Still no sewing, but… Pattern excitement!

Got to Spotlight (chain fabric/home dec/craft/party stuff store, for my non Aussie mates) today and raided the Vogue patterns because they were on sale for $7 instead of the usual approx. $30.

Had to call in Mr Beloved to be my sensible though, because I wanted to buy for my fantasy life, where I am glamorous, wear heels and gloves, and don’t own a dog with big muddy paws (in this life I am Grace Kelly?!) sigh. I reaaaaaaaaaaallllly wanted those vintage Vogues!untitled

(I do love this. Those curved seams would be a pain but they make it fit so beautifully….)

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(I still want this. I have nowhere to wear it. Bit much for popping up to the shops, innit? And my fur stole is in cold storage, mmm hmmm.)

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(This one has great reviews on Patternreview.com, although most people say to raise the neckline a bit and use bias binding on the neck and arm edges instead of the silly instructed narrow hem. I will be using bias.)

Vogue 1312
Vogue 1312

(This one also has good reviews, and a possibility for using just the bodice and top part of the skirt as a tunic, interesting.)

But the two I bought are really much more what I really wear – a bit unusual and probably made up in fabrics that will stand up to the washing machine.

I used to keep a little book where I stuck a copy of the patterns I owned and the relevant info I’d need when I went fabric shopping, but I stopped sewing (and changed sizes, and packed everything away) and so of course forgot which patterns I owned.image

you can see how incredibly useful it would be? Especially for someone as…(ahem!) memory challenged as I am?

So when I had a chance to dig it out of the Big Box of Patterns, I was pleasantly surprised to find… My Grace Kelly delusion has been a longstanding one! 😂 I already owned Vogue 1019 (the curvy suit) and a few other Vintage Vogues I’d pulled out yesterday as well, plus some which are now out of print.

There are a lot of patterns I own which are now too big for me (yay! And no, I’m not grading them down, I will sell them on Patternreview.com or op shop them) and some which are… Let’s say, only of historical interest?!  But there are a lot, especially the multi size ones, which I am really looking forward to playing with.

I also discovered that now that Spotlight let customers pull the patterns out of the drawers themselves (when did that start?) it’s much more efficient to just go through the drawers and hope things you want are there (especially in the second week of the sale) than look through the book, note pattern numbers, THEN hunt through the drawers. Much less disappointing that way. And you see things you miss in the books.

Now to save up for actual fabrics… The car is serviced (at long last, a HUGE worry off my mind!) and once my shoulder is fixed… Oh, but that’s a story for another time. X-rays and ultrasound tomorrow. What fun!

Wednesday was a very loooooooong day.

Warning:epic post!image
Yesterday was a loooooooooong day. Not just for me, but for poor Mr Beloved – since I’m still not allowed to drive (stupid fainting thing!) he has to play chauffeur. He is the world’s most patient man.

First stop: J, the magic physiotherapist. Oh, I love her! 45 minutes of bliss. Things are definitely improving each time I see her, and even though I could do my exercises more (I try, I try!) my pelvis is more stable, I can bend forward and backwards with less pain, and this time she worked on my thoracic spine because my neck was locked up. Within my fibromyalgia limits, as always. But by the end of the session, I could turn my head so far I felt like an owl! Wonderful!

Rush off to the optometrist. Because the day before I’d been in to collect my two new pairs of spectacles – red for reading and sewing, black for everyday distance vision. This was after my second eye test and both pairs of glasses having to be remade because they got them completely WRONG the first time: the height was wrong, the curve was wrong, when I put them on everything was distorted and I just felt dizzy and seasick. They spent 45 minutes fussing with the frames, putting “tilt” on the frames, adjusting them. Made no bloody difference. Ugh. They tried to tell me that I would “adjust”, that I should “try them out for a few days”…. Uh, no. YOU got them wrong. And I was made to feel like the staffer having to fill out the paperwork ( paper? In 2016?!) was doing so under sufferance. Not happy.

Anyway, on Tuesday I collected my red readers. Small adjustment to the earpiece and voila.. Good to go. New prescription had been made correctly. BUT…. Black everyday glasses? Exactly the same wrongness as last time. Peripheral vision distorted, direct vision at wrong height, a complete mess. Useless. Unacceptable. I leave the store, unhappy, and silly young assistant promises to get in touch.

