Thursday, March 31, 2005

Not for the squeamish...

so, on sunday we went to Canberra, it was a rush job, basically to use mileage to avoid tax ( weird I know)
all children refused to join us...their loss.
On the way to Canberra ( approx 300km from home...give or take) we saw;
2 dead foxes, one pristine, one not
13 assorted wallabies and kangaroos in various states of ...carnage
approx 2 dozen squashed small mammals
1 dead snake...with guts
I did not see a single live wild mammal...I was becoming I am in an ecosystem teeming with fascinating creatures...and all I see are the deceased ones...I feel like a morgue attendant on night shift.

Coming home ( did you notice how I conveniently skipped the "in Canberra" part...lets not go there) I saw plenty of live wildlife...obviously the road is very attractive to them...they needed to be near it, on it, on and off it at random, I felt like God was flinging wallabies at me ( there Jus, you asked for it!) "no, no I don't want them" they were bouncing out of the bushes, I was terrified that I was going to hit one, Flash was making the most of his birthday weekend, and was once again being chauffered...and was in no condition to drive ( although this time he had the consideration to keep the alcohol in a can!) I was in a state of near hysteria ( in a calm way of course) until that inevitable moment was dead, but it was in my lane, a car was just overtaking me on my right, so I couldn't swerve, a ute was on my tail, so I couldn't the words of the children's book...we couldn't go under it, couldn't go around we had to go through it..I tell you, I have never been so grateful to see the lights of the big city, and leave the country behind...we drove straight to the carwash.

Luckily...I did not see something that I have seen too many times to count, in my weekend trips to the country house...that is...humans in varied states of death and disarray due to the sorry state of the roads in the mid-north island...Maungatawhiri and Maramarua are notorious...why oh why don't the authorities take a leaf out of the Aussie book ( go on they can do SOME things right!) and build freeways in black spots, the joy of driving when you are not living in fear that around the next bend there is a logging truck coming at you on the wrong side of the road. Driving out of Sydney is an absolute pleasure, and as I said...if we had freeways in NZ I could commute from Waihi, to Auckland and enjoy an idyllic lifestyle...and no-ones flinging any wallabies at me in NZ.

Link to a gratuitous article on NZ ( and the odd squashed possum)

The manly vest suffered a mishap...I was;
place all sts to left of centre in holding position
make armhole as for back ( I read"cast of 14 sts beg next 2 rows" guess what happens next*)
dec. 1 st every 4th row 17 x at neck edge
dec. 1 st every alt row 18 x at the armhole
work 20 rows mc, 2 rows alt c, alternating
and my brain exploded.

(*yeah I cast off 14 sts twice for the armhole)

that is the problem with knitting machines, they make everything so fast that you lose the plot very quickly, and then things go very very wrong.

Clapotis is still on the needles, she is my solace.

OZ "1" NZ "0"

OZ "1" NZ "0"

impenetrable barrier

impenetrable barrier

Sunday, March 27, 2005

we have returned...

we have returned...

I am tired, have driven for 3.5 hours, on full alert to avoid kamikaze

Here is proof, will elaborate tomorrow

Easter excess

Good morning and Happy Easter to all,
2 of my children are doing what no doubt many are doing at this moment...Ipods connected, lying in bed, reading Dolly and eating chocolate...yes the Easter Bunny visited our house, leaving white bunnies for Maria, hokey pokey crunchie eggs for Charlotte, and a little bag of mini cream eggs for Blaise ...has she been a bad bunny? oh no no no, she has marched up to the gym with Flash, smelling of candy floss, as she requested alternative gifts this year, so body spray and talc were delivered instead. There is still 1/2 a carrot cake left from yesterday, and with Blaise as our collective conscience, I will not make an easter cake....however...I may use the excess mini eggs in muffins...1/2 fill the muffin tins, pop in an unwrapped egg, and top up the muffin batter...mmm yummy! and here is a recipe for using up those "Easter Peeps" jellybeans ( have a look at the rest of the site, heaps of cool Easter ideas.)

