Friday, October 29, 2010

Rainy Day reflections

G'day all!

It is nearly the end of breast cancer awareness month. Yep, you read it, MONTH. Not day, not week. I guess that is how rampant this disease is. It needs a whole month.

Of course we should also have a month for cardiovascular disease because that is still the greatest killer or certainly in the top three for people in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and America (I'm guessing Canada is right up there too and parts of Europe as well, but I don't know about anywhere else).

2410_grevcham

I've read a few other blogs written by people with breast cancer. Some are angry with their boobs for being so naughty and trying to kill them.

On reflection, I am not angry with mine. It has put me through hell this year but I can't be angry with the poor thing. It is now scarred, has a chunk out of it between 9 and 11pm, parts of it are numb, and topping it off, it has a ripper sunburn, or so it would look. How can I be angry with it?

Now I am a little cranky with myself for not picking it up earlier but as it turns out, it was very deep - about as deep as it could go. I did my checks every month and detected something but I had a something on the other side too, and the other side is normal tissue. It was only when the lymph node came up and then I found the lump that I realised mebbe I shoulda gotten those lumpy bits checked out. But I did have a full check up in July 16 months ago and the doc didn't think there was anything to worry about either - I had quite symmetrical lumpy bits.

Crap happened, it happened to me, hopefully I can physically get over it as well as mentally.

Doh, just broke my bad thumbnail off. My thumb tip looks quite bizarre without a nail on it I have about half of it left and it hasn't hurt the quick or anything. I am wondering whether I should get some fake nails to stick on over the half busted ones. My nails are growing out quite nicely but they have another month or two to go before I can trim off the nasty stuff.

Before I finish this random post-cancer treatment whine, I must mention my shoulder/neck. They treated the "supraclavicular fossa" also known as the hollow above your collarbone - that being the place where the cancerous cells would be found next on their way through the lymphatic system. Well I slathered aloe gel on the area. What I didn't realise is that they treat all the way out to the end of the collarbone and below it too.

2810_radburn

Isn't that a pretty shape for the bad burn? When I illustrated how I slapped on the aloe gel, my husband said, "Stop, do that again."

Turns out that the white mark with the stripes on either side is close to the same shape as one of my fingers. It could be total coincidence or it could be that I slapped the gel on consistently in the same places and missed half the area I should've treated...

Today was a particularly dull day. It rained a bit early but cleared so I went out in search of lime thread at lunchtime. Didn't find any thread, did find $10 bath sheets (aka oversized towels) and umm Spotlight has a clearance sale on some quilting fabrics. And it was 50% off any orange tagged item. Ooops. Wish I hadn't gone, but at least the damage was only $20 and I got some very nice (for Spotlight) material. I was glad of the towels when I left cos it was persisting down! I went into the Rivers outlet store and bought myself a $10 top. It is quite pretty, slightly short waisted for me but for $10 I am not complaining (and it is a size 10 too! But I am not a size 10 except in the USA, where I ended up taking between an 8 and a 9 in pants!!!).

It was raining even harder when I left the outlet store. I had hoped it might ease back a bit. There was a river running through the carpark - glad I didn't have to cross it on foot cos it was about ankle deep.

I think I soaked a pedestrian - I didn't see the huge puddle in time - it looked like part of the road and I hit it at a safe speed but not slow enough to stop a spray of water splashing out. Sorry, dude! Here's a rose to say sorry. It is yellow cos I didn't stop....

2410_grahamthomas

When I got home, I put a small container outside to catch some rain - my rain gauge is out of action currently as it needs a new pole to sit on. I put the container out at 4pm. At 9pm it had 53mm of rain in it. That is 10mm per hour, a total of just over 2 inches, and that doesn't include the first hour of rain. Crikey!

I basted the new quilt and started quilting it - diagonal lines I decided would be excellent. After about four hours of sewing (I have no idea how some people can quilt something 1.5m square in a night), I discovered that the last time I put the bobbin in, it hadn't caught through the tensioner properly. Dangnabbit, now I have to unpick about 5 lines, and some of them are the longest ones on the quilt....Then I have to re-quilt them. I missed a party cos I thought I could get it done.

2410_posstheprince

Today is also a day of reflection for different reasons. Mum would've turned 80 today. Eighty. That's old. But she only got to sixty. I'm still a bit crabby with her about that - if she had not been so proud and so indignant about the bowel screening she was supposed to do, she might still be here. She'd not be happy with my situation but then again who is? 8-} (Now I'll be happy if I get to 60 cos it means I'll probably get a bit older than that, and 60 is not old. Not these days.) I never saw her get old - it is hard to imagine that my mother would've become old and frail (though I saw her age rapidly as the cancer took hold). She would've probably taken on old age like she took on everything else - my mother was not one for holding back. I wonder if she would've still been blonde? Or would she have faded to white?

When I saw this material on the Fat Quarter Shop website, I wanted it. I still want it but I don't think I'll splash out. It is very reminiscent of Mum, namewise and colourwise - she liked a bit of brights splashed against black.

Anyway, she's been dead nearly 20 years now, and I still miss her. I miss going shopping with her, I miss being kicked in the pants (figuratively) by her. But I do have some of her irises still - they are going strong many years after she got them :-)

2410_mumsirises

anon!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You are getting sleeeepy

G'day all!

It's been an action packed few days here at the Modest Manor. DH came home. We went down to The Digger's Club yesterday arvo with Nathan's parents. We replaced a fruit tree that never came out of dormancy and bought another, plus a bunch of seeds and a soil testing kit (handy to know if we have nutritious soil, at least as far as plants are concerned, and also for pH). So now we have a Blue Pearmain apple plus a Rome Beauty. I don't know where I'll plant one of them but the other has a spot.

Today Nathan went back to Sydney. As usual, I cried. I don't like it when he leaves or I leave. Then I get over it, sorta. I went to work and did stuff until my brain fried at 4:30.

2410_bygateside

One of the chooks is broody. Apparently that means that I am looking after them well. (I thought it meant she reckons she's laid enough eggs, now it is time to hatch some chickens!) I am tempted to get some fertilised eggs of a kind of chook that I want, then give this lot the chop when the youngsters are bigger.... I keep prodding her off the nest. Her sisters gave up and laid eggs next to the favoured nesting box today, and what do I find when I get home? Only two chickens in the coop! What? Nope, turns out Isolde was sitting in a makeshift nest next to the nesting box and she blends in very nicely with the mulch there. There were two eggs under her. So I prodded her off the nest and stole the eggs. She was very indignant but it hasn't occurred to her to peck me. (I carry a stout stick for just in case purposes, those being just in case I have to prod her with a stick to avoid being pecked.)

It is supposed to pour rain this weekend, but first it will be 28C tomorrow. The rain is great for the garden, annoying for me with the weeds sprouting madly and will refill the tanks that are already pretty much full. I guess I should go and water a whole lotta stuff tomorrow, bring the tanks down some and ensure things stay nice and green as it heats up a bit.

2410_bygate

Have I got some finished knitting to show off?

Umm, no.

Why not?

Cos umm well I can't count, or at least forgot to count and the 10cm of ribbing on the cuff of the current mitten in progress was 8cm long when I realised the yarn was pooling on this mitten cuff but had neatly striped on the first one. That is what 10 stitches difference makes to the pattern.... so I only have one centimetre of ribbing now. I'll have it done by the end of the month.

