Saturday, December 22, 2007

Enough with the rain already! It is now close to hurricane conditions, with pouring rain, strong gusty winds and the occasional lightning and thunder. At this time of the year we are usually flat in front of the TV watching cricket but the first test vs India was washed out yesterday and I don't know whether this wet stuff is moving or not. It started yesterday evening and has been raining all night and is still going at 11.30. This is not a Canberra summer, but then I don't have to water the garden.

I finally finished the Panda Cotton socks. I liked the yarn and now knowing how much yarn was in the balls I could
gave made them a little longer. I am now casting on some Regia cotton/wool in grays and white and aim to finish them and the red cotton top before the warm weather is over. Having said that, our only hot days so far were in November and we've had night down to 10C.

This is also what I have been doing and have many more to go. When the supermarket has a tray (box) of 12 mangoes for $15 you buy it, make mango jam out of half of them and eat the other half. MMmmm, mangoes..(imagine Homer Simpson voice). When I innocently planted loganberry and boysenberry plants I did not anticipate that they would be laden with berries that more or less all ripen at once. So I make mixed berry jam which is now world famous. If I have extra strawberries they go in; if I have raspberries, they go in as well. The small jars are honey lemon jelly. J gives me huge bags of lemons when her tree overachieves and because Australian honey is so yummy, I found the recipe for this jelly, which is to die for on crumpets. I make jam for gifts, for home consumption and to distribute to the world through my annual sale at the NLA. I encourage donations and the results go to charity. I have apricots calling to me and more berries (and I've made 2 batches of the berry already).

This came in the mail this week from Lone Star Arts: 2 hanks of superwash roving, one called Go Spurs which I assume refers to a sports team, the middle one is Hula for obvious reasons, and the sock yarn in Neapolitan. Do you all remember when ice cream only came in cardboard boxes and flavours were strictly limited (unless you went to Howard Johnson) and the carton of Neapolitan always seemed to lose its chocolate first (at least it did in my house)? So the sock yarn is brown, white, and pink. I haven't spun in ages being knitting obsessed with only time out for alpaca. So I pulled out a 500gm lump of merino cross in a colourway called Amethyst from Ewe Give me the Knits which is a blend of colours that ends up purple, but not solid. I do so love to spin but it just creates more knitting yarn. Must warp that loom.

Book reports: The Root of the Wild Madder was certainly interesting from a traveling point of view, when the author is wandering over Iran and parts of Afghanistan looking for his heart carpet. There is lots of stuff about Persian culture going back before Islam, and discussions on the languages of carpets. Now, while I love Oriental carpets and I too prefer handmade natural dyed tribal rugs, this book seems to be on a higher plane than simply either the making of the carpets or the carpet business except parenthetically. It's got more about how a carpet speaks to you or not on a sort of mystical level. There was very little about madder or any natural dyeing at all, or even a in depth description of the carpet making process; the author refers to to other books about carpets for that. So if you are interested in ancient Persian poetry and the mystical nature of carpets, this is the book. I felt a little let down because I thought there would be more about the process.

The Terminator Gene by Ian Irvine is as you would suspect by the title about a virus that is developed to be released making all males sterile to rid the planet of humanity
after global warming raised the oceans 6 meters, because the maniac in power believes that is the only way to restore Earth to its natural state. That said, the author pours every bit of action-adventure stuff he could think of into the plot is excruciating detail. The story ends with the levees around New Orleans collapsing and the heroic rescue of the population by hundreds of volunteer chopper pilots and the bad guy falls out of a helicopter holding the canisters of virus that end up buried in the Mississippi mud. Had I been the editor of this I would have removed many irrelevant sections. I was disappointed because it started out well and is also Aussie sci-fi. I only give it a B-.

Friday, December 21, 2007

This is just an interim pop-up of my head to let anyone who cares know that I am in fact all right. Tues I got the good news from ACT Breast Screening that no malignancies were found in either the calcium deposits nor the surrounding tissue. I had a feeling in my gut that it was going to be clear but guts can be wrong. I'm glad to have a clean bill of health but can now look forward to boob smashing annually.

