An eye for change

It was new eyewear time again this month.

My eyesight has got worse each year since I turned 45, and as I now wear glasses full time, I want them to be comfortable, attractive, and if possible, a little bit fun. Last year’s glasses were none of those things, so I was very happy this time to discover frames I liked, and which were comfy. They’re prescription sunglass frames, and therefore a little bit more edgy in shape, they’re softer and more flexible, and they’re large enough to take the triple progressive lenses I need. This is the 5th set of sunglass frames I’ve had, and I’d recommend them over regular glasses any time.

So, well, they’re still black. And I’d have liked something a bit more colourful… Anyway, the other day I was cleaning my teeth and gazing idly into the bathroom cabinet. My eye caught on the brighter end of my collection of nail polishes.

And the rest, as they say, is history.


Has anyone else ever decorated their glasses frames, and what did you do and what did you use?

The best Christmas gift…

Sometimes, the unexpected ones are the best.

This is 43mm of rain, which fell between 7pm on Christmas Day and some time during the early hours of Boxing Day over central and north Queensland.

There was no shopping, no queuing, no wrapping, no label. No money passed hands. No labour to make it, whether properly paid or slave labour, adult or exploited child. No rainforests were felled to create it, no petrochemical process involved. It certainly travelled many miles, but no fossil fuels were burned, no pollution created.

Despite the thousands of families who’d already set up their Christmas tables and barbecues outside, not a voice was raised against it. It has brought comfort and joy and relief and reprieve.

Now that’s what I call a Christmas gift.

The Pirate of Walkerston: back for round 2

Christmas dress-up this year will include an eyepatch, I’m afraid.

I had to go back for a second bout of eye surgery. The lump came back; in only 2 weeks it was nearly as large as it was before. This time, there was no messing about: it’s a fair old incision, on the front of the eyelid, with stitches. Messy, too, accompanied by the smell of Barbecued Me – it seems that the front of the eyelid bleeds like stink and has to be cauterised. Samples of the “weird stuff inside” are going off to pathology (thanks, Dr Li, I feel so much better knowing it was weird stuff rather than boring stuff…), but it’s best to know if there’s something nasty going on there, isn’t it?

So, another extended period of sewing abstinence. I can’t really read, and this post has taken over an hour to write, so there’s going to be a bit of “I’m bored…” whinging going on. Good job the Husband is off work for another day.

Cue pirate noises. If anyone has a suitable hat, eyepatch and stuffed parrot, I can give them a good home.

When black is blue, purple, green, yellow and brown

It’s a complete misnomer really.

A black eye encompasses so many pretty colours, but it’s not at all a pretty experience to wear it. I’m fortunate to have large black frames on my glasses which hide a lot of the damage, but still, I’ve had second glances and the odd pitying look. I feel like getting a sticker for my forehead:

Eye surgery, 
not domestic violence

This one is for those of you who asked if you’d be seeing the black eye. It may yet get larger, but maybe not; the eye doctor was very quick and deft, so this might be it. He said a week to ten days before it’s all gone and the swelling is down.

Still not seeing well out of this eye yet, but it’s improving. Back to the sewing machine in the next couple of days, I hope, and the hand sewing in about a week, I reckon. Meanwhile, I leave you with an earworm.

This time, black really is black


Avast, me hearties…

Tis done, shipmates.

OK, enough of the pirate talk. You’ll have to imagine the Captain Jack Sparrow accessories.

Surgery was quick, briefly unpleasant when the local anaesthetic went in but mostly painless, if a little bloody. Post-op, it is painful: I feel as if I’ve been smacked in the eye, with a bonus serving of pea-gravel under my eyelid. The patch comes off later today, after which I’ll be sporting a black eye.

Thanks to everyone who offered good wishes and crossed their fingers. It appears the outcome is going to be positive.

I kind of wish I’d gone out and bought the pirate hat and stuffed parrot after all…

In the front line

This is becoming a habit.

I’m steaming with fury. Our government is mouthing platitudes about the victims of Australia’s current horrendous bushfire season. Sorry, guys, but “thoughts and prayers” don’t put out fires. And reducing our carbon emissions targets doesn’t help either. Publicly abusing climate change advocates isn’t a good look in the circumstances, either. Nor is promising a ‘review’ of the fire service, the implication being that the fire service hasn’t done its job properly, since of course, fires ignited by lightning, fed by raging winds and covering hundreds of thousands of hectares would have been easily controlled if they’d been doing it right.

Today, amidst the horror and heartbreak being reported, the exhausted, blackened faces of the firefighters, and the distraught, blackened faces of the suddenly homeless or bereaved, we learned another outrage. Most of our rural and country firefighters are volunteers. Many of them have been fighting fires for over a week straight. And we are so, so grateful. But it seems their employers only grant them 3 days of paid fire service leave a year. After that, they have to use up their annual leave entitlement, and when that is gone, they are unpaid. And many employers are enforcing this.


Get your greedy, lazy, money grubbing arses down to the fire front, grab a hose and walk a mile in their shoes.

Oh, and while you’re at it, the fire will be burning down your house, consuming your business or laying waste to whatever it is your mean little souls hold most dear.  Because there aren’t enough fire fighters. And despite an economy in the black, there ‘isn’t enough money to pay for more equipment’. And most of all, there aren’t enough people in your position giving a damn that this is what the future looks like. And you helped to make it that way.

Shame on you.

Walking through fire

“The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.”  Carl Jung

Sometimes, it is only in the fire that a person’s qualities become apparent. We’re seeing a lot of that right now. The east coast of Australia is largely ablaze. Communities are being razed to smoking ashes, lives are being lost, including those trying to save others. We have been in drought for so long that our land is a tinder box, and the smallest spark sets the red devil howling across the landscape, consuming everything without respect for great or small. We are grateful for the mercy that has the wind blowing offshore, away from the dry heart of the country. People are showing their best side; they offer generous help, risk their own lives and hold out their hands to save each other. The debt we all owe to our fire services, professional and volunteer alike, is uncountable.

Click to enlarge

This is the view from space, side by side with the Regional Fire Service’s map of approximately the same area, showing all the active fires. Somewhere under that pall of smoke, there are people I care about, people I love. Some are struggling to breathe, some are worried, some are gritting their teeth and preparing to act to defend their homes and property and aid their neighbours. Friends and family are scanning the sky and horizon and praying for the wind to drop and maybe, just maybe, cooler temperatures and the chance of rain. The fire service has called the situation unprecedented: they have never had to fight so many fires on so many fronts. The rural fire service, staffed mainly by volunteers, has suffered an additional blow in that many of their fire stations have also been lost.

It’s counter-intuitive to say we’re fortunate. Our country is huge and our population is small. Compared with the US, for example, with its much greater population density, the loss of property and perhaps life is small. But the suffering is just as great, and because there are so few of us, the resources are fewer, the infrastructure to deal with fire is less and the budget is tiny by comparison.

If you believe in the power of prayer, pray. If positive thoughts are your thing, think them. Hard.  But whatever you do, keep in mind those men and women at the fire front.