Wednesday, August 30, 2006

look away

if you are of a sensitive nature dear reader, go read someone else's blog now.

I have had a huge range of weird symptoms for over 2 years now, they come and go but basically on a 3 month cycle, they range from pressure below my diapragm, to a numb hip, and frequent UTIs, I have steadily gained weight over the past 5 years despite tracking diet and exercise in journals (which are then shown to the various GPs when they say "eat less, exercise more...see I do!)I have severe period pain every third month, bleed for 2 days when I ovulate, and get this weird pressure/discomfort feeling in my back and abdomen a couple of days before my is not pain, but distracts me so much that I can't concentrate.

I knew that I had endometriosis, it was diagnosed in 1999 when I had my tubes tied laparoscopically, but wasn't widespread, and I didn't want an operation for something that wasn't causing problems, also back then then I worked with a group of anaesthetists, who advised me that 1 in 5 of these operations resulted in bowel perforation, so I figured waiting a while for better techniques was fine. A couple of months ago I had an ultrasound which showed an endometrioma on one ovary, and 17 cysts in the other - I should have scanned the scan to show you all...but just imagine a lotus flower seed pod...thats what my cystic ovary looks like!
Apparently these are 2 different conditions, so I have to go back to my GP to find out where to go next with the cystic ovary, so we'll put that on the back burner for the time being, until the endometriosis is dealt with, thankfully my baby bearing years are over, so I do not have the spectre of infertility to deal with.

I went to see a Specialist today, I have heard that she is very good, she was kind and thorough, and answered my questions fully, I have a few books, and she gave me some literature, I will read, think and talk for the next few days, but I have basically made the decision to go ahead and have surgery to removed the endometriosis, we discussed drug therapy, but the main one is the contraceptive pill, and I got my tubes tied so that I could stop taking that! and all it does it supress the periods, the endometriosis is still there. She explained that all of my symptoms are within the orbit of endometriosis, which made me feel a lot better.
So, I go back to see her next week, and tell her my decision, I think I will go with surgery.

The best outcome will be that I no longer lose a week a month to weird, unexplainable symptoms.

On the knitting front: the baby cardi is coming along beautifully - I am still loving the Rowanspun DK.
On the website front: I have Frontpage (don't diss me...I am trying!) and am building a new website, so that I can escape the confines of the horrible mr site template that I am currently having to battle with.

Monday, August 28, 2006

take a ride on the wild side

it has been pretty quiet around here the past few days, the girls have been busy socialising and working, and Flash arrived home from Adelaide late on friday.
I pootled around on friday afternoon, visited the Salvation Army for books and waste yarn ( machine knitters often take their knitting off the machine on waste yarn, it keeps the live sts from unravelling until the next step - but it is difficult to find good smooth, cheap coned yarn - this was 4 ply cotton in a loud emerald green $2 a cone, perfect)I made bread, tropical fruit salad cake and yummy coconut bread.
Yesterday I finally put myself to bed with the new books, I have been nursing a virus for a few days, not sick enough to be "sick", but not well enough to concentrate for any length of time, I actually managed to stay in bed all day alternating between knitting and reading, it was bliss!

Today feeling well rested and much better, Flash and drove north for a look around, we drove on the new M7, after seeing the quality of the bike track which runs alongside this new motorway Flash proclaimed that we should go and buy bikes ( we sold ours when we moved to Oz - we used to bike through the Karangahake Gorge, including the kilometre long rail tunnel - in the dark, great fun!) I gave him a withering look and said "give me 5 good reasons" - ok, so it's a great bike track, and we love biking together, which we haven't done for 2 years... and I am enjoying the cross trainer and feeling a lot fitter, biking in the fresh air would be wonderful (remember - it's relative, living above Parramatta road means that biking beside a motorway in the country equals fresh air!) I basically gave myself the 5 reasons, and then said "no we can't afford it, new bikes are not in this month's budget - end of story" Husband pouts. I feel bad, after all - he is earning 95% of the income at present. I ignore his pouting.

We ended up at the Lane Cove national park, and settled ourselves on a blanket by the river and relaxed, watching the antics of the cockatoos and listening to the ballads of romantic parrots in the the tree above us.

