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Sunday, February 26, 2006


I'm obsessed with books. We are drowning under the weight of our book collection. So when I saw this meme somewhere I had to do it!

Meme instructions : Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you've never even heard of. (I'm having a fight with Blogger and can't get it to underline, so I will mark them as GOT instead of underlining)

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - GOT
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger -GOT
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams - GOT
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald - GOT
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman - GOT
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling - GOT
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell - GOT
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller - GOT
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien - GOT
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon - GOT
Lord of the Flies - William Golding - GOT
1984 - George Orwell - GOT
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling - GOT
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - GOT
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut - GOT
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown - GOT
(Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk)
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
The Secret History - Donna Tartt - GOT
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess - GOT
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - GOT
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - GOT
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis - GOT
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
(Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell)
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien - GOT
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - GOT
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman - GOT
Atonement - Ian McEwan
(The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood - GOT
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath - GOT
Dune - Frank Herbert - GOT

That was an interesting exercise - go ahead, do it, you know you want to!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

D is for Dolman

Another Jersey photo from the same holiday. This is a dolman, an Iron Age burial site. Jersey had a number of fantastic dolmans and other standing stones - I love visiting these and it is something that Australia rather sadly lacks! Nothing beats the feeling of walking along that path and standing under the stones - unless it is going underground to see them, which I was able to do in some of the other sites. (Which got interesting as I was six months pregnant at the time!) Posted by Picasa

D is for Daffodils

This field full of daffodils is in Jersey, one of the Channel Islands. I took this photo when we there on holiday in 1993. I loved the effect of the whole field full of them with the clouds and the castle in the background. Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 17, 2006

Diary of a Hypochondriac

This is going to be blather about my health, so I advise everyone to skip it :)

I went to the rheumatologist yesterday, who was fantastic. He took a full history, looked at my test results, and we talked.

I do have fibromyalgia, as suspected. I probably did all along, it's just that I first went to my GP I think I put fatigue first on the list of symptoms and pain second. That was three and a half years ago. Since then I have had most of the blood tests repeated, to cgeck that I really really don't have various things wrong with me. I had several sessions with a therapist last year who taught me some really useful stress management techniques that I use regularly and that have really helped a great deal. Over the last six months the fatigue has receded very slightly. But the pain has got worse .... and worse....

Basically I feel like I am in the first stages of flu - every day. Most of my major joints hurt all the time and most of my muscles are stiff and sore. I can no longer climb stairs (in either direction) with any degree of ease. Even getting on and off buses requires me to move sideways like a crab. I can't kneel or sit on the floor (not without requiring a block and tackle to get me up again). Anything more than a tiny bit of walking makes me hurt so much it is not worth it. I feel like an old lady, and probably walk like one. I am held together by painkillers. Every day is a litany of generalised aching plus specific pains (the places move around from day to day - this morning I am hurting in my left knee and my lower back, as well as all over - they are different types of pain).

Yet I test negative for all the arthritic conditions, my thyroid function is fine, I do not have diabetes, and although I have a little ostearthritis in my knees it is not bad enough to cause all the problems.

Fibromyalgia is probably the same thing as chronic fatigue syndrome, and they are both labels for a very real condition that can't be properly tested for. There is no test to prove that I do or do not have it. It has been described as arthritis of the soft tissues, only it isn't arthritis. It is most probably a neurological condition.

I;ve been referred to a fibromyalgia clinic, which are apparently almost unknown in Australia but my rheumatologist has a real interest in the condition and knows these people. Hopefully they will come up with strategies to help me manage this. He's also prescribed Naprosin and told me that it is better to take that, plus pain killers as required, than to live on Panadol. It will be tomorrow before I can fill the prescription - I am hoping that it helps.

So, that's my boring health problems. A chronic, incurable, semi crippling condition that no-one really understands. On the other hand it supposedly does not cause degeneration of the joints or the major organs, and won't actually kill me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Four Things

I'm just procrastinating here, there are things I should be doing but I like this meme!

