Thursday, June 18, 2009

This is what has been keeping us occupied at the Library for the past week or so. It's a Southern Boobook owl who has taken up daily residence in trees planted in the "light wells" that give natural light to work areas below ground level. Therefore while he is sitting in the middle of a tree, he was at eye level from the ground floor of the Library. I've heard boobooks before but never seen one until we had our very own library owl.

I've been wandering around online after reading everything on Knittyspin and was very taken with Della Q's bags. However, knitting bags are something I have more than enough of. I am sewing CAW together and should hve a photo soon. I will be casting on socks for D since I finished socks for my boss. They were knit from an Opal yarn that somehow had the stripes repeat at exactly the same place in the 2 socks without my intervention. I never care about stripes matching in socks and assumed this yarn woud be the same but it wasn't.

I have been pushing hard with the cleaning out and managed to sweep all the fallen wisteria leaves out of the garage and neighbouring areas and put them down as mulch. I've also emptied the computer room filing cabinet to get it out of the house. Then when I clear out the cupboards in that room I can get my tradesman in to replace the grotty home-handy-man shelving with a proper wardrobe and then 3 of the 4 bedrooms will have BIRs (built in 'robes = closets). I'm also in the market (waiting for a sale) to replace the hanging lighting fixtures in the dining room and kitchen eat-in area. Meanwhile, all this activity has resulted in very painful leg muscles (again) so I am forced the "rest" which I am not good at.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The minute I posted the "poor me" bit I regretted it. I grew up with food on the table and clothes to wear, I got an excellent education and never suffered any abuse except emotional abuse. It took me decades to feel like I was a person worth being on this earth but now I can recognize that I have friends and family who love me. I will never complain about dancing lessons again (except how pudgy I was in a blue leotard).

My fall seems to have been worse than I thought. I landed sort of twisted with my right side coming over my left. My right knee has a lovely bruise which makes it hurt even more that it did. I haven't even past the 3 month mark that my surgeon gave me as the minimum for replacement of the right knee, but I feel like running to him and saying "Fix it!". I am exceedingly stiff all over but the knee is by far the worst. I am not going to exert myself much today and hope I can encourage healing by heat. I went out when my thermometer said it was 2C (our high yesterday was 4C) and did a massive grocery shop which will hold me over until later in the week. At least it's sunny today, which it wasn't yesterday. Let's hear it for solar gain!

I washed my sample skein of Robin's wool, and as I suspected, there was some oil and/or dirt left in the wool. When washed it bloomed quite a bit and I think will be best spun to an 8 ply or DK weight. When I remember how long the fibres are and draw them out instead of inchworm worsted spinning, they flow well, despite the odd noil, left because of the fineness of the fleece. Since I have a huge bag of this and another like it from a different sheep, I'll be spinning it for a long time. I truly view my stash (including the library) as my retirement fund. While I've drooled over lots of stuff on-line the only thing I've bought is some undyed novelty yarn to dye.

The Imp is asleep in the dining room (which faces north into the sun) but she's positioned herself in the one patch of shade. I expect she'd toast in full sun.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sometimes the grind of living with fibro and RA is just too boring and frustrating to find anything to write about. I take handfuls of pills (or forget to do so as I did last night) but I still live with pain. My right knee has been swollen and painful for a couple of weeks due to nothing I can think of. It has suddenly turned into winter with highs in the single digits and the right knee hates that. But even when I'm bundled up in woolen jumpers and my ultra warm ugg boots, I still hurt. It's a struggle to get up and go to work and I mean that literally: it's the routine of getting dressed, getting a lunch put together, driving through traffic, etc. that I find tiresome. Add on to that all the miscellaneous bits and pieces like going to the chemist or the post office or pushing unwilling trolley through the supermarket. On top of forgetting to take my meds last night, I fell on my beautiful new front porch and landed hard on my left side. I was holding an armful of stuff besides my purse and my camera, and it was cold, and I was trying to get my keys out, and make sure The Imp didn't zoom out, and I just twisted my foot in my shoe (not my ankle, thank g) and splat. Without a knee to help get me up i scrabbled around a while, until I decided a knee was necessary and used my new one. It may not have been good for it but the right one hurts far too much to try that. Now I am sore all down my left side and both hands seem to have gotten involved. I stayed home due to the lack of meds, but I couldn't sleep much because of the pain. This is just one day, one typical day, which is why I have so little to blog about. I don't mean to whine or play poor me, because it's just plain boring and I never know how to answer when someone really wants to know how my health has been. Pain, insomnia, fatigue. It was so much easier when I had the Bear, because he picked up a lot of the slack and did a lot of the more difficult things like hanging laundry and grocery shopping for me.

