Here we go again…

It’s that time of year in the tropics.

Well, to be strictly accurate, it’s rather late in the year for this sort of thing. I’m talking about Tropical Cyclones. But yes, we’re on alert again. There’s already an active system off the coast of Western Australia, Tropical Cyclone Caleb. So if ours develops, it’ll probably begin with D…

image © Accuweather

This is what the low pressure system off our coast is currently looking like. It’s not yet an official Tropical Low, the stage before Tropical Cyclone. Yet. However, Higgins Stormchaser reckons we’ve got a 75% chance of the thing converting to something nasty by Sunday.

If you want to read more on this story, go here. Higgins Stormchaser have an excellent record of accurate reporting, photographing and predicting some of our more energetic weather events. The coastal strip between Cairns and Mackay is involved, and although the Bureau of Meteorology hasn’t yet issued the official warning, we’re paying close attention, and I’ll be hooking up the caravan to power and firing up the ‘van fridge tomorrow in case we lose power in the house and have to transfer food to the ‘van fridge, which can run on LPG, or propane. Time also to hit the supermarket and lay in some groceries and emergency supplies, fill some water jerrycans, etc. Last time this happened, the cyclone reached Category 5, and was 150km off our coast, and then it abruptly turned left and made landfall just north of Rockhampton instead.

I hadn’t counted on babysitting the Dowager’s cat during a major weather event, but she’ll just have to put up with it. She’s vocal enough at the best of times, but I’m really not looking forward to the incessant yowling and complaining because she can’t go out…

If you could cross your fingers that the low either deteriorates or passes north or south of us, that would be appreciated. I’d rather the former; that way no-one gets clobbered.

Flippin’ the Bird

I don’t claim to be ladylike, exactly, but I don’t indulge in unseemly gestures much.

Which makes it doubly annoying that I’m now in a permanent state of social disrespect with my middle finger. For those of a squeamish disposition, suffice it to say that I have injured the longest finger on my right hand, and it’s now splinted so I can’t easily bend it. Hence the Bird effect.

For those who enjoy the odd “eeeuwww!” moment, read on.

I had to go to the courthouse today to get myself excused from jury service for the third time in as many years. (I’m not a shirker, I did jury service 4 years ago, but my name seems to come up with monotonous regularity every year, and in a population of over 80,000 in the greater Mackay area, I feel it’s statistically dubious, so I get excused.) Anyway, I had my left hand full of papers, and the car door swung shut fast, because the car was parked at a downhill angle. My right hand didn’t make it out in time…

Lots of swearing and scrabbling futilely at the door later, I managed to get it to release my mangled finger. Fast forward through my court-house errand, where the clerk took one look and told me to take my wounded paw to hospital, and signed all the forms for me. Half an hour’s wait at the Emergency department with the purple digit in a cup of ice and three tablets of pain relief, and I emerged with an annoying aluminium splint and some rather vivid and lumpy bruising, but no breaks. It seems I have an unerring talent for damaging myself in painful but not excessively serious ways.

Typing takes ages, writing is difficult, and sewing by machine or hand is out for the next few days. Just as I thought I might catch up on my slipping deadlines. Bummer… 

TWX 8: we’re nearly there

Two more blocks in yesterday, this time from Esther.

esther-twx1 esther-twx2Beautiful fabrics – I’m especially in love with those tiny dragonflies!  This brings us up to 25 blocks in, and only 5 more needed to complete the quilt top. I know Margaret has promised a block or two, but I think after that I need to call a halt till I can get things laid out and see where we are and what we need. So unless you’ve already made and mailed a block, do hold off till I see if there are any gaps left! And if you’ve promised blocks but not yet sent them, don’t worry, there’s no big rush. This quilt doesn’t have to be finished till mid-April…

I’d like to thank all the contributors to Tealed With A Kiss (TWX) so far, many of them serial donors, who have given generously of their time and stash to create a thing of beauty for an excellent cause. They all do beautiful work and make lovely things, so I encourage you to click on their links and take a look.

Ali, Carla, Esther, Gun, Jenny, Kate B, Kathy, Lynn, Margaret,
Robin (who doesn’t have a blog), Sue and Tracy.

Once I get another project down off the design wall, I’ll be putting up the blocks to finalise the layout. More TWX coming soon!

 

Australia Day

Today is Australia Day, a cause for rejoicing.

