Sunday, July 31, 2005

the good with the bad

Yesterday was good, good drive, good people, good conversation,

Today is bad...this is all I have accomplished in the past 2 hours, a waste of time and yarn.
Sometimes a knitting machine is good, sometimes it is evil. Here follows a little lesson in the care and feeding of the knitting machine:

- if it is in a small room with your hot water cylinder, the oil will dry out rapidly, so it needs
regular oiling and cleaning.

- if you have a bright desk lamp shining down into the card feed slot, (mylars) the card will
read incorrectly.
- silk and the knitting machine are incompatible, heading these words will save you much
grief, hair-pulling and money, it will also prevent the neighbours from thinking that you
have an anger management problem when you swear loudly at the wretched machine.
- if you disagree with the above comment, that is fine, you probably have well lubricated
silk ( yes I do find that last sentence disturbing, but I'm a grown up and as such,immune
to juvenile humour) and an angel of a machine.
- correct weighting of the fabric is vital, this is acheived through trial and error...lots and
lots of trial and error.
- stash chocolate in the knitting room, this will prevent you from declaring "it's margarita
time" at 11 am.

So I am in need of a bit of comic relief, and here is just the book, I found it in King St last night after dinner with Flash, it is called "Wild Knitting" published in the '80s and full of cool stuff, an armadillo wrap -complete with head and feet, cactus tie, giant fruit shaped floor cushions, Juju has a pic of the "Pastoral sweater" on her blog, don't think I will be taking her up on the idea of knitting it for the husband for Christmas!

and this...which did make the husband take notice! Knitted camisole/corset, tap pants, suspenders and stockings...definitely not for the faint hearted, but actually not too risque either. The top could definitely be altered to make it suitable as a summer top.

Final purchase at the book shop, Paragon baby leaflet, not so cute as the Patons one, but has a couple of interesting cardis and bunny slippers!

We are off for a sunday drive,I am going to take my nice, happy silk garden yarn, and keep knitting on my little project for Blaise, fingers crossed that I won't have a repeat of this morning's dramas.

Wollongong Stitch n Bitch

A pleasant drive to Wollongong, nice to go for a road trip by myself, knitting was in full swing by the time I arrived, the first person I recognized was Emily, and then her Mum Donna, the creator of the Australia and New Zealand webring, then everyone else came into focus, Ailsa, Donni and Sharon, then Annie, ( the shifty eyed one in pink is me)they were so sweet, everyone just as I expected, but even better in real life! Weird in a way meeting people you don’t know…but you do through their blogs, so I felt very much at home. The venue was big, even though there were heaps of us, we still only filled a quarter of the bar, and next time I am entering the cocktail competition, will use the Qantas points on a room so I don't have to drive!
I 'll be back, hopefully I have some machine knitting knowledge to impart to Donni, and maybe we’ll get an exchange visit to SSK.

Thanks for the hospitality ladies, you rock.
Donna and Emily from front:Ailsa, Sharon, Donni

Friday, July 29, 2005

theres more

I told you I would end up with 20 or more idiosyncracies!

this is the kicker:

I stick post-it notes on my Blackberry

lets let that sink in for a second...
the thing I am supposed to keep my life in, all my appointments, reminders, lists etc, I even get my email on it, but have been known to write email addresses down and stick them to it...I am sad.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

meme mania

I'm getting tagged more than my building at present!

Pronunciation Keyn. pl. id· i·o·syn·cra·sies -Astructural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.
Write down five of your own personal idiosyncracies.
Then, if you wish, tag five people from your live gerbil or friends list to do the same.

Thanks to Btchwstx you will soon know far too mch about me...
This is HARD
Analyzing myself, and then reporting on my behaviour…
And I know I will think of 20 better things once I have posted this.

- when I return from holiday, even just a weekend away, I have to put everything away, and get the house tidy, before I do anything else…which is weird because I don’t clean that much the rest of the time.

- I can’t read just one book at a time, I usually have at least 1 novel, 1 semi-non fiction novel type book, and 1 reference book on the go at any one time. My husband has got to the point where he just has to ignore this behaviour or he would go insane.

