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The one-eyed dog.

11 March, 2013

Last week Miffy suddenly developed painful glaucoma in her right eye, leading to the necessary removal of the eye. I was absolutely shocked at this rapid unravelling of events as she simply woke up in pain and with a depressed demeanour where the night before she was full of play and fun. When the vet called to say Miffy’s eye would have to be removed (enucleation) I was absolutely horrified and blubbering on the phone to my dad who’d called just minutes after the vet enquiring as to how Miffy was.


Of course, pretty eyes don’t override the simple fact that one of them was causing her a great deal of pain due to the pressure that had built up behind it. We had a two options for surgery: removal of eye, insertion of an “orbital prosthesis” and the lid sutured clothed; and evisceration and intraocular prosthesis, where the inside of the eye is removed and replaced with a prosthetic ball so it moves like a regular eye but with no vision or pain. The second option was obviously more expensive but promised a less distressing result for humans to look at, and we initially thought we would go with this option but then came to the realisation that Miffy wouldn’t be able to see either way. Post operative care would also be far less expensive if the eye was sutured shut, not to be crass about money but it’s a very real factor; also the eye might be more prone to infection, another unpleasant complication for poor Miffy.

Glaucoma in shih-tzus is pretty common, and because she’s a cross breed (with bichon frise) it’s very likely Miffy’s other eye will succumb to glaucoma too. It’s really difficult for us humans to think about this and not project our trauma and pity on to our pets, but blind dogs can cope very well I’m told. With two eyes removed she won’t be winning any dog shows but if she requires a second enucleation she will still be able to live a great life.

I’m going to include photos just for other dog owners, because I did a lot of googling to find out about the enucleation and intraocular prosthesis and how it might look after the operation!

Miffy just before the operation. Her right eye is very swollen (and completely blind).

Miffy just before the operation. Her right eye is very swollen (and completely blind).

Miffy after her enucleation. Her "non eye" (as we've been calling it!) stained magenta due to whatever the vet put on it. Her E-collar gets in the way of cuddles. I just want to smoosh her!

Miffy after her enucleation. Her “non eye” (as we’ve been calling it!) stained magenta due to whatever the vet put on it. Her E-collar gets in the way of cuddles. I just want to smoosh her!

Five different designs of hand embroidered Girth Guide badges are now available: GG emblem, donut, pig, merbabe and burger.

Five different designs of hand embroidered Girth Guide badges are now available: GG emblem, donut, pig, merbabe and burger.

Obviously veterinary testing, consultations and procedures are ridiculously expensive and I need to thank my Mum for generously loaning us money to pay for the operation. If you’d like to buy something from my shop to support Miffy and help us pay Mum back, we’d be so appreciative. I’ve released my hand embroidered prototypes for Girth Guide badges to raise money for Miffy and there aren’t many of each so be quick!


Watching as the locals pass silver balls…

4 October, 2012

It would be remiss of me not to include a lyric from Ben Fold’s “Adelaide” about the city we just got back from visiting for our niece’s wedding. We didn’t actually pass the silver balls in Rundle Mall on this trip (and it’s been over a decade since I’ve done it!) because we were in the Barossa region north east-ish of Adelaide. Sadly, this post is silver ball free but it is enriched with the soothing power of grapes.

Collage (clockwise) of blue sky through wisteria vines; wisteria flowers; and an arched window sitting in a wall covered in vines.

We went to six wineries on our day trip, but the most memorable and photographic was Seppeltsfield. Featuring an amazing range of ports that Nick partook in tasting (I stole sips) the winery also boasts 100 year old ports! We got the opportunity to smell 1910’s vintage and I swear it smelt like a sexy lady. I honestly can’t think of any other way to describe the rich perfumey scent! After elbowing in on the port tasting I’m beginning to think I may just be a port drinker after all.

Me peeking through wisteria vines wrapping around a rotunda.

Six HUGE barrels of wine, each about the size of an elephant torso.

A bottle of 100 year old port in a wooden presentation box.

Myself, standing amongst grape vines, arms outstretched and enthralled with my first encounter with a wild bunny.

We ventured back to the Barossa for the main attraction, our niece’s wedding, held in the garden of Lyndoch Hill which contains a ridiculous amount of rose plants (reportedly over 30,000!) Many of the roses were in bloom, but the bulk of the garden wasn’t and while disappointing, I’m sure it’ll look absolutely incredible whenever the roses do decide to pop out.

Jacqui and Kris surrounded by family and friends on their wedding day.

After the garden wedding was crowned by late afternoon sun peeking through the branches and the clouds, we headed up to the hall for delicious food and wine, meeting new people and singing raucously to The Righteous Brothers as we waited for our dinner! It was a lovely day to celebrate Jacqui and Kris and I feel so blessed to have been there to witness it.

