio confirmed that the pain in my left wrist wasn’t just carpal tunnel, but associated with it. DE QUERVAIN’S TENOSYNOVITIS. Unfortunately, this may not disappear the minute the baby turns up and can take months (and months) to heal…I tried to make a joke of it with the therapist when she told me I had to limit my use of the injured hand… “Does this mean I get out of housework…?” She smiled but said seriously, “It could be aggrevated by chopping vegetables or hanging laundry… I would suggest you refrain from activities that require you to use that thumb”

In other words, this was really bad news for my already uber supportive hubby. I guess kneading fresh pasta dough is off the cards for a little while.

Is there any woman that breezes through pregnancy?

De Quervain’s ain’t so chic. Especially not on top of the carpal tunnel. As with all rites of passage, the passage is not easy and maybe its going through all the yucky stuff that heightens the import of the big event – baby’s entrance into the world…

That said, in the same way I don’t think “love” for our little on starts at birth (we love them now, they are a very real entity in our lives), I now appreciate parenthood doesn’t either. At this point it’s me not caring so much about the little aches and pains that wake me in the night and my husband telling me it doesn’t matter that in addition to his very busy job, he’ll now be carrying a much greater load at home…

No, its not chic. But its also not just about a singular event but a journey that we have embarked upon. There is no particular end destination, except to know soon we will be joined by a little spirit we cannot wait to meet. And we hope only that he joins us safely.

We are already on a road, a path upon which we are making our way forward, innocent of what may lie ahead and knowing with absolute certainty that there’s a lot that we know we don’t know… but we are equipped with faith, hope, love and best intentions.

“Is it your first?” I am often asked. My answer is usually met with a knowing smile.

Sweeter than the Summer be, a bowl of cherries just for me

A lovely way to spoil dinner. Simple table runner was made by moi.

A warning for fellow fresh pasta makers… careful with going the wholemeal route. The texture is more “grainy” and the dough takes longer to bind. Unlike pasta puritans before me, I tend to skip the “let the dough rest” stage and go straight to cutting and boiling (assuming the dough has been well pulverised). This method does not at all work with wholemeal pasta, pushing our little homemade dinner enterprise back at least half an hour (the dough was too crumbly and less pliable prior to a little refrigerator action).

In the spirit of preparing for the entrance of  “Mini Us” we prepared enough tonight for a second serving each which went straight into the depths of the deep freeze, no doubt to be joyously pulled out at a later point when we are too tired to even cast a longing glance at our beloved pasta machine.

I do have to say, however, that as much as an effort making fresh pasta can be, the task is all consuming and there is little room for distraction. When you are preparing it, there’s not much opportunity to think of much else… Is the dough too thin? Is it being fed straight? Would it be better thinner? It forces one to be totally present.

With my hubbie cranking the handle as I guide the dough through, we talk and laugh and joke. He is of the old school thinking that cooking is a chore where as I tend to try and approach it as much as possible as a pleasure. Or as much of a pleasure as it can be with hands caked in a layer of flour.

When the steaming ribbons are on the table, laced in olive oil, pepper, slivers of bacon, peas and herbs, we regard one another over the flicker of tealights and it feels as though we have done something together that resembles fun. On a weeknight! Usually, we would both be typically be fatigued, ambling towards the weekend when there is time. It was wonderful that we unexpectedly had the opportunity to interact and enjoy each other beyond the “everyday”. He is no longer, mentally, still at the office and for a short while I am able to forget that my hand aches from my pregnancy induced carpal tunnel, my back is sore and my ankles are swollen.

For tonight anyway, it was just me and this charming man, having a laugh and enjoying each other’s company as we tried to make wholemeal work.

Who would have thought… romance on a Thursday night.

(And you thought this post was all about cherries)!

A day for lemonade

Fresh and chemical free! Yum!

Our lemon tree is also going gang busters- time for another lemonade/ cordial making session (there’s a great Stephanie Alexander recipe on the net that just requires, lemons water, sugar and tartaric acid… wonderful to enjoy with dinner whilst the vino is off limits)! I love such simple pleasures.

The recipe can be found at:

http://www.cuisine.com.au/recipe/lemon-cordial

Finished the neckband and seaming a sweater for baby. Another gem from Erika Knight’s Natural Nursery Knits book, which I love because of its simplicity. Should fit our little one at 9-12 months but am pleased to have completed it now knowing there will be little opportunity for such projects, soon!

4mm needles used for the body for a little more "give"

Wood buttons recycled from a pillow case that had seen better days- I thought it was the perfect colour and texture.

