Sunday, 26 April 2015

Anzac Day 2015

Anzac Day again and rosemary for remembrance.  It is the centenary, a hundred years since the first day at Gallipoli.

Huge crowds packed Sydney streets eight deep for the march and thirty thousand attended the Dawn Service.  Many are young people and children brought by their parents.  It seems to me that much of the thought is no longer on just remembering those killed, but there is more now.  It came through in the speeches from the Centenary Service at Gallipoli and also here.  What do we make of it?  What lessons can we learn from it.  Where do we go from here?  It would be good today that there will be peace, but let's face it.  That won't ever happen.  Perhaps it is about how we face adversities.

And there were plenty of adversities in the previous week in this state.  A three day storm wrought havoc.  Flooding, trees down, homes floated away on the current and several deaths.  RFS, SES and police and civilians were all out helping in atrocious weather to try to bring relief or rescue to those caught up in the battering Sydney and north and south environs took. The SES responded to around 14,000 calls for help.

Thousands were without power.  One son on the central coast was without power for over five days.  We took him up a gas ring and a full bottle of gas and some basic supplies such as ice which was hard to find up there, more candles and matches, and so on.  He was very glad to have power return on Friday evening after it went out on very early Monday.  There were no trains or buses because of debris on the roads or tracks.  A yacht was shifted from trainline near him.  Fortunately the buses returned after two days and he was able to shower at work.

My son took his two girls yesterday morning to the local service.  He met a friend and her two children there and they all returned here for breakfast   It was lovely to sit in the sun after the dreadful weather of the week just gone.  They cooked bacon and eggs and similar and then spent much of the rest of the day re-arranging his room here.  A lot of his things had just been pushed in wherever they fitted, so everything was pulled out and the bed turned around to make more room.  Then all went back.

I kept out of it.  We had four children here and three adults.  One person fewer was a good idea.  I sat in the sun on the balcony with coffee and phone nearby.  It was lovely.

Then the weather turned again in the afternoon.  A massive storm moved over Sydney and dumped a huge amount of hail  The children here went racing outside and collected several cereal bowls of hail, piled high, from just outside my door which is fairly sheltered.

Today is cold and damp again and grey.  But at least the pictures show there was some sun.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

frack free.

Just a quick post this morning to support what has been called the biggest demonstration in the world.  Perhaps not in numbers but in space.  There is a car decked out like this every five kilometres from Dubbo, I think to Narrabri.  The demo has also taken off on other highways in NSW.

My sister and her husband were rangers at Mt Kaputar out of Narrabri before their daughter was born so she has taken up a position in the area.  It took her most of yesterday to get there from her place and she is staying on a cotton farm of one of the organisers. It will take most of tomorrow for her to return to her home on Mid North Coast.  On passenger side of the windscreen you can see Freedom, the bear I gave her after her first cancer operation in 1997.  He is much travelled, all over Australia in car and van and has now become politically active.  Click to see more clearly.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

long time, no blog, no see

I have been considering a blog entry for some weeks now.  Like much of what I do now, it has taken me time to get around to it.

Last year knocked me around and blogging was one of the casualties.  I lost all incentive and motivation to do much.  I think there was some depression involved as well.  I could sit on my bedside for twenty minutes getting up the energy to have a shower.  Lots happened and much of it was unpleasant.  Not that all is rosy now, but I do feel more inclined to make an effort.

Miss M lost all her hair from the chemo.  She did not go to school till the beginning of the fourth term up here at the beginning of October.  She had work to do, but was very disinclined to do it. One effect of the chemo.  She is now enjoying school although there are few weeks when she is there every day. She went to school class camp and caught a cold.  It flattened her for at least a month, a result of suppressed immune system.

She visits the oncology clinic at least every fortnight, sometimes more if levels of various blood components are not quite right.  She has been on a dose of oral maintenance chemo for six months now and will have probably another three years of this.  She handle this well, knows what to take, what it does, and how to take it.  This is just as well as much of what she takes is cytotoxic and should not be touched by others.  She is generally cheerful, although one sign of recovery is that she is no longer the centre of attention and she misses being in  the limelight occasionally.

