A different kind of sweetness

I have been a Very Good Girl.

I’ve got all the blocks for Floribunda quilted, in my usual freehand wavy line pattern.

I’ve also sorted out fabrics for the sashing front and back. It will be the same green as the green block backgrounds on the front. On the back it will be a goldeny-orange batik fabric with spiral swirl patterns and a tiny touch of metallic gold.

It’s really satisfying to have this bit done. Tomorrow I shall start cutting the sashing strips for front and back, and if time permits, I shall start assembling. I’ve got an appointment with the Diabetes Educator at 11.30am, which promises to be quite an intensive session.

I’m also continuing to be a Very Good Girl in other ways.

My lunches these days are nearly as colourful as the quilt, don’t you think? In the past 18 days, I have lost 5kg (11 pounds).

So, progress on the quilt, and progress with improving my health.


Farewell to all that

The Great Australian Pie Tasting Tour is no more.

I must bid farewell to my ongoing vacation-time quest in search of Australia’s best steak & kidney pie. Also chocolate cake, cheesecake, biscuits, cookies and cupcakes. Out of the blue, symptom-free, I have been diagnosed as type 2 diabetic. My doctor spotted high blood sugar on my annual blood work-up and sent me to do a glucose tolerance test.

I did not ace it.

The radio silence from Chiconia these past few days has signalled furious behind-the-scenes activity. I have made appointments with all the necessary healthcare professional. I have been thoroughly scared into submission by the highly menacing information in all the booklets and fact-sheets and websites I’ve been directed to. I’ve ordered information books and cookbooks. I’m waiting to find out what kind of glucose monitor and test strips I shall need. I am rattling with medication and vibrating with good intentions.

There’s one upside. I don’t need to inject insulin. Yet. Whether that materialises is in my hands and how well I control my intake. We all know I’m anally retentive, so hopefully I’ll stay well on top of it, but equally, we all know I dearly love a good meat pie, and my ongoing love affair with cake in all its forms is legendary. This will require a severe exercise of willpower and common-sense.

If there are any T2 diabetics out there who’d like to share their top 3 tips, I’d be delighted to hear from you. If any non-diabetics would like to offer some cheerful encouragement, that would also be most welcome, as I’m feeling very meh, not to say depressed.

Meanwhile, I’ve quilted two thirds of the Floribunda blocks. Two rows left to go. I might just have time to finish it amongst all the medical appointments!

Ah well. Illegitimi non carborundum, as Pa used to say.



I saw this walking Mouse yesterday.

My first thought was that someone had hung up a CD as a bird-scarer – people do that, don’t they, hoping the sun flashing on the silver side will scare birds off vegie gardens, etc? The photo doesn’t quite communicate how silvery and shiny it was, creating the illusion of solidity. But why was it here, on the bank of a creek in a shady, little-used picnic area?

When I got closer, I realised an industrious spider had created a very nearly perfect circle of web, which was now laden with tiny drops of condensation glittering in the sun. Isn’t it a marvellous natural world, where you can confuse a spider web and a CD?

Or maybe I’m just getting old and my eyes are going…

Floribunda #12: starting the second half

And here we go, tipping over into the downhill slope.

This is Block 16. Blocks 13, 14 and 15 were shown in the previous Floribunda post as part of the total halfway layout. Each of these blocks takes about an hour. I could easily do them faster, but I’m being meticulous and tidy and measuring and trimming at every stage. It’s paying off in terms of ease when fitting things together. Alternatively, I could chain piece, or cut all the remaining blocks and start a production line, but I don’t find that enjoyable. Besides, I find that sometimes I want to change things once I take a second look, or something doesn’t work in the space I’d planned for it. You lose that flexibility if you work too fast and without stops to squint and contemplate.

I don’t have quite enough of the batik I bought for sashing since the quilt is now larger than before. That’s OK. I just need to come up with Plan B. Quite often, in my experience, B stands for Better anyway!

I’ll just keep plugging away at a gentle pace. Works for me….

Blue skies

 Good news this morning.

The MRI shows things haven’t got any worse in the last 6 months. The Little Bugger is still very little, is stable and – hurray! – I don’t need surgery, chemo or radiotherapy. Next MRI is in a year’s time unless I observe any changes.