As an aside, Blaise is fit and eats healthy by choice, she does not have an eating or exercise disorder, as I mentioned long ago, she has a spinal condition which requires her to maintain a healthy weight, her body thinks it is 4 inches taller than it actually is, so she has to weigh less than her body wants to...if that makes sense, thankfully, she has inherited the entire extended family's quota of willpower, so where I can maintain a gym regime for 3 months, or a de-tox for 10 days...she has been to the gym 5 days out of 7 for the past 6 months, she IS the energiser bunny!

In keeping with the bunny theme ( close your eyes if you really believe the dog you had as a child "went to the farm", or as an SSK-er told me "possum fur comes from possums who live on little farms and get brushed every day")
Blaise and I have been longing to see marsupials in the wild since we arrived, the thought of great "long-leggetty beasties" with tails bouncing around the way bunnies do at home has had us staring out of car windows for hours, and finally yesterday we saw our first wild wallaby...dead in a ditch by the side of the road...we all had moist eyes after that...but I suppose it is a common enough sight in the country, and a lot scarier for the driver than the squashed possums and hedgehogs at home in NZ...(.ok ok Kerre Woodham talking about whinging male drivers doesn't have much to do with running over hedgehogs, but I enjoy her columns, so there)

Have a wonderful day friends, family and fellow bloggers, indulge in the excess, remember the message (even if you don't agree with those who deliver it) you have to have faith in something,
Easter is about miracles and mysteries, we all need some of those in our lives.

I am off to Canberra...the National powerhouse, the seat of democracy...I hope they do a decent flat white...or would that be a miracle...( please don't flame me!!! I'm sure the coffee in Canberra is superb!)

Saturday, March 26, 2005

vive le vino!

Flash recieved a letter from his car lease co. advising that he has to use up 1400km in the next 5 days, or pay FBT (tax), so a birthday trip was the order of the day, Charlotte and Maria were working, so once again Blaise was the focus of our affection.

We headed up the Pacific Highway once again, wandered around a bit, and ended up in wine country, starting at Tempus Two ( as the DD I just got to sniff, as the birthday boy Flash got to do the tasting) and moving on ( ok, over the road) to McGuigans, where by chance we stumbled upon their Easter wine sale...McGuigans are a consistent supplier of what my husband calls quaffing wines ( I reckon he quaffs ALL the actor in "Sideways" he is always saying "this ones good") their black label Chardonnay has always done us well, and their Shiraz Rose has more than lived up to expectations, we came away with heavy arms ( 2 dozen mixed) and a wallet that was not as light as could be expected in this situation, the birthday boy bought some sample bottles ( airplane size) and a glass, and thoroughly enjoyed being chauffered home....until I took a left without him noticing...and guess who was wearing the red...well, it wasn't him! All the way home I was terrified I would be stopped by a breath tester...I REEKED!

(actually I was stopped by one recently, he asked me to count to 10 into the machine, I did, and he laughed and said "actually it's a New Zealander detector"...good to meet a cop with a sense of humour!)

I think we are going to Canberra tomorrow...apparently we have 900 km to go...the vest isn't getting finished, but Clapotis is getting an airing.

guess where we went today!

guess where we went today!

vest sample

vest sample

vested interests...

Happy birthday to my beloved!
you don't look a day over 45 :-P

Blaise and I are making a huge carrot cake with cream cheese icing, and lots of cinnamon,cardomom and black pepper ( don't knock it till you've tried it!)

I have finished the back of his vest, after much swearing and cursing the knitting machine, took a break, oiled and cleaned everything, left the heater on with it for 1/2 an hour, and then it behaved for me.

I didn't want to make a boring all black vest, despite the man loving rugby, so played around with patterns and stitches once I had finished the back, the end result is this, I have used one end of 4ply Patons patonyle in a blend of blues, purples, greens and tan, note that the pattern is created by knitting 2 rows in the patonyle every 14 rows (for the sample) and leaving every tenth needle out of work, then when it is off the needles, working a chain stitch down the ladder with one end of patonyle ( ignore where I used 2 ends, ick!)the chain stitch doesn't take long at all, and avoids the bulky fabric and puckering that would be the result if I worked the pattern in fairisle.

