Monday, January 28, 2013

The Big Story

this is a picture of our backyard. it sums everything up - the garbage from the fire, the wet rain, and the palms burned from the extreme heat.

Sometimes it might seem trite to talk about the weather, but this really is the big story from the last two weeks. I'll talk about it in Fahrenheit since that is what I and most of the readers here will relate to.

It had been hovering around the low 80s for a few weeks which was pretty nice, some clouds and fleeting showers every once in a while. Then it shot up to low 90s, which is pretty rough with high humidity. Then one day, it went up to 112 (some said 115) degrees. It was so hot that it burned the humidity right out of the air. There was a music festival that day and 29 people were rushed to the hospital with heat stroke.  I had to walk 10 minutes from the bus to my job and I am not being dramatic when I say that it felt like walking through a reverse blizzard.  I felt I had to use the same determination to survive.  I walked in the shade the whole way, I walked slowly so as not to increase my body temperature, and I stopped in at the neighbourhood shop and bought something I never do - a bottle of Coke! Boy, was it good!  It was the hottest day in Sydney's recorded history.  After that, we had a week of hot, humid weather of the common variety.  Basic sticky, sweaty days and only slightly cooler nights.

Then, three days ago, I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof. It was a welcome break from the heat, but it hasn't stopped.  The constant rain, not pouring, not drizzle, just rain, is part of a cyclone.  This is a new weather experience for me. It's really not cold so we still have to turn on the AC or leave the doors open and let the mosquitoes in.  There have been flood warnings in outlying areas but we seem to be fine here.

Things seem really quiet with most people staying inside.  It has been good for me to keep steady with the house recovery, last minute sewing and needlework projects, and getting Valerie and myself ready for school.  She started today and I start tomorrow.  I am looking forward to it and I am glad I will be out of the house because the construction workers are coming to put down new floors upstairs.  Hopefully, we will get carpeting shortly after that.

I am off to buy a printer to replace our old one that got ruined in the fire.  Picture me schlepping through the city in the rain lugging a big heavy printer...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Turn the Page

After Christmas I had a week off of work, and I spent it going to the beach, out to eat, wandering around parks and museums, trying to make it feel like a holiday in the city.  We wanted to go on a little jaunt out of town either up or down the coast, but that was a foolish dream.  Everything imaginable within a three hour drive was booked solid, and even if we could have gotten a room, the rates are about tripled for the month when everyone has off and wants them.  So, now we are thinking of taking a long week-end in February, and we made the best of our "staycation." 

Noah went back to California (safe and sound) and the parents are braver and stronger as a result of letting their son go for two weeks.  Well done S and B.  Valerie left the next day to meet up with her best friend in Singapore.  She is staying with her friend and her friend's parents who have a house there.  It is quite an adventure for her and the few times we have skyped, she seems to be having a thrilling, joyful time.

It is quiet around the apartment now.  David spent several days last week cleaning up our stuff, putting furniture back in place, for the big move BACK to our old house.  The repairs are mostly done, and the stink is mostly gone.  We went shopping to replace damaged appliances and bedding, hoping to take advantage of free time and sales, but it was very unsuccessful.  (I can't bear to convey all the shortcomings of the Australian retail world right here and now.  I don't want to sound like a greedy, spoiled American, but I will have to devote a post to it sometime when I get over my shock and dismay). We did manage to get a toaster and kettle, so the essentials are covered.

We are going back there next Saturday whether or not it is finished.  We can't get anymore leniency from the insurance company and we need to try to reestablish a life routine for the beginning of the new school term.  David is back at work, I start my textile design program on the 30th of January (two weeks!), and Valerie is back at school on the 31st.  So, even though it is still hot out, our summer hols are almost over.

Turning towards the new year, and a new page in our Sydney adventure, I have been trying to focus on my artistic ideas and endeavors.  I got really inspired by a little article written by my friend Kitya Palaskas.  It was all about goal setting and getting re-inspired for the new year.  I highly recommend reading it HERE.  Anyway, I went through and wrote out all my goals and to dos, and it really helped get me excited and ready to do my best in the start of this next phase of my life.

I got some new books for Christmas full of ideas and inspirations.  I love all the textures in the crochet and stitching.  This book is called Filet Crochet by Betty Barnden.  I have always wanted to do this kind of crochet but didn't know how.  Since I will be mostly busy doing design and printing over the next year, I think I will adapt some of these images or the idea of crochet images, into a printed design.  But I will do this crochet in the future.

David got me these lovely books.  Both are good additions to my library, and wonderful for inspiration.  I hope to become more knowledgable of the personalities of the Arts and Crafts Textile world, beyond William Morris.  This means I have to do more than just look at the pictures.

I do want to try one new stitching method that I have never done before, so I am going to try smocking.  I have always been intrigued by this and I want to make myself a linen smock a la 1920s, so this is going to be handy.

One of the things I need to do for the upcoming year, as usual, is to organize my time.  I know I will be busier than usual, but I will really try to be faithful to my blog.  I really want to stay in touch, and writing helps me to keep track of my thoughts and activities.

I wrote a poem on the bus the other day on the way to work.  Here it is:

The M20

The stroller
The crazy old man
The couple with the scooter and the fan

Competition for the craziest corner in Sydney

Doesn't her tongue get dry
from her mouth hanging open all the time?

Are they ever going to restore or
tear down the old hospital

Broken windows
Camphor trees

Ring the bell