Friday, 30 May 2008

Me, too!

No Rose Red, you're not quite the last person in blogland to do this meme. I love a good meme, and I'm brain dead after a long Friday, so here it is.

1) What was I doing ten years ago?
I was halfway through the second year of my PhD studies in Darwin. At this particular time of the year - start of the tropical dry season - I would be most likely to be found out at one of my field sites, probably up to my knees in water or mud, taking measurements, keeping a whether eye out for snakes, wild pigs, crocodiles and drug growers. Since 530 that morning.

2) What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?
Given the day is almost over, Ive done a few of them. Go to the supermarket, visit friends with a new baby, hang out the washing (and bring it in again). I still have to do the heel on a sock (deadline knitting) and do some more research on purchases in Germany for my SIL to bring out with her next month.

3) Snacks I enjoy?
Milk. More milk. Chocolate milkshakes. Cheesymite scrolls. Cheese and crackers (a nice sharp cheddar on Jatz by preference). And if Ive got a sweet-tooth (which you may have gathered is not often) a cinnamon doughnut or a square or two of dark (70% cocoa) chocolate.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire?
There have been stacks of good suggestions here already, and I'm not so imaginative as to come up with anything startlingly brilliant. Buy our own home, pay off my parent's and brother's mortgages and give them some play money, invest for the kid's education. I would also set up substantial trusts for the RSPCA and several organisations that focus on neglected and abused children and women. I might take a long holiday, and might work less, but certainly wouldn't give up working.

5) Places I have lived?
The country town (now outer suburb of Melbourne) where I grew up (3 houses); inner Melbourne while an undergrad (2 houses); Darwin to do my postgrad degree (at least 9 houses, Ive lost count there); outer Sydney and Blue Mountains (4 houses); Canberra (2 houses).

I am so tired of moving house.

6) Jobs I have had?
Nursery hand, devonshire tea waitress, GPs receptionist, bar attendant & waitress (up to management level), gaming attendant (ie. poker machines - soul destroying comes close), university tutor and lecturer, researcher. I'm now a public servant for the Federal Government.

7) Peeps I want to know more about?
Everyone! As I said, I love memes and I also love getting to know people. If you haven't done it, please do!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Like, totally wrapped

In amongst the chaos that has been Chez GTK - moving house, unpacking, crazy work stuff, impossible tiredness and what I fondly call "placenta brain", there has been knitting.

Small things, mainly, because chances are I wont have more than about half an hour before I either fall asleep, get stressed about work and head back to the computer or get mired in another PJ-shaped drama, but knitting none the less.

I have had revelatory experience in particular. After maybe a year of reading about it, I finally sucked it up and knit something top-down and seamless.

And I am here to tell you, sisters and brothers, I have seen the light!

Why in HEAVEN'S NAME do we not knit everything like this? Well, OK, not quite everything, some things need seams, but I'm really taken with this method. Really easy to conceptualise and modify, with the added bonus of making me feel really, really clever! See, I knit something in one piece and do no have to send it Mum to sew up!

So I solemnly swear from this point on, as the Knitting Goddess is my witness, I will never knit something with seams again unless it completely necessary.

Pattern: Seamless Baby Kimono (Rav link) from The Complete Fabrication (blog link).

Yarn: Bendigo Classic 8ply in Blueberry - 90 g

Sticks: Knitpicks Options 4mm

Mods: The pattern is sized for a 6 - 9 month old (size 00 in Australia), and I wanted a newborn size (000). So I:

  • stopped increasing at 44 sts instead of 50 across the back, and then knit the fronts until they were also 44 sts.
  • had 30 sts held on waste yarn for each sleeve, and picked up 4 more under the arm, then decreased to 22 sts and knit straight until the sleeve was 12 cm long before doing the cuff
  • used the 3 sts held for the front tie to knit i-cord instead of flat

Time: cast on 2 May, cast off 9 May. Pretty quick by my standards - you know I'm not a one-project kinda gal!

The possibilities with this pattern are endless. First, if I can re-size it that easily, I'm sure my cat could too if I cast on the stitches for her. Second, use a different increase down the front for a different (less-lacy) look; button closure instead of tie, not to mention the options for some applied i-cord or duplicate-stitch bits and bobs on the front to customise it.

I am resisting the urge to cast on another until I get some urgent gift knitting out of the way (more on that once it's gifted), but I think this pattern will become a permanent fixture in my knitting bag.


One more thing before you go: there's a new blogger on the Canberra scene. Pop over and check out Bec's crazy world and say hi! She's just finished the loveliest clappy.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Been 5 o'clock shadow boxing all round town

Oh, hello! I didn't realise anyone was still there.....