Flash read the paper, and I knitted - see she does knit, and it's not stunt knitting - I did it myself! (just like the hair - which has run wild too...sometimes I wish I was a girly girl who knew how to do hair, and make up, and dress...) The t-shirt is from Threadless, it has a picture of a cloud crying as a plane cuts it in two, it's called "clouds are people too".

Here I am knitting two little cardi front's at once, I'm using Rowanspun DK, and it is knitting up cute and fast, I love this yarn, it has been in the stash for as long as I have had stash in Sydney - 2 years, it was one of my first purchases, and I have often wondered what to do with it, waiting for the perfect project for this special yarn, it is the "Rush" colourway, a lichen-ish gray with flecks of pumpkin, cream and bottle green, I am loving knitting with it, it runs easily through my fingers, is not splitty or sticky, and I know that the slight uneveness of the fabric will come good after a gentle wash.

I didn't design this pattern, I had a gauge disaster with some cashmere this week - it was mindblowingly awful - I won't go into details because I am still living the horror. For my sanity's sake I needed to take refuge in a tried and tested pattern, which I could just knit as written. Ok, well I couldn't quite knit as written, I substituted yarn, so had a different gauge, so had to change the stitch and row count - but basically I followed a pattern from the Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino book 2, a wee cardi with moss stitch borders, a perfect foil for such a ruggedly handsome yarn.

What lovely way to spend an afternoon, leaning against my husband reading his paper, as stitch after stitch flowed from my needles, the rhythmic motion calming my busy mind, the sounds of water flowing, birds looking for mates, and children laughing, fresh air and the scent of newly mown grass and native trees, the worries of the world evaporated as early morning mist surrenders to the kiss of the sun.

Then we went and bought bikes.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

alls well that ends well

Flash finished work earlier than expected yesterday, to swing by the house in order to return the camera, he took heed of my words and borrowed the office camera ( and transported it in MY camera bag, so my poor wee camera was flung around loose in his briefcase)
His early arrival also meant that I could drop him at the airport, meaning that I have the car for a couple of days, so far I have resisted the urge to drive into the city and visit Tapestry Craft, drive to Bondi junction and shop, drive to Miranda and shop ( I have a limited number of "tracks" I can drive to Wollongong no sweat - but you think I can get to Rose Bay without chest palpitations and liberal amounts of rescue remedy, no way).
I settled on driving (I usually walk so it felt incredibly bourgeouis) to Broadway for groceries, and an alarm clock for Blaise - rhymes with malaise, as she is having trouble waking, she told me she has so many ideas spinning around in her head, that when she settles down at night to write them in her journal her imagination wakes up and it takes hours for her to settle down again, so I bought her some baby Moleskines (the ones that come in a 3 pack) to live in her bags and pockets, so that she can write the thoughts down immediately, she can then transfer them into her big mummy moleskine at a time more conducive to her sleep schedule.
It's not just babies who have sleep problems!

here are some of the swatches, I staple the yarn ballband and notes to them, so that I don't forget the details, then they go out into the wild for rounding up at a later date.

Blaise is asking constantly about the monkey backpack, it's still in the WIP basket somewhere...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A letter to my husband

