Thursday, October 29, 2009

Off balance!

I had a lovely, lovely day yesterday.

I took the Accountant's car to the car doctor in the Northern Capital (as he was hesitant about losing a day of work, and I had one of my child-free days). This meant a meet up with the delightful Ms 2paw, lots of talking and a little shopping.

We visited the Doomlight of Spot tm, amongst other lovely places, including a wonderful shop called Cocoon, which was full of wildly desireable, and completely unaffordable, hand crafted things.

Ms 2Paw also gave me presents! She said they were a late Christmas present from last year, but I feel they were simply a very early and organised one for this year!

There was a gorgeous skein of Ixchel Dr Who themed BFL and Angora 4ply, some Dr Who magnets, a lovely 'generic blue police box' zippy case (this may look exactly like a TARDIS, but we don't want Ms 2Paw hunted down by the BBC), and the most exquisite, handmade and embroidered buttons. Now I must make something worthy of their beauty!

I also forgot to mention the lovely Sock Club delivery from Needlfood, which had a pink Breast Cancer Awareness theme. I am so glad I signed up to this club - I think she may need to shoot me to be rid of me, if this is a fair example of the gorgeousness she supplies!

I will do the rather blush making stash honesty update next week, because there is something else I need to mention.

Thrity years ago next week, I waved goodbye to my parents as they went off for a holiday in New Zealand. Mum didn't know it at the time, but Dad and I had organised for her to have an adventure while she was away. She never returned,

November 28 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Mt Erebus aircrash, in which 257 people were killed, Mum amongst them (and the only Australian on board).

I was 17 years old, and this event has been central to my life. along with the associated investigations, Royal Commissions, court cases and periodic re-visiting of the events surrounding the crash of TE 901.

At the end of November, Air New Zealand are holding memorial services and various commemorations of Flight 901 and of the aircrash near Perpignan which happened a year ago. They have finally apologised for the way they treated fanilies of the victims 30 years ago, and the lessons they learned from this allowed them to be much kinder to the families of victims of the Perpignan crash.

They offered to fly me to New Zealand for the services and events. I was going to fly over there. But all this happened last Saturday and I have sent the last week feeling overwhelmed and off balance. I would have been flying over there alone. I would have had no support. I would have been gone from home 2 nights and I'm not sure how I would have coped.

So I have decided not to go. I will spend the anniversary of Mum's death with my family. We will go away for a weekend. I will have cuddles and kisses if I cry. I will have them where and when I need them.

Sometime in the next year, we will all go to New Zealand. And then I will visit the memorials. Air New Zealand are going to take messages to the Antarctic for a time capsule and we will all send something down.

But we will be together here, not there. When all is said and done, this family is also Mum's legacy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oops, I did it again (with apologies for even knowing the name of this song!)

Well, yes. It is the weekend again. And yes, I did not blog this week. And I read everyone else's blogs and try to keep up with comments, but really, if you all go out and have such a good time and then you go and sign up to Blogtoberfest, and then you blog every single day and you are not only doing stuff but blogging, well, it makes me feel just a bit inadequate.

My life sort of rolls along.

I'm knitting the same thing I was last weekend (because I had to frog more than half and re-do it).

Then I was exhausted after running, and visiting Kaydale Lodge, and the Leven Canyon. Kaydale is one of the few places in Australia to grow fritillarias and trilliums, and they are currently in bloom. They also do wonderful lunches (mainly with their own produce) and are very close to the Canyon (Different link).

We walked to the lookout up a sloping path, and it was windy and beautiful and catch-your-breath spectacular. And then we decided to walk the loop back to the car. This entailed walking down (thank all the little gods and goddesses - DOWN and not UP!) 697 steps, to the bridge and creek at the bottom.

697! Can you imagine how you'd feel walking up the dratted things? Down was bad enough - my hamstrings and lower back hurt for a couple of days, and I am fairly comfortably fit at present!. How do I know how many stairs there were, you may ask? (I did hear you asking!)

Because there are benches on the way and each bench contains information on how many stairs to the bottom from that bench, how many to the top and how many to the next bench, both up and down. I'm quite proud that I only had to read them, and not sit on them.

And then once you reach the bridge at the bottom, you have to get back up to the car park, and that means a long and very steep path. We all did it, and despite the slightly sore legs, even the kids had no problems. In fact, this may be a record, because neither of them whinged at all!

The only other news is that swimming lessons for small people have started. This has meant a total frenzy of excitement (and me having to purchase a smaller swimsuit). Destructoboy was really excited up until he had to actually get into the pool, but the kids are told that swimming classes are non-negotiable. They must be able to swim.

They don't need to be competitive swimmers, (because who wants to be getting up at 5am in the cold and dark to take them to the pool for squad training - not me!), but they must be competent and safe.

Too many children drown every year in Australia, in pools, dams, rivers and the sea. My children will not join them if I have anything to say about it (and I do). So swimming it is. The Princess loves it - as far as she is concerned, any moment not spent in the water in summer is a moment wasted. She is competent, confident and has absolutely no style! A bit like me really.

Destructoboy can't swim yet, but in a few weeks he will. Not that my vigilance around children and water will relax, but at least I can feel calmer when I see them in a pool.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Unventing (or did I invent this?)

