Friday, 27 July 2012

a twist in the tale of two teratomas

Try saying that 10 times as fast as you can.

This is one of those weird stories you might read about in the side column of the ninemsn page or perthnow. Like the story of the unidentified animal that washed up under the Brooklyn Bridge that sort of looks like the spawn of satan.

                                                            spawn of satan article

About 2 weeks before christmas in 2005 i discovered i had a teratoma (or mature dermoid tumour) on my right ovary. These are the types of tumours that they probably based the 'Alien' films on. Enormous things that contain hair, teeth, bone, and the occasional fetus.

                                                                  'alien' teratoma

Even though the odds of getting one are more than 100,000 to 1, over the last 6 years i have met 3 other people who have had one. The first 2 were children who had much smaller versions of them in their brain, but the third one was discovered while having coffee with one of the mums from school. Hers is the most unusual story i have heard involving a teratoma. She had a 3kg whopper (which was also weird because mine weighed 3kgs) on her lung when she was 19. Imagine the pain and discomfort of having something like that on place that you are supposed to use to breath. Then having it happen when you really should be out partying and giving your parents something else to worry about.

It was bad enough imagining my operation, with my intestines sitting on the outside of my body while the surgeons unravelled that grotesque monster of a thing that had wound it's way around my organs. This poor girl had to have all her ribs broken to get hers out and then months of pain and physio to put her back together again. Humpty Dumpty has got nothing on her.

Now i'm not a betting woman, but i would never put money on the odds of two women meeting at their daughters school, then getting on well enough to start going for coffee, then bringing up in conversation the term 'teratoma', only to find out that they had both had one that weighed the same amount when it was removed. Spooky!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

A month of make and loss

Been busy making stuff, celebrating birthdays and (sadly) mourning the loss of my best friends mum. It is hard to believe that there could be a disease out there more debilitating and horrific than cancer, but there is, its called amyloidosis and that is what took the life of my best friends mum. I suppose you could describe it as every deadly disease wrapped into one, as it destroys every organ of the body over a relatively short period of time. Now, I'm sure she is happily watching over my beautiful buddy and her family.

Birthday number 4 was a huge success and a wild time was had by all, especially the birthday girl! With bubble blowing, hat making, mini golf, balloon whacking and feast eating. It was a beautiful day weather wise and i was glad of the rest when it was over.


I crafted a couple of the gifts, a bag of letters and some bunting for her room. Of course she wore here lovely skirt and top that i made earlier in the month, which you can see here.

I've also been dabbling in a 'crochet along' afghan sampler with wise craft. Come and join in on the crochet fun. There is something about the start of the cold weather that just makes you want to snuggle in and pick up a hook and yarn. This is my pile so far.

As the cold weather has continued and the heater is on, I couldn't stop crocheting and knitting once i was up to date with my afghan squares, so i have also been whipping up a few course woollen pot scourers and a soft bamboo fibre face cloth with some left over yarn.

So now what? Back to an almost complete project that i started about a month ago.

It is a freestyle crochet art piece, loosely based on a paper cut by London based artist Rob Ryan. When i first saw this paper cut it was at a distance on a mantle and i thought it was made of fibre. So when i discovered it was paper, i thought, well, why not crochet it anyway. We'll see what happens.

This Sunday is our next 'brown owls' meeting and i am working on a name badge for Megan over at silver threads of happiness. We are all doing name badges for each other, as the group is growing rapidly and it can be hard to remember every ones name. Especially when you have a memory like mine!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Not Guilty

What are your thoughts on 'catholic guilt'? It's probably a concept that recent generations are blissfully unaware of. Thank goodness!

My parents were 'faux catholics', which is sort of like faux fur, but instead of wearing synthetics, you send your children to a catholic school, but don't go to church, which was the done thing in the 70's. Therefore i was educated at an all girls catholic convent school for 12 long years. Until the age of about 12 that meant a large percentage of my education was carried out by nuns. Then after primary school the nuns started to thin out and were really only present in low numbers for their fear inducing qualities.

                                                       the nuns at my school were 'serious'

One thing the nuns were big on was promoting guilt. The type of guilt that stays with you forever. The type of guilt that seeps into your bones and oozes out when you least expect it. I am blood type 'guilt' if anybody needs a transfusion.