It has come to my attention that Jason has been reading my blog, leave a comment if you dare! You will be greatly rewarded, I will make you chocolate cherry cookies.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

thanks for the ideas

Thanks for the tips guys, I do enjoy the Sydney Sity Klickers, the knitting group I attend alternate Saturdays in Newtown, I am pretty shy, and keep reasonably quiet, ( although the other knitters are fonts of knowledge about absolutely everything, so all conversations are fascinating) but I could try harder in actually getting some knitting acreage completed.

I had thought of knitting while I walk, but when I mentioned it to Flash he was horrified at the fact that I read while walking, and is worried that I will do myself an injury…what? put my eye out? I don’t think it is anymore dangerous than walking with an I-pod..but it would probably be a lot more ungainly than a book, and I might become the pied piper of Sydney…with all those kitties chasing my yarn.

Speaking of my yummy, but anxious husband, his birthday is this Saturday, and I don’t know what to buy him…so we’ll see if I can manage to knit up a manly vest for him before then, I have a late meeting at work to night, but I have all day friday. The last one I made him was in a cashmere/merino blend in charcoal with a wool/silk blend in a grey marle around the neck and armholes, the pattern is a very simple v-neck, but it looks very smart. Unfortunately I only have black merino on hand, I will check out my LYS to see if they have anything interesting ( oh gosh nice to have a reason to visit!) but, I don’t think I will get away with be-ribboning or beading this manly vest!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


what is your secret??? how do you manage to combine work and family and knitting?? I need to know, I envy you your time management skills. Do you go to bed at 2 am and wake at 4? Do you pay a contractor to knit for you? or do you have a maid and a nanny?

I manage 2 rows of Clapotis before I walk to work, walk home, cook dinner, sort out the washing, sit with the family to eat, chat with them, chase up homework, permission slips etc, and maybe get a chance to sit down and do another 4-5 rows before my attention is elsewhere, tomorrow's lunches, the gym, evening class...on my walks I dream colourways, stitch combinations, ribbons and beading...half don't even make it into my sketchbook! aha a revelation, so I will take a notebook with me...this blogging is good, like brainstorming in public.

Next problem, time to knit...I had an insight at SSK when they were talking about weaving, and isolation, my knitting machine is in a little room on it's own, I am social, if people are home I want to be with them...answer, lock them out of the house...mmmm nope, answer, book an appointment each day for machine knitting, I am working with my strengths here...I am good at keeping appointments! Hand-knitting, too I will sit with Flash when he watches the news, and I will knit, OMG! another answer, 2 birds with one stone, time with the husband and knitting progress! you guys are GREAT!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Good monday

Yesterday Flash and I took a roadie up to Newcastle, took some "hopefully" cool photos, Flash is buying a new lead today ( having given up) so fingers crossed!
Where Wollongong is Sydney's Tauranga...Newcastle is it's Hamilton...but with a great beach, with huge waves dashing surfers onto rocky shelves, we saw a flock of 8 pelicans...wowee! the wind and waves were exhilarating, very much like the west coast at home, but it was still Hamilton...I say that although I haven't seen Dubbo or Orange or a million other places it may change.Sunday lunchtime most of the shops were shut, the town centre stretches over a lot more space than necessary, but there was a "Warehouse" the first I have seen since we arrived ( no I did NOT go in!) but it was strangely reassuring to see the sign, I have NZ nostalgia big time, on saturday at SSK I found out that you can get L&P at the New Zealand Natural Stores, and Mary Helen told me about chocolate "fush" with "punk" marshmallow, nummy!
I also discovered that when I use next Noro I will use Alison's "noro interruptus" method rather than the widely touted "noro zen" method where you are advised to "be at peace with the noro" I am afraid that occasionally there is a shade that makes me strangle, and let's be honest, although it is beautiful, and gorgeous and makes us weep with joy, it is not sacred, it is yarn, (please do not flame me) and it can't always be 100% perfect for everybody.
Only up to my 5th drop stitch on the Clapotis, but it is still warm in Sydney, dragged out the yarn charts and started drooling over some cashmere for my next machine knit...a long sleeved fitted cardi with a ballet style scoop neck, maybe with a lace panel on the fronts, and definitely using my vintage style beaded buttons!