I have felt particularly unwell this week, in constant pain that wouldn't shake off. I spent 2 hours waiting to see my GP before he goes on Christmas break so I can get my meds. When I left the clinic my back was very unhappy and this continued till today when I finally got the time for a session of Bowen therapy and feel much looser now. I have several batches of jam waiting to be made and I simply couldn't stand up long enough to do it. So I laid down a lot, in the company of the Imp, not really taking naps but just getting off those sore legs and giving my back a rest. I feel much better at this point. We have had soggy wet weather for weeks which doesn't help; humidity drives my pain level up significantly. Today we actually saw the sun, which only made it more sticky. Now it's raining again and the same of forecast for the next several days. After so many years with dry conditions this feels very weird. Even without a drought we don't get this much rain for such long stretches. Naturally the garden wants to grow like weeds which are also growing. And the lawn needs to be mowed if it ever stops raining long enough to mow. I've had zucchini from the garden and have picked peas, but not enough to make a meal.

I have been pondering this week the concept of where I go from here in my life. I've never been a single woman, much less a nearly 60 year old single woman living in Canberra. I realize now that he's not coming back no matter how much I miss him, but I don't quite what to do with myself. Yes, I know, I have a zillion interests and passions and friends but I don't know whether I just keep going day by day, filling in gaps with whatever comes to hand (classes, traveling, fibre working) or plan towards some goal. When the Bear was alive we were so focussed on getting our land and then getting ready to sell this house and move to our dream home. Now that that plan has been shattered, I am a little unsure whether I make a new plan or just keep putting one foot in front of the other. No pressure except that which I choose to put on myself. Right now it's still a day by day sort of life,

I did find that I can move one of the wardrobes that is supposed to go to the tip (actually to the recycling facility attached to it) so I can get behind it and strip off the pink girly wallpaper that the Bear lived with for 14 years. Since it was only applied to one wall and then under a window, it's not a huge task to remove it. The former owners of this house were very fond of wallpaper but applied it so poorly that it is very easy to remove. Once the furniture is removed I can get the new carpet laid and
built-in wardrobe installed. Then paint applied and a new guest bedroom is born. My dear MIL will have to put up with a work in progress when she come to visit next week for a few days.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I had a thoroughly unpleasant morning (4 whole hours) having my left mammary gland pressed into many different positions ranging from uncomfortable to down right painful. Then I had an ultrasound of my right breast because they thought they felt something there but it was only scar tissue from my reduction surgery. Then they X rayed some more. The calcifications show a change in tissue, since they weren't on my last scan. They could be just calcium (old age) or they could be a marker for other tissue tissue change that is not benign. Mine is at the very extreme top of the left one so they had a hard time getting an image clear enough so that they could get it out by biopsy. Eventually it was successful, They removed all the calcium in the biopsy and I am sore and bandaged am am supposed to take it easy this weekend. Today I feel like a wet kitten, which may be the aftereffects of being cheerful all during the procedure, going back to work for the division Christmas party, driving to the other end of town to my therapist and then coming home. My dinner consisted of nibbles from the party, 3 Krispy Kremes, and a Cornetto. I go back in 5 days for the results. I think with my family history you have to take everything slightly off as serious which is good, but I wasn't prepared for feeling this bad. Old age sucks.

Now I will have a lie-down with the grey cat (hopefully without the wrestling matches we sometimes have for control of the middle of the bed).

Monday, December 10, 2007

You know you've got strange priorities when you buy a new bedside lamp because your cat doesn't like the one you have. My faithful halogen bedside lamp died (the base cracked and fell apart). The Imp loved the old lamp as she used it as a heat lamp and/or spotlight on her beauty. I replaced it with a squat table lamp from the guest bed room but she couldn't get the same effect from a lamp whose shade she could barely fit under, although she tried. She also seemed to believe she must go under the shade to get to the window sill. So I went to K-Mart today and bought a new lamp just like the old one and she immediately went and sat under it looking very pleased. The things we do...

I had a mammogram a couple of weeks ago and just got a call from the clinic and they want me back to look at some "small calcification" in my left breast. I will not panic. My mother died of breast cancer. My half sister is currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer. I will not panic yet.

I finished washing one bag of alpaca! The next bag has extremely long locks and I have questioned its breed. 8" long but just as dirty if not more so. I'd show a photo but pure white fibre is a bit difficult to photograph!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

This will be short since my MIL will call at 8.01. I so overslept today. Did not wake up till 11AM which put all plans for today out the window. I know my MIL will say I needed it and that may well be true, but I'm going have to start setting the alarm clock on weekends. I got up, ate breakfast, got dressed and mowed the lawn, weeding and mulching as I went. While I really don't much like mowing the lawn (we don't have acres of grass like I was used to in Ohio) the garden looks so super since we've got so much rain in the past few weeks. The berries are coming in 2 weeks early and I may have to make jam tomorrow. There's still edging and fighting back mint (I might get one of those flame thrower weeders, whatcha think?) and vinca and more pruning but in general everything is green and growing. Also need to kill snails.