Life has been rolling on, but the blahs returned because of yet another period of sustained rainfall. I have a feeling you can probably chart Tasmania's weather by the state of my blogging.

It has been nearly 2 weeks since my last post. I have finished socks.

Here are the Blackrose socks I made for Beth, currently winging their way across the Pacific.

Bendigo Luxury 8ply in Purple Storm, made on 3.25mm sticks. These were really big socks and took a lot of knitting. These took up most of my knitting time for a couple of weeks.

Here are the Fawkes socks I started when we were on holiday. These are my first magic loop socks - for some reason, although I have been using magic loop for all sorts of things (sleeves, hats, mitts) I had never gotten around to making socks with it. I am now a complete convert, because during the time I knitted these, I never once lost a DPN under the car seat! Not once.

Fawkes socks, 2.5mm harmony circular, Fleece Artist Somoko in Sun - yum!

Ms Madmad and I were having a conversation about how much nicer knitted garments are now than they were in days of yore. Beautiful yarn and fibres, lovely patterns, nice buttons. Having finished the Vine Yoke Cardigan and Tempest recently, both buttons heavy projects, I mentioned to Ms Madmad that since I had converted to the using of safety pins, I had no problems with button placement.

I am not sure if I invented this. After all, for years I thought I had invented the cable cast on, because everyone I knew taught me that you cast on by sticking the needle through the stitch, and when I stumbled on the idea of sticking it between the stitches and discovered it made a much cleaner, firmer edge I had no idea that it had a name. From the moment I discovered it, I never went back, and it was only much, much later when I got my hands on a stitch dictionary that I found out that not only had I not invented it, that it actually had a name.

So, the safety pin method for dealing with buttons.

First, block your item. Depending on construction, sometimes I just steam press the finished item. Sometimes I give it a soak with a tiny bit of woolwash. I spin it in the washing machine and then lay it out on the wonderful rubber alphabet tiles I bought for less than 10 dollars. I pin shawls etc, but generally not cardigans. Them I smooth out by hand and match up bands.

Matching up the bands is utterly crucial.

Given that usually you have already knitted in the buttonholes, making sure that the bands are perfectly matched is the heart of this method.

Wander off and leave the item to dry.

Occasionally, I will give it a steam press when it is dry too. Depends. Lay it on a nice flat surface, and you are good to go.

Now, grab a pile of safety pins and pin them where the buttons would go, on the underneath band. Start with the top and bottom button positions.

I generally have them horizontal, and as I go I push the closed safety pins through the buttonholes as if they were buttons. This is the crucial bit.

When they are all in position I check that the bands are still perfectly matched, and adjust the position of any safety pins.

Once you are completely happy, sew on the buttons, matching the button to the safety pin. Voila! You are done.

This all arose because of a series of button disasters, exacerbated by the problem that when I sew a button on, it stays sewn. My buttons, when I have sewn them on, never fall off, so changing the postion of a button is a nightmare. I used to use glass headed pins, but still had button disasters, and then I thought of using safety pins. They come in different sizes, so you can cover most sizes of buttonholes, they are easy to move around, but stay still when closed and they can pretend to be buttons for the purpose of this exercise.

Since I started doing this (and as far as I know I invented it, but you are all probably doing this anyway and I just didn't know), I have not had a button diaster. Not one.

So I am pretty pleased with myself (but having said that, I will now no doubt have 16 disasters in a row. Hubris works like that. I'll have to be extra careful!).

Have a good weekend, and I'll try to do exciting stuff to report back. Pray for sunshine!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just a Thought..

I've been thinking, which is generally considered by those who know me to be a dangerous occupation.

What I've been thinking, is that I've decided to completely embargo the term 'I've lost weight'. That's it. I've sent it into coventry and I am not letting it out.

Those of you who have met Tinkingbell 1.0, may know that Tinkingbell 2.0 is a somewhat less cozy, fluffy and generally smaller version. In fact, having almost made it halfway, Tinkingbell 3.0 is likely (at some point in 2010) to be a much reduced version - slimline and sleek and 30% smaller.

But you know what? I haven't lost weight.

Losing weight implies that you have put it down somewhere and momentarily forgotten it. That perhaps you've had a senior moment and stuck it in the fridge while you were thinking of something else. That perhaps it's slipped down behind the sofa cushions, and next time you tidy up it will be there again. Or you left it on top of the car when you were getting the kids into their seats and it flew off on the road somewhere.

Since the end of April, I have been serious about working my weight off. It has taken me a fair amount of effort to eat better (and somewhat less), to cook better food for myself and my family, to make lifestyle changes so I don't follow most of my relatives and die early of major heart disease. I gave up smoking many years ago, but the weight was a risk factor in and of itself.

When I finally admitted that I was fat, I started going to the gym and strangely, I enjoyed it, but after eight months I had lost 300gr. I had, however, gone down a clothes size.

So I began attending a certain well known group. I also started sorta running (which we now know has a real name - Fartlek interval training), where I would run to a telegraph pole, then walk to the next one then stagger to the next one and so on.

But now, with the best part of 15kg (about 33 pounds) gone - and roughly the same to go, I have decided that that weight has not been lost.

Not one gram.

No. I've worked the stuff off. And it's been hard labour all the way.

So, from now on, I'm going to talk about either slimness gain, or fitness gain or working it off. Any other good suggestions?