July 2008

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I am happy because… TONIGHT I GET TO WATCH TWO HOURS OF (U.S.) SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!!  (don’t look at that link unless you are happy to be spoilerised, since here in Aus we haven’t made it though all the audtion shows yet, ok?)

I KNOW I can’t dance.  in fact, I suck so baaaaaaaaad at dance that I even have trouble with the moves on my “Dance Workout for Dummies” Fitness DVD – in the slowed down TUTORIAL section!  However, I adore watching dance, and have huge admiration for dancers’ discipline and hard work.

*sigh* apart from that, I’ve dived right into the deep end of the Pity Pool, and am currently lazily floating.

It does my heart (and  mind) a lot of good when my very sweet readers (you know who you are, kisses to you, MWAH! MWAH!) share their hysterectomy stories and/or send good wishes.  I’m hoping the post-operative pain will be far less than what I’m going through right now (and for many of you, that seems to have been the case.)

That’s about all my sitting up time for today… I may even have to invoke the “too sick to move” rule and *gasp* watch tv from BED tonight!!  I’m missing out on most of your blogs, but hope to catch up once the lovely Mr Beloved has brought Teh Interwebs to my bedside.

Major overhaul of immigration policy

Josephine Tovey
July 29, 2008 – 12:03PM

The Minister for Immigration, Senator Christopher Evans, has heralded a new era in Australian immigration law in a speech in Canberra this morning, bringing to an end the previous government’s practice of indefinite mandatory detention, which he slammed as “dehumanising” and detrimental to Australia’s international reputation.

Caity sez: Hear Hear!

The senator told an audience at the Australian National University the Rudd Government would “fundamentally overturn” the previous government’s immigration policy, and implement a risk-based policy of detention.

“Under Labor’s reforms, persons will be detained only if the need is established. (emphasis added by Caity because she is thrilled and relieved that this will be the new policy.) If a person is complying with immigration processes and is not a risk to the community then detention in a detention centre cannot be justified,” he said in the speech, titled “New Directions in Detention – Restoring Integrity to Australia’s Immigration System”.

The senator said all those now held in detention centres who met health and security requirements would eventually be released into the community, but could not say when that would occur. We must hold the government to this – DETENTION OF ALL  CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE !! sez Caity.

Those arriving by boat on Australian shores will still be detained to undergo mandatory health, identity and security checks, but would be released into the community once they had been cleared. Ok, but how about a timeline, then?  Say, “within 4 weeks”? I don’t think that’s unreasonable, do you?

“The set of values adopted are designed to drive the development of a very different detention model.

“The values commit us to detention as a last resort; to detention for the shortest practicable period; to the rejection of indefinite or otherwise arbitrary detention,” Senator Evans said.

Children will also no longer be detained in Australian detention centres. Our household cried with JOY when we read this.

Unauthorised boat arrivals made up only a small fraction of Australia’s detention centre population, comprising six out of 357 people now detained in facilities throughout Australia, he said.

Most people detained under the current policy were those who had overstayed their visa.

Senator Evans strongly criticised both the morality and the effectiveness of the former government’s approach.

“Desperate people are not deterred by the threat of harsh detention; they are often fleeing much worse circumstances. The Howard government’s punitive policies did much damage to those individuals detained and brought great shame on Australia,” he said. (Caity’s added emphasis again there, because Yes, they did. )

The senator began his speech with an anecdote about eight Burmese people who had been left languishing on Nauru, despite being recognised as refugees.

“When I asked why the eight Burmese had not been settled in Australia in accordance with international law there was an embarrassed silence.

“Eventually the answer emerged. The Howard government had ordered they stay put. They had been left rotting on Nauru because the Howard government wanted to maintain the myth that third-country settlement was possible,” he said.

This new story has cheered me up immensely.  Here’s to HOPE!

edited to add: Of course the Oppostition has IMMEDIATELY jumped and rather than thinking through policy alternatives, or the good of the country, has just said  (in effect): “SHAN’T, So There!!”

Grrrrr.

