July 2009

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In a flu-dazed moment the other night…


[clicky for biggy, do I have to keep saying this?]

Luckily once I’d got the top off I realised the tube I had in my hand was TOO BIG to be the lip balm.

Am I the only one to have these sort of near misses? (Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?…)

I am getting better, slowly.  Yet again the solar hot water installer declined to come near the obviously germ-ridden House of the Beloveds.  Grumph.  Next week, we hope.  I had to cancel another specialist appointment because I didn’t want to sit about in a waiting room full of people even more vulnerable to this wretched flu than I was.

Time for my next cuppa tea (It’s important to get fluids in, right?!)


[as always, clicky=biggy]

Frosty morning, and I’m squatting down on the grass to get the camera at just the right angle to catch the sunlight through the frosted weeds… just as well the neighbours already think we’re mad, eh?

red eyed

And I forgot to turn on the red eye reduction but here she is in her winter fur (and winter fat, since she’s had very few walks of late…)

Well, today was the first day I haven’t actually felt WORSE than the day before. Yay?

For all that, it was still Another Bed Day.  *sigh* And our solar hot water didn’t get installed yesterday because – THE PLUMBER WAS SICK! We’ve rescheduled for next Wednesday, just gotta hope that the weather doesn’t work against us.

Ricë wrote a post today about the intrusiveness of muzak.  I started a rant in reply in my comment on her post, but here’s some more rant:

I’ve been rabbiting on at various In Real Life friends about the new growth industry (no, Dustin, it’s not PLASTICS) – it’s audiology.  Seriously, every time I go to the shops there seems to be a new one offering hearing tests and ever smaller hearing aids.  I think Toowoomba is up to about 20, for a population of 90,000.  And do you know why?


It’s because almost nobody can stand SILENCE any more. When and how did we become a culture that feels the need to be constantly immersed in man made sound?  Waiting rooms are drenched in either overly loud muzak or blaring televisions.  Supermarkets and shopping centres play their identifying jingles over and over and over.  We get in cars and immediately turn on the radio or a CD.  Those ubiquitous white dangly cords drape from ears to iPods, cocooning each wearer in their own world of individualised sound.

Our house is near the local railway yards, and surrounded by train tracks.  We expect a certain amount of noise each day from the coal trains and maintenance vehicles, and most nights we can hear the chiropractic clunks and crashes of carriages being shunted. Some of the train drivers are artists, echoing the horn of their diesel engine around the valley as they pass by the yards.

On clear  nights I can hear the “ping… Ping… Ping… pokpokpokpokpokpokpok” of the traffic signals over 150 metres away across the creek.  Some nights we are visited by the local owl (mo POKE! mo POKE!) and some nights the plovers scream from the vacant, weedy blocks.

Some nights we are woken by domestic quarrels; by neighbours who think that chopping wood after midnight is a perfectly reasonable thing to do; by dog fights, screeching engines and tyres sliding on the bitumen.  Or the ever-so-charming individual who believes that by renting a nearby industrial unit he has the right to super-amplified music at any time day or night.  I don’t think in the 5 years I’ve lived here there has been a single night without hearing at least one set of emergency service vehicles dopplering by on one of the main roads.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget to mention Bung Lung – one of the new neighbours who, although appearing to be in his mid 20s, has the emphysemal lungs and bronchial function of a 50 a day pensioner.  (We’ve started referring to their household as The Brueghels – because they’re phlegmish. (groan!)  Nothing like hearing a lugey hawked up outside your window at 3am to jolt you out of a dream. (The cigarette stench is a subject for another post…)

All of those are noises which are beyond my control.  When I can choose my audio surroundings, more often than not I’ll choose silence. Because it’s rare and I enjoy it.  I have quite enough trouble fighting with my head to get anything done, without inviting more noise in.

I’ll listen to Radio National, if there’s something good on.  My CD collection is almost exclusively female singers (loving the new Lily Allen album, and I never get tired of Kirsty MacColl)but I really only listen to music if I’m sewing or at the gym.

But Mr Beloved lives in a music centred world.  Where I find it VERY difficult to process two audio signals at once (especially if one of them is voice), he thrives on audio complexity.  (Not suprisingly, he’s a long time fan of Brian Eno.) I can’t read if there is competing audio – my brain just gets frustrated.  My Dad  can listen to radio, watch TV, AND read the newspaper all at once – I have no idea how he does it and even THINKING about it makes me feel quite ill.

My ideal world would have a soundproof room, possibly with squishy walls, and maybe a coat with arms long enough to actually fit me…

And now I’m off to take my medications.  Night!

flu man

[click to see bigger]

I’ve been dragging our old art supplies and starting to play with them again.  I’m fighting against my inner critic to actually post anything here – be gentle and remember that it’s nicer to ask “Tell me about your art” than to say “Ummm – what is it?”

(Sometimes I have to “wreck” a page before I can get going.  The background of this was one of those trainwrecks – luckily, a thin coat of gesso can make messes look better, or at least ot quite so hideously unworkable. This page was completely without a plan or goal, obviously.)