darling - where is the camera?
I have just spent the past ten minutes arranging knitted swatches (those little bits of knitted fabric piled on the coffee table - you know the things I'm talking about, you say "whats that going to be?" and I say "nothing - it's a swatch, I checking out ideas" and you say "I don't like that colour" and I say "it's not FOR you")
yeah, so I just finished making pleasing piles from those swatches, and was preparing to take some arty shots (ok so some kinda out of focus shots) so that my mates in blogdom could see that I have been knitting, but could not actually see what I have been knitting, because it is still kind of a secret, well, not a secret, but submissions in waiting and not to be divulged as yet.
I digress, I went to the place where the camera lives, it was not there, I went to the OTHER place where the camera lives, which I had organised on monday (cleaning day) so that the camera would now live in the one place - it wasn't there.
I became slightly concerned and frankly a little hysterical, checked Blaise's room, not there, Maria's room, not there, the knitting broom closet, hallway, patios, bathrooms, kitchen cupboards and finally the wine fridge...not there.
I have come to the conclusion that you, dear one, have taken the camera; last night you packed for a business trip, you then placed your bags in the boot of your car.Tonight you will be delivering training at an countryside resort, there will be scenery, and group bonding exercises, you want to take photos of this event, sweetheart, need I remind you that you work for a huge multinational company, a company that not only can afford an office camera, a company which probably makes bl**dy cameras, you do not need my dear wee little camera.
I am sorry if I sound a little testy, there will be customers and staff from all over Australia at this event, I am sure that one of them will have a camera, in fact I am sure that one of the 3 people from your office who are attending, will have a camera, a camera which is not required by their knit-blogger wife who is in dire need of proof that she has not become a label checking, name dropping, wannabe socialite, handbag. Proof that she is still the hair-do challenged, lucky if she is wearing matching socks, let alone matching lippy, fluff covered quietly mad knitter her friends know and love.
In the meantime gentle reader, go visit Doodlebug, she illustrates beautifully, and has a whole new use for my yoga socks! (scroll down a little).

Sunday, August 20, 2006

back from Beaudesert

we flew into Brisbane (Brizzie, Bris-Vegas) at 8.45 on saturday morning, in time to rush to the hotel, change into our finery and get to the Brekkie creek pub in time to catch the coach to the Beaudesert racecourse, just over an hour out of town.
A beautiful spot, despite the obvious drought, a huge marquee housed 300 of us in comfort and the weather was extraordinarily pleasant, warm with a hint of a breeze, not a cloud in the sky, and the blackfly were not too overwhelming.
The racecourse was an oasis of green in a sea of brown grass and dust, the farmers are doing it hard up there.
Here I am, all dressed up, unfolding my parasol before the sun gets me, a hat would not have been big enough to protect my arms and decolletage, so I found a cute chintzy foldup umbrella in a homewares store - good score! I was able to stay outside for ages without worrying.
And here is a rear view, wether you want it or not!

Our group outnumbered the locals by at least 10 to 1, but they got to sit in a beautiful old stand, cool and shady with the best view of the track, while we townies packed against the rails to rally on our favourites. Flash and I lost $40 all up, which was pretty good going, I chose my horses by name, Flash had no system whatsoever, and we had the best time!
Early evening a the smoke from a nearby burnoff changed direction, enhancing the beauty of the setting sun.

Farmers are the backbone of Australia, I don't envy them, it's a damn hard country.

I had a bread roll for breakfast, lunch had been served around 2pm,and I hadn't eaten much of that, so by the time we left (around 8) I was starving, Flash and the others seemed fine, but then again they had been drinking all day, our bus dropped us off at the casino in the centre of town, Flash and I took the opportunity to make our farewells before we lost even more money, we wandered down Queen st, where there are a number of nice outdoor eateries, had a very late dinner, and wandered back to our nice, quiet, dark hotel room, (as opposed to our streetlamp lit bedroom above the car race known as Parramatta road).

This morning we just had time for a quick stroll through the river market before we made the flight home, Brisbane is a nice town, with a lot going on, rapid growth and lots of infrastructure being built.

Here is Flash enjoying the sun and the river breeze.

Lots of knitting content this week I promise!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

a new look

I needed this.
I have needed this for 6...8...ok 12 months.

I do not understand why I can not spend money on a haircut, but I can spend money on wool.

I promise that I will go back in 6 weeks and get a trim, I will probably forget, so I have put a reminder in my diary, I will probably ignore my diary, so I have made a follow-up appointment. I will not break the appointment...sometimes I have to trick myself into caring for myself.

I also bought new make-up, shoes - with heels, I haven't worn heels since I was 20...reason?
1. I am already tall, I like being tall...but not freakishly so
2. I like being able to walk away, I like being independent, I cannot stride in heels, in heels if I am unhappy, I feel like I have to stamp my foot like a child in a temper, heels make me feel dependent.
3. heels make me feel feminine and sexy...I am starting to feel ok about this one.

they aren't high,high heels - that is the path of foolishness and back problems, and I have bought 3 different kinds of gel pad to ensure pain-free standing.

no I am not contemplating a romantic affair.
this skirt, worn under this dress, with a little silk chiffon cardi in fuschia, all from one of my favourite laaaadies shops and an aqua parasol to protect me from the sun.