Which she does, half an hour later, when we’ve been to the grocery store, asking if I’m still in the mall, and would I like to come back in and try to get the glasses adjusted now? No, I tell her, I would not. Oh. Would I like to come in tomorrow then, and try for an adjustment and maybe another eye test if that’s what’s needed? Fine, I say through gritted teeth, and look at my calendar, and book in the appointment, in between the two I already have for Wednesday. Grrrrrrrrrr.

Which is why I’m at the optometrist yesterday, hoping to collect my black everyday glasses. But guess what? After keeping us waiting 20 minutes past our appointment time (grrrrrr) the bloke….

CAN’T FIND THE GLASSES. Which young assistant had just the day before. He goes to look for them. He gets other people to look. I helpfully tell him the name of young assistant, since they don’t have a decent audit trail. He calls her back to the store from lunch. She looks.

I am saying things like I’ve been a customer here for at least seven years, I’ve never had this sort if trouble before, this is very stressful and wasting my time, I’m really considering not coming back once this is resolved, blah blah blah. Shoulda gone to Specs$vers? Hmmm… Not so much….

In the meantime, he checks my new readers, adjusts my old ones, which Emmalumpdogg keeps jumping on and bending the nosepieces (new readers have no bendy nosepieces. For that reason.)

New glasses are lost. Vanished. Unfindable. Stupid young assistant has actually done me a favour, because rather than having the same mucked about frames used again, bloke has authorised new glasses altogether.

All that took over an hour.

We have time to get home briefly to check on Emmalumpdogg before the next appointment. Specialist dentist. He’s the owner of the practice and you only get to see him if your dentist refers you up. I have TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues, have had ever since my first husband, 💪exacerbated by my tendency to tense my jaw when stressed and grind my teeth at night sometimes. (Gosh, what could have stressed me out that day! 😂)

Well! He is the chattiest the dentist I have ever met! We establish cultural credentials (everything from Shakespeare to MotoGP!) and somehow spend 90 minutes, of which maybe 10 are about the problem, with about 2 taken up with an actual poking around exam. Which hurt, and established beyond any doubt in his mind that I need a further consult with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, with the possibility of botox(!) injections to ease the problem. Who knew, eh? Said surgeon is down the big hill in Ipswich, so that will be an interesting trip.

So. Up to the pharmacy to refill my antibiotics script, since everything is closed today because it’s a public holiday (Show day! Whoopee!) and finally, home. Emmalumpdogg demanded her afternoon happy stick chewing time, poor Mr Beloved collapsed onto the bed to rest his aching back.

Loooooonnnnnnnng day.

Oh, and my new black glasses? Due on the 15th. We shall see. I can’t wait to get the feedback form in the email, cos I’m gonna let ‘er rip. 👿

In which the earth moves…

 

20150205_161632Well, Connie is doing better. Her fur is growing back. Her enthusiasm for going to the park is even stronger.
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She’s jumping on to the bed by herself most times now, something she had lost recently.  There’s still danger with this medicine, it can cause harm on its own, but so far it’s been positive…

Meanwhile, after spending $$$$ getting the car serviced last fortnight, today Mr Beloved got locked inside the car when the driver’s side door lock actuator failed! Luckily he was able to drive to our mechanic and turn himself into a contortionist to to get out. (the mechanic later explained the real trick of doing it which would have been much kinder to his poor old much abused back, but we’ll know if it ever happens again…) Anyway, the part is ordered, and for a mere! $500 we’ll be all fixed up tomorrow. With bugger all public transport here, not having a car isn’t an option, and we try to keep the mileage down – in fact, when we got it serviced, the workshop manager asked “does your car sit a lot?” We asked why and he said ” because there were a lot of spiders under there. A LOT.”

Our other excitement today was being woken up at just before 2 am by an earthquake! The actual quake was way up the coast from us, near Eidsvold and it was a 5.2, but what happened here was that the cockatiels went into a bird panic (not that unusual) so Mr Beloved and Connie got up to look after them; then I got up to go to the loo and WHOOOAAAA the whole house moved east to west then east to west again like the washing machine spin cycle was really out of kilter and realllllllllly strong and I said to Mr B ” the whole house just moved!” But he just wanted to get back to bed and sleep and said “I didn’t feel anything” so I thought I was imagining it, I was very upset! First thing when I woke up this morning I asked him “did anyone else in Toowoomba feel an earthquake?” And YES, even down to Brisbane! So I wasn’t crazy after all. At least, not about the earthquake. I don’t  remember ever feeling one before, it was really freaky.