I haven't knitted a shawl this month. I've done 10 this year (!!) and don't know what to do with them all. Five have been gifted, so they are not a worry. I am starting to think I should see if I can sell them - I certainly could send a couple to the local guild for the gallery there as they are from handspun yarn. A little more cash would be nice because we've had an expensive month (plumber and last month's bills are now due on the credit card and Nathan was O/S, some of which is refundable admittedly). Plus it is my birthday next week and as usual, we are low in funds - we never have extra money at the start of November and I can't buy myself a nice birthday present. I guess I don't need any more stuff but I'd like a treat, something to say well done, dear, you made it through one of the worst years of your life. Maybe something pretty and sparkly. Or a nice pair of shoes (not Vogs though - they are Too Expensive).

2410_ricinmyopor

And I am tired, so tired! DH was on a different time schedule and I couldn't get to sleep when I needed to go to sleep. I've been needing 9 or 10 hours of sleep during radiotherapy and these last few days I've only had 7 hours. That would normally be enough but currently? No!

Pics from our garden. I am loving having a garden, even if it is a poor neglected garden (in the words of an old lady who was nicking some of our rose flowers). It is indeed a rather grassy garden but I don't mind having grasses in the paths - much better than dirt which I track in on my shoes. I do mind the grasses growing in the garden "beds" though.

anon!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Stick a fork in me, I'm done!

G'day all!

No pics today, just

I'M DONE!

No more treatment. A4 was a good machine again today, a trooper, taking on other patients as well as its normal load. OK, we ran late but by 4pm I was done, like a dinner.

Stick a fork in me! (I do look rather roasted - if it gets worse I have to go back and get the boost area in particular dressed. Imagine a rather red sunburn, but only in one particular square of the body, with an extra 10cm circle within that part.)

Hooray. So glad it is done, in time for my birthday next week (when I will be at my most scorched pretty much).

Much celebrating. And DH is home too.

anon!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pink ribbon day

G'day all!

It was a lovely day today. Maybe not very warm (though in the car? In the little greenhouse on wheels? Oh my!) but lovely and sunny and warm enough that I could go about in a tshirt. I wore lots of pink and my pink hair drew a number of favourable comments at the hospital (which had a sausage sizzle fundraiser for Pink Ribbon Day, and also two people sprayed their hair pink - they said they would dye it but nah, just sprayed it pink. I've got the real deal on my head and it ain't going to go away quickly!). I forgot to wear my pink ribbon though.

I am in two minds about the whole pink thing and breast cancer. In some ways I think it is OTT and in others? Well breast cancer is a bad thing, and raising awareness and raising funds to provide services to women (and the few men) with breast cancer is a good thing. But I sorta feel sorry for people with other forms of cancer who don't have access to people like the breast care nurses who have been so helpful for me.

Back to the topic of warm and fibrey goodness. It was warm enough that I bagged up half of the lovely white Polwarth fleece I bought at Bendi in July and rolled the rest up in some mesh and stuck it in the washing machine.

(No, I don't actually let the machine go through the wash cycle, well not usually but sometimes - yikes!, I just run hot water into it, put the fleece in, soak it, use the machine to drain the water, run more hot in, etc.)

And here is the result:

2510_polwarthwashed

Mountains of lovely fluff. Look at these locks!

2510_polwarthlocks

Aren't they divine? (Non-spinners don't have to agree) I flicked some out tonight and started spinning. I don't have a yarn in mind, well not really (though I think I will ply some of this with some fluff I've been working on slowly, some that is a gradient run and make a barber pole striped yarn). So far it seems to want to spin at a light fingering weight as a single, which means a DK to worsted weight depending on how I ply it. It is as lovely to spin as it is to look at. Even flicking it is easy - no matting or felting of the ends, it just flicks out. Ahhhh. (Bliss for my poor overworked forearms after all that weeding! Plus sticking my hands through the wire mesh fence that we have around the front of our property means I've bruised my left forearm quite prettily. I was careful not to hurt the right arm though - don't want lymphedema!)

I'm glad I got some things done this morning because this afternoon? Write off! The radiotherapy machines were being extremely naughty - two broke down, but my machine? A4? It was a good big honey (can't call something as big as a linac little) and kept on going like a trooper all day long. That still meant that my 1:15pm appointment turned into a 4:05pm appointment because they had to squeeze other people in on it (and A1, which also kept going like a trooper for most of the day). There was NO WAY I was not having radiotherapy today and coming back on Wednesday instead. NOPE! I AM FINISHING TOMORROW! I went out and came back two hours later - I was not sitting around in the holding bay for two hours! BORING! Plus I had some shopping to do anyway. (Dangit, forgot to buy more carrots - the ones at the market were either weeny or huge and I like em in between mostly.)

And since when did Woolworths (aka Safeway, the same one as in the US and Canada) get so scumbaggy? They won't let you use a debit card as a credit card any longer on the eftpos machines at the checkout. They also won't let you use them as credit cards at their petrol stations. They claimed that Coles have followed suit but not where I go! I can use my debit card as a credit card at both Coles supermarkets and petrol stations. If Coles does follow suit, I shall protest loudly and tell them I'll take my business elsewhere. I think it might be something to do with the everyday rewards card that Woolworths pushed very hard earlier this year, like getting some sort of vendor lock in thing like when you buy an Apple product. Or I may be completely wrong - not like that hasn't happened before!

DH arrives in Melbourne in hmm, 8 hours or so. I might have considered going and getting him if he wasn't coming in on the 5:45am flight.... but he will cope with going on Skybus and the train and ambling along our street to get home. I'll be so happy to see him :-D

anon!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tank me

G'day all!

My friends wanted me to put these goggles on.

tank_me

Then they practically peed themselves with excitement. Not one of them looked and said eh. Nope, all weeing themselves. They think I should drive a tank (not a very small Helmet). They are all geeks and nerds, the lot of them. Of course, cos they are my friends.

*sigh* (Look up Tank Girl, if you have no idea what I am talking about)

I had another successful day. I spent much too much money ($25 citrus? I want! I've wanted a tahitian lime for ages cos I use limes in my cooking. Also a seedless valencia orange looks good too - we have a similar climate, a bit wetter, to San Jose and various fruit trees do well here)($99 market umbrella in blue with led lights affixed? Yeah!). I pulled out a heap of weeds - see this heap?

2410_weedmountain
It is nearly a metre high by close to a metre by a metre. It is big. (I guess that means it is pretty much a cubic metre, eh? That is a lot of weeding for one person, no wonder my back is sore!)

Now the lilacs and the daphnes have a chance of keeping their leaves above the weeds, though I will have to mulch this area heavily to suppress the weedy seed bed...

2410_weededfornow

I pruned some plants. I practically killed my forearms with all the weeding and grabbing. I walked to the library and paid my $1.20 in library fines (really, 10c a day is too little) and borrowed some more books. Hope I remember to take these ones back.... Someone I've known for almost 25 years walked past, only the second time he's worn a suit, on his way to his parents'. He doesn't usually dress up this much for anything (the other suit was for his wedding) but he is job hunting and wanted to scare them. LOL

I eyeballed taking pics of the stash I've managed to accumulate this year but managed to avoid it. But I do have pics of my prize from Ixchelbunny (all I did was post a pic of my Ixchelbunny shawl on her group on Ravelry and I won a prize!)

ixchel_seahorse
Lovely seahorse yarn with a seahorse pattern! The yarn is Charly's own of bamboo, bunny and merino. I want to get into knitting it cos the pattern is even a nice toe up one - my fave type.

However, I have to clear something off the sock needles first. Here's a sneak preview of it.

sneak_loops

Thanks for all the lovely comments on my new quilt in progress. It is very bright and chirpy and I am very pleased with it :-)

anon!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Now with added content

G'day all!

I feel like I've had a productive day.

Why?

I sat down and sewed the rest of my quilt top squares together, with sashing between them and sashing all round. 5 hours it took me to sew 5 more rows together, cut more sashing, sew more together, iron them along the way, cut more sashing and then sew sashing on all around the edge. And I think it was worth the effort.

rainbow_quilttop

Wouldn't you agree?

rainbow_quilttop_billow

I love it.

rainbow_quilttop_sunspots

I think it is the best one yet.