The reason for the frivolity? a bush race meeting in Queensland for Flash's work, an invite from a customer who can't be ignored. I can't wait - I get to dress up and see horses, if I thought I could get away with knitting a bit too I would be ecstatic!

here you go Cindy - see not high at all!

Monday, August 14, 2006

where it all gets a bit crazy...

So we have managed to get our new elliptical trainer (in box) back home to our carpark, before we go any further you need to know that the box is HEAVY.
Flash gets into a "zone" when tackling heavy lifting, this involves him doing something and me being expected to intuit what he is doing and "help". We arrange a shopping trolley behind the boot of the car, and Flash starts to manouevre the box out of the boot into the cart - I figure my job is to hold the cart steady, then I feel the pain - and shriek, Flash looks at me, annoyed, he keeps pushing the box, the pain is intense, I suddenly remember how to speak to a man on a mission - calmly and clearly I say "sweetheart, my wrist is pinned between the box and the cart, I think it may be broken" it works, suddenly the box goes into reverse and my husband is cradling my mangled wrist. Yay - my right wrist, anyway, it's just abrasions and contusions ( thats scrapes and bruises to us lay people) and it's feeling much better now.

Yesterday we both needed some beach time, it was a beautiful day, so we ended up at Brighton-le-sands, not our favourite beach, I don't even think of it as a beach, it's so flat it's almost a lake, but we didn't have much time, so there we were, Flash sunbathed while I collected tiny little snail shells, I'm afraid staying still is not one of my attributes, anyway, these shells are so pretty, pinks, blues, stripes, lemon and blue stripes, sunbleached but still colourful.

My shell collecting provided Flash with a serendipitous opportunity to mock the pain of my homesickness.
Contrary to the caption I am happily searching for brightly coloured treasures, I did not even notice the Air NZ plane in the distance...but he did.

Thanks for all of the comments about the pants, I have decided to have them out with some other baby knits, when the parents-to-be next visit, then if they go "ooh and aah" I will know that it is safe to give them the pants, if they don't I will give them something else - easy! I think I will make bootees with the remaining Koigu, everyone loves rainbow feet!

p.s. the elliptical ?? it is a joyous thing, I had stopped going to the gym (in my building - Flash goes to a proper gym near work)because I felt very intimidated everytime I went in there, there are a lot of people in my building, and not a few personal trainers, a couple of whom use the gym to train their clients ( yes there are on-going complaints) no one has ever said anything, but it is uncomfortable sweating and puffing while you have an audience waiting for the equipment, now I can turn the stereo up loud and sweat, puff and swear to my hearts content...bliss.
p.p.s Blaise has informed me that it is a CROSS trainer, not an elliptical, because it has handles which move when the pedals move. My apologies.

Friday, August 11, 2006

You be the judge

a few months ago Stripey sent me some beautiful Koigu KPPM, which I knitted into a wee baby surprise cardi for a friend's new baby, and loved the experience so much that I had to buy more, it languished in the stash until yesterday when I decided to make some wee pants, I decided that all of that colour, not broken up by a stitch pattern, was going to be a wee bit overwhelming, hence the black stripes in a merino/silk blend.

When Blaise arrived home from school I asked for her opinion..."they're cute - are the parents hippies?"
"no why?"
"because they are rainbow pants"
" they're KOIGU" (like that explains it)
" I know - I like them - but they are rainbow pants"
"but, they're KOIGU!!!"

so guys can you answer me we get carried away with our love of Koigu KPPM and it true that to non-knitters look at us and instead of seeing artful colour blending and the witty use of tone and shade - they see RAINBOW??? are these HIPPY pants ????

and why am I listening to a 15 year old whose style could be neatly summed up as Emo ( that's if I was cruel enough to try and stick a label on "hippy") and the others have absolutely no clue - Maria just left the house in a lime green tweed coat over jeans and Flash thinks everything I make is marvellous ( honey, I can take criticism, just hide the knives first).

