You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2010.
You know, I haven’t missed my computer at home. Of course, I’m still getting my internet fix in sneaky breaks at work (work policy is this is fine, as long as your work gets done) and I have been able to use my sister’s laptop for emergency internet checking at home if I need to – which I have done once. I really have not missed it at all.
Well, I’ve been busy. Socialising, doing gardening (I bought a whipper snipper last weekend! It’s ace!) hanging out with the manpanion, helping my sister to pack up. Two more sleeps until she goes! It has sort of rushed up on me. I am certainly a bit sad, yes. Then again, I had a bit of a hissy on Tuesday evening. I did six loads of dishes on the weekend – by load I mean, what will fit on the rack at one time, I HATE drying, so I don’t. And the sister had said she would do some on Monday. Came home Tuesday and the kitchen was trashed, literally every surface covered with dirty crockery, and I broke a mug because I reached for the cat’s roo that was defrosting on the sink and a pile was dislodged. Well, I didn’t really have a hissy – it was one of a set of four Jamie Oliver colour mugs and it was this weird khaki, so it won’t be missed among my hundreds of mugs. Especially when it’s just me, because I tend to just use the same mug for days because I rinse it out when I’m done, except right now I can’t keep track of which one is mine in the maze of dirty mugs. So instead of a hissy I just sighed a deep, heavy sigh and went to go get the dustpan. BUT I COULD HAVE had a hissy.
And I’ve been knitting, of course. I can’t remember if I told you I was done with the Peak’s Island Hood or not – I am, and it’s all blocked and the cat only sat on it a few times during that process. Have yet to sew the buttons on because my sister has them and doesn’t know where they are.
Blocked damson, FINALLY, although the edges are still a bit curly. Really wish I’d managed that purl ridge. I’ve worn it a couple times, but it’s been pretty cold this week and I really need a proper thick scarf to go with my massive coat. Hoping it will get more of a look in when it warms up. Which has to be soon, right? Surely. I am very over it being cold and dark all the time. I am ready to wear skirts. I am wearing a skirt today, with tights, and I am FREEZING. Bring on bare-foot weather, I say.
And I finished the snapdragon mitts. The first one took me about two weeks, the second one got cast on this Monday and finished last night. Not a bad effort. I mucked up a couple of the cable bits a little bit, but not so’s you’d know unless you know what you’re looking for. I blocked them last night, and tonight I will find a button to attach the flap bit to. And then I might manage to take photos on the weekend and possibly even upload them. Oh, yes, and give them to my sister before she leaves for Ireland on Saturday.
I bought the pattern for Andrea’s Shawl (rav link) and I swatched and cast on for it last night. The yarn I bought for it is from etsy seller Hermosa and it is BEAUTIFUL. Soft and shiny and such gorgeous colours. The light purple is called ‘thistle’ and the dark ‘blackberry’. Unfortunately I didn’t pay much attention and even though it’s labelled as a sock yarn, it’s fingering weight – I’d say light fingering – where the pattern calls for sport weight. I got gauge holding it double, which doesn’t show the yarn off as much as it could, but is still very pretty. But now I am of course worried that I won’t have enough yarn. I might, given that I’m doing the smallest size of the stripy version. Oh, well, at least it’ll make me knit faster, right? Under the well known phenomenon of thinking you’re going to run out of yarn having that effect. If I start to run out I suppose I could use more of the darker yarn in the body of the shawl. Body of the shawl?
You start by knitting the bottom edging, and I’m zooming along making purple lace. Got a few weird looks on the bus today.
I accidentally bought the pattern twice. I bought it from knitpicks and it didn’t get processed and I wanted to swatch THAT NIGHT (which of course I didn’t end up doing) and it’s chepa and I like her patterns so I bought it through ravelry, which was instant. So now I have two. Would anyone like one? Leave me a comment. If more than one person wants it, I’ll do a random draw thingy.
I replied to the acquaintence who sent me the political rant, basically telling him off. He wrote back apologising and thanking me for my opnion. I shall have to write back again. He’s a nice boy, even if he does give me beserker rage.
And that is about all that is happening here. Oh, except that I painted my letter box red. It looks fantastic.
It really helps if you READ THE PATTERN.
Adelaide is part of who I am. I grew up, went to school, took my first steps into work, university and adulthood here.