My university course has finally gone live on the site, just as well since the first day is March 3! Yes, I’m doing my usual panic about it, even though in my session today with the Very Helpful Psychologist we talked about being kinder to myself. *sigh* its a work in progress .

Uni results, semester 1

Yesterday was results day, and while previously the uni has said results would be released at 4pm, sometimes they’ve been available earlier … nope, not yesterday.  The servers crashed at exactly 1600 as eleventy squillion students all tried to log on at once.  I got through at about 4:30 to find….

HD!

High Distinction.

After the misery of the early part of the semester, and the terrible days when I only managed 100 words of the 2nd essay (which was worth 40% of the entire mark) over the course of an entire day…  I am EXTREMELY PLEASED. And relieved.  I have managed to get through Introduction to English Literature (ENL1000).

And now I can move on with some confidence to the next English Literature course, which is at second year level (the only offering at first year level did not appeal, so I decided to take a chance at the 2000 one) Gothic Stories: Terror over Time.  We start with Dracula…

The gazanias seems to survive where other things don't - hardy little plants!
The gazanias seems to survive where other things don’t – hardy little plants!

So it’s been a long time…

… between posts.

A whole semester, in fact. It felt like a very long semester at times, partly because I went through a patch of very bad depression near the start of it, and really struggled.  I was studying Introduction to English Literature, which sounds like it should be a doddle after three units of Creative Writing – but it really isn’t.

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Even being familiar with the first texts we studied (a couple of sci-fi short stories, then HG Wells’s The Time Machine) didn’t help, since the Black Dog had me so firmly in his maw that all I could do was moan and try to fend off his teeth and wipe the drool away.  It was Not Good.  A new prescription from the Very Helpful Psychiatrist did make a difference, but not before I had to ask for an extension for my first essay and bother a Good Friend in Canberra for help because I was Hopelessly Lost on how to tackle it.

Still, we got through.  And luckily, part of the course was little open book exams on the computer, six of them to eventually make up 30% of the course mark, rather than one big exam at the end of the semester. And I got the full 30% there.

new fleecey circle on top of the ottoman=bliss
new fleecey circle on top of the ottoman = bliss

Wuthering Heights: I loved it!  With the surprising revelation that Heathcliff was very likely black (son of a slave, coming from Liverpool, there are references in the text and enough context from the Brontes to make it plausible…); Edgar Allen Poe (“The Purloined Letter”) I did NOT enjoy so much but ended up writing part of my second essay (worth 40%) on; the other part of the essay was on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story “The Dancing Men”.  Then we had a week on Shakespeare’s sonnets (only a week because our lectures and tutes were on Mondays are we got hit with a lot of public holidays and so missed classes).

I don’t know the full results yet, but I know I’ve passed well. Full results come out next Friday. O week for Semester 2 is on the 14th.  So for Semester 2 I’m tackling “Gothic Stories: Terror over Time”.  Wilkie Collins’s “The Woman in White”; Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”; Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”; Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”, and selected episodes of season 1 of the TV show “True Blood” (more vampires, but sexy Southern American ones!)

I’ve started reading “The Woman in White” and it’s delightful in a high Victorian melodrama way – Italian Counts! asylums! hopeless loves and rescues! a (female) cousin with a moustache! Bad Baronets!

Meanwhile this is day 19 of the headcold from hell. It *is* getting better, just very slowly. Chai tea seems to help.  It had been stopping me from sleeping to the point where things got rather desperate, but we’re hopefully – HOPEFULLY – getting back on an even keel now.  We shall see.

They’re all mad out there, you know…

So… I’ve still been having trouble sleeping.  The terrible cough has settled back into a somewhat-fixable-with-ventolin asthma cough, but it still gets disturbed enough by the CPAP machine wind that I can’t use my CPAP machine, so I AM A ZOMBIE.  It’s not fun.