- I hardly ever answer my cellphone, many of my friends see this as a character flaw, and voice their dissatisfaction on my voicemail, I don’t do it on purpose…

- I find it hard to call people by their nicknames, everyone called my ex “Rich” I called him Richard ( actually I called him a lot more than that, but here is not the place) I still call my childhood friend’s Mum’s “Mrs blah blah” and then catch myself…”Mrs Bla..uh…Maureen” or with my married friends, I catch myself saying “ That Katie Smith” when she is now Kate Johnson.

- I have changed my last one, the original wasn't quite an idiosyncracy
I can't wear socks to bed, even if it is freezing, I feel like I am suffocating, if it is not freezing I have to have my feet outside the blankets.

so I choose knitabulous, cos she did it to me, was going to tag Donna...but someone got there first, so because I am going to meet them this weekend Donni and the Tiger

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sneak peek...

I am writing the pattern before I show the photo of the finished item, I know how useless I am at posting patterns, especially handknit ones, it is because of the gauge factor...and because I change the pattern while I am knitting, this time I have been very careful to write everything down. The pattern is almost finished, just one little adjustment I want to test first... but here is a taster.
See how the silk glistens in the sun, the sun that rebounds off the white walls of our apartment and causes snowblindness at 8 am.

Today I am working until 9 or 10 pm, I am not looking forward to it, changes are needed in parts of my life (not the family part!) there are some things that are making me quite stressed, I can't talk about them here...(the word "dooce" comes to mind) so I am slowly making plans, I am realising as I hurtle towards the big four-oh, that I am in control of my happiness, and I have to change the things that aren't working, Flash is convinced that my illness was caused by stress...he may be right. Once upon a time I worked from home, designed, made and sold women's knitwear (too cheaply I realise now) but we had enough money for the mortgage and necessities, and the few luxuries we needed for life to be comfortable, friends dropped in often, and I was deeply happy, even when bad things happened, I still had an inner core of happiness, now I am not so sure I have I am writing it down, making a plan.

And I am so excited that I am off to Wollongong this saturday! I hope Donni brings yarn to sell (hint hint) I have my driving instructions downloaded from whereis, have advised Flash that he is sans car for the day ( he is lucky I don't stay the night at the Novotel and go out raving with those snb girls!...maybe next time)

Monday, July 25, 2005


books from the weekend, an utterly cute Patons toddlerwear booklet from Berkelouws Book Barn outside Berrima, and a crochet book from Kinokuniya.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


those of you with photographic memories may know what these are for...otherwise...time will tell.

The colours are not true, the dark pink is actually a beautiful cerise, but you all know that.

First of all, thank you to those who commented and emailed about my sister, she has some kind of pain relief patch, and is taking the methadone, and staying in bed, and it seems to be working, so the baby can stay in longer, which is great. The reason that they said no elective ceasar is mainly philosophical/political...if at the time her specialist thinks that labour will cause more damage, she should be able to get one, but it just adds to her stress.

My Mama arrived on friday night, for another of her flying visits, yesterday we drove down to Berrima a quaint small town full of little shops, Flash went mad in the jam shop, we have 4 types of honey and all sorts of jam and sauces, the sweet shop proved irresistible to all, but I was disappointed with the Alpaca yarn, I can buy Noro for that price. We had brought a picnic lunch, so we ate at a table in the park and watched the galahs squabbling.

We drove on the Kiama via the back road, I had wanted to stop at one of the nature reserves on the way, but Flash had his heart set on the blowhole (we took the blowhard to the blowhole) so we pressed on, the blowhole wasn't in action, but it was mesmerising to look into the hole, and see the water going in and out, it sounded like the ground was breathing.

By this time it was dusk, so no point in stopping by Wollongong, but I do want to visit the Wollongong SNB soon. Good food from Newtown Thai, (their green curry is mmmm) and so to bed. Not sure what is planned for today...maybe a trip to the Botanical Gardens

Thursday, July 21, 2005

all quiet

on the home front tonight, I am completely knackered after my first week back at work ( yes I know I have nother day to go) so I am about to crawl into bed, just a few rows on the latest Opal sock first. Flash is cleaning like a mad Irish cleaning woman, his favourite Mother-in-Law arrives tommorow and he wants the place spotless...the bets are on to see how long it takes me to start wheezing from all the chemicals ( or from laughing at the swearing!)

