Thursday, May 31, 2012

Colours, squared..

As promised, photos!  (Also, as perhaps implied, not very good photos.  Taken with my phone is my excuse.)

First, here is a photo of some colour inspiration - a Cotinus or smoke bush.  I have several of them growing near the front entry of the house. At this time of year they are fading from darkest red/brown into their autumn colours.  I like the vivid orange against the red brick wall, offset by the grey foliage of the curry plants on the right.

Many of the wools are a fleck or variegated.  This doesn't show up very well in such strong light, except for the gradations in the brown 'triangles'. The entire centre offset square and about half the surrounding stripes is made from 2 skeins of a variegated boucle.  I'm trying to work in some teals and a bit of grey to offset the rich red/brown tones.

Square draped over the couch, in the shadow of the screen door. Once again the direct light is bleaching out the colours a bit but you get the idea.

Creative energy is always well-spent.  What a pity I don't feel that managing paperwork, wrangling Important Things and doing the washing are creative activities!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Working on changing..

. the shoulds into coulds.

This is a much more positive mindset.  Perhaps because the sun came out after some evil chilly winds?  Perhaps because a few days of complete rest is a good idea from time to time.. perhaps because my honey smiled a lot on the weekend while we blobbed around. It's better, anyway.

I'll refrain from making a list.  Needless to say I haven't done all I could, or should.  Or can.  But when faced (yesterday) with the need to decide what to do today with my sis (my acquired sis, for those who might wonder), I ran my mind over the endless list of tasks and opted instead for 'going to the movies'.  We were lucky, the right movie was on at the right time, and thanks to some sisterly coordination were fully supplied with a sandwich and a coffee during the screening.  We went to see this and enjoyed it very much.  Not the most profound movie, not the most sophisticated, but very fine entertainment.  

And the cinema is in the same shopping centre as one of the very few yarn outlets in Canberra.  I was forced, forced I tell you, to have a look and see if I could find some of the RIGHT purple for my current craft project - a very simple crocheted square which is growing up to be a blanket for M's bed.  You want a picture?  I shall try to get one in the sunlight tomorrow and post it in the next snort.

I rarely start making something with any plan, let alone any pattern.  I look through my wool; fiddle around with some colours; pick up some needles or a crochet hook, and off I go.  I have an idea; I want to try a new stitch; I'm inspired by the colours in an artwork or a piece of fabric.  Sometimes I've bought wool because it was so beautiful I couldn't leave it behind.  Knowing that at some point I would look at the colours and feel inspired to start something.  I don't make clothes. Yet! (I've started making a sock about eleventeen times and never made it past the first five rows).

I just start making something.  It tells me it wants to be a big square or a long rectangle or a scarf or a thing made up of lots of little bits of things.  And I work on it, happily letting it emerge as itself. That is quite fascinating but what happens next is magic - it finds a home.  It finds a purpose, a new owner/admirer; it turns out to be someone's favourite colour or just the right size for their cushion or perfect for keeping in the car.  It flings itself around the neck or lap or furniture of the home it wants to go to.

Finding its home can take time but without fail, something I have loved making but don't NEED to keep, will be just the thing for someone or something (the cats of my life have notably taken over many of these woolly creations).  And off it goes!  The wonderful thing about this process is that I never feel 'oh I can't make another one of these, what will I do with it?' etc.  I KNOW it will find a home eventually. And no, I don't have great stacks of creations lying around.  Remarkably few apart from those already in service.

See?  The magic works.

Here is a drawing of a fantasy woolly object.  I've used some of my favourite colours.  Tomorrow, a photo I promise.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Should be but aren't..

This week we 'should be' celebrating.

We 'should be' finished with M's exam for the semester.

It 'should be' a calm, slow ease into the proper beginning of winter.

I 'should be' feeling that I've bested the paperwork for now.

(Sone of) The dollars we are owed from the insurance company 'should be' already paid.