I can’t tell you how much this has lightened my outlook 😀  I’ve been singing a whole new earworm ever since 10am.

I’m going to sleep very well tonight. Relief, the great sedative. Also, I want to look halfway decent tomorrow; the Husband and I are going out to a rather posh lunch to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary.  Apparently 8 years is bronze or pottery, linen or lace.

I wonder if that means I can wangle a trip to the fabric shop….?

They’ve done it again

I am serious cheesed off.

I have somehow managed to get back to the Classic Block Editor after waking up to another “Surprise!” overnight change to WordPress and how my blog presents to me, its user.. Don’t ask me how I did it; I was convinced I would have to change to a paying site and install the plug-in that lets you use Classic. And I’ll probably finish and publish this post to discover that it’s all disappeared again!

In case you’re interested, here’s a screen shot of something I found, which I did. At first it didn’t seem to have done anything, but after that I clicked out of WP and then back in shortly after, and here was Classic Editor again. I dunno… Maybe it worked, and maybe this is just temporary. Hope it works long term, for me and for you! If not, I will have to learn how to use the Block Editor, and new posts are going to clunky and considerably further apart. Apologies in advance…**

Now, I do appreciate that many, if not most, WordPress users have monetised blogs or use them as selling tools. They’re interested in all that stuff that the new Block Editor offers, the ‘fresh, new, dynamic reader experience’, the analytics, blah blah. Me? I enjoy the wavy line of my statistics, the occasional surprise of discovering that someone in the UK has apparently taken to binge-reading my old posts or surprise that another reader in Uzbekistan has found 5 things to interest them. For the rest, I enjoy showing what I’ve made with a few pictures and a lot of words, having nice cosy chats with reader-friends, and the occasional rant at the state of the world. So I’m not happy when my security blankie is pulled for reasons I find irrelevant, without notice and with an ever-so-faintly patronising tone to the explanation I eventually dig up.

Initially, they left us the Classic Editor option within WP Admin for post-writing that looked and felt as we expected and with which we were reasonably competent. They’ve taken that away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not totally change-averse, and I like the way the new front end looks, with the dashboard down the side of the My Site/ Reader page. It’s just the whole “we’re doing this for your own good” tone of the explanations – when you can find them…

I know I should probably buckle down and learn to use the Block Editor. I know that WP is not run for my benefit and others like me. I know that Happiness Engineers are there for the paying customers and not to deal with a not-especially tech-savvy 60 year old quilter who is putting off getting a paid plan as long as feasibly possible. But dammit, why can’t they leave us oldies with the simple, clunky, un-slick, un-dynamic, amateurish system we’ve had since they first introduced the Block Editor so many of us hate in 2018?

Seriously, WordPress, does it stuff up your business plan so radically to leave that little Classic dropdown button there for us?

PS: I promise the next post will be less ranty, and if less aesthetic in layout, it will also be of something a bit prettier, too.

** Edit: Some people have said they can’t find this button. To clarify: it’s within your personal WP account settings. You need to click on the little round avatar photo that’s at top right of the WP screen (next to the Notifications bell). Account Settings is listed on the left, under your photo.

Dignity shredded….

Oh no. Not again….

Yup. Crutches. Ankle brace. Surgical dressings. RICE. 5 days of it.

Picture this. Me and doggo out for morning walkies. Half a km from home. Rather bumpy but nevertheless tarmac side road. Foot down on potholed area, major ankle roll, crunching noises, pitching helplessly forwards to smack down on the remaining three points of opposite knee and both hands.

Getting myself home was as much fun as you might imagine. Picking out the gravel was fun too. Things got better once I had an ice pack on the ankle and the leg up, and a dressing on my very mangled knee. The hands are just scraped and bruised.

Got an x-ray. “Oooh, you’ve done a number on that one! Spectacular!” Yes, thank you, doctor, most reassuring. “Ligaments torn, no breaks, RICE for 5 days, stay off it, crutches if you have to move”. Also, come back after 5 days if it doesn’t feel like it’s improving and the joint is getting more stable, I may need an MRI to see what the soft tissue damage is. I’ve busted this ankle so many times I can virtually recite what they’re going to say. I know the drill….  But the fact that the bone on the other, ‘good’ foot isn’t healing very fast and is still mostly broken and still quite painful makes getting around heaps of fun. Crutches help, but I’m hirpling around very slowly. Don’t ask me to carry anything, either.