Spare a thought for my younger sister, she is 37 weeks pregnant with my neice-to-be Maisie, Vickii is a tiny wee thing, and baby is so heavy that my sister's rib cartilage has torn, and the top 3 ribs have "popped out" I was relieved to hear not out of her body, but it is disturbing enough, she is in massive pain, and has been given Methadone for the pain, our Mama works in the medical proffessions, and is organising everything,getting it sorted, the system in NZ is strange these days, and there are no private maternity hospitals ( well, not for at-risk pregnancies) at present they are saying they will not do a cesarean, can you imagine being in labour...and then having to bear down, with this sort of injury, she can't sleep, it is stupid. Hopefully commonsense will prevail and they will organise a nice seemly elective cesarean, so Mum and Maisie don't suffer too much more.Jeepers they do it everyday for women with nothing wrong with them!

I have 2 baby cardis finished, better get those socks finished soon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

"These are the days of our lives"Meme

Knitabulous tagged me…so here goes

10 years ago: I was living in my wee house on Waiheke Island,a sole parent to my three girls, studying a fulltime course in machine knitting design and technology, commuting by boat, working part-time, and putting the finishing touches on a fashion parade, I moved in a number of circles, my coffeeklatsch friends, boat friends, all-inclusive, generous, loving, quasi-hippies, esoteric intelligentsia, tech kids (the 21 year old who pined for me) I was enjoying every moment, immersed in fashion, music, interesting conversation, making wonderful memories of cicada filled summer afternoons on our red dirt road, taking the kids to the beach almost every evening, huge communal dinners, a short but tempestuous love affair, we didn’t have much money, but the kids were always dressed well, fed well, had plenty of books and a home of our own, and to paraphrase knitabulous…I was skinny. Blaise had just been diagnosed with congenital scoliosis, but her Drs were positive about her future. My best friend Leonie and I relaxed in the knowledge that Mr Right was out there, he was just busy doing other stuff, as were we. I was happy.

5 years ago: The girls and I were living in our restored villa in Waihi, having moved from Waiheke 4 years earlier, I was selling my knitwear, Flash’s eldest daughter Melanie was living with us, Flash and Maria were in Auckland and we were searching for a house in Auckland that met all of our criteria: size, style, suburb, and our time and price limit, we didn’t find it, and settled for big enough, and close enough. Flash and I had been seeing each other for almost a year (300 km round trip every weekend) and had decided to take the plunge and take the 5 kids with us. I was learning what it was like to be loved and I was deeply happy.

1 year ago: Flash came home with the news that he had been offered a job in Sydney, we were excited and nervous, we had wanted this. I was working in a highly stressful but fulfilling job as a case manager, living close to the extended family for the first time in years, the kids were (as always) doing well at school, I wondered if we were doing the right thing. I was anxious, and had psoriasis.

Yesterday: Bled like a stuck pig at the hospital, worked a half day, knitted on the sock, and wore my Leona Edmiston tights with the red flowers up the back.

Today: Tuesday I phone my big girls in NZ, and catch up with their news, I want to make dinner for the first time in weeks, Flash has a work thing, so I am planning spaghetti cabonara ala chloresterol with cream, the way we like it, and can’t have it when Flash is around. Sock knitting will probably feature. Oh and it is Thai Tuesday at work…mmmm.

Tomorrow: pretty much what I did today…without the Thai, but “House” is on TV

5 snacks I enjoy: rice cracker with hummus and tomato, yoghurt and fruit, french bread dipped in oil and garlic, homemade chocolate chip cookies, homemade onion bhajias with tamarind dipping sauce.

5 bands/singers that I know the lyrics of MOST of their songs:
Finns in all their incarnations…but you knew that
Sarah McLachlan
David Bowie
The Exponents ( knew them as the Dance Exponents – long-lived kiwi band)

Things I would do with $100,000,000:
Build a holiday camp for families under pressure of all kinds, financial, emotional, whatever, a safe place where they can learn the skills they need to be successful as a family, staffed by amazing, talented and dedicated professionals. Society will get better when families do.

Ensure that my family are looked after, give the kids a good start, the ultimate of whatever they want in education, a house, and a basic income so that they can follow their passion, but not enough money to turn out like Paris Hilton ( I would love to buy a vineyard for my eldest, she could make wine, Charlotte would run the restaurant, my Mama would run the cellar door, my Dad would get involved in the infrastructure of the local town and my Grandparents would potter)

Give away most of it.

