The new look, my underwear, art, and more NDIS

Welcome to the new look Weblight Studio Journal. This configuration seems easier on the eyes. For my part it is a pleasure to be working on the site again. I hope you find this a little easier to get through Brian.

Now that the weather has become warmer it has been a week of chores. The dish towels used as face-washers had to be replaced. Most of them are more than two decades old and almost lacy with holes. What material was left could be called “sheer” as it was thin enough to see through and of indeterminate pattern or color. It has been difficult to buy new tea-towels or dish clothes. I wanted one or two and they came in packs of five. That has to give some idea of the place my mind locks into when walking about supermarkets. It would not adjust to buying more items than it had planned on. A pack of five, even at the right price of a dollar each, always felt like an outrage. The old ones had to be replaced and the outrage faced. It feels good to have new kit in the bathroom and to have faced another chore. Tea-towels became preferred for the use of showering as the flannels or face-washers were thicker and harder to stick in my ear.

Grown with love in Barbara’s Garden

The music is playing in the background and carrying me to that dreaming place where the muse fills my head with visions but I am tired so the story is sliding reluctantly onto the keyboard.

This winter the cold bit hard. Now there will be a few mellow and delicious weeks through spring and then the heat. We are promised heat waves and fire storms. There is little time to create a solid body of work between the extremes although it happens.

Underwear has been a thing. It seems appropriate to share. For several years up to, and after, the big heart failure I could not even remember where to get them. Underwear. As time passed the ones in my drawers became threadbare. Shopping, walking about the huge supermarket, always hurt. It hurt enough so memory was affected and buying clothes was confusing and even overwhelming. About a decade back it became a problem. It was dealt with by buying a cheap pack of undershorts of a random size and style. The ones bought that day gave the key to sizes and shapes for two packs of five pairs to be purchased thereafter. They lasted another decade. Their lives were extended by hand washing and wishful thinking until they too were almost see-through and holed dangerously.

A few months ago, with all the confidence of improved brain function but still struggling with the pain of negotiating big spaces like malls, two more packets of five pairs of the same size and style as before were obtained. Just months later all of them had failed. Their elastic lost its integrity in a few washes. Not only that but as I have aged my backside has become skinnier.

Not my belly! It is a fight to get my old jeans done up.

My backside is now so skinny those things slid down inside my jeans and strangled me and don’t ask me about what they did or didn’t do in the track pants! The main place their support was needed was in the long walk through the grocery aisles and that was where they failed totally. I would wriggle and twist whenever no one was looking but inevitably a hand had to be stuck in there and they had to be worked back up over my backside. It wasn’t a nice smooth motion where they could just be surreptitiously tugged back to their place. In those jeans it required more wriggling and lifting. In the supermarket aisle! I was caught out once by a very fragile and elderly old woman who put her hand on my arm and told me I was doing the dance of cheaply made modern underclothes and she sympathized!

All of that bunch of “smalls” went in the garbage and new ones were obtained. This time there was mobility scooter to carry me right to the shelves in Kmart and with my new and  improved intellectual function the right choices were made. Having firm and comfy undies is something that places some of your identity back in your control. After years of having to suck it up and make do, things feel real!

NDIS

NDIS has been a constant source of confusion to me over the last few months. After Just Better Care indicated they weren’t interested in another year and after the review by NDIA the book was left open as to who comes to fill the roles of carers. It is mostly my fault it hasn’t happened yet. As I say, it confuses me.

At first it seemed important to get assistance as soon as possible. Travel and home aid are noticeably absent from my life.

It isn’t that simple. The hours that are slept or not slept as well as the way an artist moves through life make the strict hours of services the providers press for very inconvenient for me. You may think I should just change my habits to suit the needs of the people around me but these aren’t habits which give me a choice. I do not sleep different hours every day because I enjoy being awake until my body collapses. It is a combination of high anxiety, dismay, pain, cramps and nightmares that even goes so far as to make deep sleep impossible for days at a time. Having to be available that hour on that day regularly when I may not have slept for several days and been torn apart by nightmares, cold and pain is torturous. I don’t seem to be able to explain my inability to escape to people who are carers and I am not surprised. If it is said aloud it sounds unreal to me also. The hours of nocturnal activity are a good time to work on paintings when it is not too cold though.

Central Coast Primary Care reacted to my inquiry by sending two people around to visit the apartment. I had to seat them on little stools by the front door as there was nowhere else. They were here for quite a while. I babbled like a madman. It was another of those times that sleep had been absent for days and the cold had ripped into me and the insulin was out of balance. (Something it does when the body is highly stressed). I gave them the grant papers and asked them to make a contract.

Everything went wrong after that. One of them was coming back to get the contracts signed and was unable to be here in the morning as she had meetings. My sleep was totally screwed. I lost track of time and got the appointment time wrong so I sat for three hours in the cold with my eyes propped open. It turned out she wasn’t due for several more hours anyway. The extra wait was too much. My body crashed. The need to be warm and to sleep overcame me. I rang and cancelled the appointment before crawling into bed and sleeping. Later I rang again and asked that my papers be returned. It seems like a good idea to mull it over for a while. There is no chance that my ability to be awake and well at any set time will improve so I don’t know.

The Art

There is more. The battle between memory and the painting technique is resolving itself slightly in my favor. I study color and technique most days in order for some part of the process to catch in my mind. Every day some simple drawings that work towards the figures in paintings on the easel are made and with the music to drive it I seem to be delving more deeply and retaining more. There is a steady drift back to a place reached many years ago where the ability to create stories and images that captured peoples thoughts were something almost taken for granted. I have missed that place!

The Camera

38mm standard lens and extension tube shooting a huntsman small enough to hide behind a matchhead. Still learning but this is a huge improvement

The super macro photographs of small creatures have become possible since the purchase of a set of extension rings on Ebay. There are all sorts of combinations of standard lenses and the macro lens that allow the camera to look at very tiny things with some success. It is a heavy thing when the ring lights, batteries, tripod, lenses and camera are set up. The problem becomes my ability to hang onto the whole thing and stop shaking and then to get my rebellious body down to where the crittur is. Some things the rest of you find very simple and easy are beyond me. Still, the little 38mm prime with an extension ring on it gives wonderful shots. It takes practice and the battle with memory is particularly felt when the camera goes onto manual and needs aperture settings and iso control. This must be done to get reasonable photographs. Up until recently all of the shots were taken with the Fujifilm simply by mindlessly pointing and shooting on super macro. There are so many spoiled images. It was enough to have documented the existence of the little creatures so later, if they were all lost, people would have proof of what was. The last couple of years the range of species and number of individuals everywhere has plummeted.  If I can gather some strength very soon there may be a chance of getting quality photographs of the new season bugs as it warms up.

 

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