Whether it’s memories of the fruit trees in our back yard, playing at Brown Hill Creek, being taught to knit by the elderly women who lived at Sunset Lodge where my mother worked or having my favourite teacher, Mr Crowe, correct my grammar at primary school, my recollections of this place and its people are good.
Incidentally, how do we all feel about calling her ‘Julia’ and not ‘Gillard’ or ‘Ms Gillard’ or whatever? I’ve seen a few grumpy facebook updates about how we never called him ‘Kevin’ (I did, though, when I wasn’t calling him ‘Krudd’) or ‘John’ (what about ‘honest Johnnie’?). I don’t feel that it is necessarily disrespectful, although it certainly could be in different contexts, juast like anything. I think, given her casual, one-of-the-people attitude that she’s working, it’s appropriate. It seems snide to me to call her ‘Mzzzzz Gillard’, like you are trying to say ‘Mzz-deliberately-barren-unmarried-ruining-the-children-what-is-the-world-coming-to-cats-and-dogs-living-together-god-has-foresaken-us-zzzz Gillard’.
*10 points if you know what I’m referencing.
I got a facebook email from an acquaintence the other day (we met once, at a communist themed party, had a five-hour-long drunken discussion about feminism, and haven’t seen each other since). I had blocked him because I couldn’t handle the ‘bloody coup’ comments. I mean, it’s ridiculous. He emailed asking me what I thought about ‘the coup’ and whether it was ‘good for women’ or ‘bad for women’ that Julia was ‘installed by male power brokers’. I sent him back a long reply explaining how parliamentary democracy works, who gets to elect who, how Kevin got elected in the first place, how it’s quite absurd to throw around phrases like ‘good for women’ without any qualifiers, but that was quite nice to have a female role model who isn’t either completely vapid or completely frigid – and I mean that not in a sexual sense but in an open and happy and willing-to-engage-with-the-public sense. I realise there is a reason that women at the top are like that, and that a lot of Julia’s availablity is show. That is not really the point, if we are talking about role models. And since when are we not allowed to have a variety of role models? Why should she have to be married to be a good role model?! Ok, ok, I know why: patriarchy! But, still.
I can’t give you new photos because my computer is broke, so I’ve whacked some crarf camp ones in to break up the text. I love these photos of crafty women and their crafty hands, hands that have touched and made so many beautiful things. I bought a new harddrive for my poor sick computer (1 Terabyte for $80! Ridiculous! I remember when 1 Terabyte was only achieved by lashing together several computers! Uphill! Both ways! In the snow!) but that didn’t fix the problem – I think it’s the RAM. But I don’t have the time or the brainspace to fix it any time soon. So I moved it into the laundry and moved the desk it was on into the shed. Then I set up the TV in the lounge room (there was previously no room) and brough in the extra armchair. Suddenly the room seemed so much bigger! While I was doing this my sister used paint stripper on the hinges of the door that had been painted over, and took the door off. Another enbiggening act.
The living room is a much nicer place to be now. An actual place to sit, way more welcoming and cosy, and it is starting to feel like the kind of house I want to live in. I might move the bookcase out form my room (there was nowhere else to put it when we moved in) into the living room soon, although I might want to paint it first, I think. Then I have to paint the wardrobe that I started sanding when we moved into our LAST place… oh, 18 months ago, so I can have that in my room and all my clothes can have a home.
I am thinking I might even leave the computer out in the laundry – it’s a comfortable enough place to sit on the internet for a bit and to check emails, but not so comfortable that I’ll want to spend hours playing games. I think that might be optimal, actually.
Food and Fatness
I quite like this post from the fat nutritionist about how to be healthy.
The traditional 10 Tips for Better Health 
* 1. Don’t smoke. If you can, stop. If you can’t, cut down.
* 2. Follow a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
* 3. Keep physically active.
* 4. Manage stress by, for example, talking things through and making time to relax.
* 5. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
* 6. Cover up in the sun, and protect children from sunburn.
* 7. Practice safer sex.
* 8. Take up cancer-screening opportunities.
* 9. Be safe on the roads: follow the Highway Code.
* 10. Learn the First Aid ABCs: airways, breathing, circulation.
The social determinants 10 Tips for Better Health
* 1. Don’t be poor. If you can, stop. If you can’t, try not to be poor for long.