Now i am a 'mostly' rational, intelligent and grounded human being, so why do i carry this around? I'm not catholic. Well, i was told from the age of 5 that i was born with guilt, the guilt of a man's death. Surely this irrational guilt should pass with time? But it hasn't, because i also suffer from second generation guilt, an extremely potent type of guilt that is resistant to all medications excluding wine.The nuns and to a certain extent, my mother, were just passing on what they thought they knew and felt, what haunted their dreams, what limited them. I still to this day retain my ecclesiastic guilt. Did you know that if i do the wrong thing the world will come to an end? I'm sure I'm not alone in my age group, carrying around such a heavy load every day. No wonder my back and shoulders are always sore!

It's hard to explain this disease, and it is like a disease. The closest i can come to it is the feeling of when i was abused once as a child. I felt guilty for being at the abusers house in the first place. Guilt made me a victim twice.

I haven't managed to exorcise the nuns of school days past, but i do moderate them by exploring other aspects of myself when guilt attacks. Hence, the name of my blog, "guilt and whimsy". My whimsy gives me freedom and i worship my freedom. Guilt cannot exist on a whim. The other inspiration for the title of my blog was one of my favourite reads, "The Book of Qualities", by J Ruth Gendler.

                                                                 beautiful Whimsy

                                                                        the book

She gives qualities a relationship, they are a family and they interact like one. Every time i read the book i am drawn to a different member of the family. Check it out and see which one draws you in. Today, for me, it's 'Intuition', tomorrow it may be 'Forgiveness', hope it's not 'Guilt' again!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


No slacking off this year. I am on to this 4th birthday thing with 4 weeks to go. Normally it's a mad rush 7 days out and that always does my head in. I end up buying way more than i should just because i was unorganised. After taking my darling girl to the toy shop for a "look around" ( mummy speak for 'sussing out' the gift options), she failed to convince me to buy more than 2 things. This is bad, because if she can't find more than 2 things to buy in a toy shop, then what i believe to be repetitive rubbish must really be "repetitive rubbish".

So i have hit the sewing machine and the birthday outfit is already complete.

I was making a toy and some bunting for her kindy friend's birthday on Saturday, and i was politely informed that she 'wanted pom poms on a skirt just like the ones on the toy for Lily'. So a skirt with pom poms it had to be, with a top to match of course. I made the skirt up as i went along (this often happens depending on the fabrics available at the time), but i must confess that the toy is not one of my designs.

I saw a picture of one similar on a website ages ago, but i can't remember where. So if anyone knows who the creator is, please let me know so i can credit them for it.

Now back to the sewing machine for more creative birthday goodness, wish me luck!

Saturday, 21 April 2012


My aunt had breast cancer.
She was sick for a very long time,  and never complained, even when you could see the pain on her face.
She fought hard, even when she probably didn't want to.
She was tired and sick of being sick, but she kept on going for one reason or another.
Then suddenly she decided enough was enough, and when she made that decision, she was gone within a week.

She was very beautiful and very small.
Only 5ft tall with size 5 feet.
She had a wicked sense of humour and was wonderfully open minded and non-judgemental.
She loved her family and did everything she could for them.
She was the first one there for us when my father (her brother) died suddenly.
Her first thoughts were never for herself.
Her presence in life was quiet and strong, and is still felt now even though her body is gone.

I love you

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Mission Accomplished

You all know don't you, that it's one thing to be motivated around like minded people and begin a project (no matter how small). But it is not always a given that the project will reach it's final vision. It's creative end.

Well, not only was my small project completed following my Brown Owls meeting last sunday. It was completed the very same day. Who knew i had it in me!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Wibble Wobble

The problem with letting your 3 year old watch Playschool is that they will, of course, want to do, make, cook etc everything they see.

Todays pleading look with begging at 2 minute intervals was for blue jelly. So blue jelly we did.

I have never seen a blueberry this colour mind you! I am drawn to it though, in a disco, lurexy, Amii Stewart kind of way. However, i'm sure this particular shade of blue does not exist in nature.

Anyway, back to the action. The next inevitable whinge that goes hand in hand with jelly making is "But i want it now". The concept of 4hrs in the fridge is not relevant when you're 3. "OK, 1 2 3 4, now can i have some?" "No, that was 4 seconds not 4 hours, it will be ready in the afternoon."

So the joy of jelly making goes out the window and i wonder why i bothered, until the next time i give in of course.