Blue flag Aboriginal flagOn this day 10 years ago, I became an Australian citizen, standing beside dozens of others of many nations to joyfully swear allegiance and receive the rights and privileges of Australian citizenship.

For me, today is a day to reflect and be thankful that I have come home, whilst others celebrate their national day with cricket, barbecues, going to the beach or the pub, dressing in national colours, and other forms of Aussie relaxation.

If you’re not Australian and are wondering why there are two flags, the first is the official flag of Australia, and the second is the flag of the Aboriginal people, the traditional owners of this land. There’s a lot of discussion about changing our flag so that it reflects our colonial past less and acknowledges the land’s traditional owners more. As a comparative newcomer, I am staying out of the argument, but I do see the value of an emblem which is less divisive and fosters unity instead of resentment.

I’m often asked why I came to Australia, and don’t I miss home. The answers are Because this was the only place I’d ever truly felt at home and understood, and No, this is home.

Back in 2013, I published a post featuring a poem by Dorothea McKellar about love of this country. I leave you with a link to it, as she expresses it so much better than I do.

Wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing today, have a ripper of a day, mate.

Oh, grawlix!*

*Grawlix: n. A string of typographical symbols, especially “@#$%&!”, used (especially in comic strips) to represent a swear word.

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-5-25-58-pmFriends, I was on a roll. I was tooting along nicely, getting blocks made, designs and fabrics sorted out for forthcoming projects and stitches set in my embroidery. Then I decided to stop and take a break to make some fruit loaf.

Mistake.

I managed to pour boiling water all over my right hand, with the result that I’m wearing a bunch of red, blistered sausages at the end of my arm. It was quite unusually painful, and since many of the blisters are across my knuckles, bending the fingers is not a load of laughs… Luckily I had tomorrow’s SAL post drafted and ready to go, but it’s put paid to the pleasurable afternoon of paper piecing I had in mind – Esther, I’m sorry, but there may be a short delay getting your blocks out 😦

It’s not just the difficulty bending my fingers, but also that I don’t want to smear the antiseptic soothing goop on my fingers all over the fabric. Ah well, at least I can use the keyboard…

Normal service will hopefully resume shortly.

Bee, Myself and I #9

It was all getting a bit pale and subtle, so I’ve gone the other way.

Here are the latest two, one dark and one pretty bright, and they are helping to restore balance amongst the blocks. I have some more darker/brighter ones in planning. I think it’s important not to let the vibe get too vintage; I like modern, crisp prints too, and if the scale and feel are right for this project, I’ll be using them as well as the more traditional style.

hatbox13

hatbox14

So, 22 to go. Unless, that is, I decide to make this quilt bigger because I can’t stop making hatboxes!  Don’t laugh, it’s entirely possible…

I do love where this quilt is going. Chances are good I’ll be keeping it for myself 🙂

Christmas spirit

I don’t do Christmas cards…

Poinciana blooming

My tropical ‘Christmas Tree’ (Delonix regia), the Poinciana or Flamboyant Tree, flowering like mad for the festivities!

Not in any Grinch- or Scrooge-like way, snarling and disapproving of the waste, you understand. Christmas cards are one way for long-separated friends to reconnect briefly, even if it’s only once a year. No, it’s another reason altogether.

For about 8 years, I have not sent cards or given gifts at Christmas, and instead, have donated the money to charity. All my friends and family know this, and no-one feels neglected or left out or resentful. I ask them to donate money in my name instead of sending me a gift or card. They have, and do, and in this way, we have enlarged the circle of meaningful giving, instead of enriching the retailers and the post office, and sending trash to landfill. When the Husband and I got married, we agreed we’d do this together.

There is a great freedom from the tyranny of festive gift-buying; I don’t much like shopping (except in fabric shops!), and racking my brains for someone who really and truly has everything they need is an exercise in frustration. Instead, we have the pleasure of choosing a charity for our donation. For a couple of years now, we’ve given to Aussie Helpers, who provide animal feed and other supplies for desperate Australian farmers in drought-stricken areas. For many years, I gave to Oxfam, who have a gift scheme: wells, seeds, farm animals, small business loans, etc. Other family members have given to Food Bank, the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, and so on.

In our small way, we’ve snowballed, and the ripples are spreading. I explain the scheme to everyone who asks me how my Christmas preparations are coming along – and that’s a lot of people; Aussies are a sociable bunch. For some, it has struck a chord, and they may go home and think about it, and maybe even adopt the idea.

That’s the best Christmas present I could ask for…