* 2. Don’t have poor parents.
* 3. Own a car.
* 4. Don’t work in a stressful, low-paid manual job.
* 5. Don’t live in damp, low-quality housing.
* 6. Be able to afford to go on a foreign holiday and sunbathe.
* 7. Practice not losing your job and don’t become unemployed.
* 8. Take up all benefits you are entitled to, if you are unemployed, retired or sick or disabled.
* 9. Don’t live next to a busy major road or near a polluting factory.
* 10. Learn how to fill in the complex housing benefit/asylum application forms before you become homeless and destitute.
Along with this really interesting post about what food is FOR. And why poor people aren’t doing it wrong, actually.
I’ve been thinking on and off about one particular moment of last crarf camp’s pictionary game. The word was ‘diet’. The draw-er for the other team (don’t remember who it was, help me out guys?) drew a fat person with an arrow pointing to a thin person. I drew a picture of cake, with a line through it. No particular place to go with that, I just thought about what diets mean to us and how we think about them.
I cast on Snapdragon mitts on the bus this morning, and now all I want to do is knit them. They are sitting a bit out of my bag, taunting me in my peripheral vision. I am using some Bendigo rustic in a mustard colour that my grandma gave me (apparently they don’t make that colour anymore) held double with some knittery sock yarn that I died with Emma one time. It was supposed to be bright yellow but there was some green left in the pot so now it’s golds and mustards. Not colours I would wear, but very lovely if I do say so myself. And I do. It’s bringing just a little pop to the almost-brown bendigo yarn, and the mitts are all smooshy and lovely.
I started knitting Bird in the Hand mitts, but I was using 12 ply and the colourwork was WAY too dense. Practically like armour! On the other hand, I did colourwork. I have been scared of colourwork for ages, cos my gauge is pretty tight anyway and I was afraid I wouldn’t strand the back properly and they’d pucker. But I sort of forgot that and just cast on. And it was fun! The estonian braid was pretty rad, too. I’ll probably knit them at some stage when I can get my hands on some worsted (I did pay for the pattern, after all!) or maybe I could get away with 8ply for these – the colourwork would probably make them thick enough. But the new knitty is up and my sister LOVES peacocks, so I’m going to try to finish the snapdragons in the next two weeks (omg. Two weeks! And then she leaves! Suddenly I am as sad as I am glad) because I think flip tops will be more appropriate for an Irish summer. I will send her mystery and manners once she gets there. I know I have some appropriate yarn for it, but I can’t FIND it. I might have to buy some more, oh noes…
I bought some yarn off of etsy to knit Andrea’s shawl for my cousin whose mother died. Dark purple and lavender. The yarn came today, I grabbed the parcel as I left for work, but I haven’t opened it yet. It is still exciting and full of promise. And I am dreaming of having my yarn on display again, where I can see it and touch it, not under the bed and on top of the wardrobe.
The funeral was fine. Not what I’d call fun, but fine. My Uncle D is apparently the official euology giver now. He was sad all through it, but cracked up twice. Both times he was talking about my dad. I think people were not too shocked about Auntie L. I mean, it’s still sad and horrible, but it doesn’t have that same horrible rug-pulled-out feeling as my dad’s death did. It was kind of nice to have an opportunity to talk about it – my family is a bit tight with words sometimes. Cousin C. told me that her dad (my favourite uncle, married in) said that my dad was his favourite. That was nice. I missed my dad the other day for the first time in a while – actively missed him, I mean. I think it might be a seasonal thing. Winter carries no particular associations. Now that there is a hint of spring in the air, I am thinking about it all again.
Or maybe it is that I went to S’s house on the weekend and met his kids, saw him being a father. I don’t feel like I have father issues (well, not any more than most) but it’s certainly something that will come up, I expect. And having him around, telling me I am loved and noticed and special… that makes me think of my dad, too. That feeling of being known and cherished. And knowing and cherishing back – that silent understanding and acknowelgement. I’ve missed that.
His kids are so adorable and hilarious. I had more fun hanging with them (and S, and his dad, and his best friend) than I have at many parties I have been to. I think A, the eldest, was pretty prepared to hate me. Fair enough, too. He didn’t hate me, though. I think. We had a geek gaming weekend, and it was so much fun, even though I had the man flu.
This relationship thing. It’s super weird.
