Under my tree

I had a particularly good day yesterday for a number of reasons, one big one being the boost of steroids and food. But this experience I feel is worth turning on the computer to capture at 2:40 AM.

Zsolt and I were relaxing on the front porch last evening, enjoying the massive sway of maple leaves mixing with a breeze and the gold evening light. Zsolt was mentioning how his friend enjoys recording short videos to remember the feeling of a place, rather than what it looked like alone with a photo.

This made me think a little.

I think, I replied, that I like to actually be in a place that has captured a piece of who I am, rather than a picture or a video…. being there, in that spot, whether it be an evening by the lake in Balaton or sitting under the tree I have literally grown along with all my life . . . that is what is really is to remember who, and what i am. That is when a piece of what makes me, me, shines. It reminds me that life is far more than a picture, or film, or a place to sit, a thing to let happen, a bed. These experiences are pieces of what I am. They make me, and they remind me of what I am.

So, I like them best. Far better than any form of art or screen.

Places that make me:

Under my tree

Balaton in the evening

The pond in Rockliff

The lake in Jasper called Horseshoe

The pool with family on a hot day

A drive with the window down and the music blaring

Eating into an orange that drips with sweet tangy juice

Sticking my face into a watermelon on a hot day

Warm cookies that are home made, not too sweet, and mine

A cup of tea and milk

Ice water

Little mountain villages with water down the middle

Home

Travel

Love

Zsolt

Dusk

I am all of these things

 

Rambles

Hello, it has been awhile.

But here I am again writing to you, and to me, and to . . . I don’t know. Just writing.

Modest Mouse’s Float On is playing on the speakers. It’s Spotify playing through. I first heard this song in 2005, while staying at a hostel in Marseilles and encountering a group of very rowdy Brits. They kept playing it as we went to the beach, trolled the late night downtown streets and just had a good old time in general. One of them could open a bottle of beer with his teeth. They were all life guards, which was reassuring because we all swam to a cave only accessible by water – and it was a long swim. No one drown, thank goodness. We hitchhiked back from the tiny beach that lead to the cave, but my brother and I were the only ones who could get a car because of my French. Everyone else walked the long, long walk back to the hostel.

The song is long over now. I’m not a fast typer.

This past week has been quite fine. Not bad. Not fireworks. Should every moment be fireworks? That is basically impossible. It would certainly be exhausting. But then, I’m exhausted all the time anyhow. I can’t even bring myself to go out for tea, which is MADNESS.

It’s getting more difficult to ‘be’. My energy is so low that the stairs at home are a challenge and leave me winded (with a splash of low blood pressure dizziness). I suspect I need a blood transfusion. While chemo these days are pills I pop from home, they are nevertheless chemotherapy. It’s fucking exhausting. However, I am hoping a transfusion, if deemed necessary, will pick me up. But then there’s the issue of the bulge. The bulge is in the lower part of my solar plexus and it is hard. It presses into my stomach giving me nausea. Not sure what can be done about it, but I’ll see a doctor next week to discuss.

Now that song about funked up kicks is playing. It’s both very disturbing, and very catchy. Leaves me conflicted.

The other day, the women who cleans my parents home said to me, “I didn’t know you are an artist” and I was like, “whaaa?” because I am no artist. But she enjoyed the tiny series I painted that features my feet, Zsolt’s feet, and our hands. And truth be told, it was really nice to hear her words. But I’m not an artist and have no desire to be. Not officially. If I’m anything, I’m a professional napper. Nap this! Nap that! Nap here! Nap there!

Went to a local spa in the woods the other day with my mother. It’s called the Nordic. Lovely place, a very nice location to relax in Ottawa. But if you have brain fog and are weak as a noodle, and on top of that, scary skinny, it’s not such an easy place to navigate. Their handicapped parking was blocked when I arrived, and all the padded chairs in the cabanas were removed so my bony butt had to rest upon the hard planks of their wooden seats. And then, having trouble focusing as I do, navigating the stone steps in the place was really challenging too. My poor mother had to haul our bags around the resort because I can’t carry heavy things. BUT we had a lovely lunch, and the infinity pool was lovely and, had I been able to handle them, the saunas are always a treat. My inability to navigate their premise is really a reflection on how much I’ve changed rather than any comment on the resort – except for their lack of chairs in the entrance and that parking situation – not cool at all. But I still think it is wonderful there. I just also think I shouldn’t go again without gaining more strength. And bringing a cushion for my skinny butt.

How entitled am I, using a spa to benchmark my state of health?!… Ah well, I’m lucky in that aspect and will accept that luck wherever it comes from.

We finally found a name for the car: Little Zoomer! And guess what the little zoomer did this week, turned on it’s check engine light. Curse words! *&^%$^! We are taking it in on Thursday for an exam. We shall see. I’m also taking myself in this week to get this hard mass looked at by a doctor. We’ll see about that one too.