5 locations I'd like to run away to:
Phinda in Africa
New York
Tierra del Fuego (where the sparrows hop sideways)
Ha Long Bay Vietnam

5 bad habits I have:
Shedding hair
Ignoring housework
Forgetting to buy bread or milk…but I remembered the pancetta!
Shopping…especially internet shopping…and not being completely honest about it with my life-partner…

5 things I like doing:
Walking with my family, especially if there is bush, rocks and animals involved
Dinner parties
Drinking nice wine
Holidays with my husband

5 things I would never wear:
Mini skirts
Boob tubes
A bikini

5 TV shows I like:
CSI (the original)
Pingu (particularly Pingu and the knitting machine)
The Young ones

5 movies I like:
French Kiss is an old family favourite…it just take a “twisted steel, naked baby crying for it’s mother” , “all you bastards know each other” or “fester, fester, fester, rot,rot,rot” to have the kids in fits.

The Princess Bride
Love Actually
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
His girl friday

Theres a lot of mushy movies there…

5 famous people I'd like to meet:
Cynthia Heimel – a big bundle of nerve endings
Clive James – but I’m not his type
Paris Hilton – so I could give her a slap from the collective us
P J O’Rourke – to see if he does have a sensitive bone in his body
The Dalai Lama- but I would probably fidget too much

5 biggest joys at the moment
Feeling healthier than I have in weeks
Lace knitting
Long deep and meaningful talks with my beloved on the deck, him with wine, me with ginger refresher.
Knowing that my Mama is visiting for the weekend.
this knitting community

5 favorite toys:
Sweatproof cd/radio/mp3
Breadmaker (I only make dough in it, and finish things off in the oven, but it takes all the hard work out of it, and people think you are so clever)
Knitting machine, ok so it is not a toy, but I like playing with it.

now that is over, I am tagging:
Lucia I am loving the cute cat contest!
The skirt

Monday, July 18, 2005

a mixed bag

lots of variety today, but not much depth!

First off, a new bunch of lace patterns, and the first of the stitch patterns for some of the old lady's lace. This week we have "the snowdrop" ( well thats what I think it looks like) please let me know of any problems, if you are punching a card, this is a 12 st by 20 row repeat.

machine knit lace, using some old acrylic whihc was lying around the place, acrylic is good for lace samples, as it is very forgiving, but as you can see, pressing kills it dead.

I particularly like the middle one, it is from John Allen's "Treasury of Machine knitting stitches"

I attempted to knit the Paua yarn into a scarf for my Granny, but have frogged it, I will try again when I am not feeling so crappy...I also had to frogg 1/4 of a sock for the same reason, sometimes you just have to "PUT THE KNITTING DOWN!"

The reason for the crappiness, a whole load of happiness, Flash and I had Indian for dinner in King St on saturday night, then off to the Opera House to see those fabulous Finn brothers, it was incredible, they played songs from my whole life, Split Enz, Crowded House, Tim's songs, Neil's songs...songs with accents of home, and words from was great, the whole place full of middle-aged, middle-class mostly Aussies and Kiwis, up and dancing despite an appalling lack of rhythm, even the uptight baby boomer seated next to me knew all the words and ended up jiggling with the rest of us (I didn't mean Flash...I meant the guy on the other side of me!) Flash has a Split Enz story of his own, when he was 21 he was right against the stage during a performance in their "Six months in a leaky boat" tour ( the first cassette I ever bought...I was 13) Tim stopped singing, bent down and handed him a poem to read out loud...ahhh I wish I had been there...Flash reading a poem!

Then came sunday, which I spent fasting for the procedure I had today, the fast was followed by the ingestion last night of the "Bowel prep kit" enough said. I was at the hospital at 8.30 am, took three hours to get all the pictures they wanted, and then a Dr knocked my canulla...was there blood! was there what...paper towel soaked in an instant, it was like a tap on full...boy I wish I had known about that vein a few weeks ago, then I could have knitted earlier in the hospital. In addition they injected some contrast into my arm, not sure if it was radio-active, like last time, not too concerned, but the way it made my mouth taste strange did make me remember the utterings of David Lange, humanist and one time Prime Minister of NZ, and his wonderful speech (scroll down a bit) at the Oxford Union debate many years ago "Nuclear Weapons are Morally Indefensible" the phrase "hold your breath I can smell the uranium on it" made us all feel clever by association, and proud of our nuclear-free stance. If you enjoy words, then please read his speech.