Look on the bright side. At least it’s not a plaster cast for 6 weeks.

Fancy Footwear

I’m a long-term member of the Klutz Klub.

I stub my toes, I cut, prick, mash and burn my fingers, bang my elbows, smack hard objects with outlying parts of my anatomy, and if there’s a head-level item within cooee, I’ll hit my head on it. Show me an innocuous obstacle and I’ll find a way to trip over it. It’s not usually enough to cause serious or lasting damage, but I can proudly boast an unusual number of small scars, I’ve broken most of my toes and several of my fingers, and it’s really just as well I have a hard head.

So, well, the sensation of breaking bones is not new. Everyone knows what it’s like to stub a toe, but to that you add an additional sharp spike of pain, enough to make you nauseous. Yup, that’s a break. This time, it’s my right 5th/pinkie/little toe. Toe meets bedside table at 3am on trip to the bathroom. Toe bends outwards at angle not intended by nature, with some force. Time for a visit to my friends in the X-ray department, followed by 10 days in The Boot.

Stylish, isn’t it? And so lovely to be obliged to wear it in the heat and humidity of the Queensland summer. But with the toe strapped firmly to the one next door and this thinly disguised plank strapped firmly to my foot, I’m actually out of pain for the first time in many hours. Oh, and the tasty pain relief helps too.

With any luck, I might be allowed to take it off just in time to go on holiday…

A dog’s dinner

It’s a great expression, isn’t it?

It’s old fashioned British slang for messy or unfinished, or cobbled together. In this instance, it has an additional meaning.

Regular followers will recognise the fabric of this nice apron. It’s what I used to make Mouse’s warm winter coat, lined with cosy red fleece.

In this case, it’s a more colourful alternative to the efficient but very dull tan cook’s apron I’ve been using for a couple of years. And in point of fact, it’s not messy or unfinished, but it certainly is a bit cobbled together!

I only had the dog-coat remnant, but thought I could probably squeeze an apron out of it. Well, yes, the bottom half and bib top, certainly. But I also needed ties and a loop to go over the head, and a pocket. The ties and loop were achievable by piecing strips together, but that left no rectangular pieces for the pockets. So I did a bit of crazy patchwork! One pocket is hand sized, and the other is phone sized.

All the edges are simple overlocking turned over and stitched down. It’s probably not as durable as the old tan apron, but it’s cheerful and fun, and I shall wear the dog’s dinner to make the dog’s dinner 🙂

And that’s used up the last of that piece of scrap. These remnants are too small for any other use, so I feel no guilt about dropping them in the bin.

Like the dog, I haven’t wasted a scrap!

Fly away, Peter…

…Fly away, Paul.

Does anyone else remember that nursery rhyme? Today, for me, it has two meanings, one happy, one sad.

Fly away, Peter: Today is my father’s funeral. His name was Peter. My mother’s ancestors might have said Alav hashalom, zichrono l’bracha (Peace be upon him, may his memory be a blessing). My father’s ancestors might have said Go forth, Christian soul, on your journey from this life. Whichever words we use, he is gone ahead, into that great mystery from which none return, and he is free. There is still a Pa-shaped hole in my reality, but other things will crowd in over time and distract me from the size and shape of it. And I feel strongly that this rite of passage will reconnect me with everything; I’ve felt unmoored and uncertain and unsettled these past weeks. The support of my family and friends has made an enormous difference. This, for example, really lifted my spirits, and I am so grateful!

Fly away, Paul: The Wagtail family have departed, swiftly and silently. One minute they were there, the tiny nest overflowing with three hulking great teenage babies, the anxious parents hovering and darting in with mouthfuls of whiskery insects. The next, they were all gone. I checked carefully on the ground below the nest for signs of tragedy, and in the nest itself, but it was bare. They have flown! I never got the chance to capture the nestful of babies; Mrs Wagtail was too protective and they were too cautious, ducking down when I went close enough to try for a photo. Hard to believe that tiny little bowl held three babies and their mama at one point, in wind and heat and pouring rain…

One life ends, three more tiny feathery ones begin. It’s fitting.