Garden, Life

Perks’ Backyard *

18 September, 2012

I haven’t posted much about our new place mostly because I’m still working on it. The garden has come a pretty long way since we moved in and I may as well show you the progress!

Our courtyard garden as it was when we moved in. A small paved area bordered by a low hedge with taller plants behind.

Collage of the courtyard during process of ripping out the garden and pavers. (Also Miffy enjoying the new turf!)

We don’t have a large yard, and we weren’t fond of having the small space made even smaller by claustrophobic hedging. Miffy needed a place to go to the toilet and sun herself too! The whole yard was ripped out (mostly by Nick!) but we did keep the lovely pink camellia tree on the left hand side. The garden beds were pushed back a little on each side to allow for more grassed area.

The backyard blitz was done on the cheap: we pulled out plants on the weekends (a good thing to do because some were damaging our front fence!), recycled the tiles and sleepers into garden edging, and housewarming gifts bought our turf. We had (and still have) a heap of dirt which has been great for potting up cuttings from my mum and Nick’s mum. Sharing cuttings is FANTASTIC for getting a garden started! I never knew you didn’t really need to buy plants! (It sounds so basic, right? But I never knew!)

I have plans to put lattice up on the big fence (on the right side) and train vines up it, and to hang small pots of colour and herbs on it as well. The right side fence extends down the length of our property and could do with some softening! I hope to scour junk yards for cheap lattice – I checked on pricing at Bunnings the other weekend and discovered it’d cost $25 a piece of lattice and we can’t afford that!

I took a video this morning as I did my regular garden check up and prepared to plant seedlings given to me by my gorgeous friend Erin. I thought I’d share it here so you can see what I’ve been working on. Gardening is something I’ve wanted to do, but never had the chance; any pot plants I’d ever had died rapidly in my care so I was really nervous in the beginning. It’s nice to have things to take care of, that you can watch growing. It all seems very magical to me!

* For non-Australians, my punny title refers to Burke’s Backyard – a long running gardening show on the teev that starred Don Burke.


Goodbye Nana

20 August, 2012

A photo of my Nana with hand drawn roses and freesias surrounding and a banner saying “Nana 1926-2012”.

My Nana died on the weekend. She has always been an exceptional woman, and an exceptional Nana. Her love and support for me and my creative work have been unflagging, and she helped me a lot with setting up my shop.

I still don’t really know what to say. I spent yesterday scanning photos and making a slideshow for her funeral. She still feels alive! I can still hear her chuckle and feel the way she’d grab my arm when she wanted me to listen to her.

Nana in 1946 at 20, wearing a cute square neck dress and a curled fringe.

She was a cool lady. You should have known Nana.


Ankledale, or our only holiday photos.

16 May, 2012

A photo of Sonya and I walking in the mid distance along a path beside an old building.

I’ve only just gotten around to pulling the photos from our holiday off the camera, and unsurprisingly there weren’t that many! We did take photos of the little bit of time we spent in Armidale visiting the lovely Sonya so I will share a few here for you.

[Warning: Animated gif at the end of this post.]

Sonya on the swingset.

Sonya and I laughing/ posing for outfit photos.

A duotone photo of clusters of hydrangeas.

A duotone photo of vines growing over an old building with lens flares.

Sonya and I walking away from an archway in an old building.

Keep in mind these were taken after I fell over! I was walking around on my broken ankle for a few hours, eep. A significant length of time was spent recooperating on a swingset and talking to a couple of kids about how awesome Minecraft is.

Animated gif of Sonya and I swinging on a swingset.


When IRLs collide, or Erin is cool.

3 January, 2012

Erin and I posing with smiles and hands under our chins, maximising our cuteness.

Last week we were in Brisbane and Erin was on the Sunshine Coast visiting her family so we took advantage of this and drove up to have lunch with her. We’ve known Erin through Twitter for a year or so and normally she lives far away in the magical land of Melbourne town, but fortunately like most Melbournians she is a Queensland export and thus we got to take our e-franship IRL.

Basically Erin is awesome and cute and we had lunch and cake and iced coffee whilst enjoying Mooloolaba’s humidity and maximal tourist infestation. We then walked down to the rocks for dramatic photos because neither Nick or I thought to bring togs.

Erin and I sitting on a large rock formation at the beach looking babely.

Erin and I kicking water at the camera.

An outfit photo of me pulling an entirely facetious pouting face while wearing a black maxidress with a purple, green and pink floral pattern, a black shrug and broad brimmed hat.

An outfit photo of Erin with her arms flug out, looking serene, and she wears a black strappy dress with an orange and pink striped border hem.

Nick and I standing on a rock together with the sea and blue sky behind us.

Erin and I standing in the rock pools, I'm kicking water and Erin has her arms outstretched.