All is quiet, Blaise is reading the latest Kate Forsyth, Maria - the latest Harry Potter, I have Jodi Picoult's "My sister's keeper" ( and a box of tissues) no knitting tonight.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Here's a tip!

I have managed to amass a wide,varied and weird collection of knitting tips, and it is time that I shared these with you all.

a good one:

Homemade Woolwash ( for when you are feeling virtuously budget minded)

500g lux flakes, or grated washing soap (sunlight, castile etc)
15 mls glycerine (from the chemist or supermarket)
15 mls eucalyptus or lavender oil
75 mls white meths

mix together, place in a jar.
To use:
1T to a basin of warm water ( or 1/4 c to washing machine)
Do not rinse.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

What is this?

A. the cat’s revenge on a lace sampler scarf
B. proof that the knitting gods are toying with me
C. trouble
D. all of the above

now, all you machine knitters sit on your hands, I can hear you going "pick me, pick me!"I know you are dying to answer!

The answer is in fact D, and a whole lot more…I bought my current machine from a dear old lady, the whole kit and caboodle for $200, a bargain for an electronic, even if it is an old one. Included in the “caboodle” were a stack of hand marked Mylar pattern sheets, I have used some, but decided yesterday to do some lace sampling ( I keep feeling like I am going over and over old ground, I hate moving and giving stuff away…I keep losing stuff I need! Next time we move, my whole workroom moves with us) and dug the sheets out, I then numbered and listed the patterns prior to knitting them to keep an accurate record, and then set to and knitted a long scarf of different lace patterns, unfortunately a number of them were “no go’s” so I ended up with patches of ladders, (some needle crunching…)and a few had obvious mistakes, which I may be able to fix, but a few were lovely, which made the whole exercise worthwhile.

I printed the number of the pattern (which is also written on the Mylar sheet) the number of rows in the sample, tension, weight required and just a general note about ease of knitting etc. on a slip of paper and stapled this to the sample, at present the scarves are just folded in a box in my workroom, but when I have finished sampling I will over lock each successful sample to minimize storage ( see my whinge from before re: travelling…I have a box load of samples in the storage room of our Waihi house!) I may take photos of these samples and load them into my laptop, simplify things even further.

Standard machine knit lace ( for those of us who don’t own garter carriages) is quite different to handknit lace, for a start there is a stocking stitch side and a reverse stocking stitch side, you cannot have plain and purl stitches on the same side, unless you handtool them, use a garter bar, or the aforementioned garter carriage. There are some very pretty lace patterns that are easy to knit by machine, but would torment a handknitter, I am not going to go into the details of how machines knit lace, there are experts who can do that
Here for starters. And a more complex, how to turn a handknit lace design into a machine knit pattern

The main advantage for me is the speed, which allows me to experiment with lace, in ways that I couldn’t do and still have a job and family. I can knit an “emergency gift” scarf in 20 minutes (and weave in the ends in the car on the way!)
I keep reading about the “Birch Blackhole effect” Birch would take me an hour to knit on the machine…but I won’t, it would be cruel!
I love the relaxing effects of handknitting, and will continue to hand knit lace patterns like Old shale, which relies on garter st for patterning, I see machine knitting as a separate and complimentary craft, for the sake of sanity some things are better suited to the machine, and others to hand knitting.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Gotta love him....

With me being sick for the past 3 weeks, Flash has had a lot to deal professionals, shopping, housework, the kids, the family, work commitments, and me throwing my toys out of the cot on more than one occasion...and you know what he goes and does...

heres a clue, take this:

and add these guys:

thats right! The Finn Brothers at the Sydney Opera House, this saturday night.

I tell you, my dear husband has put up with so much lately, and he goes out and pays money to see me swoon at the feet of my country's greatest crooners...thats love.

Thank you Darling.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


You can tell I am dangerously bored can't you...the picture to the right should be a clue, I thought I would post to show that I have actually finished the little Maisie cardi ( buttons and all), but when the photo had been taken...well it's so boring without a baby in it, so I dug out the ancient Photodeluxe software and had a play.

I expect I will post the pattern at some stage, you know how bad I am at that sort of thing, the yarn was Esprit from Elann, good for babies I think, as it is cotton, with good stretchy lycra, so it stretches in all directions, and it is is cheap!