The only fun part of life at the moment is watching Masterchef Australia. I now know I would never ever try to run a restaurant, which at one point was a fantasy for me. I never could figure out how a chef could guess how many meals of which sort a dinner crowd would eat. But the show has revived my flagging cooking interest which had descended into a very boring (there's that word again) routine of fish and vegetables. I did make a pot of Brunswick stew which I became addicted to while being part of a Virginia family for 15 years. I didn't add game (hard to find a squirrel around here and even rabbits are hard to come by) and my made up recipe tends to be on the spicey side, with liberal amounts of pepper and hot sauce, and the corn must be white corn. I have had to resort to growing my own butter beans since they don't exist otherwise here and I bring back shoe peg corn in tins from the US. I practiced on buttermilk biscuits last night but they didn't rise enough. Too much handling, I suspect.

I am reading Augusten Burrough's Running with Scissors, and while his childhood was way wackier than mine, I recognized the undercurrent or "this is not how childhood is supposed to be". I was miserable listening to my parents fight all the time and being told "No." to every request, while simultaneously being ordered to do things I didn't want to do. Why do I have to take modern dance lessons when I want to go horseback riding? Why do we have to drive to Florida at spring break when I'd rather have braces? My college years were some of the happiest in my life because I was out of that environment. I never knew a truly loving family until I married DH2.

My left cheek is starting to hurt so I must have hit my head too. If I'd fallen on the old front porch, it probably would have fallen apart under me.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

You will only get the drivel of my brain since things have been deadly boring here at chez Swanknitter. I lost all of last week to a lurgie (ain't that a lovely bit of Aussie slang? Means bug or virus or whatever's going around). At the end of the week I was delighted to notice that my legs didn't hurt. Hurray! A cure for fibro--simply stay in bed all the time! When I said this to my GP yesterday (with heavy sarcasm), he said some people do just that. Because all activity hurts, they just retreat into being an invalid. I'd go stir crazy if I tried that. I got so frustrated when I was home recovering from my knee surgery and I couldn't go dig in the garden or even work around the house. Still, I didn't like waking up to sore legs this AM.

We have had about a week of heavy overcast skies and prediction of rain
daily (just to give lie to my pronouncement about the lovely sunny winter days here in Canberra). We haven't had a drop of rain until today. And of course it rains today because I have a very industrious tradesman replacing my front porch. No power tools in the rain please. He is also going to replace the steps to the back deck which I now know were not made to code, with the last step being 3 cm too high. I always thought what last step was a doozy but now I know why.

I have been listening to a great backlog of Bush Telegraph podcasts and there were a series from the outskirts of Lake Eyre. When we (H2 and I) were madly in love with Australia, we devoured the whole Arthur Upfield series about the half-caste detective Napoleon Bonaparte. The Boney mysteries are now viewed at worst as racist and at best dated and patronizing, but for us they gave intriguing snapshots
of life in various places like Broome, as they were in the 1930's when the mysteries were written. There was one written about the channel country and the sudden floods that could isolate vast areas of what had been desert. This year, floods in Queensland sparked what happens only about once a decade now, the flooding of Lake Eyre. It's a salt lake, 15 meters below sea level and when it floods, thousands of birds magically appear to breed. They even arrive before the water by some bird ESP so far undiscovered. I wish I could have seen it. Here's lovely shot of the lake in flood. If you Google "Lake Eyre flood birds" you'll get more info. Thus it is not strange that at least one Aboriginal group has as their totem animal the pelican, when they are hundreds of miles from the ocean.

So far I love my Macbook, and have become somewhat addicted to the trackpad. There are still a few manoeuvres that are a bit difficult, like when you are trying my move things all the way across the screen for instance, but the trackpad is very sensitive and I miss the scrolling ability when I go back to a PC. I have not been able to synch my bookkeeping files from the PC to the MAC but I may close out at the end of the fiscal year and start new.

A fibre update: I have almost finished the socks for my boss and by some sock magic, the stripes are duplicating themselves in exactly the same places even tho I didn't make any attempt to make them do so. I tried on CAW after putting the turtleneck in and found that, when the shoulder drop was figured in, the sleeves would be the right length. So the first sleeve got cast off and I'm knitting the second. Since the rest of the jumper is already constructed, all that will be left is sewing the the sleeves and doing the side seams. I am decreasing for the armholes on the back of the ribbon shell. I got one of the huge bags of processed roving, now to be called Robin's wool after the owner of the sheep it came from. I am not totally happy with my spinning so far but I will have to spin and ply a bit and wash it to see if I like the results. The loom is for sale on eBay but the only interest I've had is from somebody who wanted me to lower the price.