It's friday night, hopefully it will be quieter and less eventful than last friday ( I sat in something very wet in the taxi, bought new pants and other bits and bobs, had an amazing Indian dinner - and spent a restless night feeling like I was on speed - as did Flash - those must have been some fresh! chillies in that curry) I'm looking forward to a cool Pinot Gris, and catching up with my husband as he cooks chili con carne, hope you all have a wonderful relaxing weekend.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


whenever I refer to home, "the bach", "the cottage" I realise that you have no frame of reference to see the changes that have been made, I haven't been there for 2 years, we have been carrying out a renovation by remote control, and have just had to trust that what people have been telling us has been correct (luckily the process has been overseen by a darling, old school man whom we trust implicitly)

Photos arrived this morning from our rental agent, it is great to see the old rhododendren is still happy (drips with cerise blooms in season), that the sage colour I chose for the weatherboards is not too green, the rotten weatherboards have been replaced, all that is left to do on the house (lets not talk about the new fence etc here today) is to paint the trim (currently undercoated) and choose a colour for the door - which can wait until we return. The sky is typical of a Coromandel morning, full sun filling the front living room with golden light, and turning the front bedroom walls pink as it streams through the antique rose glass, ice blue sky turning singing blue by 10am, and cold enough to freeze the water in the cat's bowl.

Once again, we will not be living there fulltime - too far to make commuting feasible (why oh why did they get rid of the trains??) but I can't wait for those weekends, maybe I'll stay a couple of extra days, keep a machine there for swatching and experimenting with,some quiet time, with that extra space I yearn for, start a stitch and bitch in the cafe on the main street - the one with the open fire, actually having to wear that hat, scarf and mittens, and blessing those knitted socks.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

loving it

I have just added this wee hoodie to my shop, I enjoyed designing and making it so much, I love it when a plan comes together! The hood really freaked me out, I have made knit fabric hoodies for my kids, but knitting a hood is so different to sewing one. When I finally finished the calculations and drawings it was a beautiful thing - amazing how it just worked.

I wanted a point of difference between this sweater and every other organic merino baby garment on the web (there are HEAPS out there...who knew?) most of them seem to be scavenged from vintage knitting patterns - which I feel is kind of cheating, but I digress...I just have to feel satisfied that I have created my own designs from scratch. I searched my cable designs and this one caught my looked just like the top of a nikau just needed a cabled trunk - perfect! The nikau is an iconic symbol of NZ, along with the kiwi, pukeko and silver fern - iconic without being overtly "kiwi".

While I was putting the website together I was so flat out that I didn't have time to design, now that everything is ticking over (apart from the firefox issues - which I will fix when I transfer the website to a new server) I am enjoying the design process again - sketching, daydreaming, calculating and finally knitting - listening to podcasts (I feel like these have always existed) Penn Gilette , New Scientist, Scientific American, Nature - as well as the usual knitting suspects (tip: if you have big kids - over 8 or so - check out the Naked scientist podcast - they have great experiments) I have to make myself leave the house every day - go over the road for coffee or something, just to avoid becoming a recluse!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

has it been that long?

I am tired, not because I live above the busiest road in Australasia, I can cope with that, nearly 2 years without double glazing or adequate shades on the 18 ft high windows has given me the ability to sleep almost anywhere, but because Wednesday night is student night at the local pub, Flash and I are awoken every wednesday night by screaming, wailing, cackling, yelling drunk people - the police can't help anymore, unless the revellers are interfering with our property, so we put up with their supermarket trolley races, their attempts to direct traffic and the resultant high speed braking and verbal abuse, and their very audible protestations of love or distaste, oh and the vomiting.

I awoke at 1.30 this morning, to what sounded like gunshot, when Flash peered over the balcony he saw it wasn' was our next door neighbour throwing $2 coins at our windows from the street below, he had forgotten his swipecard and his girlfriend wasn't answering the intercom. I am afraid that "ok mate" was not one of the phrases Flash used.

So, this morning I am sloping around in pjs, drinking tea at 8am, and posting instead of doing housework, I am considering taking the day off and wandering into the city for a visit to Kinokuniya and to run some errands, after days of swatching for some new ideas I need to be away from knitting for a few hours. I will leave you with a wee cardi knitted this week for the soon-to-be son of one of Flash's workmates.