Under colder skies

We’re in Melbourne. And it’s bloody freezing!

We arrived late-ish last night, slightly delayed, after a long day spent either on planes or at airports. It was good to finally bend my back in a different direction and relax in the company of much-missed friends.

We have eaten delicious curry, slept in comfortable beds, shown our handwork to each other, and caught up on reminiscences and gossip. It was wonderful.

And today we made a trip down to Torquay, on Victoria’s Surf Coast. It’s a two hour drive, but pleasant.

The purpose was to have a delightful rootle on the shelves of Amitié Textiles, which had relocated there. Oh, and have lunch.

And rootle we did, after a brief unscheduled stop for a really excellent farmers’ market, where the party purchased locally distilled gin stuffed with Australian botanicals, a very authentic boerewors sausage, a bag of locally grown apples and some extremely luxurious baked cheesecake.

My friend Chippy and I both came away with fabric loot which I’m sure will be featuring on our blogs in the not too distant future. And then there was lunch, which was epic and awesome and warming and filling, and eaten overlooking a dark and blustery Bass Strait. But later, while we were checking out the surf at Bell’s Beach, there was a rainbow, so that was alright.

And then we came home and ate more curry. And tomorrow, there’s going to be a bigger gathering: friends, and family, and a lovely brunch at the Terrace Café at Melbourne Botanic Gardens.

So more on that later.

Unauthorised absence!

Mouse is Not Happy with us today… He has some justification, but this is one trip he can’t come along on. I’m sure we’ll be paying the price when we get back.

Happy Greys Social Club

I am outraged! The Staff are off on a jolly WITHOUT ME.

They are going to see Aunty Chippy in Melbourne and apparently, I can’t go. (Well, if you want to spend hours and hours and hours in a small crate in the hold of the plane, and maybe sit on the tarmac in the cold, and not get any treats or snacks or company…. Up to you, boss, but we were only thinking of your happiness and comfort – Mum).

It seems I am to pay a visit of my own, to stay with Aunty Lyn and Miss Lotti. As Mum has pointed out, this will be more fun than travelling on a plane for a large doggo such as myself, and certainly much more enjoyable than the Dreaded Kennels. We went to visit the Kennels once. It was very pleasant, but the accommodations were more…

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Lest we forget…

Today is ANZAC Day in Australia.A time to remember those who fought for our freedom, who made the ultimate sacrifice and who served and are still living with the consequences of their service.

I am grateful, and I do not forget.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

From The Fallen by Laurence Binyon

Not what I had in mind…

… for my Easter Sunday.

Firstly, I want to wish everyone a belated-ish Happy Easter or other Spring Festival celebration. This post should have happened earlier, but Stuff got in the way. Mainly Red Stuff.

Some of you know I’ve been have a lot of nosebleeds. It was an excessive amount (18 since Christmas), and I got it treated recently, and for 17 days, all was well. I could stop obsessively carrying around face-cloths, or wearing dark clothes that wouldn’t show stains.

And then today it all went horribly wrong. Suddenly, as I was quietly preparing some lunch, it started pour again. After my nose had been bleeding hard for an hour, I got the Husband to drive me to the hospital, together with my large plastic container of evidence. It continued to pour as they got me set up and did observations. It poured into two ‘sick bags’. It got all over my hands and the black t-shirt I’d changed into once it had got all over my pretty pink and white Easter shirt. All in, it poured for 3+ hours.

So anyway, I then had a very, very unpleasant procedure to insert an inflatable compression dressing up my nose. It’s called, amusingly (not), a Rapid Rhino. Stop laughing. It’s not funny. Well, OK, it is a little bit funny, but only a bit.

The dressing is about the length and diameter of my little finger when deflated, and much thicker when inflated. They pre-soak it in saline, to make it slide in more easily, I suppose, but it also makes saline drip down your throat and face. It has to go all the way in (which feels like someone’s poking the back of your brain. Which hurts.) It feels… deeply unpleasant. Painful. Invasive. It stops you breathing properly. It also stops the endless bleeding, particularly once it’s (painfully, of course) inflated.

Not happy…

But best of all? You get to walk out of there with the tubing dangling out of your nose, for all the world to point at and laugh! No, you can’t cut that off. They need it to deflate the dratted thing when it’s time for it to come out.

That happens tomorrow lunchtime. If it doesn’t start bleeding again, hurrah!  I just have to wait for an emergency appointment with the ENT specialist who cauterised my nose last time. If it does… I get to do the whole thing over again.

I’m tired, slightly anaemic and sore. If at the beginning of today you’d offered me the option of a quiet day with carrot cake and chocolate vs lots of extra laundry, lots of inconvenient red stuff and having my nose packed with an inflatable tube, I’d have gone for the cake and chocolate.

But nobody asked me. Happy Easter, y’all.

HAPPY DANCE!

So, it’s all good news 😊

No nasties anywhere. The painful lump on my rib is probably costochondritis, an inflammation of the cartilage joint between the rib and the breastbone, and it will resolve itself with the help of anti-inflammatories.

There was a small celebration once I got home. It’s the Husband’s birthday today, so this is a double happy day! It also means that there are some carrot cake cupcakes hanging around…. Well, no-one can be virtuous ALL the time.

Coconut cacao latte, two squares of Lindt 70% cacao dark chocolate, and a carrot cupcake. And then, back to the sensible eating plan.

Mouse has been presented with a chicky-pop (aka a frozen chicken neck) and did his own happy dance. Hopefully that will help him forgive me when we have to visit Miss Emma the Vet again this afternoon…

So now, we can forget all about this and move on. Thank goodness.