I giggled like an idiot when I hung it on the line and tried to take pics of it - it was a bit breezy today but at least the wind blew the clouds away. I am very happy with how it has turned out.

Alas, now I have to figure out a backing for it and then get down on my hands and knees (in the loungeroom, where I have plenty of space (!!! - the loungeroom only has a small amount of non-loungeroom stuff in it now, amazing, it's only taken me what 10 months since we moved back in....)) and bast the beggar so I can quilt it. And I'll have to work out a binding for it too. It is almost as wide as a queen size bed and a bit over a pillow width short of covering the whole bed.

I think I should use some left over quilt batting to make some knee pads for me. I think we have some of the really high density foam packing material in the garage too - that might be nice for some added cushioning!

I have plenty more to share with you, having pulled my finger out and edited pics, but slowly slowly! Can't use up all my pics and surprises too quickly...

anon!

Friday, October 22, 2010

No piccies

G'day all!

My bad!

I did get pics of some goodies today and you know what?

I went to tea at the parents' in law and umm, well, yeah. Today's blog is very short.

But we did have a good chat and caught up with Nathan's aunt and uncle (in sin).

To distract you from the lack of content, I send you to these boots, and these shoes, and these, and these. Not that I like them or anything cos I sure as hell can't afford them (DH needs a fridge and we can get one for a hundred more than some of those shoes/boots cost!). And to DH's blog, with a couple of pics of places he's been. And to this flickr list of pics generated by a program called hugin(link to flicrk group cos it helps more than the homepage on sourceforge) - be warned, there's over 20,000 pics on that page. Dunno about your browser but mine only loads the ones on the page I'm on or have been on. It doesn't load all of them at once... (I'm saying that cos someone whined at me about how many images there are on the page)

Mebbe I'll have time to do pics tomorrow?

anon!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Very little to say

G'day all!

Today I pretty much finished my first work project. It is awaiting signoff.

Yay me!

Plus I tried to get better pics of me and my hair. I failed, though I can't blame the phone camera given it was under artificial light. Tomorrow! Tomorrow! There's always tomorrow...

I am getting used to seeing this freak with pink hair following me around everywhere. Well relatively used to it. Hey, who's got pink hair? I can see a reflection. They are wearing the same clothes as me. Oh, it's me!

Reactions are generally positive except for the people who just look at me. LOL

I guess I should've gotten sponsored to do it but I didn't. However I'm happy to chat to people about the various reasons why I've done it.
a) cos I've wanted to have pink hair for ages (also blue hair, green hair and purple hair)
b) it is breast cancer awareness month
c) I'm being treated for BC
d) I may or may not die of this but jeez I may as well have fun along the way 8-)

It is all good. Or will be. Or won't be but no point fussing over that!

I spent two hours at the hospital today, one of them waiting for either RT or to see the registrar as I haven't seen a dr so far during radiotherapy. I am doing well. I knew that - I can still wear a bra. I hope to keep doing well but one day at a time! With a few little things hoping towards the future.

Like DH is in Sweden. He is having a rough time with work but he is really enjoying Stockholm (though it is very cold - the footpaths were icy this morning) and the locals. We had a great time with one of the Adobe interns last year - he was a Swede. Nathan is meeting up with him. I wish I was fluent in more than one language to the point where I could make puns and crack double entendres (it was interesting watching the Norwegian intern who had perfectly good English skills trying to keep up and understand jokes that J, the Swede, was cracking - the difference between good and fluent is a big jump). I would've gone along, we would've afforded it somehow, but for my radiotherapy. My health is more important than a bit of fun. Plus Nathan left his nice warm hat and gloves in Sydney, and we would've fought for my rainbow toque. We have such big heads that one hat would not cover both of them... The point of what I am saying is I hope DH gets another opportunity to go to Sweden and I get to go with him :-) Mebbe not during the cold months 8-)

I have to share something I got in the mail today. It is VERRA nice. And I should take pics of the knitting in progress. But that will be tomorrow or the day after - I have to get the pics first! I'm on the decreases of the gusset for the second mitten now. I'll get that done shortly. Then I'll have to put them away in a carefully chosen spot so I don't lose them. Summer is coming, 29C tomorrow (ack, 21 feels warm enough!) and I'll probably have forgotten that I knitted some very bright and ostensibly unforgettable mittens by the time I need them again....

anon!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In the pink

G'day all!

I'm in the pink today!

pinkedup_top

(and tomorrow and the day after and the day after and for however long this semi-permanent colour lasts 8-)

pinkedup_side

I'm very pink!

Still knitting mitten madly - amazing how much mitten you can knit whilst sitting with bleach on your hair then with pink on it. I've knitted a bit over half of it now. I was late to radiotherapy but that was ok cos they were running late too! I've now started boost, which means they irradiate a 10cm circle around the tumour bed. They don't line me up quite as carefully now and the linac has a weird apparatus attached to it to hone the beam on the right spot. And they loved my hair colour. LOL

When I got home, I put on some extra sunscreen, a scarf and a beanie (I don't want a sunburnt scone and neck) and mowed the grass. It is a lovely day today but I started feeling a bit crisped by the end of it.

And grr, I found out why the chooks don't seem to be laying much now. Boldie was desperate to get back to a spot that I kept chasing her out of. SOMEONE has made a nest in the grass under a fuchsia. I'd get a shot of it but it is kinda awkward to get into. One egg felt lighter than the others, so I've tossed that one out. The others are all grass stained and I don't know if they are good or not (I know about putting them in water to see if they float or not but apparently washing them means they lose the protective coating on them that stops bacteria getting in...). Naughty chooks! I've put a pot over the nesting area and I'll keep an eye on it over the next few days.

Still missing DH. He is not having much luck at present, though he is enjoying Sweden and his Swedish team mates. He says it is rather cold. Just as well that I sent some warm gear and my toque with him - his is in Sydney, with his gloves. Oops.

Now that I have amazingly pink hair, I'm feeling a little unpretty. I don't like having hair this short but I have to wait for it to grow. (No I am not getting a wig. They are hot and itchy and I'm getting used to feeling ugly!) I'm noticing my wrinkles a lot too - they have kicked in massively this year. I guess I could go out and buy some makeup but finding stuff I can wear is difficult cos they all like to add perfume and I can't stand whiffy things - I'd prefer to smell the chemicals. There's perfume even in lipsticks (like the expensive one I got at the look good, feel better cancer person makeup day. It stinks!). I don't have a lot of cash to splash either, so it isn't like I can go buy various things to try and then throw them out. Ah well, wear the wrinkles with pride, etc. Better wrinkly than dead, etc, etc, but it would be nice to feel pretty too!

anon!

A week to go!

G'day all!

Only a week until I finish radiotherapy. I'm done with most of it, just have to have the boost part now (where they irradiate the tumour bed in particular). My neck is pin, looks like sunburn and my poor boobage is coming up redder and redder. It's getting a bit prickly too, just like sunburn.

I am so glad to nearly be done with treatment. And no it doesn't mean I am cured. I'm unlikely to be cured but I'll be happy to dance with NED (no evidence of disease). I hope to dance with NED for a looooong time but only time will tell. There's some things I can do to give myself the best possible odds of dancing with NED for a long time and I'm trying to put them into place (eg a half hour walk or some form of exercise every day - I'm not making it every day yet but four out of seven days I get a good walk in or some solid gardening. Yep, gardening at my place is certainly a work out - shovelling mulch and cow poo, levering out enormous weeds... eating good food (I'm still eating too much salt), cutting back on sugar, learning meditation or at least finding a quiet space in myself. Can't do much about the loneliness though - I could arrange to go visit friends more regularly but doesn't mean DH will be here!).