So here I am after yet another day spent mainly in bed… I did get out to the doctors but could hardly walk, so we didn’t do the lung function stuff today after all.  We’ve re-scheduled- she thought it might be a good idea to do it before the anaesthesia.  (ya think?!)

Doc prescribed Brufen for the pain and swelly belly – she was very sympathetic but limited in what she could offer, with the TAHBSO now just 4 weeks away.

Mr Beloved  went out to (local department store) Bailey’s closing down sale and bought me two nighties for the hospital trip – in the worst weather I’ve seen since moving to Toowoomba – the news tonight confirmed that with the wind chill, our 4 degrees outside temp actually felt more like minus four.

Still quite apprehensive about the op – not so much the operation itself, but the aftermath: recovery from the wounds, healing time, and of course the fear of what the pathology might turn up. I find it hard to believe that these symptoms are benign; the sheer swelling and pain are making me so miserable and nervous…this can’t POSSIBLY be normal.  And you know those ads on the tv lately about ovarian cancer? *shudder* At least soon we will KNOW, there’s comfort in that.  But I’m still a bit ok a LOT freaked out.

(That’s my eye there – one of them, anyway – being FREAKED OUT.  Note my “aztec sun” eye pattern which is apparently typical for “Autumn” colouring. There ya go!)

Poor little Constance has been doing her Faithful Guard Dog Schtick™ non-stop: she has to be convinced to eat when she’s on duty, and will only leave her post to go to the loo when I do, or when she becomes utterly desperate.  The least sign that I might be getting out of bed brings her to full alert – even tuning over to get a better position around the hot water bottle or stretching my toes has to be treated as moving to Defcon 1.  (And if I swing my legs over the side and slide my feet into my slippers – the Twirly Whirly Poodle HaPpY dAnCe of JOY™ must be performed. With vigor.)

Poor old cat cat was brought up from the shed after quite disconsolately sitting in front of the unplugged heaters, and looking at Mr Beloved as if to say “These ones don’t work.  MAKE THEM WORK, Daddy!”

Time to download my podcasts (including this new one from Wendy Harmer and Angela Catterns – yaya!) and head back up to bed.   The podcasts are such sanity savers – when I’m feeling slightly less blah I work on the Tuesdays and TV quilt and listen, but mostly I just turn off all the lights, huddle around the hot water bottle, and enjoy the audio without distraction.

Hoping to get to Toowoomba Quilters tomorrow if I’m not too sore and miserable… although it’s a bloody cold room… hmmmm.  Maybe not.

Yep, I’m still here.  Except most of the time “here” involves curling up around a hot water bottle and moaning.  Not conducive to actually sitting in front of the computer.

I did manage to get to Toowoomba Quilters this week – our raffle quilt is finished (and I know at least one person currently in Finland who will have been cheering to hear that!) and the show is ever so close – not sure if I will have anything hanging other than my Dancing Beijing challenge quiltlet.

So – no sewing, no weight loss, nothing exciting happening here – I’m not even reading very much, because I find it easier to sleep than deal with the pain.  VERY BORING.  Mr Beloved is doing pretty much all the “keeping the house running” stuff.  He is wonderful.

He’s also well along the path to bringing teh interwebs right to my bedside for After The Op.  No small task, and involves a HUMUNGOUS reel of some mysterious wire called Cat 5 and much climbing ladders followed by crawling about under the house.

Normally we Do Not Allow either TV or computers in the bedroom but I think this is a fair enough exception.

I’ve just about run out of sitting up for now.  Hope to catch up on reading blogs and email later….

Although at least now I have my voice back…

Been getting quotes from the various parties involved for my surgery – so far it’s about $1000 out of pocket expenses; that doesn’t include pathology (obviously they can’t give a quote before they know what’s getting sent to them – hmmm.)

I’m just so bloody tired of this!  It’s really frustrating.

*sigh*

Anyway, onwards and downwards, eh?  I’ve managed to walk some this week; the dog is much happier for it and I’m enjoying it – even on a day like today when the temperature was only 12 and the wind was QUITE brisk!  Big parka and the mp3 player and we still had a good forty minutes.