Went to the GP yesterday, he has signed me off until next Monday, I am still stupidly tired, which I just can't handle, so even though I am home, I am not able to do the things I want to do, which is so frustrating. Which reminds me...

these came from Virginia Farms, they are handpainted laceweight merino from Margaret Stove at Artisan Lace in NZ. The colour on the left is "Pansy" and the right is "Paua" The Artisan Lace website has some good tips, especially this one (scroll to the bottom) for getting handpainted colours where you want them on a scarf.
I don't know what I am going to do with them yet, but I thought maybe scarves for my Granny and the girl's Nana ( who is looking after Charlotte) probably knit on the machine. I love the little touch of creamy yellow on the Pansy colourway, being a kiwi I had to buy the Paua out of patriotic duty! but it is pretty.

So I am back to bed, to continue reading my book "No Angel" by Felicity Price, it is once again, a nice book, an easy read, but a little more interesting being set in Nelson, with a backdrop of the Wearable Art Awards which I saw live for the first time last year, with my Mama, prior to moving to Oz, an amazing event, which has sadly had to move from it's bithplace of Nelson, to NZ's capital Wellington.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Fun fur and eyelash sales soar....sheep suicidal

save the sheep, buy wool~!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

pitter patter of tiny feet...

I went to SSK today, and someone came home with me...shhh she's nervous...she is having a look around...this is Aiko
she likes the view of Rangitoto.

a walk on a bush road in Rocky Bay

and her new Zulu friends Felala and Fisseha

Oh goody, she wants to stay, thanks Alison for letting us adopt her!

is it the weekend again already?

I have lost a few weeks, last week I went to work twice, for 2 hours each time,of course its not just 2 hours is it, theres the getting ready time, and the travel time, on the afternoon of the second day my temperature started rising, "this is stupid" thought I, and put myself on complete bedrest again, my GP agreed, and has told me to take all of next week off work as well. I haven't been this sick...ever, anyway, I am going to SSK this afternoon, even if only for an hour or so, need to get dressed in real clothes and spend some time with real and interesting people.

Auntie Janet, and the OE friends are all well, which is a relief, the girl's Dad, well, we haven't heard, and unfortunately that is not a rare thing, we never hear from him anyway, this isn't meant to sound bad, it is just the way it is but, we are more likely to have heard if something had happened to him, so the kids are not worried or fretting at all, the silence is what they are used to.

Holly has asked me to make her some gloves with ribbed, button up gauntlets, I think I will use the lovely Lucia's Glove generator ( she is so clever that woman!) and add the gauntlets. I was thinking I should make her some thrummed mittens, with her going to live in such a cold place as Lincoln.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A lot of love...

I am not going to give vent to my anger,
my family and I are huddled around the TV, leaving the phone open as we worry about friends and family who live and work in London, one by one we think of them, and rationalise where they are. Blaise tells me her Dad is okay, because he has never got out of bed before 10 am...but she is worried about Auntie Janet. I am sure she would have been at work well before 8.30.
We send all our love and thoughts to those who are suffering in this tradgedy.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Posed sock with flowers

Posed sock with flowers
Originally uploaded by castadrift.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

and a spot of light reading

Went to work for 2 hours today, it was nice to catch up, and nice too that my work wasn't out of control, but that I had actually left things in good order. I still feel knackered, the antibiotics are knocking me around some.
Stopped by the bookshop on the way home to pick up a couple of extra gifts for Maria, books 7 & 8 in the "Wheel of Time" series, Holly started Blaise and Maria on the series, Holly buys them, reads them, then brings them over for Maria, and then Blaise to read, but as she had to have her wisdom teeth out, there is no visit these holidays, so no new books, ( she is 18, yes the post office is a mystery to her) Maria has almost finished number 6, so I know this will bring a smile to her face, along with her very OWN colour printer, so she no longer has to put up with my one running out of ink etc.
While I was in the bookshop I happened upon "Knitting" by an Australian author Anne Bartlett, I have been tucked up in bed this afternoon reading it, I love the opening sentence "Ever since Jack's funeral Sandra had been covered in glass" the book itself is..nice, a bit set-up, but an easy read, and comforting with the knitting content, and the fact that it is set in Adelaide, with references to local birdlife and general Australiana. I don't feel guilty not knitting, when I am reading about it! It has also saved me from having to continue reading "The Map that changed the world" which I was fascinated by, as I love science stories, and this is set in the West Country, the land of my birth...but is it dire! I can't continue reading when every other page tells me how this guy's fortune is going to change and he will end up in debtors prison and die destitute...tell me that when it happens NOT before!!!