These photos make me happy, especially because I wasn’t feeling very great on the day, but horah for meeting terrific people! It would be so awesome to have a lovely beach party with all my e-frans.


Giftmas of 2011 past.

2 January, 2012

Purple, pink, blue baubles on the tree (including tiny mirrored disco balls!)

I know everyone’s already posted their holiday photos but we were staying at Mum and Dad’s and I only just mustered the energy to pull all the photos off my camera. We had a quiet Christmas, a claim Nick would object to coming from a small family, and spent the day with my immediate family, our cousins, and some family friends. It was really hot and I wasn’t feeling fabulous. Yes, it’s me your resident Scrooge!

Enjoy my Giftmas spam, or How To Celebrate Christmas When You’re Atheist And Vegetarian. I’ve put the photos behind a link because there are a lot!
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Year at a glance.

1 January, 2012

A collage of 12 drawings I did this year.

Last year sucked for a lot of reasons.

Anxiety and depression threatened to take everything I knew away from me. I was admitted to a psych ward. Diagnosed with Graves Disease and PTSD. Lost friends. Moved cities. Lost autonomy. Spent a lot of money trying to get better. Had to give up my art practice for long stretches of time. Endured physical and mental pain.

A collage of an outfit from every month in 2011.

I did figure out a few things though.

Friends who piss off at the first instance of anything that looks like it’s going to be something other than a fun time are not friends. People who criticise me without actually giving a shit about me are just trolls. My mental health is infinitely more important than basically everything else. People who think me selfish for looking after myself, my mind, my body and my life as a priority can disappear. Releasing secrets is sometimes the best thing. I am valid. It wasn’t my fault.

A collage of 16 Instagram photos of various things from this year.

I don’t know what this next selection of 12 months will hold, and I dare not try to predict the future or set ridiculously high expectations of myself. I will do what is best for me and my kin. I will keep breathing. It might be awkward and uncomfortable but I hope there’ll be some peace and laughter too.


Miffy does not enjoy holidays.

24 December, 2011

Nick and I posing with Miffy, who looks incredibly displeased, with hand lettering saying "Happy Holidays! ♥ The Perkinseses" while Miffy is thinking "Ugh! Humans!"

But we hope you have the opportunity to enjoy yours, and if you aren’t able to have a holiday I hope you can glean a few moments to look after yourself.

This year has been really tough for me. I’m not the kind of person to tell a whole year to sod off because on reflection there have been some really nice moments that I would like to remember, but all the bad stuff I most definitely would like to banish to obscurity.

I’ve learnt a lot this year about myself, community, family and friends. I’ve been diagnosed with brand new disabilities and started to identify as disabled. I’ve taken time off to heal. I adopted a funny little dog. I moved to a new city. I became more me.

Me taking a photo of my reflection in a mirror.

There are so many things I want to write about that I didn’t get the chance to properly think through, my last post in particular comes to mind, and I want to continue to work this stuff out. Lots of people think I’m rather weird for this over-sharing tendency but honestly, it helps me a great deal to know I have a community of people to bounce ideas around with. Thank you for that!

Next year I want to do awesome things. While I’m not so naive as to think nothing bad will happen, I’m going to treat myself better when and if they do happen. That’s my resolution.


31 today!

20 December, 2011

Today is my for-realsies birthday! Getting older is such an odd thing, I said that I still feel like an awkward 16 year old and my mother-in-law replied that she feels the same way too. It seems that many people feel scared and uncomfortable about getting older and treat birthdays with apprehension but I’ve never felt that way.

When I was younger I couldn’t wait to be in my thirties. I guess I figured that I’d have everything sorted out and would be able to live my life the way I wanted to. Now I’m here in my thirties and I’m optimistic. I’ve been through lots of struggles, and I’m sure I’ll encounter more, but I’m happy to have made it this far and I look forward to my life (most days) as an adult type person who is able to do exactly what she wants to do (again, most days… circumstances permitting!)

In the next year I look forward to slowly but consistently expanding my Fancy Lady Industries shop, working towards a life where I can be my own boss and earn a solid living wage while being true to my politics and passions; I hope to learn more every day about life, about me and you, about how to treat us tenderly and respectfully. My biggest goal is not to be afraid or ashamed of these things, because so often in the past I’ve felt like a weirdo for not wanting a big house or a stock portfolio or pursuing material or financial things. I just want to be me, to make things, and to think, love and be content.

Just for fun, here are some photos of me as a baby, and me as a newly minted 31 year old!

A photo of my mother and father holding me as a newborn in hospital, and a clipping of my birth notice from the newspaper.

My mother holding a 1 year old me up to blow out my birthday candle. I look rather disgruntled with the paltry offering of only one birthday cake.

Me as a blue haired 31 year old trying to copy the disgruntled face I made on my first birthday.

My grandmother and I smiling at lunch today. (We share the same birthday.)