4 jobs I have had - temp typist, records indexer, librarian, MUM!
4 movies I can watch over and over - Gone With the Wind, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Vertigo, Phantom of the Opera
4 places I have lived - Essendon, Melbourne, Australia; Chiswick, London, UK; Tetbury, Gloucestershire, UK; Glen Waverley, Mebourne, Australia
4 TV shows I love - Dr Who, Mythbusters, House, Taggart
4 places I;ve been on holiday - the Flinders Ranges, South Australia; Vancouver, Canada; Paris, France; the Lake District, UK.
4 favorite dishes - fried rice, chilli prawns, macaroni cheese, good pizza
4 websites I visit daily - ABC, my blog to read through my list of favorites, Bureau of Meteorology, The Age (a Melbourne newspaper)
4 places I would rather be - in bed; in France; in the V&A museum in London; actually I rather like being here too!

No tagging, this has been around everyone!

Lurgy is Lifting

George is back at work, the kids are more or less OK apart from a minor sniffle from time to time, and I am still feeling like ****. A quietish day today before another two or three days of frantic running around. For a SAHM I seem to be spending too much time not staying at home!!

The trip to the Eye Hospital was time consuming but reassuring as they have decided that it was migraine and that everything else is fine. We hear too much complaining about our health system, often with justification, but I want to say publicly that I have been hugely impressed with everyone at the Eye Hospital, they have all been very courteous and efficient and pleasant and it was all free!!

On the down side, I didn;t realise that I would be getting the atropine drops again. I didn't even have my sunglasses with me and I had to get myself home on public transport looking like the Corpse Bride and unable to cope with the sunlight - of course it was a beautiful sunny day!

Tomorrow I am off to a rheumatologist - I test negative for all the arthritis conditions but have consistent symptoms, so I expect I will end up with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, which is just another way of saying chronic fatigue syndrome, but every now and then I feel I ought to pursue these avenues just in case someone actually finds something else wrong with me! I asked my lovely GP for a referral to someone nearby, which she did - but of course the appointment I was offered was in the city, actually opposite the Eye Hospital where I was on Monday!

Some knitting is happening. I am plugging away on the Diamond Patch jumper, plus occasionally picking up the purple socks that I was supposedly knitting for Baby Bear but which will probably go to George because she misled me about sizes!!

I have finished my Scarf Exchange scarf though it won;t be posted till Saturday. I am not very pleased with it, sadly, but I hope that Marji is OK with it. It didn't turn out quite like I had hoped, but I;m sure she can find a creative way to wear it. I still have to do one little extra thing to package up with it, and take photos of it. I think that if there is another scarf exchange I will not design my own next time, I have loads of scarf patterns that I fancy knitting and I might use one of them.

I was going to mumble something about resolutions once a month, wasn't I? Well, here goes:
1. Decluttering - well, a brief start was made, and then fell apart under the onslaught of constant heatwaves. But all the yarn stash is now neatly in boxes on shelves, and yesterday I started tacjling two large piles of stuff that have sat in their 'temporary' homes for about six months. I did say it would take all year! George has also streamlined the supplies in the study.
2. Food - well, let's draw a veil over that, some days I am good and some days I am bad!
3. Exercise - oddly, I did more in the hot weather (lots of swimming) than since it cooled down a bit. Sort of doing some exercise.
4. The course has only just started but it is so much FUN and I have so far thrown myself into it. I am definitely keeping up with this resolution.
5. Curb spending habits - um, not really, me bad.

Monday, February 13, 2006

C Is For Curly-Whirly

Meet my Curly-Whirly, alongside Snakey who just happens to match.

I used some leftover acrylic, as mentioned in a previous post - it was a Lincraft own brand but I am pretty sure it was one of their relabelling of well-known European yarns that happened last year - very good value too as they were identical but much cheaper. I think it was the same as Filatura Di Crosa's Hopla. I also used another Lincraft branded yarn that was another fancy European yarn rebranded, but can't remember a thing about it!

This was crocheted - much easier than having millions of stitches on the needle - but boy did it eat up yarn! That's why I added the extra yarn, as i ran out of the first yarn too soon and the scarf was still too narrow. Unfortunately the only yarn I had which looked right with it is a bit scratchy and I am going to have to be careful not to let actually touch my neck - a pity because the original yarn is nice and soft, like a cloud!