Time for me to pop back into bed and continue reading and knitting on the dreaded second sock.

Happy Birthday Maria!

My youngest stepdaughter, second to youngest daughter, Maria May, is sweet sixteen.
She doesn't let us take photos, and the scanner is ka-put, so here is a recycled one, you can't see her well, but she is second from the left. She is blonde, hazel eyes, pretty and very serious.

so here we go, 10 things about Maria

- She is fantastic at German

- She likes almost everything I cook

- She keeps wise counsel, her own, here is a girl who knows when to keep her mouth closed!

- She swims like a fish

- She secretly wants to learn to knit

- She reminds me so much of myself at her age that it is scarey...

-She still finds sharing hard, but I know deep inside that she realises that having a big extended

family is so much more important than material the long run.

- She loves kittens, and would make a fine vet

-Her favourite colour is blue, but she has suddenly become a girly-girl and is wearing lots of


- She loves life in Sydney, and has fitted into school, and social life with aplomb.

So, we have a white chocolate mudcake, covered in melted white chocolate and M&Ms, presents piled up for her return from work, and Dad arriving back in time for a dinner in King Street, many happy returns Ria!

Monday, July 04, 2005


Originally uploaded by castadrift.


ah the money I could be spending on wool right now if it were not being spent on health care!

The lovable Flash, is obviously feeling guilty ( and shouldn't, after all I am sleeping and eating, don't need much help doing that, and I'm a big girl, I can take my pills on time) and just has to stop!!! So far this weekend he has:

1) had to change his presentation completely as found out the main man doesn't like "gimmicks"
2) broken 3/4 of his top front tooth clean off ( lovely singaporean dentist fashioned a temp one)
3) got something in his eye so that he spent the whole "meet and greet" session with a red twitchy eye....not a good look.

Meanwhile, Holly in NZ had all 4 wisdom teeth out, and is doing well, but apparently looks like a chipmunk.

I think my family needs a good holiday, or at least a weekend away, so I have booked here we can visit the Jenolan Caves, go on bush walks, and generally relax ( and see animals!)

Sometimes (ok often) I feel that our family life is too fast, I thought it would be different when the kids were teenagers, that they would be so busy with their own lives, to mind, but the very fact that they are so busy seems to make it that much more important that their is someone co-ordinating everyone's movements. My job is good, I don't bring my work home with me at all, and I am lucky to have a lovely employer who understands the needs of family.
I am just thinking out loud here, because for the present I can see no changes, Flash has to travel for work, he is in the midst of being "The Man" for his company and I promised I would see it through with him, I have to work fulltime, in order to maintain lifestyle choices that the family agrees are important ( renovating the Waihi house, trips to NZ, and to OZ for Holly, Mel and Charlotte) I am sorry for whinging, I am still recovering, and have had far too much time lying in bed thinking!

Back to knitting, have had fun exploring the V&A website, the wartime knitting patterns are interesting, knitted undies anyone...oops no, Justine Bateman (from "Family Ties")is making them isn't she...the "orange boy briefs" have to be a favourite.
I am 1/2 way through the "hardly any seams" baby cardi, but no photos as Flash has the camera, have finished one sock (improvements include knitting-in elastic in the ribbing, and woolly nylon in the heel for better wear) and have studiously ignored the come-ons from one Karahgahake wrap, I'll get to her when I am good and ready. I wish the camera were here, a house full of flowers which won't last much longer ( white walls, 15 ft windows the length of the apartment, not flower friendly) and a finished sock, photo ops galore.

Gratuitous photo of Charlotte taken recently at Bethell's beach West Auckland...memories.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The further adventures of Flash

Thought it has been a while...
Flash is off to Singapore today, he is feeling very "bad husband" as I am still unwell, and he is leaving me to the mercies of 2 teenage girls. I have harrassed him not to cancel this trip, it is very important to his career, and he loves his work.
He will be presenting to a conference in Singapore, and the photo is part of the presentation, I adore it.
Just wondering if I should push that guilt lever up a notch and get him to go to a Singapore yarn shop for me...