I’d put on some weight last week (not much, but it’s the first time it’s gone UP – disheartening, really) so tomorrow the dietician will do another impedance measurement to work out what % is fat and what is muscle.

And now – I think I’ll go get a nice hot cuppa tea – brrrrrrrrr!

Saw the ob/gyn today (nice man) and he agreed that the quality of life issues were major and that we should get the surgery done sooner rather than later.  After discussing options (attempting to get pregnant?  Um, NOPE!!) and alternatives, I’ll be having the full on abdominal surgery on August 19.

Also had a great session with the dietician, lots of new ideas on how to make breakfast better, and keep me feeling full longer – I’ve been going over my calorie allowance a little in the last week (although I have managed 3 walks – woot!)

And the new Burda mag (May) arrived today. (Sue, I grabbed yours while I was there.)   I’m looking at it with fresh eyes – it will still be a while before I fit into their regular (not plus) sizes, but it’s getting closer!

Also bought this mag – Sue had given me some earlier issues, and I find it really inspiring and challenging.

It was wet and miserable here today so I didn’t get a walk 🙁  never mind, tomorrow I’ll make a big effort to get some exercise in – I’m starting to *gasp* miss it if I don’t do it!

And now I’m off to bed again.  Still getting over this cough/cold thing – arrgh!

So, we went to the doctor today.  And more exciting news – I NO LONGER HAVE TO USE THE “OBESE” CUFF on the sphygmomanometer!

For the last few years my upper arm has been too large to use the ordinary size cuff.  Today it not only fit without popping, it gave an accurate reading (I know this because it’s been the same reading on three different uits now.)

And that BP reading is such that I can HALVE my blood pressure medication!  My goal is, of course, to not need the medication at all, but going from 16mg to 8mg is so THRILLING!

AND – just to top off my excitement – today, for the first time in *mumblety* years, I bought a standard size bra.  18DD still isn’t exactly teeny, I grant you -but have you got ANY idea how much choice dropping to that size now gives me?  I could buy all sorts of PRETTY bras with knickers to match and that ARE NOT ONLY AVAILABLE IN PROSTHETIC PINKY-BEIGE!  And Tshirt bras!  And push up bras!!  WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!

Ahem.

And that’s all the news from Lake NoLongerQuiteSoFat.

Sewing to follow SOON.

STILL getting over this cold and cough!  ARRRGH!

However, today as I was stretching after my walk I discovered that I have made REAL PROGRESS since my first visit to the pain management specialist last year:

I CAN STAND ON TIPTOES!!

Big deal, you say?

Well, it IS!  When I first saw the pain doc, I couldn’t stand on tip toes at all.  Not enough strength and too much pain.  Today I managed for a count of twenty, with no wobbling!  I’m thrilled.

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print from here.  No sewing, no interesting stuff – but – DID I TELL YOU I CAN STAND ON TIPTOES?!!

Ok, well not HERE… but they’re online. (They won’t be in Australia for about 3 months – see why I buy online?)  Now, which do I want the very next time they go on sale?  Hmmmmm….  Here’s my faves from my first glance – doubtless more to follow!

New Donna Karan patternsVogue 1057 : Donna Karan Dress and jacket.  LOVE the look of this dress, like wearing a top and skirt but without the hassle… and the length of this jacket is just right.  The bodice is knit, so I’m not sure why you’d need the “invisible zipper closure” – hmmm. (And is it just me or is the model cross-eyed??)

Best of all – goes up to a 22!  Not that *ahem* I plan on being that size, after all, I’m aiming at 70 kg (which is about a 14…)

I even like the jacket collar – I’m not a fan of fussy princess collars, but this one looks just pointy and spread enough.

Vogue 1056 - Tom and Linda Platt

Vogue 1056: Tom and Linda Platt knit dress.  Loving the twist at the neckline- HATING the granny sleeves!  I didn’t show a photo of my version of Simplicity 3678 that had these sleeves – because it was so awful it would have frightened the horses.

And small children.

And anyone with taste.

It was STUMPIFYING!  *shudder* Moving on.