I am not the only critter happy at the moment. I wish I could get a picture of Cheshire's drool puddles. I put him on my lap - he loves lap, he truly does but my lap is not big enough for him and he doesn't get as much lap as he would like - and patted him and he's purring and droooooling madly. It is disgusting. I'm having to wipe him with a tissue before he spatters more of it on me. He doesn't seem to have a problem with his teeth or his gums or anything, he just drools when he is happy. (That includes drooling on his food - he purrs when he eats.)

I hope to have a pic of my hair tomorrow. It should be pretty special. I have so much to do tomorrow, dunno how I will fit it all in in one day. I have no idea how I coped when I worked full time.

DH is now connected to the net in Sweden. He's there for a week then flies home the same day I have my last radiotherapy session. It is nice to be able to chat online. I miss talking to him (and being with him but most of a week with very little contact at all was very lonely).

I haven't taken a pic of the new mitten, have I? Currently I should call it One Hand Clapping because the other one is just at the cast on stage. I knitted the first one on the train and whilst waiting for my radiotherapy but RT these last two days have been amazingly quick. I've been in and out in about 25 minutes, compared to 1.5 hours one day... no time to do jigsaws or knit. (Must find space to set out a jigsaw - I like doing them. I thought I was put off them by doing them earlier this year, one in particular after I was diagnosed but it soothed me. I am particularly fond of lighthouse/beach/rocks jigsaws and mountain scenery. I used to prefer horses but now I like pretty pictures 8-)

No pics today because I worked and I'm lazy now. I think I'll have an "early" night (it will be 11pm before I turn in).

anon!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Slow gangbusters

G'day all!

I am making slow progress on everything at present, or that is how it feels!

I have trimmed all the blocks to size for the new quilt. What do you think of this layout?

brightblock_layout
(OK, I'm lazy, I didn't do the white squares in the middle or the polka dots! And the black dots are there to fool the spreadsheet that I developed this on into cooperating and making the squares the right size...)

I have pulled a HUGE pile of weeds out of one of the old vegie and herb beds. The area is about 2m square and the mountain of weeds from it is massive. OK, some of the weeds are self-sown parsley plants but do we need about half an acre of the things? They were hiding the rhubarb and the special form of blackberry (a boysenberry? I can't remember what it is now, but no matter, I pulled half of it out by accident weeding around it!). Of course I did that whilst waiting for the weather to decide whether it was arthur or martha - was it going to rain or not? It spat a little but that was it. I didn't mean to do weeding - I was going to mow the grass on the median strip but with it not sure if it would rain or not.... and the mower being under a heap of crap behind the garage - I think something overbalanced and took a fair bit of stuff with it. Also? The weeds along the fenceline? Reprieved for another couple of days as tomorrow is a work day so I'll not be whipper snippering them until Wednesday now.

I potted up a persimmon into a mix of mulch, loam and 4 month old, composted cow poo. Hope the mix isn't too strong for it. I don't know where to plant it, y'see and its current pot is waaaaay too small. Same with an avocado that is really struggling. I have heaps of fruit trees that need to be planted but really we need to put in the new fence before I plant anything along that fenceline (our neighbour wants to put a metre wide concrete strip down it so he never has to weed it again!). In the meantime the plants are struggling, so I am trying them in the mulch mix.

palepink_teatree

The garden is going gangbusters. It loves the rain. So do the weeds :-( - they are growing faster than I can pull them out in some areas. The tea trees are amazing.

xrated_ladybirds

And I've seen two of these little beggars in that self same pose on three different plants now. I don't know if they are the same couple or not but I am very pleased because we need lots of ladybirds eating our aphids. They are the common spotted ladybird, Harmonia communis (isn't that a lovely name? Makes me think of harmonious community :-).

anon!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A day of talking to real people

G'day all!

Today I talked to real, live people.

Or I am extremely deluded and passed out on the train after having to run to catch it and dreamed the whole thing up.

I don't think I could've dreamed up how normal it was to talk to people, so I reckon it happened.

I went to market, to market (but no fat pigs at the market and anyway, I couldn't drive it home, slaughter it or butcher it) and bought the weekly pile of vegies. Woe, I had to buy a cauliflower for the first time in a month - my caulies are finished. The chap that I bought a caulie from was bemoaning them all heading up at the same time - he's got truckloads of them. Corned beef this week, chicken and if I get really desperate, bangers :-)

I seem to be a bit asthmaticky at the moment. I've had a nurse and a doctor check my lungs and say they are fine. It is worse if I don't take antihistamines so I am guessing it is allergy-related. It is after all SPRING here, plus the things I hate about as much as privet are flowering - the (egads, had it at the tip of my fingers a moment ago, hedging plant, technically, cream flower heads, red new leaves... ) photinea is in flower and by jingo I'm allergic to that! It gives me... asthma! Hmmm. Anyway, it makes moving at a good pace difficult cos I start feeling a bit breathless. I thought I would die on the train today (I had trotted from the platform down the ramp, up the ramp, hurried to the milk bar, bought a ticket and then returned to the station as the train pulled in - the ticket machines don't sell Sunday Saver tickets and I'll be darned if I'm going to pay full price, but I could see the train was less than two stations away... which meant running!) And then I start itching. Why on earth don't I just keep taking my zyrtec? I do sometimes wonder about how clever I really am.

I chatted to people, real live women at the observatory cafe by the botanic gardens (we don't actually sit outside when the weather is iffy and not in the gardens themselves, just in the cafe by the gardens). That was very nice. I finished a mitten. I kept knitting on yesterday's new project, though I did rip it out most of the way and restart it.

So because I knitted today, you get pics of the squares for the quilt.

brightblocks

I am thinking of putting white sashing around each block - I think it would look quite nice and would separate the colours so they don't clash too much. I had to move the pink out of sequence to between the purple and royal blue cos otherwise it sits next to the red and it is just too close in colour and intensity to the red. I think I've worked out a good layout too but I think it will be brilliant with sashing.

doubleyolkeregg2

Also one of the chooks yesterday produced a rather large egg. I only got one egg out of the three of them the day before (sounds like I go out there and squeeze eggs out of them, eh?). The last time they produced a large egg, it was a double yolker.

doubleyolker2

Ta-dum! Another double yolker! (Pity that the potato was a dud. But the egg was very nice.)

I am converted to this fresh eggs thing. Our chooks' eggs are so much nicer than the ones you get in shops. The whites have two parts - a runnier bit and a bit that is almost as solid as the yolk. It sits up proudly from the pan. Quite impressive. Now if only I could squeeze more eggs out of the girls...

Tonight I watched Julia and Julie (or is it Julie and Julia?). That entertained me. I had no idea who Julia Child was - I had seen a book on kitchens that raved about her kitchen but I'm not American. I was not brought up with her TV shows. Food at our house might've been yummier if I had been.... Oddly enough I bought two cookbooks today, one on Thai food (it is part of a weightloss program but stuff that, the book was cheap and the recipes look totally delicious) and one on gluten free food (but this one with a twist - the writer provides ideas for substitutes for various dairy items - most of them don't bother). Not her food but it should be verra nice.

Yikes, time for bed. I'm staying up too late at the moment. Every second day I sleep for 9 hours. The next night I sleep for 7. Weird, huh? The cat is reminding me - he is snoring. (And I was privileged enough tonight to have Nutmeg willingly sit on my lap for about 20 minutes, until Cheshire started playing with something in the hall.)

anon!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A day of quietness

G'day all!