Consequently my mental state is not brilliant.  Hence my lack of posts.

Allie bird is nearly weaned. Cockatiels are weaned at 8 weeks. Allie was hatched November 1, but is still SCRAAAAARTCHing for food from Bolly whenever he gets a chance, even though he is quite happy eating seeds and pellets and lettuce by himself as well. Bolly is sitting on a new egg already…

Allie outside the cage, looking very grown up
Allie outside the cage, looking very grown up

We’ve been eating more salad-y things now the weather has been heating up.  Mr Beloved has been keeping an eye on the bargain shelf at the supermarket, so the other day we had a lovely posh lunch of prosciutto and fetta salad – for less than what some people would spend on a fast food hamburger.

2013-12-17-lunch

I went into town today (Mr Beloved dropped me in and picked me up) and it was INSANE!  Apart from essential grocery runs to the local shops we are now officially AVOIDING THE SHOPS until it all calms down again.

Allie, Day 25 (and a visit from the vet)

I haz more feathers now!
I haz more feathers now!
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Look at my pretty grey tummy!
I is still very tiny, but...
I is still very tiny, but…

Yes, Allie is a Very Pretty Bird, and was much admired by Jules the Vet.

Jules the Vet was here because poor Connie has an ear infection.  Her left ear canal  is all swollen and red and yeasty smelling, and she had to have a muzzle on while Jules the Vet massaged cleaning solution in there and got some special ear drops down inside the swelling.  It could have started with an underlying allergy or something as simple as some dirt or a scratch but it has to get cleared up, because poor Connie is miserable.  She is being very patient though, wearing the Cone of Shame.

not Connie - from the movie "Up"
not Connie – from the movie “Up”

Meanwhile, Caity had a skype video conference with the Very Helpful Psychiatrist this morning.  I explained how I’d discovered that if I leave one earbud of my phone radio in all night, it stops the voices in my head (replacing them with the lovely Radio National voices, without disturbing Mr Beloved) and switches off my brain enough so I can SLEEP!  And if I wake up during the night I listen to the radio for a little while but then go back to sleep.  My Dad has been leaving a radio on low to get to get sleep for years, I should have tried it before this.

The VHP says it works because it’s like white noise. I’ve tried those recordings of white noise or the surf? and THEY DON’T WORK for me. Has to be voices. Music makes me visualise the notes of the music (seriously, I try to write out the entire orchestral parts, like I was writing the conductor’s score in my head in black ink); “ambient” music just drives me nuts.  Can’t be talkback radio, either – has to be the long form doco or interview sort of stuff that RN does.

And Mr Beloved was up watching the last F1 Grand Prix for the year (mostly because it was Mark Webber’s last F1 drive) and it confirmed (yet again) that I simply CANNOT sleep while there is bright blue TV light leaking into my eyes.  UGH!  Doesn’t help that I still can’t use my CPAP machine because of this wretched cough, which is STILL hanging around. 1

I am rather zombified today.

Off to the mental health nurse tomorrow and then the Dreaded Dentist. When the Dental Practice 2 called to remind me of my appointment tomorrow I suggested I come in early because I know the anesthesia takes a while to work on me. (Something to do with my bad circulation?)

Notes:

  1. The blood test results for Whooping Cough came back negative… but I am still doing a rather good impersonation of someone with Whooping Cough.  Please Explain.  Latest Theory, proposed by the VHP (who had a similar case in another patient): thyroid issues/goitre, pressing on trachea. Off for ultrasound scan on Monday.
  2. Why is it called a Practice, BTW? You reckon they’d be good at it by the time they get to open their own place?

End of Semester 1

Well, it’s the end of Semester 1 already!  I’ve just submitted my two final pieces of work – a portfolio of the exercises we did during class, with noted on why I chose the pieces I did; and an excerpt of my story I wrote together with an essay on why I edited it the way I did once I got it back from the first marking.  I wasn’t entirely happy with either assignment, but there wasn’t any point sitting and going over them any more – I’d reached an impasse, so it was time to put them in and just leave it to the marker to comment. And to remind myself that all I need is a PASS after all.

It’s raining as I write this and winter is doing its best to settle in – we’ve already had some cold nights, with more predicted for later this week.