Her hair is growing back.  It's not quite as blonde as it used to be, but has lovely deep bouncy curls which she hates.  She wants long straight hair and wants it yesterday.

This was taken surreptitiously on my phone so detail is not as clear as it could be.  However, the curls can be seen.  The girls spend every second weekend here and life is hectic and noisy.  I love having them but enjoy the quiet on thew Monday following their visit.  We teach them cooking and Big Sister has taken to it and can now follow a recipe easily.  Miss M is not as keen, unless it involves lots of sugar or honey like cornflakes liked with honey.  She could eat lollies all day long if I had them in the cupboard.  With the exception of this photo, all others in this post are with my new camera, Fuji XT1.  I made dozens of hats for the Children's Hospital oncology wards.  Son said  nurse cried when he took in a big bag.

My son is still with me and has had a rough year.  A few days after being told he would be made permanent at work, he was sacked.  The company lost a big contract and laid off a lot of staff.

He found a part time job up the road at the local big supermarket, stacking vegetables etc.  He then found a much better job with an old Australian company which has been around for about a hundred years. He loves this and the staff are all appreciative of his work ethic.  Divorce went through a couple of months ago, but hearings for property and custody are pending.

He was not "out looking," but has found someone else, a lovely person who is thrilled with him and he with her.  It all just happened.  She and I get on well together.

All was not well with others.  Youngest son had to move from the house with the jetty as his housemate was ripping him off.  His ex-partner had a couple of moves and a couple of jobs along with some other unpleasant events.

Eldest son  has taken a long time to recover from the very major back operation just before Christmas 2014.  He still sees surgeon every few weeks, attends a clinic for chronic pain, sees GP every week and physio as well.  He has had a couple of trips to London and Frankfurt for work this year.  The only was he can manage  this is by flying business class with flat bed seats.  He  could not have sitting all the  time and especially not in economy seats.

So lots of depressing things to cope with.  My arthritis has ben really bad for weeks, I can't straighten my fingers and other joints are painful.  I tripped and tore the ligament which joins hip and pelvic girdle.  Walking is difficult and stairs are hard as I can feel the lack of support.  I eventually bought a walking stick which helps, even if much is psychological.

I lent my son my big Nikon camera and he took some amazing photos.  The camera was never around when I wanted it.  I finally gave it to him as present for birthday and Christmas and bought a new one for myself.  This has helped my general mood as I experiment.  It was definitely not cheap but it has a wonderful reputation and eldest son has one, an older model is shown in the picture.  It is lovely to use and very versatile.  I have been using it on full manual for several weeks now.  It is a Fuji XT1. Very vintage looking.

Here are a few more which I have taken recently.  The service station at night was taken without a flash, as was the picture of one of my shelves. Settings can go much higher than many other cameras without graininess.  This one took a lot of experimenting to keep the soft ambiance of the lighting but having clarity of the objects on my shelf.  Clicking on any of the photos will give a larger image.

I have done almost no knitting for at least three months.  My fingers are sore and curved and I can't flatten them.  I took a lot of children's hats to the hospital, for both girls and boys and all sizes from toddlers to teens.  I have started a cowl for a woman who's husband has been a big support for my son.  A thank you gift. The fingers feel a bit better so I may give it a try soon.  A little at a time.

This picture illustrates bokeh, the blurring of the background with a focal point in the foreground.  This is one of the lilli pillis on the balcony.  The effect comes from opening the aperture wide, much wider than the light suggests should be the setting.  I have  two lenses, one a 35 mm which is equivalent in Fuji to 52 mm and the other, a macro lens of 60 mm, in Fuji it would be 90 mm.

Well, this is probably more than long enough.  I will try to be more regular and hopefully posting  will help with the depression as the lovely new camera does.  Money well spent.  Son got really good deals for me from his favourite camera place and has given me a few elementary lessons. Various bits and pieces  were thrown in to the deal for me as well.  Extra battery ($80) card reader and other bits and pieces. The manual is now well thumbed as I have learnt my way around it.