The parade of medico-legal appointments 'should be' easing.


this is a bad drawing of how I feel.  It kind of looks like a miasma melting into some failed caramel fudge.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Read this...

.. in a very small font... so that no pesky interfering gods hear it.. 
Today we had a (small) win with the bank ..

The journey to mortgage-land has been rough, long, bumpy and nothing if not full of billabongs, culs-de-sac and backwards movements in all directions.

A few days ago I signed dozens of bits of paperwork and was told 'this is it'.  I've heard that before but this time it seemed to me that with my autograph all over things, it might mean something.


MORE bits of paper required.  A certificate of currency (don't most people call that paper money?).  Registered thingies with the land titles office.  Double-header falling into a bureaucratic minefield of 'they said you have to', 'our lawyers said', 'it's required'... and such.  I had another request for such things this morning; my best (ie least aggressive, furious or bleep-laden) response was to turn my phone off.

Several hours later (and an/other huge medico-legal meeting over with) I turn the phone back on.  Many missed calls from Blocked.  Blocked rings me a lot. Mostly, Blocked is very shy and refuses to leave a message.  I get an auto-phone message saying 'An unknown caller from unknown number rang you and didn't leave a message'. Well, yeah..

But, but, I did get a call from The Bank Boss with a big apology. Apparently this week's paperwork requests are all wrong and the big boss never knew and there were bloods on the office carpet and quivering minions hiding in the shredder.. This is a easier thing to hear than all those reasons why *I* had to spend hours doing more things with no guarantee it would go smoothly.  I just sort of can't keep doing this stuff.  There be only one of me!!!  Anyway TBB also made a promise to front up at our place on Monday, bearing PROPER papers and another promise that after signing, yes of COURSE all those nice dollars will be ours, all ours.  A nice big debt to start off the week like good little (somewhat nervous) consumers.

And THAT means..


maybe  (shhhh)

possibly  (cross everything)

just about  (hopehopehope)

the house mods might start.

Don't gasp until I put up a photo of something REAL.  Like a bit of dug-up garden.. or a half-torn down wall.. or even a pile of builder's sand.  OOoooh, maybe even a concrete mixer!!  I like them.


This week brought to you by the quiet tears of a anguished angel watching over my shoulder; the memory of train doors closing in Paris (where my baby is right now, and where we were a little while ago, having a very different life, and we were very happy there);  aaaand the ghost of a suggestion of some Gucci, sprayed on my coat on a better day.

UPDATE: Yesterday we signed more zillions of papers. We took them to be witnessed and later the bank person rang to say the release of the first batch of dollars was available.  This cost us money!!  Nice one bank.  But then again, nice one, bank!

This update brought to you by eau-de-hydrotherapy pool, the hottest water I've ever swum in.  I am therapeutically dehydrated but fine.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Wickedness and flummery!!

Why is it that when it comes to the sharp end of managing dollars for education, institutions often look first and fiercely at 'cost-effectiveness' and 'economic rationalism' to make cuts?

Why is it that the arts therefore suffers as a discipline so badly?  What happened to the cultural value of every facet of the arts and the crucial role it plays in our lives?  Where would we be without music, beauty, vision, appreciation, absorption, discussion and anarchy?  We are all exposed to aspects of art the moment we open our eyes, ears, minds.. our homes, our furniture, the sounds we hear both man-made and natural, the colours, the textures, the print material, the ideas and thoughts we have are all shaped by our surroundings and what we bring to them as humans.

Today there was a rally at the ANU to allow the community to express its outrage at the recently announced drastic funding cuts to the School of Music.  I went along to add my voice, such as it is, to the assembly.

It is a total mystery to me that a Power That Be is prepared to put a cost on the value of teaching music.  Or, more to the point, to put a cost on TAKING AWAY resources and opportunities from within the school.  How can the PTB calculate the value of this?