I have no idea why there is a clunky spaceman/repair-tech here or what he’s here to fix.  Although if he could get rid of the bright yellow polka dots on my tonsils, I would be very grateful.  Yep, Day 11 of the flu and I had the worst night yet last night – at one point I was coughing so hard that I thought I would break my back.

I have cabin fever.  I haven’t left the house since last Tuesday when I went to the doctors.  Mr Beloved is almost as sick as I am, but has managed to at least struggle out for milk and bread. And cuppa soups – normally I don’t like them but there’s only so much hot lemon/ginger/honey/hot water mix I can keep down…

Tomorrow (provided the weather stays fine) we’re getting the solar hot water system installed.  Yay! It’s going to cost more to install than the actual gizmo (that would be the “evacuated tube collector“, Caity dear) and tank cost.  Weird, huh?

I am sooooo looking forward to being able to have a hothothot bath all the way full – and with more hot water to top up! Of course it’s a super-rare luxury, and I will have to bucket all the water out to the garden once I’m done, but ooooh – sheer bloooody looxury!

Right – back to back issues of Cloth Paper Scissors and my hot water bottle…


From The Saturday Bulletin.

Meantime – I have flu. Swine flu? Who knows.  The doctor said to keep doing what I’m doing (lots of fluids, bed rest, paracetamol, aspirin) and come back immediately if it gets worse.

Poor Mr Beloved is on his first day of the wretched virus now.  Nothing to do but ride it out…

And we’re so faithful with getting our flu vacs super early – not fair when a whole new virus jumps out at ya, is it?!

Ugh. Have pretty much lost my voice. Hurts to cough – the pain goes right down my sternum and also right down my back. Off to Doctor’s tomorrow arvo. Not my usual (wonderful!) doc, but another in the same primary health care centre, so that’s ok.

It started with a sore throat on Friday, got to hurting on Saturday night, and yesterday and today I’ve mostly spent trying not to cough and swearing when I do, and sleeping. Very boring to do and even more boring to read about. Even more boring for the puir wee poodle, who sees it as her DUTY to stay by my bed.  She won’t even eat until I’m up.

Tonight I’ve been catching up with a lot of blogs that I’d stopped reading – I’d kept them on my bloglines rss feeds, but just hadn’t had the energy to follow them. Very interesting to see the development of many of the Artful Quilters BlogRing. Some people who were just starting their adventures way back have become successful artists, some published authors.. and many have found other interests as well.
And I’ve been well looked after by Mr Beloved, Bringer of Cups Of Tea (also known as The Teabot 5000™) – ahhhh, so loved!

Another good activity when confined to bed is flicking through back issues of Cloth Paper Scissors and Quilting Arts magazines … gotta do something with my time after admitting that I needed to suspend my gym membership for the fortnight, since even if I’m not infectious I’m not about to go and hurl myself about!  I’m getting inspired, starting to draw, and seriously considering some inchies as a way to get back to art quilting… and drawing and painting and collage too.  Anyone wanna swap some inchies with me sometime?

Which is why I stayed indoors for most of today.  Didn’t get anything DONE, mind you, but at least I was warm!  I wasn’t expecting to achieve much today anyway since it was a race day – the V8 Supercars were racing in Townsville.  More motor sports tomorrow with the 2nd race from Townsville and then the F1Grand Prix from Germany… yay, brrrm varoooooooooooooooom!

Something interesting happened this week when the latest Cloth Paper Scissors magazine arrived: I was actually INTERESTED in it!  I’d been seriously thinking about letting my subscription lapse, since it wasn’t really lighting my fire the way it used to do.


But this issue had me thinking about dragging out art materials again.  Yippee!!  I’ve even been reading my back issues of this and its sister publication Quilting Arts.

I’m not entirely happy with the direction these magazines have taken since they were  – umm taken over? Acquired? – by Interweave Press – there are a LOT more ads for the company’s own products (something which contributed greatly to my no longer bothering with Stampington’s magazines) and the store discount that used to come with subscriptions no longer applies.  I can totally understand why the founder/editor, Pokey Bolton, decided to go with Interweave – talk about a MASSIVE job with just those two titles, let alone the special issues and the shop! – but the trade-off is the lack of service.

I haven’t bought a new quilting art/inspiration book in  – ummmmmmmmmmmm… gosh, over 12 months?  Maybe 2 YEARS?!  (I know, I know, my In Real Life friends are worriedly running about for their thermometers and tests to check that Caity is still Caity – I mean, they know my library!) but it’s been as much a function of my lack of enthusiasm for textile and other art as of our impeded financial situation.

There are two new books that I am just DYING to get.  (Ok, not DYING… but I would really reaaaaaally like).  If I buy them from Interweave they will cost $US 54.90 PLUS either $23.19 for International First Class Postage or  $39.82 for International Priority Mail.  That’s a total of $78.09 or $94.72 for the two books.  Which is $AU $99.92 or $ 121.02.  OUCH!!