I’m off to the Very Helpful Psychiatrist tomorrow: hopefully for a slight change in medication.One of the ones I’m on now seems to give me restless leg syndrome plus a slight tremor in my hands. Bugger. Swings and roundabouts. My mood improves but there’s a price to pay…

Semester 2 starts on July 15, so I’ve got a little bit of time on my hands to catch up with neglected household chores.  The sewing room continues to taunt me, but if I can get a tiny bit done each day… maybe it can turn back into a sewing room. Mr Beloved has been working like a Trojan (ha, family joke there!) down in the studio and making huge progress on getting rid of clutter.

The NBN (National Broadband Network) is supposed to reach our street soon – which means we should get much faster internet.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

That’s about all from here. Happily nothing exciting to report!

Semester 1, 2013…

So the first day back at uni went okay.  I had an appointment with the Disability Resources Officer, who is lovely, just to update my details and check that everything was going smoothly.  Turns out she’s a Georgette Heyer fan too, so we had quite a natter about which of the Regency Romances were our favourites 1 and how the historical novels were admirable for their research but not really so readable 2 (Mum  – I seem to remember Nana June having Heyer books around – I wonder am I misremembering? Was she a fan or were they for guests at the B&B or…?)

Semester 1 2013

first day
It was raining too hard to take the traditional ‘first day of school’ photo outside – the laundry had to do. What a scenic backdrop!

Here’s what I wore, and here’s a link to the model wearing the same dress.  I am going to have to sell off my clothes from last year (possibly even on ebay) because they are MILES too big on me now.  Very frustrating.  I know, it sounds like a nice problem to have. The shops assistants at my favourite shop (for curvier ladies) keep commenting on how narrow my shoulders are.  Probably because all my current clothes keep falling OFF my shoulders!

Right now I am very cross though – just had a call from the hospital and they have me all booked in for the colonoscopy and gastroscopy 3ON THE WRONG DAY.  Grrrr.  I had thought it was all organised so I wouldn’t miss uni: nope, they’ve booked me in to go in on the Tuesday and I have to be there by 2pm.  That buggers up going to a class that runs from 1 til 4 pm, doesn’t it?!  Oh well, it’s only one week.  And I know I can catch up and get the lecture notes online and the in class notes from someone.

And it’s such a GOOD class. We have a new lecturer 4, and she was brilliant yesterday.  She took feedback really well and seemed prepared to work with the group – only about 10 us on campus, I’m not sure how many are studying externally – in giving us challenging work and a better idea of what is actually expected in the assessment.   YAY!

We have had a little break in the weather today, and Mr Beloved got some washing out on the line – yay for Mr Beloved! We even –shock horror – saw some SUNSHINE instead of this constant grey gloominess and nonstop rain!  But more rain is predicted for the rest of the week. Boo, hiss.  We have had 592mm of rain this month in the rain gauge at the airport and I am CONVINCED that we get more rain here than there.  600mm!!  That’s a lot.  That’s REALLY a lot.  No wonder everything feels soggy and damp.  I think I’ll go get whatever feels dry now off the washing line before it gets rained on again…

Notes:

  1. The Grand Sophy, Arabella, A Marriage of Convenience,  Cotillion
  2. I defy ANYBODY  to say My Lord John is Heyer’s best work – it lacks the witty dialogue and humanising characters that make Heyer sparkle.
  3. or as we keep calling it round here, up periscope and down periscope
  4. the uni has hired on casual rates again, boo hiss, I strongly disagree with this sort of hiring practice, but what can you do? This is, sadly, the reality of the academic world in 2013

(tap tap tap) Is this thing on?

If anyone out there’s still reading, here’s where we’re up to.

When last we saw Our Heroine, (me!) I was having trouble eating.

It got worse.

To the point where I just couldn’t.

I just couldn’t eat.  The worst day I only managed 10 cherries all day.

And it happened that I had an appointment with my Very Helpful Psychiatrist that day, and my Very Good GP had copied the results of a blood test I’d had a few days before over to her.  “Caity, I was a physician before I was a specialist, and I have never seen some of these levels so low. You’re very sick.  I’m going to send you to hospital now.  You go home and pack a bag; I’m going to get you admitted this afternoon.” She made phone calls to make it happen and Mr Beloved and I headed home.