I had planned to attend the first Swans social event of the season with was a picnic in Queanbeyan, but that is a long drive and my schedule was already shot to hell. The handsome Irishman was coming but Craig Bolton pulled out maybe because he knew I meant to chastise him. He got a lot of votes in the Swans' best & fairest so maybe he improved in the second part of the season when I couldn't watch. I have to stop being afraid of my house and of the Swans just because they remind me of the Bear. Life does go on and there are lots of things to do where I can't allow survivor's guilt to keep me from the things I love. I finished up watching the end of season 3 of Enterprise. In retrospect I wish they hadn't canceled it because it was going in an interesting direction and had lots of time travel which is a thread of sci-fi I love. Real stunner of a season end; just when you thought everything was safe... I have Stargate Atlantis Season 3 and Battlestar Galactica Season 3 so the dearth of summer TV won't bother me. Yes, all of those arouse survivor guilt that he can't watch them with me. Have to imagine him in the other chair making faces at me. The "shock horror" face, and all the rest. I never realized during our electronic courtship how silly he was in the flesh. A pleasant surprise.

Friday, December 07, 2007

It has been a thoroughly dreadful week. A wet and stormy weekend (I am most grateful for the rain but it didn't help my mood) which led to 1) missing the Bear terribly, and 2) stupidly climbing up in the pear tree in trying to prune it which led to very painful ankles, knees and hands the next day. The issue with missing the Bear I think came from spending too much time in his den where all the air molecules must have been breathed by him multiple times. I was totally miserable and even tried calling Lifeline where I got not very caring or thoughtful service but complaints from the person on the other end of the phone about how stressful his night had been. Excuse me, who is counseling whom? I just remembered I forgot to go to my therapist's appointment this afternoon. ARGH!!

In an effort to make up for missing Monday's work I worked three days straight and therefore was knackered by last night. I mentioned the hand pain I was having which I now think is a result of the poorly arranged position I am in keyboarding on Della in the living room. She sits waiting for me on a tapestry covered stool but there is no good place for the mouse and I get my wrists in weird positions. I need to either find a better position or move back to my bedroom where I used to use Della. Ergonomics is not just for the workplace. In trying to solve the Mystery of the Painful Wrists (don't you wish life was like a Nancy Drewe novel?) I've gone back to flick carding alpaca, with the goal of emptying at least one trashbag. The stuff I've got in this bag is beautifully soft and terribly dirty. The Senior cat likes me doing this because she can sit next to me on the couch while I do it.

Other various things that happened this week. I locked myself out of the house 3 days in a row and the last one happened when I had not yet returned my emergency key to its hidey hole. After calling a 24 hour locksmith I walked around to the front of the house and noticed I'd left the sliding door to the dining room wide open. Duh. Tonight I stepped on the Imp twice as she silently got directly behind me and suffered the consequences. I found in the course of my work toiling in the bowels (leaky ones at that) of the Library a relatively rare copy of a 19th century utopian novel valued at ~$300AU that nobody knew we had. I always feel like I should get a medal for these things because I find so many items we have no record of, just because I have a suspicious mind. I have hit the first lot of Arthur Upfield Bony mysteries and found several editions of various titles we didn't have records for. They are now judged politically incorrect at worst or simply dated at best, but I found them all great reads when I wanted to devour everything about Australia. Book report: Peter Corriss's Appeal Denied, the latest Cliff Hardy mystery which I enjoyed as always. I wish he would write more but they are the sort of thing one tries to read straight through in a day. I have started Terminator Gene by Ian Irvine which is sci-fi and even Aussie sci-fi. BBBB is Root of Wild Madder, which is very little about wild madder and more about the Iranian carpet trade and ancient Persian poetry. The Salvos finally showed up to pick up the furniture I had to offload and declined to take any of it. Thus all my plans for shifting furniture must go back on hold. They said it was too 70's and people didn't like it. This while we have been using it for 15 years in this house because it was all we had. Poor people must be getting fussy.

I tentatively say that the issues with resolving the death benefits from the Bear's superfunds will be happening soon. I will then be able to pay off the bills that have been piling up; I haven't even been able to pay for his funeral services due to lack of funds and had to borrow from my MIL to get the roof fixed.

I also am totally blown away by my blog statistics. Who are you people who read my drivel? When I see 20 page hits in a day I am really mystified. I must have more friends than I thought I did or have developed a cult following. If the latter is the case, see preceeding paragraph. Donations appreciated. Just joking folks. Send fibre.