Sincerest apologies for my lack of blogosphere participation of late - something had to give and this was it. I have been reading and mostly keeping up, and I still love you all, but frankly if I was blogging and properly commenting, I wouldn't be doing something else, like sleeping. And since I still haven't discovered how to type with my toes, I can't knit and blog at the same time, and I'm afraid any snatched moments for relaxation have gone to knitting.

So last week it was my birthday. Given my heavy workload and that Beloved was in Cairns (tropical town, mmmm, warm...) for a conference, it threatened to be a non-event. And between you and me, I kinda like having birthdays, so I was a bit sad, and fully prepared for a non-event birthday.

However, the efforts of PJ and my Mum (who was staying with while Beloved was away), lovely messages from friends and some fantastic gifts, I had a lovely birthday, that stretched out most of the week with the arrival of parcels and cards in the post.

After a very trying work day on Monday, I arrived home to be greeted at the door by a big hug, kiss and very loud "Happy Birthday!" from PJ. He then led me to the kitchen table, ordered me to sit down and "stay!", then vanished into the back bedroom with Mum. They emerged after a few minutes of furtive whisperings, holding a beautifully decorated and be-candled birthday cake. After a rousing chorus of singing, PJ saved my poor aging lungs and blew out the candles. Sadly, I cant share a photo.

My Mum, bless, always asks if there's anything I want for my birthday. She came through with a set of Knitpicks Harmony dpns, one set of which are already halfway through a sock and which I am loving.

And she cooked dinner for us. All week.

Beloved and PJ, with a little help from a friend or two, presented me on Sunday morning with one of my heart's greatest desires:

A swift and ball winder. And, it seems, unlimited PJ-power to turn the winder! It's not slave labour if he asks to do it, is it?

The astute amongst you will note what's on the swift: a lovely gift from Bells and RoseRed. They fully appreciate the restraint I have shown since the Cassidy's $2 brain-snap and decided my stash needed some enhancing. Four skeins of mmmmalabrigo to love and pet and squish and call my very own. Three in stonechat and one in oceanus.

If it's possible (and I didn't think it was), they are more beautiful in the yarncake than the skein (cos now I can make yarncakes!). Now I have endless hours of pleasure ahead of me in deciding what to do with them!

After a particularly gruesome day at work (can you tell it was one of those weeks?), I arrived home to find yet another parcel waiting for me. I was floored to find that kms had gifted me her stunning Waratah Fibres polwath-silk Shetland Triangle, and some lovely tea. I may have swooned.

So thank you to everyone for my lovely gifts and for all the unexpected greetings and wishes. 'Twas a surprising and fabulous birthday indeed!

Monday, 12 May 2008

This is....what reminds me of my Mum

It's funny how scents from childhood have some special place in our brains that are permanently linked to special memories.

My mum has used Oil of Olay every day since she was a teenager, and insists on receiving it as a gift at birthdays and Christmas. It was the first moisturiser I ever used myself, and I still go back to it from time to time. I always have a bottle in the bathroom cupboard.

And, in a similar vein, both the sight and smell of Cusson's Imperial Leather soap are irrevocably tied to thoughts of my Mum.

Happy Mother's Day to all mums, and to all women with special children in their lives.

This pre-1985

I missed one part of last week's meme, so in the interests of completeness, here is me before 1985:

with my beloved first pony, Diamond, at out first gymkhana in 1983. Note the plaited tail and mane, and that Diamond isn't too impressed with the whole deal.

We won three ribbons that day: the light blue is for a clear round in show-jumping; then there is a second and third, but I cant recall the events.

Oh, OK, here's another a bit closer up:

A fwe years earlier, maybe 1980. My Nan knitted me that jumper.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

This is...the pair of shoes I would sleep in

I am all about the comfort factor. I always have been. I've tried to do glam, polished and sophistocated, but I just cant pull it off. I feel grown-up and put-together when I put on make-up (eyeliner, eye shadow and lipgloss) to go to work.

I own maybe thirty pairs of shoes, but wear about 5 of them. And thats the total for summer and winter.

These are my absolute must-have shoes: Blundstones. Or, as they've fondly known by regular wearers, Blunnies. I think this is about my tenth pair; I killed 4 pairs during the fieldwork for my PhD, but this pair has lasted longer (they're clearly not Public Service suitable!).

If I could have just one pair of shoes, this would be them. I would sleep in them any day - and have. Many times. But those stories aren't suitable for this timeslot!