There is a whole huge debate about the specifics, and what the vision is and could be, for the School. I won't get into that. I just want to have my say about the mystery of why economics and debt and business management are somehow the driving forces behind providing cultural capital, which is a concept not a service or a sale-able article.  I'm sure that the hard-working students who take on law, or computer science, or physics are perfectly able to work with concepts and apply them to how we as humans live and interact with each other and the environment.  So why is there this bias?  I don't suppose any of us would easily throw away the rights and protection we have in law; would truly like to try to live in today without the help of computers and programming and all the millions of ways they facilite processes; would prefer to throw away the collective value of learning in any discipline.  What we don't directly experience is not cultural refuse!


I saw this today and it sums up quite a lot of what I think and feel about this:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Another Distinction!

M passed his hospital tests with flying colours. No abnormalities, signs of Nasty Things To Come, stones, cancerous anythings, kinks, wibbles or furfles.

It took nearly 9 hours door to door, although the procedure itself took barely 15 minutes.  We were both asleep when the carers came at 9pm to help M into bed. I sacked out fully dressed in the bed, woke up at 3am and got meself organised.  M was asleep in his chair and has no memory of being moved!

Interesting.  We didn't endure any trauma, we weren't particularly nervous or upset.  Mostly we sat/lay around.  I guess the amount of nervous tension we did have was enough to wear us out.  And usually good news gives you a boost.

Oh well.

He's clear now for (the doc said) a good 10 to 15 years!  I'll hold him to that.

I feel a drawing coming on for my next post!

Thursday brought to you by eau d'hospital.  Friday brought to you by my dear friend Gucci.  I might consult him further today!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Didn't happen...

I was briefly inspired to draw my impressions of the weekdays (previous post).  But it didn't amount to anything,  Another time maybe.

This week we seem to be working working working.  M is busy with uni classes and (no surprise to me) he achieved a Distinction for his first assignment. I TOLD you he wouldn't get a pass!  He's sort of pleased but I think still expects the 98.5% he (over)achieved in his previous semester (before the accident).  I seem to recall feeling somewhat like that when I was studying, but I never achieved such lofty marks!

We've been trying to sort out the contents of the house and garden, finalise the mortgage, re-work the architect's plan, apologise to the cat, get to class, cookwashsewknitdomesticate, see umpteen doctors all the time, get to physio, manage our 3-tiered diary system (yes, folly I know) and have some sort of leisure.  Tricky but possible as long as you don't look at the floor.

Today the cleaner came. Hurray for the cleaner! I think he had to rake the carpet before he vacuumed.

Tomorrow M must fast from 7am before having a small procedure at day surgery. We hope this will lead to a long-term improvement in his general health by clearing up a source of recurring infection.  M blithely announced we would be returning from the hospital (at 6pm) by BUS.  At NIGHT.  In (relatively) PEAK HOUR.  I don't think so.  I just sent messages to our three favourite taxi drivers to see if we can get a lift home. I don't fancy a post-sedated M in a power chair on a bus with lots of people.  Well, only as a spectator sport..

It feels a bit like we've got a routine.  I suspect it's dangerous to say that but .. I live in hope!

This post brought to you by quite a lot of Prada, sprayed in M's room last night when the carers said it smelled of cabbage in there... as far as I know M doesn't secretly cook brassicas in there at night, but it was a good excuse!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Staring out the window..

 It's Saturday.

I've been *thinking*..

Like this:

sa TURD-ay
s UN-day
m ON-day
t USE-day
w NEEDS-day
f RID-ay

A theme for every day of the week!

I shall draw them up for the nexpost.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I reckon I've had more rest in the last week than for months.  Thanks to a mixture of Things Settling Down, both of us needing to sleep a lot on Wednesday (M definitely sick, me maybe - I felt fine the next day), and a lack of Important Appointments To Be Attended To.

M was put back on the sick list on Tuesday after a visit to our GP.  Who nonchalantly took M's temp and it was 38C.  What??  Quick, where are the antibiotics?