Today I spoke to noone. Not a single human being. Not with my voice anyway. I talked to the cats, I sang a little (hooray, I am getting some ability to control my voice back after taxotere butchered me), I talked to myself, I talked to the chickens (egads they are STUPID birds - I've been feeding them for three months and only Boldie will come when I shake the bag and scatter grain... and even she won't get within a metre of me)....

I trawled the net. I replied to a couple of emails and visited some new to me blogs...

I sewed a whole bunch of blocks and cut some more for the new quilt. It is going to be grand I tell you! Bright and happy :-) But it is too late to get pics now, it being half an hour before midnight and all. That took all morning. Chain piecing them made me ever so happy - the brightly coloured bunting looked great. But I can't leave them as bunting - I want blocks! Before I can start putting them together I have to trim them to a consistent size. You would think with the careful cutting and piecing they would all be the same but oh no, there's a quarter inch difference between the largest and smallest and that is plenty to make the thing out of whack.

I've started a new knitting project. It is a relatively plain cardigan, except of course I have to do it not at all plain. I have some white, some multi-pink and some pink wool yarn. The solid pink is for cast on edges, the multi-pink is for the moss stitch (seed stitch) bands and stripes and the white is for the main part, striped. I have no idea if I have enough yarn to make this thing work - I sorta doubt it but we will see! I might need a bit more white. Or multi-pink. Or both. I'm already nearly up to the bust shaping. I hope it will be pretty rather than a schmozzle.

I watched a movie version of Mansfield Park tonight. It was ok but it drifted away from the original somewhat. I've seen a different version that stayed true to the original which I think I prefer. I'm saving up Pride and Prejudice, you know *the* one with Colin Firth, for when I'm starting to get desperately lonely. It is most diverting.

Haven't heard much from DH but that is pretty normal. He is on the other side of the world and is 9 hours behind me. It makes it pretty hard to chat.

After yesterday's dreadful weather, today turned out to be very Spring-like. Rain and hail one moment, bright sunshine the next. I managed to get a bit of gardening done and potted an avocado into a larger pot - I have no idea where to plant it so the pot will do for the time being. I am hoping we will start getting nice sunsets again instead of cloudy one, sunset like this one....

1110_sunset

Off to knitting in the bot gardens tomorrow. Hooray! People to talk to!

anon!

Friday, October 15, 2010

On being Melburnian

G'day all!

As a born and bred Melburnian, I reserve the right to:

  • whine about the weather
  • happily (or not depending on my team's winning status) discuss footy
  • whine about the weather
  • have the weather be the major topic of conversation
  • lust after things I can't get in Melbourne (though it is a city of about 4 million people, we don't get the things that Americans take for granted and of course we want, ignoring our own local versions of said things)
  • moan about the weather

I think you get the picture! Earlier in the week, it was lovely and warm, if a little windy. On Wednesday storms pushed through. Yesterday was windy but not too bad (as long as having things blowing away in the wind is ok). Today? It has not stopped raining all day. We've *only* had nearly an inch since 9am but OMG! Over it already! Tanks are full, rain rain go away, come again some other day! (Haha, since I wrote this, it has stopped raining. The sun of course went down an hour ago.) It is only 7C, and hovered around 12C for much of the day.

Also? I think the person who arranges the radiotherapy is psychic with regard to the weather. We've had three nasty lots of weather come through recently, and my RT has been scheduled slap bang in the middle of the worst of two of them. Two Wednesdays ago I thought the car would either be swept away in the downpour or blown away in the wind (he is only a little car but very brave), and then this morning we nearly disappeared into a puddle! Obviously they believe I am a competent driver. Now all drivers are sure they are above average at driving and I am no different to the rest.

You'll have to put up with pics taken under the flash cos I wanted to share some bits and bobs with you.

new_brightness

A new quilt top in progress,being sewn on my US machine (with a newly fixed transformer). It isn't a quilt yet and is likely to end up joining the other four? Five? awaiting basting and quilting. I'm not making this one very big cos I have three queen size quilts awaiting basting/quilting now and they feel like the sword of Damocles hanging over me. I can quilt anything up to single (twin) bed size fairly easily but larger ones are a bit daunting (as is the price for getting them quilted on a long arm!). Basting them is also an issue simply due to the size of the quilts (and as I found this afternoon, my knees complain vigorously about being knelt on on a wood floor...). I am following the recent quiltalong on Fat Quarterly.

button

The world's most enormous button for my new cardie. (Maybe it isn't that big. Not quite...)

buttoned

My new cardie with new button applied to it. I might move the button as it is a little too high I think. The button amused me. It may not be the best button for the cardie but I certainly like it :-) I will get modelled shots when the weather improves - I am not going out in the rain just for a few pics.

Hmm, I think I might start a new knitting project tonight and watch some (legally downloaded) tv. It is getting too cold to work in the unheated craft room but I can knit almost anywhere (not the loo! Never in there! Yick - I'd have to disinfect it all).

anon!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Memries

G'day all!

Every now and then I go and read the blogs of some people I met in Colorado. And the blog of someone I never met. Susan's blog is interesting to me - she is very in touch with nature. I love looking at the pics on her blog because they bring back memories of our time in Colorado.

spring_ck_fall

I look back very fondly at Fort Collins. It was the first time I had lived overseas. I was living a very easy life - cycling around, doing what I pleased, admittedly on a rather small budget. I was happy even though we had very little and pretty much no friends.

Why was I so happy?

Because I could immerse myself in learning about this new place. I could learn its seasons, I could learn its flowers and birds and critters, I had a creek running at the bottom of the hill from our place. There was so much new nature to fling myself headfirst into. (Thank heavens I never found out what poison ivy or oak looks like by experiencing it!)

spring_ck_fallrocks

I've lived in Melbourne pretty much all my life. I know her seasons, I've seen them change from the rules I observed when I was a child, I've lived with her. She was all I had ever known. I know her intimately. I adore her but to truly know a place, I think you have to leave it and be able to compare it to other places.

And suddenly we were uprooted, in a totally different place. Yes they speak English of a sort there, just as we speak a different sort here. But it was all different. There were new social rules, new road rules, new ways of being. It is a town of about 110,000 people compared to 3.5 million.

It was glorious. A new place to put down roots, a new place to absorb and become a part of and observe and feel. Sometimes it was hellish - the homesickness (particularly on DH's part) and loneliness. But there was always something new to observe, something to bring into my new understanding of this different place, something to soothe me and seduce me.

spring_ck_fallreflect

I cried when we left Colorado. I had only just begun to hmm, assimilate is not the right word. I had begun to understand Colorado, its nature, how its seasons turned. I had been so happy there, riding my bike around, dragging my bike trailer behind me, doing all the shopping by bike, occasionally hiring a car so we could go into the Rockie Mountains and drive insane distances in a day (over 500 miles one day with a heap of sightseeing thrown in). It was new, it was totally different to my previous experience, it was wonderful.

I still feel like I have unfinished business there, and I look at pics from there with a mix of "Wow, that was fantastic/wonderful/lovely" and "Waaah! Now I feel sad!" Pics like these ones, taken 3 years ago as the leaves along Spring Creek started to turn. Egads I loved having a creek at the bottom of our condos - I love water. It fascinates me (though I am not a swimmer - I'm a paddler or am happy to observe it). It is odd feeling homesick for a place where we lived for such a short time. I was never going to be a Coloradoan but I fell smack bang in love with this new place. And then Nathan's job disappeared from under us, the sky fell and I was ripped away from my new love.

spring_ck_falltrees

I have lots of pics that I never shared before from Colorado (and elsewhere). I would really like to start getting them online. We've lost a whole month of pics (unless they show up on my old desktop, not currently in use, but that means finding a suitable US kettle plug cord for it and I think we left them all behind), and some of those pics were spectacular, but we have plenty of other pics 8-) Of course they truly belong on my travel blog but today I am rambling on my crafty blog. It is still blogtober :-)

Back in the mundane world, tomorrow I have to buy a button for my new cardie. I've woven in all the ends, it just needs a nice button. I found an old button (I think from a coat of Mum's) but it isn't quite what I wanted. If I find no better buttons, I'll use it but I will see what I can buy first. Then I can show it off :-) (If the weather cooperates - it is going to be a lousy weekend.)

anon!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brr!