And now, my water bottle calls.

GOOD NIGHT.

P.S. What a game last night. Go sens GO!

The First Road Trip

I’m sitting here with my hot water bottle, contemplating. It’s like those pauses in the day you used to take when looking up at the clouds. Or those big think-ins on a Sunday morning when it was just you, your bed and a slow morning. I do this thing with a caster oil pack and my hot water bottle that requires me to be still for a while. And today I’m in no mood to watch Netflix as this happens – I’d rather just think.

Anyhow, while thinking I began to consider road trips – particularly since I’m still making friends with the little blue car we bought – and my mind drifted back in time to my and Zsolt’s very first road trip.

Fade from hot water bottle scene to a bright sunny day in Hungary. We are in a car. I am eating a pastry that looks like a short and wide cinnamon bun while Zsolt is driving.

We were going to Austria, which is snug against the Hungarian boarder. The trip started off with the limp ‘bang’ as the car lost all power just outside of Pecs. It cut out as we began to drive down a hill, and Zsolt pulled it over to the side. We both got out of the car to stand by the side of the road while Zsolt called his father for help. I opened up my brown paper bag and pulled out a second pastry to enjoy.

As it turned out, the wire connected to the battery came off and that is why the car died. Sweet relief, we could still go on our trip to Vienna. One very memorable thing about waiting on the side of the road was this woman who pulled over. . .

Zsolt and Laszlo are hunched over the engine, not having a clue what went wrong but trying to magically fix the car nevertheless, when a car pulls over and out steps this woman. She’s wearing leather. A lot of leather. And it’s yellow. Fixing her driving gloves, she strides over to the group of us by the car engine, and wades in – looking the motor, pointing at things, saying stuff. It’s all in Hungarian – I don’t understand a thing. But she seems confident!

Then Laszlo (Zsolt’s dad) gets a map from the glove compartment, and opens it on the trunk. They all gather around the map, and I am wonder how in the world does a map relate to fixing a car?

It doesn’t! The Yellow leather lady is just lost and needs directions. She  had  no clue what might be wrong with the car.

So weird!

Anyhow, eventually a mechanic showed up and everything is fixed up. Zsolt and I head towards Austria, and Laszlo heads back to Pecs for lunch.

Now here is the thing about road trips – they can be stretches of very boring moments, punctuated by wonderful discoveries. Vienna was beautiful without doubt, (parks everywhere) but it wasn’t my favourite part of the experience.

The best part of my first road trip with Zsolt, was the Széchenyi Palace. This is a mansion/mini palace (more mansion than palace) where Zsolt booked us to stay for two nights. It’s right by the border of Hungary and Austria, and very useful for catching the train to Vienna.

When we checked into the palace, the fellow working the front desk said it was his ancestor who used to own the place. And he whipped out a 5000 forint bill and show us a picture of his great great great (I don’t know how many greats) grandfather. The guy on the bill and this dude really did look alike!

How utterly bizarre to know your family once owned all this beautiful property, and had enough status to be featured on national money – and now – after it was stripped away – he remained there to check in passing travellers.  It makes me a bit sad, honestly. But in any case, this fellow was very proud of his history.

The Széchenyi Palace was a wonderful discovery. The place was quiet and overlooked by tourists. So it felt like we had the place to ourselves. The hallways absorbed all sound as your walked along them, with thick carpeting and old furniture gobbling up our voices. And the room we stayed in – the room wrapped around you – huge windows – but all dark wood panelling, and a tall bed in dark wood with thick blankets. There was a small hallway with doors on either side that seperated the washroom from the bedroom. At night, to use the loo, you’d find yourself in between rooms, lost in pure pitch black while groping for an ancient light switch. It was the perfect place for ghosts to hang out.

And during the day, after crossing the manicured garden out front, there was this gorgeous walk – it stretched straight out from the palace and far, far, back into what was now a farmer’s field (though I imagine once, before the land was seized by ‘the people’ it was all wooded), a corridor of field lined with tall trees – all the way down to a memorial. This was where the original Széchenyi honoured his wife.

It struck me as fascinating that a grave should be placed so far from the palace, but also very understandable. In walking between the home and the memorial, there is nothing to do except contemplate – to look at the clouds and trees, to look at the stone marker far away, to think and reflect.

What better way to remember someone than to create a passage where all a person can do is remember and reflect?

So that was my first road trip with Zsolt. We made it to Vienna and had a lovely visit. But what I really remember are the unexpected moments, the women in yellow, my cinnamon pastry and this palace where the history seeped from the floors, walls and rooms.

Now we have this little blue car here in Canada. Canada doesn’t hold the mysteries that Europe does, and yet . . . we will see. I hope to be surprised by unexpected discoveries. If nothing else, I’d like another pastry.