Ups and Downs

A lot of stuff has kept me from updating, to the point that one of my five readers asked whether I was still blogging.  ADD: I has it.  Both good stuff and bad stuff has happened lately.

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Every post needs a cat picture, even if the post doesn’t actually mention cats.

Good thing: Our backyard was landscaped. We’d been in planning in spring and summer, and the work started the day after we got home from Australia.  Actually, spouse got a phone call while we were still in Australia asking if they could start work “tomorrow”, but fortunately that was postponeable by a few days.  We now have an arbor with circular paving beneath it, a recirculating water feature for sound, many new plants, and lights.  Lots and lots of lights.  There are bright lights on the arbor for easy reading/knitting at night, small lamps in the planted area, and well lights on the hillside illuminating the trees from below.  Not easy to take pics of though.  Another post to come about plants and their similarity to salads.

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Hector, the foreman of the workers. He was awesome.
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Man at work, cat at play.

Bad thing: My parents’ / sister’s dog died, after a spinal injury that progressively paralyzed him.  He was a very loved dog, and it was really heartbreaking for all of us.  😦

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Tuque in his aloha shirt and Dad in his Simpsons pajamas.  Mom is to credit/blame for both.

Good thing: Our nephew was born in September!  We went to Canada last weekend both to attend a party celebrating the wedding of another of Spouse’s friends (the couple lives in Beijing, so Saskatoon was actually relatively close to us to see them) and to meet the baby.  It was a really wonderful trip.  I’ll write a separate post about it.

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The baby sweater I knit, sort of modeled by the baby.

Bad thing: When we arrived home from our trip, we found that our cat-sitter had passed away the day before, in our house.  This would be horrible in any case, but it’s particularly bad because our sitter was my uncle.  😦  We found him yesterday morning.  There are too many feelings and such to even begin to get into.  This was entirely unexpected by all of us, and we’re all still in shock.  It didn’t prevent some coping mechanisms like noting that maybe there’s a Law of Conservation of Uncles, since Spouse just became one.  I haven’t been able to cry yet, which is probably just as well.

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I don’t have a picture of my uncle to hand, but we were given this flower today.

Maybe thing: Mom (who drove up yesterday) and I needed some fiber therapy today and went to a yarn store.  Sometimes you need distraction.  (As I observed on Twitter, Ace Attorney is not the best choice for this after finding a body.  Knitting seems safer.)

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I’m looking forward to knitting a kid sweater for A with this.  It’ll be the fourth sweater I’ve made her.

I have a bunch of cat pics and other miscellany to post now that I’ve gotten my catch-up overview out of the way.

 

 

Sydney, Day 1

Since I didn’t have wi-fi most of the time and my phone connection was also slow, I wrote this stuff two, no, three weeks ago, offline.  I’m not going to bother correcting verb tenses.

Monday

It was a 15-hour flight from LAX to Sydney.  I found out almost immediately that bulkhead seats are not great if you have short legs.  Even slouched so far in my seat that my belt was around my ribs I could just barely touch the opposite wall with my toes.  I was really glad we’d carried on a (nearly empty) suitcase so I could use it for a footrest once the takeoff was done.  It wasn’t ideal, but it helped.

There were power sockets at our seats, but the one we’d use wasn’t working.  Fortunately, I’d brought offline entertainment along.

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I just realized I could add captions. Might have to go back to all my earlier posts and add them.

I still have no idea how anyone manages to sleep in those seats.  I got a bit of a doze leaning against spouse’s shoulder, but it wasn’t much.  Even with a pillow behind my back it ached.  Etc.  The food was OK though.  Our flight arrived just after sunrise.

We got to our hotel around 10a after a little bit of a slog through train stations with well-hidden platforms and full of commuters.  The hotel staff were able to check us in early after a bit of a wait, thank goodness.  Neither of us was quite hungry yet but we were both sleepy, so we napped for a couple of hours and then walked around to find some food.  I forgot to mention that while the area we were in was nice enough, on the first block we had to walk on the way to the hotel from the train station every other business was an adult store or club, mixed in with little convenience shops and small eateries.

 

We did not eat in this area but a little further away.  After that we just wandered a bit, stopping into stores as they interested us.

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Gorgeous plate in an antique shop.
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Amethyst necklace from same shop, different section.  It was really a conglomerate of like 20 antiques booths in one space.  Matching bracelet not nearly as interesting.  (This is a note for me, not my 3 readers.)

The weather, by the way, was wonderful. It’s the beginning of spring here, and that’s what it felt like.  Well, actually, it reminded me of the beginning of autumn, but that may have been the angle of the sun.  Mom mentioned to me that she had a hard time with keeping her bearings when she was in Aus and thought that it might be from the sun coming from the “wrong” direction.

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I don’t have anywhere better to put this picture.  Love the colors on this otherwise boring apartment building.

That evening spouse had a thought and searched for cat cafes — and found one.  So we made a reservation for 2pm the following day to go play with kittens for half an hour.  We also made arrangements with his aunt (#7) to meet up for dinner at a location near the cat café, Catmosphere.  We ended the evening at a sushi place, at which I had something unusual but not unusual enough for me to remember what it was.  Should have taken better notes.

 

Back Home

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Home from Australia with over 500 photos, and that’s just what’s on my phone, not the ones spouse took with the big camera.  I tried to write some posts while I was away, but generally didn’t have the connection for it except on my phone (which was still too slow to do anything with pictures), and I don’t really like writing on that.  So I’ll probably be putting up outdated posts of what I did two weeks ago for the next two weeks.  There were cats on a couple of days, though.

We got up at 5:30a on Sunday to catch our 14-hour flight from Sydney to LAX, after which there was a layover of a couple of hours (lengthened due to delay).  Mom picked us up from SFO a bit after noon on Sunday, which is to say just about exactly 24 hours after we woke up.  We didn’t nap on the flight, either.  Around 2p I was shaking badly and took a nap that lasted until nearly midnight.  Then I got up, had a snack and read some email, and joined CMY in the giant kitty bed around 4a for a nap that lasted until about noon.  Then I got up, intended to have a snack but didn’t, and went upstairs and napped from about 2p to 5p.  Now it is nearly 2a and I should’ve been in bed two hours ago, but am not really surprised not to be.  We do have landscapers/yard workers coming by between 7a and 8a later this morning, but after sleeping 21 hours out of the last 36, I’m not too surprised that I’m still awake.  Time for some melatonin.

Find the Snake

imageCurrently in Australia.  Flurry of posts to come when I have a better connection, which will probably be after I return.  In the meantime, here’s a picture I’ve been trying to upload since yesterday afternoon, when I took it.