Sorry I haven’t been around these parts. One of my aunts, to whom I was not very close, has killed herself. The selfish bint. I realise that is not the correct reaction, but, really! Anyway, while I am not personally particularly devastated, there have been the family events and of course it’s consumed much of my thinking cycles, leaving not too many for blogging. Funeral is tomorrow. Will let you know how it goes.
Anyway. To the point!
Occasionally I’ll have a chat conversation with Bek about books we like. I don’t really do much reading, anymore, which makes me sad. This is partly because working full time drains the brain, but also, I’ve realised, because I have so much trouble finding good, readable books that aren’t rubbish. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground between Mills & Boon and heavy duty Smart Books. Both of which I enjoy, but there is a time and a place for both, and it isn’t on weeknights. And I can’t just keep reading Kerry Greenwood books over and over – she does churn them out, but there aren’t that many! Plus, they do get a bit irritating if you read too many in one gulp.
Oh, dear, I don’t appear to be able to keep from rambling.
When Bek and I chat, it’s often about books we liked as kids. I personally rousingly endorse anything that Tamora Pierce has written (I’m currently voraciously reading the first Beka Cooper books again) because of their strong female characters, strong male characters, excellent themes and, heaven above, PLOTS! And in these chats I realised that I really miss speculative fiction.
For those not in the know, Spec Fic (or sf, depending on if you want a fight with the SciFi-ers) is anything encompassing Fantasy and Science Fiction genres, as well as some horror, apocalyptic fiction, distopias and utopias and possibly anything else that is just a bit weird. The description’s in the name, really, but the wiki article is pretty good if you’re confused. Spec fic used to be my genre. If it had a unicorn or a spaceship on the cover, I’d read it. The trouble is, there is so much truly truly terrible spec fic out there. Kings with big swords and troubled loners with the urge to discover unknown frontiers and conquer some spacebabes. Gimme a break. So I’d sort of stopped picking up anything with a flying horse or an alien on the cover, because the odds were it would be rubbish.
But Bek recommended the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones (criminally, I had never previously read any of her books), and I bought the first two in one book. And I read it in a day and a half. And it was lovely. Not only did I enjoy the book tremendously, I enjoyed reading it tremendously. I had sort of forgotten what a rush it is to sit and be absorbed by another world. To think about the book while you weren’t reading it. To rush to the end, only to be sad it is over. I have bought the next books in the series (from Better World Books, natch, where books are cheap and second hand and the service is beyond compare), and am waiting impatiently for them to wing their way to me accross the sea.
But then an idea occured to me. Not a very novel one (ha! A pun!) but still. People keep seeing the Chrestomanci book in my bag and recommending other things. And I was wondering if I could collect some of your recommendations. And then I would collect them and put them up on the internet somewhere and maybe review (in a very amateurish way)some of them as I get to them, along with some of my favourites. Who wants to play? I would particularly like to emphasise children/young adult books because I feel that there are many more engaging stories in kids’ books, and it’s hard to keep selling the same tripe to kids over and over. Whereas grownups will read a whole series that is essentially the same plot with the names changed. But I want it to be something you have actually read as a grownup (or almost) since the point is for me to read them, and sometimes what is good for kids is not good for adults, unfortunately. Luckily, there is some crossover.
I also want to hear your general spec fic recommendations (there doesn’t have to be a crystal sword or anything, just something that’s about a world a bit different to our, or our world, but a bit different too). I want to know specific books rather than authors – for instance, if you tell me you like David Eddings, I might have a panic attack because there are fifty kajillion of them, and some of the series are excellent for the first three books, and then the next ten books in the series why would you do that are a bit ordinary. I am thinking I might do a review of some authors whose works I know pretty well, eg, Anne McCaffrey, and detail some of the series’. So if you want to do that too, that would be ace.
When I get a chance I will find the list I have started from my real world friends, and take it from the back of a crumpled reciept and put it onto the immortal internets. Maybe I’ll reactivate my Goodreads account and keep a list there. It depends on you, gentle readers, and on how much reading momentum I can gather. I know I could look on somewhere like goodreads for recommendations, but that feels the same as reading amazon reviews. You, on the other hand, are people I know and whose opinions I value. So let ‘er rip! If you find you are typing a mile-long comment, and you don’t already have my email, it’s kaviare [at] gmail.com.