We had an adventure today - we took the bus to one of the local hospitals to get M an xray.  [I was amused by the booking process - it's a 1300 number and very streamlined.  They *do* ask if you have any special needs, so I was able to say 'well yes, we need the right time, the right place and the right staff to help us' and after a small hesitation the person on the line sorted it all out purrfectly for me. Us, that is.]  Off we went, arriving in good time to test the cafe before his appointment (no, I didn't plan that.  It was A Happy Accident).  I was greatly troubled by the cake display - pink donuts AND pink lamingtons with real cream filling!  I've been regretting that sudden flash of spirit which made me say NO, ever since.  PINK LAMINGTONS!!

We're expecting the xray to show that M is doing fine and the pills are working.  We adventured back to the flat easily, and I was pleased that nothing alarming happened this time.  Recent bus trips have exposed some of the things which can be a problem - mostly, other people, who are impatient, or get in the way, or try to be helpful and make M flustered and me cross.  For example, if you see someone in a power chair manoeuvring back and forth in a small space, DON'T step into it to try to push him.  You won't be able to push the 200kg+ of him plus chair, you're likely to get your foot HEAVILY run over, and you'll get in his way, make him feel deaf and stupid, and require me to be sharp and dismissive.  You wouldn't want that, would you??  People in wheelies who are using buses are in fact extremely competent, because they've learned a lot of skills before they try catching buses.  So, a bit of respect, please.  Wait until we ASK for help.

Ahem.  Off soapbox.. another hazard is the bus driver taking off before M's in position.  YOU try moving a power chair on a moving surface!  High risk activity for his wife (who gets easily alarmed when she perceives a husband rolling uncontrolled across a crowded bus aisle..). We also get into tangles when bags get caught on chair backs, other people dare to come on the bus with *their* mobility aids, and worst of all was the trip we took when there was already someone in a (manual) chair.  There wasn't really enough room and M had to travel 'backwards' which is not disastrous but got him disoriented for a bit.

However no bus driver has ever asked me for a fare, and twice when I've offered to pay I've been waved away.  M travels free.  Sometimes another passenger will leap up and unfold the ramp for the driver - very generous.  I really appreciate how easy this is for us - I wouldn't care to try it in peak hour with a crush of passengers, but during the day we're managing very well, and M has had the confidence to make a couple of short trips on his own.

... but I was speaking of rest. Well, what can I say?  Now that I look carefully at my emails, messages, mail and unfinished tasks, I see that all this resting must stop, preferably before it started.  Small fires keep breaking out no matter how much I clutch my gin and tonic and point the hose.  There are the usual legal/insurance complexities, the much-yearned-for start of the house mods (the loan people STILL need more bits of paper), our team of supporting allied health care workers have many trenchant questions for us about equipment and services, and I am neglecting my physio again.

We have declared tomorrow to be a Paperwork Day, and M is threatening to help sort (some of) my BAGS of paperwork.  I'm not so sure I want him to know either just how much there is, or see my (dis)order of priorities.  Nice big bits of papers with green texta titles works for me.  Many would suggest a filing cabinet but I want to approach this slowly from a position of firm ignore.  I tend towards the belief that if They want it badly enough, They'll write/ask/send again.  If *I* need it badly enough, I'll either find it or get a copy or decide it doesn't really matter (don't tell dad I said that).


we're fine.  No explosions this week.  None planned although if you ask me about the insurance company I can't promise.

We might see a breaking of the sod next week, if all this talk of loans turns into dollars that can be flung at the builder.

My cattie enjoyed a sprint around the garden at dusk (the morning feeder forgot to let her out.  As she was noticeably sleepy when I turned up in the late afternoon, I don't think she suffered too much).  I quite enjoyed it too, seeing my garden turning all the warm autumn colours. Only a few cape daisies and the teeniest sprig of blue salvia to counter all that fiery display.

Roll on weekend (there's a concept for someone clever - the roll-on weekend.  Think of the applications!).

I'm wearing Jo Malone 'Lime, Basil and Mandarin' cologne this week.  I smell a bit like the makings of an excellent Thai dinner.