Monday, March 14, 2005



With her new best friend

Sunday, March 13, 2005


I am not sure if I am allowed to link to this, please someone advise me if I can't and I will take it straight off.

This teacosy is a beautiful idea, and has just officially become my next project, I know that it is not demanding, but the rest of my life is, and this will be the perfect present for almost every person I know, rose for my mama, gardenia for my gran, lavender for Anne...look out aromatherapy shop, I am leaning towards nutmeg myself.

had a great time at the Koala Park took lots of pics, Flash says the lead is at his work...better be, spent ages hanging out with the cockatoos and corellas, one of whom played with the girls for over twenty minutes, tug-of-war and rolling a ball, so cute.


Flash has done "something" with the camera, disappeared the lead or something, so unfortunately I still cannot post photos.
So instead I have the link to Marta's yarns this does not quite show the effect of all of the colours that my secret pal sent me, but is close, I almost want to just frame them and put them on the wall they are so bright and cheerful!

Clapotis is coming along, have just dropped my first stitch! I am afraid that work has filled my brain so much that nothing else fits at present.

Flash's daughter Mel is here for a week, so we are off to the Koala Park,
hopefully he will find the blasted lead and I can post pics

Friday, March 04, 2005

checking in

can't talk much...root canal last night...
Received an gorgeous gift from my secret pal, will post photo on sunday when Flash brings camera home., many 25 g size balls of a loopy yarn in a rainbow of colours...oh I have to take a photo.
anyway, work is GREAT! I am really enjoying it, my co-workers are friendly and helpful, the position is CQI (continual quality improvement) and data entry, eventually I will be ensuring that we provide the highest quality service, at present I am learning the business, and doing data entry. I walk to and from, just a 20 minute walk which will help with the holiday weight gain.
Have continued knitting my socks, in preparation for the regia yarn I bought ( i wanted to practice)

am off to buy kebabs from next door with Blaise and Flash, a bottle of wine, and then settle down in front of "Man on Fire" and " Team America" Knitting group tomorrow,can't wait!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005



Wee girl in Phuket

Knitting on the ship

Playing with snakes!



Wee girl in Phuket

Knitting on the ship

Playing with snakes!



Wee girl in Phuket

Knitting on the ship

Playing with snakes!

home :-)

I’m back! …and I’m brown…well, bits of me are, some bits are very brown, most bits are still very white!

Thanks are owing to the holiday gods, who smiled most beautifully on me, instead of 6 hours a day of business sessions, he ended up having a single 2 hour session on the Thursday! The socializing was not at all taxing, so it really did turn around, we had a lot of time alone together, exploring, shopping, talking, as well as the Singha beer and Singapore Sling drinking and catching up with friends and associates.

Suffice is to say, that Clapotis was tossed aside ( will pick her up again soon!) and only half a sock was knitted, during my ½ hour knitting and reading time on the promenade deck while Flash showered, very interesting social experiment…knitting on the boat, the young women, and quite a few men were fascinated with the 4 needle knitting, but there were lots of negative comments and looks from women over 40, which surprised me, they spoke as though it was something to be hidden, that the mere sight of me knitting in public somehow spoilt their morning walk…ah well, they didn’t have to put up with much of it!