Inspired to Quiltfreestyle machine embroidery

OR – thanks to a heads up a while back from Ruth (Ta, Roo!) I could use the Book Depository instead: FREE POSTAGE and a total for the two books of £31.68, which converts to just $65.73 in Aussie dollars. For exactly the same two books.  Bit of a no-brainer, really, eh?  (except for the sad fact that I can’t actually afford that amount, either… LOL!)

Melanie Testa’s recent articles in both Cloth Paper Scissors and Quilting Arts have been really  – just wow.  INSPIRING!! She makes me want to draw and stitch and collage…  and Carol Shinn’s work is awesome, from the first time I saw the cover of this book I knew it was one I had to have.  Just the thing to get me going again on machine embroidery.

I’ve always been inspired by books.  I love the way reading about techniques and seeing new work sets off sparks in my brain, I can’t resist, I have to grab a blank page and draw and write “Yeah, that’s interesting, but wouldn’t it be cool to use THAT idea to make THIS thing and then do THE OTHER to it, and then maybe even twist it around to SOMETHING ELSE…

So tomorrow’s job: investigating the art boxes that have been stashed under the table for the last *mumblety* months.  Sorting through them and re-discovering what there is and what I’ve run out of.  (I know for sure that I’m completely out of my favourite paint OF ALL TIME –  Jacquard Lumiere Halo Blue Gold …)

I still intend to sew clothes (oh, the INTENT is always there!) because I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR.  But it’s time I started feeding my arty bits again, dontcha think?

Sometimes I like to think of my life as a giant game of snakes and ladders. No particular reason… but dentists definitely qualify as “snakes”, and they knock me back several squares every time.
Last week, I went to the dentist for my 6 month check up and clean. She found a CAVITY. *shudder*
So I made an appointment for Wednesday this week, and went home feeling pretty ok.

Until yesterday morning… when the tooth in question started feeling like it was about to explode. Owie. Didn’t help that my recurrent sinus infection was playing up…
A quick discussion before she starts on whether I should have white or amalgam fillings, The amalgam ones last twice as long as the less visible kind, so I opt for the metal, and she numbs me up. (Oooh boy was I numb! The appointment was at 2, it took ’til 7pm before I could feel the left side of my face properly!)

Drill, drill, whirr, whirrrrr grrrrrRRRRRRRiiiiinnd, drill drilll…
“OH.” She says. “The hole has spread to the adjoining surface. We might as well do that one today too, hmmm?”
“Mmmwrffgggl”, says the quivering wreck of Caity. (Did I mention that I’m not good at Dentists? No?! Well, I’m NOT. I didn’t go to the dentists for FIFTEEN YEARS and then I had to go every fortnight for most of a year. Hence the now religious 6 monthly appointments.)

(My Canberra Dentist, the wonderful Jo Newton, used to sing the Dentist’s Song from Little Shop of Horrors to me. She also had the Larson cartoon below next to the chair. I’m not sure if dentistry requires a certain sense of black humour to begin with or if you develop one as a result of spending your days looking at people’s teeth!)

I blame my dental phobias on childhood dental trauma (doesn’t everyone?) Imagine, if you will, that it is 1972, in a small town in rural New South Wales, and wee Caity is 4 years old. And there’s a GREAT BIG HULKING DENTIST with smoke stained fingers (this was waaaaaaay before gloves, let alone the anti-smoking movement!) like swollen sausages, trying to shove his fingers in my mouth. Without my permission. And then pulling out my teeth, because my teeth were too big for my mouth.

Oh shut up, I do so TOO have a small mouth.

Not Actually Me, But You Get The Idea

Not Actually Me, But You Get The Idea

Then we skip through time (insert wavery dream sequence thingy here if you’re so inclined) to my early thirties, where my sins are starting to catch up with me. A series of root canals, another tooth pulled, (which is when I had my appointment times restricted to “Last of the day ONLY” so I didn’t scare off the other patients) and then The Big Mistake: getting my wisdom teeth out in the chair. If you ever have to get wisdom teeth out DO IT IN HOSPITAL. The Temperomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) problems from those 4 teeth lasted years. YEARS!!

Of course, I already had TMJ issues as a result of my first husband’s propensity to connect his fist rather solidly with my jaw whenever he got really drunk, and add the fact that I grind my teeth when I sleep … well, each visit to the dentist tends to leave me rather. bloody. miserable.

Finally I hear the best words possible: “You can Rinse out now”. YAY! I didn’t scream, not even once! (I also doubt I could recognise my dentist out of her rooms, sine I keep my eyes scrunched up for as much of the whole procedure as possible.) The Health Fund only paid about a third of the cost.

At least I didn’t grind my teeth last night – I know I didn’t because I didn’t sleep. My face still feels like I’ve been stomped on by a soccer player, and I’ve taken every combination of painkillers I’m allowed to have, up to and including Lindt 85% Cocoa chocolate. Think I’ll just head back to bed and moan some more for a while…