G'day all!

Well after a few lovely days, BRR! Cold! We've returned to winter, with a day of rain and drizzle and greyness (though it was quite pink at sunset, alas on the other side of the clouds).

I was meant to be working today but alas, the sprogs of my employers have a gastro bug and oh yuck, I don't need that at the moment! So instead I trotted over there and picked up some papers to read. I've only managed to read papers for a little over four hours today plus an extra bit of online stuff and my poor brain has had it for the day. Still I've learned a useful bit of stuff for what we need to know.

I'm running up an SMS bill on the mobile now - DH got to Paris and discovered that his brand spanking new corporate card doesn't work. The magnetic stripe on it has failed already - the card provider rang him up and said it will fail sooner or later but should be good for a couple of weeks. In this case, not even a day of use! So I spent a while ringing our banks here to let them know that our cards will be in use in Europe. Just as well we have a little bit of credit remaining on one and some cash in the other! I've also emailed his boss saying what do we do? He has no internet or phone (unless he does what us plebs do - go to an internet cafe and use skype). Then his train was cancelled and they were cretinous getting him on another train - not like he showed up too late. But he's in Brussels now and settling in.

I've almost finished my eggplant shalom cardie :-) Only the weaving in of ends (18 of them for nine balls of yarn) and the button to be sewn on. Of course that means having a button to sew on. I shall raid the button jar and if that isn't successful, I'll raid Scroatfight, see if they have any buttons. (Of course they have buttons but will they be suitable?)

At some point I should show off the shameful amount of yarn I've bought from non-LYSes in the last two months. It isn't my fault they keep having massive sales. But it is my fault for succumbing! I feel very good about having made something from one lot of yarn though (the eggplant shalom cardie).

I am now in the last 10 days of radiotherapy. Only two weeks to go, YIPPEE! It is getting a little tedious having to go there five times a week. I am starting to get pink skin in the irradiated areas. The lines of pinkness are quite stunning in their linearity. Thank heavens one of them is covered. Having to wear scarves around my neck on sunny days is peeving (it stops me getting sunburnt - I don't care if people see!) but I have two lovely scarves from a lovely English friend that are doing the job well and making me look like some sort of fashion maven (in a tie dye tshirt? I don't think so!). And I didn't have to worry today - horrid day! My throat is getting a little sore too and my voice is getting huskier again. Egads I am over this stupid voice thing and dysphagia (swallowing problem) - if you see me start swigging water, you'll notice I nearly always stop quickly and start coughing. Something happened when I was on taxotere and now I can't swallow fluids without thinking about it. It used to be an automatic thing, now it is an issue. I need to find out more about why it is happening and will it go away cos it is mighty peeving. I've looked online but all I've found is stuff about women with secondaries and I don't think I qualify, though I don't know! I didn't have them with the last PET scan at the end of chemo and I certainly have had this problem since before them. I think it is a problem like the neuromuscular stuff I've had.

Anyway, I'll have pics of the eggplant cardie on Friday I hope. Gotta work tomorrow, assuming the sprogs are ok and back at school. (Hmm, am likely to be told off by the senior sprog - she certainly didn't like being called spawn by another of my contemporaries.)

1009_sheepgrazing

Just to be sure that this isn't a photoless post, here's a shot of some sheep grazing in an amazingly green paddock. We've had a bonzer year for rain this year, the best in 10 or 12 years (ie we've had normal rain or maybe a bit more in some areas).

Time to trundle off to bed. I've got a cat trying to stop me from typing - he is alternating resting his head on my wrist or on the mouse. I have no idea how he could be comfortable cos half of him is on my lap and the other half is resting on the computer bench about 10cm/4" higher. Looks uncomfy to me but he is purring.

(Blow me down - I wrote this yesterday and forgot to post it again!)

anon!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The blogger returneth

G'day all!

Well I started Blogtober so well but umm, yeah. LOL I got caught up in work and DH coming home and suddenly time was at a premium.

Last week, I received my mug rugs from a swap I did online.

mugrugs_loot

Aren't they pretty?

mugrugs_backs

And I got heaps of yummies too. There's enough lollies there to keep me in them for about a year. But the thing I like most?

This little door on the back of the black and off-white mug rug:
mugrug_backcloseup

Oh, what is a mug rug? An overgrown quilted coaster for putting your coffee or tea mug on. I'll probably be using them more for my water glass.

Had a lovely weekend - Saturday I went to the Melbourne Modern Quilt Guild meeting, the first one I've been able to get to. Of course I had to come home early cos I had set up a BBQ (hahahaha, cos I thought there was something happening on Sunday cos the guild meeting is usually on Sundays but it got moved to Saturday!) for people to come and see our garden, and also for them to catch up with me and Nathan. We ate lots and chatted lots and it was all verra pleasant. I am going to repeat the exercise in just under a month, when I am going to celebrate my birthday and the end of treatment!

DH went ballistic on the house and knocked out a wall and some ceiling. His dad helped out too - lovely! We now have a proper ceiling in the laundry/old loo that is no more but is now kitchen. We don't have plaster on the walls or cornices but we do have a drywall (or as we call it plasterboard) ceiling.

The weather has been all over the shop - lovely sunny and warm through to humid and thunderstorms (like now - it has started raining happily). I went into town with DH today as he had to go to the airport. (I hope the thunderstorms didn't affect his flight!) He is on his way to Singapore where he'll change planes and head off to Paris, thence Brussels for a conference, Bruges cos it is there and looks verra pretty, thence Stockholm in Sweden. Hopefully he'll meet up with one of the chaps we met in San Jose at Adobe - an intern, one of the guys Nathan brought to knit nights and then to dinner at Aqui. He's flying back home in two weeks, will have a couple of days here at home then back up to Sydney home.

OK, should publish this - forgot to last night when a runaway process on my computer ate all the disk space! I had to reboot after deleting the offending files but not the process.

anon!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Centrelink, the saga continues

G'day all!

I got two or three phone calls yesterday afternoon.

I didn't turn up to a work placement interview.

The reason why I didn't turn up is because I had NO IDEA I was meant to turn up. I received no communications, I had been assured that I would not have to report or search for a job, and then I get this!

It will affect my Centrelink benefits. The Centrelink benefits to which I am NOT ENTITLED because my husband is earning too much for me to get a benefit.

My goodness, Centrelink is making me VERY CRABBY. Very crabby INDEED! I am having to spend two or three HOURS EACH WEEK dealing with them. And yes I want to yell.

Argh, off to deal with Centrelink AGAIN! I have better things to do with my time, like clean the house or floss the cat.

At least they give me blog fodder...

anon!

Up at the crack of dawn, or not

G'day all!

What a weird saying that is.

Not that I was up at the crack of dawn today, oh no, not like waking up at first light on Sunday, listening to the blackbirds singing (the ONLY time I like blackbirds!) and then realising the corellas were screeching madly not too far away, but not as far away as I'd like! LOL

No, today I slept in for the first time for AGES. Of course today was also a work day. Whoops! But my employers don't really care - they are cool with me being a bit flakey.

I am looking forward to getting this first project out of the way at work so I can start on the real business of e-learning. I have to brush up some too on things because I've been out of the training loop for what four years now.