Ten years on

I entered the month of February full of good intentions.

Yeah, no. Despite a bit of desultory sewing and project planning, that has all gone by the wayside. But I have my reasons. Ten years ago this month, I was undergoing my first round of surgery for breast cancer. There were 5 surgeries in total, plus chemo. It was followed by 5 years of adjuvant therapy. That was OK, but it wasn’t fun either, the side effects were trying. 5 years ago, they signed me off. Yay! You learn not to say ‘cured’, but ‘in remission’, because, well, it doesn’t always go away long term. A couple of years ago, we found precursors on the other side, and despite being offered surgery right way, I opted to watch and wait. There’s still no movement there, but a week ago, I found a sore, bumpy patch on one of my ribs, next to the breastbone.

Since then, I’ve had a blood test, an x-ray and yesterday, a nuclear medicine bone scan. They don’t take bone pain in cancer survivors lightly, especially after breast cancer, and the machinery swung into action amazingly fast. Follow up is Tuesday morning for the results, for better or worse.

Meanwhile, the waiting is complete and utter crap. Having been through the mill once, I have a very low tolerance for uncertainty and the gloomy knowledge of what a positive result is likely to mean isn’t helping. Just Google metastatic bone cancer, for an inkling of what I’m potentially staring down.

The Husband is being a saint with my gloom, shortness of sleep and general distractedness. I’m grateful for the support without drama offered by my friends. The wider fam will get the news, for better or worse, once I do. No need to put the wind up everyone unless it’s warranted. But my WordPress fam are rather good at staying in touch, hence this post; I felt the prolonged silence warranted an explanation. Love you guys.

Tuesday morning can’t come too soon… To everything there is a season. Let’s see if it’s mourning or dancing this time.

PS: You’d be impressed. I haven’t binged on ANY chocolate!

Happy Christmas!🎄

It’s that festive time again.

To all my lovely friends, followers and casual drop-ins, a very Happy Christmas or other festive celebration of the season, whether Diwali, Hanukah or Solstice. It is a time for light over darkness, joy over sadness and love over misery and anger.

Here in north Queensland, the traditional snowflakes, snowmen and Christmas trees can look a bit incongruous as the temperatures soar and the air conditioning struggles. So I leave you with our own local version of the festive colour scheme, the beautiful soccer-ball sized blooms of the Flamboyant Tree, aka Poinciana or Delonix Regia. Tree and ornament in one!

Best wishes from the three of us in Chiconia for health, peace and prosperity in the coming year.

From my (temporary) front door

I’m linking to Cecilia’s blog, where she has invited all her blogging friends to post a video, or show a photo on FB or IG with a view from our front doors this Sunday morning.

My blog plan doesn’t allow uploading videos, and I’m not on FB or IG, so please accept this still photo instead.

For me, in Australia, it’s now Sunday evening, but the photo above was taken today. Not FROM my temporary front door as such, since the view it offers of the side of the next-door caravan is deeply uninspiring, but off to the side, showing my dog enjoying a frozen chicken neck in the grass, our broken car (which is why I’m stranded behind a temporary caravan front door) and out to the pasture full of fat, happy Angus steers beyond. It’s 31°C/88°F, and very still and dry. Every so often, the Sunlander train booms past in the distance. The birds sing, children splosh happily in this caravan park’s pool, and if I have to be stranded, there are many worse places. I’m grateful to be cool, and dry, and fed, and safe.

Roll on Monday, and the start of the process of extricating ourselves from the strandedness. It’s going to be complicated…

Time Flies…

… when you’re having fun.

And it still is. Fun, that is. Thank you all, old friends and new, for making blogging still a rewarding, enjoyable, funny, hopeful and positive place to be creative, make friends, receive encouragement and share joy and sorrow.

Who knows where we’ll be in another 8 years, but I hope that I’m still blogging, that I still have things to talk about, there are new friends to ‘meet’ and fresh ideas to enjoy.

Thank you all. It has been a blast!

Being thankful

Thanks for this day, for all birds safe in their nests, for whatever this is, for life.
Barbara Kingsolver (2008). “Prodigal Summer

I’m thankful. For my life, the fact that I’m alive, for small triumphs in adversity, for peace and plenty (not merely ‘enough’). I’m thankful that in my small circle of life I have lost no friends or family to rampaging lunatics, or fanatics, or war, or disease, poverty or desperation. I’m thankful for independence, bodily and legal autonomy, for peace and modest happiness. I’m thankful for abundant green life, for sunshine, rain, and the beautiful earth.

And the birds.

What a privilege it is to watch this tiny master builder constructing its extraordinary nest. It’s over 30cm (a foot) long, and the bird’s barely 5cm/2 inches.

This nest is literally 50cm/20 inches from our door onto the back deck. Despite the regular comings and goings of ourselves and Mouse, the bird has simply ignored us as though we weren’t there and plugged on with its enormous task.

I’ve put out some offerings, and am truly touched and honoured that some have been accepted. He hasn’t gone for the dryer fluff, residue from the Husband’s cotton singlets. He’s had a bit of dog hair, but not much. By far his favourite nesting material has been my colourful thread ends, which are hopefully lining the nest – the clump at bottom left disappeared overnight. Since the nest is fully under cover, I didn’t worry about the cotton fibre absorbing too much moisture and staying soggy.

He flies to and from from the backyard with bits of vegetable fibre, fragments of dead leaf, bits of spider web and so on. The whole world is his salvage yard, and he is the ultimate artist/ sculptor/ builder/ architect/ homesteader.

I have a lot to be grateful for, including the time to watch and marvel.