Sweater made with Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton DK

A golden afternoon

Today reached no great heights beyond errands and a blissfully RELAXING morning. I went for a swim but had to stop half way through my usual set of laps due to what must have been Braxton Hicks pains- I could barely breathe let alone continue! A reminder that “le Bebe” will be joining us soon enough.

This afternoon did afford an unexpected photographic opportunity when the afternoon light slipped through a curtain and illuminated a vase of tulips, just as the sun was setting. Not sure that any photo could have captured the magic, but here are some of the shots.

Illuminated, worthy of a watercolour.... Love the light and dark....

And then the rain came

Just when it seemed as though Spring was here early, the rain came along. And it rained and rained and rained… And following it came the cold.

One of my favourite things is being toasty under the covers and listening to the rain falling on a tin roof. Last night there were moments when it sounded like a torrential downpour and I felt absolute gratitude to be inside and cosy.

This morning I took the new camera out for a whirl. Its been so long since I used an SLR, let alone a DSLR, that the many new available functions are mind boggling. I’m also having to remember about ISO, aperture and so forth.

The overcast weather did make for a great opportunity to test some of the features. The lemons covered in dew made for a good subject in terms of tonal value, depth of field and interest…

An afternoon for finishing projects

Cherry cardi in Rowan Baby Alpaca DK

An owl handmade for baby

Finally, also got around to finishing the owl I started a few months ago. Used silk, cotton and denim remnants from other projects but the body was actually made from an ill-fated virgin wool blouse I accidentally put in the wash a few years ago. It felted beautifully, and as it was a Valentino worn once, I decided to keep the shrunken mishap for a future project. Eyes and tummy are hand sewn applique.

I included a couple of bells sewn into the body for a bit of interest. It ain’t Fisher Price … but it feels gorgeous. A fun addition to Baby’s little toy family…though applique can be rather time consuming (and I poked my fingers more than a few times)!

No pattern, but was inspired by some retro fabric (with owls) my mother had made up into a duvet when I was a kid. Owls strike me as ever enchanting!

Childhood pleasures and the vintage nursery!

The nursery is nearly ready. And what a pleasure it has been getting the room ready as a first room for our little one and a space for us to enjoy, peacefully, our first months with him.

The task of putting the room together (on a budget)  has involved some reflection of my own childhood. Before Pete and I even met, or even thought we might try for children, I was a fan of children’s book illustration, particularly from the 1980s. I already had a small collection I had been putting together over a period of years.

Books have always been a luxury for me. When I was growing up, my parents had very little money for new books as they saved for their financial goals. That did not however stop me from trailing behind my Father as we haunted one bookstore after another, often for hours. Books were a shared love for us.

Often my favourite books were gifts given at birthday parties or from my parents at Christmas. I turned the pages of a first edition of “The Secret Staircase” (Brambly Hedge) until the pages came loose and were so worn it now bears the yellowed marks of much sticky tape. I listened attentively at school when stories were read, such as “Ice Creams for Rosie” (Ronda Armitage) wishing I had somehow manage to sit in the front row to admire the pictures. I borrowed the same illustrated French English dictionary at school to read on the bus trip home until it too fell apart and the librarian had to explain to me that the book could no longer be borrowed because they had thrown it out. The pictures were so pretty they had encouraged an interest in learning French very early on. Yes, I was a book worm!!

The time to buy books usually presented itself on a Sunday morning, when we would venture to the local flea market which was appropriately known as Trash and Treasure. With a humble allowance, I learnt to haggle for the titles that I would search for in what was like a massive collective garage sale. My first real bargain buy was a fifty cent investment in a 1932 Mickey Mouse book. This was roughly the time that Mickey Mouse made his debut into the world. The book is actually worth hundreds of dollars these days.  Not bad given I was fifteen years old at the time of the “acquisition”! When I look at it occasionally- rarely, as the spine is starting to go- I think of the wonder of the little boy who unwrapped this treasure for Christmas (so says the inscription).

For the nursery, I loved the idea of a vintage feel. Books, apart from being wonderful for their intended purpose are also fun to display.

I had found a Treasury of Rhymes illustrated by Rene Cloke, (a popular illustrator most recognisable from many Enid Blyton Book covers) and framed some of the pages. Rene Cloke’s images are always so full of colour and fancily dressed, plump cheeked children that evoked the 1950s.

Will our little one love to read? I don’t know. But I’ll be doing my best to provide some inspiration! And at whatever hour, we will love sharing that room.