Ann Klein Suit

Vogue 1064.  What a PERFECT little jacket!  Lovelovelove the shaping.  Princess seams AND multiple darts: even with weight loss still “in progress”, this is going to be a breeze to FIT!

The pants are good too, contoured waistband and otherwise very unfussy.  I don’t do fussy, especially not around the waist.  These pants have just the one little fob pocket – aaaaaah, lovely!

Although now I go back, these trousers by alice + olivia look very wearable too…

Asymmetrical Shirt

One I’m less sure of: Vogue 8515

In Theory, asymmetrical clothes are interesting and flattering.  In Real Life, I always worry that it looks like I don’t know how to dress myself properly.

Also, the sleeves seem awful wide at the cuff… (easily remedied, but… hmmm.)  Maybe as a pattern to make up the “Buy x number get y free”,  but otherwise?  Probably not.

Sandra Betzina designA swing… and a miss?  I can’t quite decide yet about this new Sandra Betzina design, Vogue 1061.  The pants are slim and look quite versatile… the top appears to have ruched sleeves similar to the Christine Johnson pattern I just received.  (Although CJ’s is a gathered overlay rather than SB’s “elasticised gathers”… and CJ’s pattern is AWESOME for the amount of extra info you get. More on that in another post.)

But that back detailing, and the optional hood – do I love it?

It’s growing on me by the second.  I could actually see this as a fabulous jacket sort of top to throw on after the gym…

… Because YES, Gentle Reader, today I actually phoned up and organised a trial pass at the local girly gym.  I think I’m ready – my weight loss has slowed, so I need to kick it up a notch; and my back and knee pain have been stable for a while (touch wood!).  I just need to negotiate how to fund it (eek!) and get over this cough a bit more.

Had all good plans of walking today – but woke up to a temperature of 2 degrees (Which with wind-chill was MINUS TWO, arrgh!) and a 10 minute long coughing spasm that eventually calmed after a large dose of The Nasty Medicine™.  My lungs have been a bit squeezed all day, even after two puffs of ventolin – that next doctors appointment can’t come soon enough.

So – that’s it from the cold cold keyboard of Caity.  Have you got faves in the new Vogue patterns?

I have plans to get out to either Spodshite™ or Lincrap ™ tomorrow to take advantage of their pattern sales – there’s one skirt pattern I have my eye on (Butterick 4859 – reviewed in the latest Threads but sadly with no photo of a finished garment) and for just one pattern, it’s not worth paying the postage to order from overseas.

Brr! I’m headed back to hunch over the heater.

ARRRRRRRRRRGH!

Still sick.  Been in bed most of the week.  BORED!! So I must be getting better – although my cough is still quite scary and the aches are undiminished *sigh*

Also, it’s very very hard to lose weight when all you do is sleep and eat.  Funny that.

Today was, however, a Good Mail Day: The latest  Quilts Japan; the new Threads, the latest Cloth Paper Scissors – and two patterns from Christine Johnson (the wrap dress, and the princess top/shirred top pattern).

Read two Charles Stross novels yesterday (Glasshouse and Halting State).  Brilliant sci fi writing – Glass House references one of my faves (The Forever War by Joe Haldeman)  as well as a lot of other sci fi; but don’t even ATTEMPT Halting State unless you’re at least marginally familiar with computer science/A D&D/sysadmin work.  If you have a working knowledge of those, then you’ll love it.

Also in recent reading: three of the Sir Baldwin de Furneshill series by Michael Jecks – 14th Century murder mysteries; another couple of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Count Saint Germain series (which is far more an excuse to write about interesting historical periods than blood & gore vampire stuff.)

No new sex-and- shopping finds – although I am waiting on several on the reserves list at the local library.

All of which is merely a lead in to showing you this (very rough, he didn’t want me to post it!) cartoon by Mr Beloved about my reading habits:

Click for bigger; the caption reads:

Chocolate-eating Vampire Quilters in Manolos Go Shopping For Love.

Yep, I’d read that – would’t you?!

Cos right now, I feel like a steamroller has run over me.  The Cold from Hell (now with added asthma!) is still dominating my life. Ick.

Look for me as soon as I can remember how to breathe and think simultaneously,

C