I am keen to do another, wider one of these, with beads. I really liked the one Yarnivorous did and I;m thinking of something like that. Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 10, 2006

5 Weird Things About Me!

I wrote this post several days ago but since then we have all been coping with the Lurgy. The kids had it first and weren't too sick, then they gave it to me, and now George is a quivering lump in bed. I dragged myself to my first day at TAFE (subject of another post sometime soon) on Friday with a zig-zagging temperature, spent Saturday morning running errands, the afternoon in bed and the evening drinking too much with friends, and yesterday hanging around the house feeling like ****. Now it is Monday and I feel even worse but I have to go into the Eye Hospital for my final checkup - I am hoping to stir the quivering lump to drive me to the station on the promise that he then gets the rest of the day in TOTAL PEACE as I will be out till late afternoon (I have two appointments, one to do a final test on my eyes and then a final checkup three hours later when those results will be ready along with everything else).

Well, I;ve been tagged by Cathy with this meme, so here goes!

Groundrules: The first player of this game starts with the Topic"5 weird habits of yours" and people who get tagged need to write a blog entry about their 5 quirky habits as well as state this rule clearly.In the end you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged and list their names.

1. I cannot watch television, or indeed sit in a chair at all, without doing something with my hands. Mostly, I knit (or do bead embroidery, or crochet). Sometimes I read (well, turning the pages is doing something with my hands!) Sometimes I play Snood on my daughter's Gameboy (actually sometimes I do that FAR TOO MUCH!!) But I just CANNOT have my hands unoccupied.

2. My DH is going to hate this one - I cannot share a bed with anyone. I snore, thrash around, steal the covers, generally make myself unloveable, and then complain if my companion so much as twitches or even breathes. So we have come to a happy compromise - we sleep in seperate rooms now. Secretly I think he is relieved!

3. I have a real phone phobia. I find it incredibly hard to make phone calls. Not so much the making appointment type of call - I have no problems ringing the doctor or whatever - but ringing actual people to have an actual conversation is really hard for me. I can ring DH, that's fine, but that's about it! On the other hand I do not mind talking to people when they ring me, it;s just that actual making of the call that's hard. I like to email people, though I am also horrible at returning emails! (Several people are waiting on emails from me right now, so if you have commented on my blog or emailed me recently, or even not so recently, I will reply to you!)

4. I do not drive. I took driving lessons 15 years ago and sat four driving tests. The first one was far too early and I was not ready, so I;m not surprised I failed (the instructor made me sit it too early, I then changed instructors). The next test, I did perfectly except for mucking up a three point turn - I just touched the kerb and was failed on that. The third test was on an absolutely freezing cold, icy morning and I kept stalling the car. By the time I took the fourth test I had decided that if I failed that, I was done with driving. And yes, I failed it, on something so trivial that I cannot even remember. I personally thought I drove better than half the lunatics on the road, but no, I failed on something so small that I don;t think anyone ever does it in real life. At that point I then gave up! I was going to take driving lessons again a few years ago but then came down with chronic fatigue syndrome and haven't had the energy since, which is a shame because using public transport is rather tiring...

5. I am painfully shy and worry about everything, all the time, yet most people (even good friends) see me as sociable and calm and capable. I am obviously a really good actress!

Now who to tag? Actually it now being some time since I wrote this post, and my brain having left home somewhere in the midst of all the disgusting hankies I have been using, i think I will leave it open to anyone reading this1 i know this a cop-out but it's either that or wait another several days.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Just Because I can...

I am posting this cute picture of Sirius. If I shook out the polar fleece blanket you would see that it is quite lacey. She eats her blankets, so I don't spend a lot of money on them, just buy a length of polar fleece every winter which only costs a few dollars. She feels the cold a lot, because she is very skinny and has very short fur, but I only ever made her one coat because she ate THAT and it was quite a bit of work. On cold winter nights she oozes under the covers of the water bed to stay warm. Spoilt? Moi? Posted by Picasa

B is for Beaded Whimseys

I've already posted a picture of this bead embroidery thing I did some months ago, but I think it is a good B picture too so here it is again, slightly fiddled with.

Beaded Whimseys is the name given to this sort of thing in Victorian times, and I believe Native Americans used to make them too. Mine is probably more heavily beaded than theirs were. I just love the name and it is such fun to make. It lives on the low bookcase with all our best ornaments and when people see it for the first time they tend to pick it up and look at it from different angles. My mum thought it was a horse's head and it does look like one from a certain angle! The best comment was from my 25 year old nephew N, however, who took one look at it and said 'Bloody Hell!' in tones of awe.

This is made using plastic and glass beads, sewn onto patchwork cotton with Nymo thread, and stuffed with polyester toy stuffing. It's almost as tall as a sheet of A4 paper (which I used for drafting the pattern). Posted by Picasa