I was numb and in tears but so grateful that finally something was happening: and I didn’t realise how sick I was.  I was very malnourished.  Luckily my Very Helpful Psychiatrist has LOTS of experience with eating disorders – which, by the way I don’t have (no I’m not in denial!) and recognised that what I needed was hospitalisation so that I wasn’t in danger from refeeding syndrome.

(Refeeding syndrome is what happens when you haven’t been eating and suddenly you start eating again and your body has no idea what to do with the food – your electrolytes get messed up even more and in severe cases you can DIE. This is the simple version from the helpful dietician.  I was still fuzzy when she explained it to me so she had to use very simple words. )

Hospital was NOT FUN.  I’m just grateful that I have health insurance (through no good management of my own, you know who you are, thank you again for looking after me) that let me get into hospital straight away.  I know hospital isn’t meant to be fun.  Bed shortages (yes, even in the private hospital) and being under the care of several specialists made it a little more horrible that it might otherwise have been but we got through it.  Thankfully the hospital is only just up the road from home and Mr Beloved was able to visit every day and bring lots of books.  I got a lot of reading done – is there a worse place to try and sleep than a hospital? (I have problems sleeping anyway – it’s one of the things I am talking to the Very Helpful Psychiatrist about when I see her again tomorrow)

sleepless

They did some tests while I was in hospital – a ‘gastric emptying test’ which measured how fast  my stomach moved food through it : you eat a radioactive egg sandwich then try to lie very still for 2 hours on a very narrow platform while the CT scanner takes pictures. (Of course, once you’re trapped from neck to knee in the machine, everything itches – and you can’t move to scratch anything.) An ultrasound didn’t show anything out of the ordinary either.  I pushed to schedule the gastroscopy and colonoscopy as soon as possible while I was in hospital but then was too sick to have them. I have to go back in to hospital to do the prep and have the procedures next month (fun.)

My electrolyte levels are being monitored with blood tests every fortnight and I am almost back to eating ‘normally’ – within the limits of what I can eat, anyway.  Still no onions or any processed food with onion powder as an ingredient.  Which means – we cook from scratch.  Which we mostly did anyway, since it’s so much cheaper; but it’s annoying not to be able to just grab something like a tin of soup when you’re feeling blah and just want something quick.  Because there WILL be onions or onion powder in there, in sufficient quantity to make for a miserable night, or perhaps 2 miserable nights.

So what the hell went wrong, anyway?  Part of it was the depression that started in November – I lost my appetite. (When I saw the GP on Monday she mentioned that she had just been to a conference where she learned that one of the psych drugs I am on has been being used off label in the US for weight loss, since a significant proportion of patients report loss of appetite… ahhhh, light bulb!) But then something else happened that interacted with that – possibly an infection, possibly just a worsening of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that I have to learn to manage better.  It could be that the antidepressants we were trying triggered something. (Given the severe nausea that happened during the antidepressant trials, I wouldn’t be surprised.)   The gastroscopy and colonoscopy are to check that there’s nothing else going on: the specialist has said that he thinks I’m going to have to learn to live with the facts of IBS: it won’t kill you, it just makes you very miserable from time to time.

Meanwhile I am eating bread and pasta (NOT the gluten free versions) for the next month so that if there is a reaction to those to show up in the tests it will well and truly SHOW UP!

And in non-medical news… my dear nephew turned 21. Go NewSky!

hanneul makes pizza

We survived the Australia Day rain event (heavy and very inconvenient rain, but fortunately for us at least NOT a flood on the scale of the 2011 event… others down the range weren’t so lucky and had worse flooding than in 2011. We were only left with a soggy queen size mattress to dispose of, since of course my hospitalisation happened a day or so after we go the new mattress and before we could organise the skip to get rid of the old one.  Mattresses and other big rubbish are really hard to get rid of – hiring a skip/dumpster is about the only way.  I supposed we could hire a ute but by the time we load that and do multiple trips to the tip – just as efficient to load everything into one container and then get it taken away. Must organise that this week.

And uni starts again soon. I got a High Distinction for my Creative Writing subject in Semester 2 last year; I’m enrolled in the follow on subject starting at the end of this month. I’m looking forward to getting going on that again.

So. That’s it for now. Updated. Now I must go cook dinner.