ObiFlash Kenobi

ObiFlash Kenobi
Originally uploaded by castadrift.

Trouble with the waters.

If you are here for knitting, miss this post out.
This post is made up of emails I sent to myself during the week, and is the product of a fevered brain,so please excuse any grammar or spelling errors.
While not getting into intimate detail I felt I should share the intricacies of my week with you all.
We were up to the point where I had seen the gp and was looking down the barrel of a week end in bed… if only I was so lucky.
Friday was one of horror, take 2 panadol (now I know why they use the term "wracked with fever" I felt wretched) and then wait an hour for it to work, an hour of constant shivering as I was torn apart with pain, then 40 minutes of peace, before the panadol wore off, then 2 more hours of agony before I could take more panadol.
First thing Saturday morning we were at A&E , I think they design these places to ensure only the very ill even try to stick around, the signage was confusing, one said see reception first, the other said see triage first, I bit the bullet and went for reception, good guess! I was given a form and told to wait on the grey seats, then the Triage nurse saw me, I understand they are overworked and understaffed, but he could have listened to me. Then I was sent to sit on the cream seats with a "we’ll get to you" we arranged ourselves as far as we could from the majority of those waiting, well and unwell who it seemed only washed when accidentally caught in a rainshower, the place smelled like whiskey distilled in an opshop.
So we waited. and we waited Flash and Blaise had to go to Blaise’s drama class, so I said I would be fine, clasped my back pack to my chest,for fear of having it stolen as much as support, and continued rocking gently as it helped the pain, the shaking continued unabated. An elderly woman sat down opposite me, her husband joined and stage whispered to her "we can't sit near that druggy" " she’s not a druggy" said the wife " look at her clothes" (apparently there's a the irony of my own prejudices are not lost on me) " I know what I see" replied the husband I fixed him with my best child scaring look and said "I have kidney infection, now sshh"

2 minutes later I was invited into the inner sanctum, given a bed and a drip in the elbow crease of my left arm, so it wouldn’t bend… this is of great importance later in the story(despite what the old man thought, I do not have the veins of a druggy)
I then told my story for the 3rd time…it would end up being told about 20x more, along with the “no I cannot possibly be pregnant” which I will just get tattooed on my forehead for future visits, either that or “speyed”
Basically A&E was a comedy of errors, the “NO I can’t tolerate MORPHINE” while a dose was going into my arm, "Nurofen triggers my asthma...(wheeze) please give me ventolin...(wheeeeze)" we started with a diagnosis of “kidney infection” (get her an x-ray)…went to “UTI” (you can go home now)…to “constipation” (huh??)…to “infected gall bladder” (get her to CT scan)…and back to kidney infection. After a day and a half in Emergency they finally put me into a nice quiet room, safely hidden off a cardiac ward, the nurses were pleasant, I never got my meds on time, but they were nice, the food was plain but nourishing ( I expect) I only ate the salads and deserts. I was so tired I mostly slept, and then on the Tuesday I started to feel a lot better, and sat up, and thought…”I’ll knit…where’s that sock?” big mistake, can’t knit with a non-bending left arm…one pissed knitter, sitting there, all that time on my hands, can’t knit. So I bugged and I pestered, and finally at 11pm, after the last intra-venous antibiotics were administered, they took the canula out, I knitted 2 rounds, and lay back exhausted!

Wednesday was better, I managed 20 rounds during the day, and had lots of nurses coming in to see the sock, and delight in his Opal gorgeousness, look out Champion Yarns…a number of them wrote the name of the yarn down.
Thursday dawned, another day with no fever, the Renal dr came around and I was ready for action! Send me home…you have no excuses…send me home I pleaded, and she relented, Flash came and rescued me (and the ½ a florists shop…the “when you care but can’t be there” gift of choice from NZ friends and rellies, thanks guys) popped me back into bed at home, where I slept for 2 hours. I am sitting here now, propped up in bed, still exhausted, but much better, and raring to get started on all of the ideas I had lying in that bed hour after hour.

The Karangahake wrap was ripped back again, I was knitting on it on Thursday night when this all started, and stuffed the pattern up, I’ll go back to it when I have all my wits about me…or some.

Now, I want you all to make sure you drink lots of water, and never pass up an opportunity to use the restroom.