Oh dear. I just ruined my dinner. I was going to have a nice light meal of pasta and vegies, but I forgot that I was having rice pasta, not my usual rice and maize pasta, and I cooked it for too long (I got distracted trying to long in to a revamped website and it won't let me log in and I am now grumpy with them for changing things for the umpteenth time in the last two months) and now I have this disgusting goopy soup with vegies in it. It has stuck to the bottom of the pot, it has boiled over, and I have to go clean it up and go without dinner unless I start again... I am very tired of living alone, having to cook for myself and making interesting meals for one without having leftovers for days and days (I can't eat much takeaway cos I don't tolerate highly flavoured foods for multiple meals in a row or even more than about three a week - my sensitive guts rebel and make me feel totally odd - oh plus it has to be gluten and dairy free), having to do everything that is going to get done around the place. But I have no choice. I have to complete my radiotherapy and then get the house renovated before I can contemplate joining DH in Sydney. And there are things like the cats, etc, to deal with. And all our stuff. So I am staying here for the nonce.

It is an odd thing living away from one's partner. Neither of us is very happy about it but whilst he's got a job in Sydney that is paying two residences' bills, and I have treatment and my little job and house stuff down here, we have to soldier on somehow. If we can get to the point where he spends a week working from here every two or three weeks, that would be very helpful for our relationship. Me flying up there every second weekend is not enough.

Ah well. This time on Thursday, Nathan will be in Melbourne. I am sooooo looking forward to seeing him. He'll be here for a few days before he flies off to Brussels and Sweden for work. Then he's back for a couple of days two weeks later before returning to Sydney. By then I will be on my last couple of days of radiotherapy. But for the nonce, silly me created more stress for myself by deciding we should have a big BBQ on Saturday afternoon, which means making things Nice for visitors. I will fix up the loungeroom some more and try to get the back yard tidier (hard when I can't actually lift various things from the kitchen and laundry demolition) so we can pretend to be a nice, normal household...

Good news from today? I'm halfway through radiotherapy. YAY ME! Go team Lynne!

Bad news? I have to keep going to radiotherapy for another 15 treatments. Still, I'm closer to the end than I was 15 treatments ago. I think I will start working on getting all my details out, along with the area to be treated, in one breath. I have to confirm my identity every time I go, you see, to ensure that they are treating the right person with the right thing. Name, address, date of birth, treatment area. Sorta like the old two all beef patties, special sauce, etc etc, except I don't win a prize at the end, not even a lousy prize like a Big Mac, I just get to lay down on a fairly uncomfortable treatment bed and stay there whilst the techs push me around a little and read out numbers and measure things (with a very cold steel ruler I might add!), and then a very large machine moves around me and whines a bit. I know all about whining 8-)

Here's your prize if you got this far through this self-indulgent muck:

0110_rugosarose

Our rugosa roses are flowering. The crimson one has just started. Plus it had two ladybugs shagging on it this evening - go you little beauties! I want you to eat lots of aphids and also your babies to eat even more aphids! It isn't often that you want things copulating on your flowers (and let's face it, doing It on rugosa roses is a really good way to get lots of thorns stuck in delicate bits) but this is one time that I am very happy about it! LOL

anon!

Monday, October 04, 2010

A dull and boring day

G'day all!

Be warned, today was dull and boring!

I did lots of stuff.

There.

I got cranky - I'm still wrangling with Centrelink over the overpayment. I thought it was fixed but I was misinformed. So I paid the debt to stop them sending out debt collectors (over $210 mind you, compared to the people who rip the system off and get away with claiming many thousands of $$$ that they are not entitled to, and yes I used to work for them many years ago so I am not totally off the mark!). An hour on the phone, two different phone calls and they know I am peeved. I've had a different story each time I've rung them.

I got cooked again. Tomorrow marks halfway through Rad Camp. I will be so happy to be finished it - dragging off to the hospital five days a week is dull. Then again I'll be fussing like a fussy thing cos then I'll be on my own except for the three monthly check ups.

It was warm, sunny and windy early so I did three loads of washing. Then one band of rain came through so I took my nearly all dry washing off the line. Then it cleared up again and became warm and humid and sunny *and* windy. So I put more washing on. It is amazing how much washing one can find when it's the first time for almost six months that washing is drying rapidly.

I finished the mug rugs I've been making. These are effectively quilted coasters only a bit bigger so you can put your cuppa and a bikkie down without marking the furniture.

fo_mugrugs

fo_mugrugs_backs
(oh dear, I only realised one of the backings is upside down when I edited the pic! Ah well, consider it a reversible photo, or it is perfectly fine if you like standing on your head!)

I had to go out to get thread to match the binding on the pinwheels one, but that was ok cos I needed cat food (fail! Only got them crunchies) and antihistamines for me (win! Hooray cos gosh I needed them! The capeweed is flowering and I'm horridly allergic to it. Even if I weed it out of my verge, it is in everyone else's and all along the railway and highway and everywhere...).

Mine are so dull and boring compared to some of the ones online, but they will have to do. My swap partner likes brights, whites and cats, amongst other things, which made it pretty easy for me since I like brights and cats too. And ignore the lack of laying flat. They can, if the wind isn't trying to blow them away. I doubt that they will ever have a straight line between them though... I guess I shouldn't be too harsh on myself - it isn't as if I a fantastic quilter or even have a good sewing set up at the moment. I did all the sewing sitting on the floor cross legged with my knee pressing on the foot pedal. I have to run my Singer on a transformer and the transformer is in the study, and the only place to put the machine is on the floor! I could move the transformer into the craft room but then I'd have to get the other transformer up and running and put it back with the amplifier... it is complicated!

I managed to tick six items off my list of things to do, and did a heap more things as well. I should put everything on the to do list but I forget to put it there and just do some of it anyway. Sometimes I put things on the to do list and then mark them as done after I've done them. LOL The to do list is a reminder list, not a "these are my only tasks" list.

I bored my husband to death, nearly, relating the tales of my day, which is to say NOTHING HAPPENED. Move along, move along.

Sometimes it can be good to have a boring day 8-)

anon!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Three months after chemo

G'day all!

I just realised that yesterday was the third monthiversary of my last chemo. ie three months ago I finished chemo.

What has changed? Well this:

hw_0310_me

has changed. Yep, I have hair up to 3cm long now, and people keep commenting how dark it is. Well duh! This lot hasn't been sunbleached yet. I even have some white hairs (it seems that the thick red hairs I used to have are now white, thanks, chemo!) My eyelashes are regrowing as are my eyebrows. Think yourselves lucky that I am not showing you what other hair is growing back ;-)

I can now sprint across the road if I have to (and then I puff for a while). By the end of chemo, I could barely shuffle. It really attacked my legs (technically the neuromuscular junction). I can walk all day if I have to. I can walk up ramps - couldn't do that by the end of chemo! Just couldn't! My calves were too tight, felt like I had been wearing high heels all my life and had to walk in flat shoes again. I can garden - getting up off the ground is quite feasible these days and getting there isn't an issue either. But don't ask me to do it all day long.

I still sound like a crow most times. My nails look worse now than they did then, if that is possible (three are half-detached). My fingertips are still numb I think, or maybe it is the nailbeds are not happy. Not sure about that one!