We left Singapore on Sunday night, with much fanfare, and sailed overnight to Port Klang in K.L., went on a tour into K.L. saw the Two Towers, which were impressive, and spent a couple of hours in a shopping mall, sailed out that night bound for Patong beach Phuket, dinners on the boat were not great, the limitations of having to cater for 1800 passengers, but the other meals were good, the entertainment was fun, the staff were friendly. At Phuket we moored in the bay and went ashore by tender, fun in itself, we were greeted at the beach by children accepting the bags of clothes, toiletries and toys that we had brought with us for the “Carry for kids” charity, we took a photo of our wee girl, and many of the damage caused by the Tsunami, we hadn’t told out girls that we were going to an affected area, as we did not want them to fret, but we did tell them when we had returned safely, and showed them our photos of the destruction, and also the reclamation, and the efforts of the people to return to life as normal, I must say that it made us a lot less aggressive in the bargaining process! A friend and I had a great time tag-team shopping for a couple of hours, then we were joined by our husbands and spent the rest of the afternoon walking, then resting with a beer, walk, rest, walk, rest…and ended up in a beachfront restaurant, being entertained by a night festival held on the promenade, for the American navy, and our boatload, the people everywhere just kept saying “tell everyone it is safe here, we need the tourists back”. The second day in Phuket, Flash and I finished our shopping, and then lay on beach chairs soaking up the sun, there was no need to move, every five minutes someone would come down the beach selling ice creams, drinks, fruit, food, or we would motion to the beach chair owner, and he would bring us 2 Singhas for 100 Baht, 1/2 the price it was onboard, occasionally we would rouse ourselves and float around ( no heads under!) in the bath-warm water before retiring to our chairs and umbrellas again…bliss.
That evening we set sail again, this time for Penang…a colonial state, with the feeling that it is falling victim to the unstoppable jungle, we went on another tour, this one so much better than the K.L. tour, first the museum, then lunch, the Snake Temple ( me with the Pit Vipers, they were GORGEOUS! So muscly and warm…I wanted to pay them to let me play with them, but the bus wouldn’t wait) then ½ hour drive along hair-raisingly narrow, gorge bordering roads until we arrived at a small village, no flush toilets…but everyone had satellite TV.! Onwards to a fruit stand on the side of another narrow road, if the NZ’ers can imagine a fruit shop perched on the side of the upper reaches of Konini Road that was it! Selling masses of exotic fruit, cocoa pods, spices…I bought a couple of bottles of warm smelling nutmeg oil to help the itchiness of my eczema, clove oil for backache and sprains, nutmeg balm for insect bites, and tiger balm for the heck of it, gazed in wonder while a nearly toothless man cut open a fresh nutmeg fruit to reveal the blood red mace inside, and commiserated with him over the fact that I could not bring spices home with me…imagine dried, or roasted nutmegs by the kilo, cloves, star anise, mace, fragrantly aromatic, I could have remained for hours, so spellbound was I…jeepers if someone had handed me a couple of snakes I could have set up camp there…but it was time to move on, to the batik factory, where I learnt the meaning of the term “sweatshop” beautiful Muslim girls in full veils and long clothes, laboring under a tin roof, in 34 degree heat plus the heat from the wax stoves, creating beautiful fabrics…Flash couldn’t resist a cerise tablecloth with butterflies and hibiscus flowers, I agree it looks good here, and the girls understand the work that went into its creation, sadly we returned once again to the bus, the boat and a fond farewell to Penning, 2 days in Singapore, ( yippee a king size bed! We had twin singles on the boat, the Love Boat it was not)
Avoided expensive Singapore by trolling the Chinatown market stalls for trinkets for the children, a beer in the Long bar at Raffles for old times sake, and dinner with friends at Clarke Quay. All in all a lovely trip, exotic surprises and much needed couple time. We have already started saving to take the kids to Phuket, or Bali, after returning home to NZ for a week of course!

I did not suffer from travelers tummy whilst away, despite the best efforts of the German chef, and the seemingly boatloads of prawns and satay I devoured (gained 3 kg though…) however, went out for pizza with my parents last night, and felt icky all day today…which also happened to be my first in my new job…luckily I managed to make it to 5 pm without letting on, and have collapsed into bed, no tummy symptoms yet…fingers crossed. The job looks good, the people are lovely, and I am sure I will settle in in no time. I am still slightly surprised to have been handed a management position with little experience in this area, but the boss is positive that I have what it takes, I’ll just accept her faith, and look forward to learning heaps.