I am somewhat more lively than I was too. I have two new scars and a couple of new bumpy bits to replace the cancerous ones. Part of me doesn't respond when I touch it, until I press hard enough that the muscles underneath notice. (And what is it with the itch on the back of my arm, the itch that is insistent that it needs to be scratched, yet when I scratch it, it isn't there? And the skin doesn't respond? I know the back of my right arm is numb so how can it say ITCHY!) My skin is fairly lousy due to the number of ingrown hairs that I have - half of me is lumpy bumpy. I still worry and fuss - the vague wheeziness I have at the moment, could it be secondaries in my lungs or just hay fever? That twinge in my back - could it be a secondary too or is it just I've been sitting in a different, less comfortable chair and also starting to do some heavier gardening? Will I see my 45th birthday (a year and a bit away), will I see my 50th? That is the thing with cancer - you get through all the treatment (not that I have finished radiotherapy yet) and then you have to wait and see what happens. Whilst you wait and see, you have to get on with your life. After all, you're only guaranteed this life and you have to make the most of it. But the cancer thing will never go, well maybe if I live to a hundred. I'm unlikely to be cured, but if I am lucky I'll be dancing with NED - no evidence of disease. You have to keep on going, if nothing else because it might not be cancer that kills you.

On a totally different topic, it has been a totally brilliant day - warmest in Melbourne for ages! Maybe a bit too warm cos I feel a little hot, but that is what long cool drinks are for. The garden called to me - don't go to some stupid show, stay home and be with us! So today instead of going to the gardening show, I stayed home and did gardening. I weeded out the front for two or three hours and then whipper snipped the back yard for an hour. The new whipper snipper is easier to use than I thought it would be - it is quite well balanced for an electric one with the motor in the head. The front yard is nowhere near under control yet but I am slowly getting there. Some parts of it are quite good. With another hour or two, I'll have about 80% of the outside garden bed under control. It will take another day or two of weeding to get the rest of the outside edge under control. Then I'll have to take on the tough perennial lawn grasses that have run amok across the middle of the yard.

Guess I'd better go back outside and tidy up the mess of weeds I made. I am very good at making messes but not so good at cleaning up after myself.

Pink and purple Spring

I won't have everything pretty for the BBQ I'm having next weekend (Nathan will be down from Sydney, yay!) but the yard is pretty enough even with the weeds. It most certainly is Spring!

anon!

PS going PINK for breast cancer month. Ahem. Gotta find out if I can dye my hair pink too!

Nom nom nom - a very nommy day

G'day all!

Choofed off to the gluten free fair today, and what a big day out it was! I met up with a friend and we munched our way around the fair. Lots of nomming. Lots of sampling of yummies.

Oddly enough I was hungry when I left. I was hungry after eating a good meal at home. I guess nibbling on the equivalent of two biscuits and maybe two pieces of bread during the day, plus one cob of corn, was not really lunch.

I managed to spend $100 on various packet yummies. They were all good prices - no point buying them at normal prices! I can do that in the supermarket or GF shop. I don't know where to put my new noms - my food cupboard is full of things other than food due to the kitchen remodelling. But I have some good yummies! I found a mix that reminds me of my once favourite bread (that I had forgotten all about until I tasted this muffin mix - the bread went off the market years ago), I tasted various things that I can get pretty easily and make up (but can one person eat that much cake?), I saw some stuff that gave me ideas.... I also took along my little trolley, a two wheeled cart, to take the stuff I bought.

One thing that is still missing, at least from the show, is non-dairy desserts. The US has a plethora of them, but here they are sadly lacking. However, I ate so many yummy breads today - we can do a nice loaf! Mmmm!

After that I walked up to the station with my friend and then discovered my sister, sister in law and niece were in the DFO (direct factory outlet) right next to the food fair. So I caught the tram and Shank's pony back again, only to arrive just after they left. Sigh. I did buy three linen shirts (not cos I love ironing, cos they were nice and I am happy to wear them crushed), one of which I plan to dye as it is creamy white. I also had a fruit smoothie (fruit and crushed ice, no milk!).

All in all, a good day, and I have very tired feet and legs. Will I back up for the gardening show tomorrow? Who knows!

anon!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Will wonders never cease

G'day all!

Thank you all for your thoughts about persuading those who do not want to be persuaded. Interestingly enough, we've made some progress just by saying "Do you like being like this?" We've worked out a couple of coping strategies but there's a fair way to go yet.



I am vaguely thinking about doing Blogtober, though I know I can be a bit flakey about posting. I'm going to get flakier I think too - I keep running out of steam. Looks like radiotherapy is starting to take its toll. I've had 12 sessions so far, 18 to go.

Now in the wonders will never cease category, I actually took some pics of one of my current WIPs today. I give you the yoke of the eggplant cardi:

eggplant_cardia

I thought this would be realllly fast to knit once I got past the yoke but umm, well you need to knit the thing before it is finished. And I'm buzzing round like a busy bee at the moment.

Before I even had breakfast this morning, I had cleaned out three drawers of clothes and rearranged them so things fit better. I created a whole empty drawer! I was so impressed with how well I was doing, then I realised that I had not put a load of washing away and was in the process of doing another load. sigh. It is still gracing the bed, and I must tidy it away before I can go to sleep!

(It just occurred to me that Nathan does not need anywhere near so much of his chest of drawers now - most of his clothes are in Sydney. Haha! I have some extra space! Lovely. I have lots of tshirts and I wear nearly every last one of them. The ones I don't wear are awaiting scanning of their print before I send them to the rag bag or the op shop.)

I planted two tea camellias, probably in The Wrong Spots but I don't really care. They needed to go in the ground and now are in the ground. I pruned back some of the plants that are finished/finishing flowering and are obstructing the footpath (sidewalk). I took pics of the pretty flowers in the yard. I took FOUR eggs from the hen house, though that was two days worth of eggs. The girls are almost earning their keep now. I've had more than a dozen eggs this week. Just as well I eat two at breakfast time every day. I quilted one of the mug rugs and decided I didn't like how I was quilting the other one so I have to pull that out. (Must get a wriggle on with those as I have to send it yesterday!) I went to Bunnings and bought a small spray bottle, a big sprayer (for horticultural oil and fertilisers), two pairs of gardening gloves (one more gauntlets for getting into the areas where the roses need weeding) *and* ta-dum, a whipper snipper!

My overseas audience will ask what is a whipper snipper? It is a brand name for a line trimmer, strimmer, weed whacker, umm, any other names? It isn't really a brush cutter - it isn't that powerful. I bought an corded electric one - the cordless ones last about 10 minutes and I don't like the petrol ones even if they are more powerful. The one I bought is a flymo. It looks pretty nifty and can be turned into an edger very easily. It has a whacking (ahem) big guard on it too.

This evening I have had the joy and bliss of not just one but two cats sitting on my lap, thank heavens not at the same time. Nutmeg insisted on some tummy tickle and Cheshire just wants to sit on me and rest his head on my arm. Alas I can't type when he does that so I end up with a wet nose leaning against my wrist instead.

We are getting ready for another Grand Final. We had one last week - the Australian Football League Grand Final. Collingwood played St Kilda. They drew! Scores were level at the final siren! We don't play extra time, it isn't in the rules. So we have a rematch this weekend. The money makers are rubbing their hands with glee - another few million in the coffers! I am barracking for St Kilda. I could never barrack for Collingwood - noone who barracks for a team other than Collingwood can barrack for them. (Barrack - root for, but we've discussed rooting in the Australian sense before and I'll keep saying barrack.) My team, Melbourne, played Collingwood in a few Grand Finals in the 50s and 60s. My mother had a filk of their team song:

Good old Collingwood forever,
They KNEW how to play the game.
Side by side they fell together
To uphold the Demons' name!
Hear the barrackers a-squealin'
Just like Collingwood do!
For the premiership's a cake walk
For the good old Red and Blue!

I will not sully my blog with the original version - I much prefer my mother's.

I'll be avoiding the Grand Final as much as possible though. After radiotherapy tomorrow, I'm off to Jeff's Shed to munch my way around the gluten free show. I hope I get to it - I've never managed so far.

anon!