Saturday, May 31, 2008
I woke up feeling seedy and took half the day to get out of my jammies. The breakfast dishes haven't been done, and I'm still ignoring the laundry successfully. If they ever make laundry avoidance an Olympic event, I'm sure to gold medal for Australia.
The one thing I DID have to do was to go across to feed PND and Brenda's lot, so I took the camera with me for some updated puppy pics... this was easier said than done, cos Mama Misty is still very anxious and protective. Not that she's growling or snapping at me, being a very sweet natured little thing, just wanting to lick any puppy I picked up. That and requiring lots of cuddles and pats... which I was happy to supply but I've only got the two hands.
Anyway this is #2 boy that I have been calling Bear
all together now ... aawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
Oakley wants you to know that he is strongly of the opinion that elderly cats who need their treats should not be ignored in favour of young whippersnapper puppies and has therefore taken the catering situation into his own paws:
Friday, May 30, 2008
D for Doctor and the Dreaded Annual ... ahem... consultation of a feminine nature that doesn't involve getting one's boobs mashed flat.
Yes, the other one.
normally routine if borderline unpleasant, so I wasn't really prepared for the news that at some time in the not too distant future I'm likely to need surgery and also that my BP is once again somewhere up in the stratosphere.
So here I am with a wee little loaner BP monitor, dutifully monitoring for a week and then we'll 'discuss' the results.
insert calming spinning pic:
Anyway after that little lot, I decided on some retail therapy and headed to Bendigo to buy cowboy boots [ which are on order from the states, 3 months delivery time and let me just say RoseRed m'dear? you are going to LOVE them ] to pick up some fabric from Honeysuckle Patchwork, take a cruise through Bendigo Woollen Mills - where for the first time EVER I bought precisely NOTHING - and some minor clothes shopping: two pairs of leggings, three baby doll dresses - one was only $6 - and a couple of long sleeved skivvyish things...
oh and the other reason for heading that way - to pick up a lampshade I'd ordered.
I inherited this particular standard lamp when mum passed away in 1994, had it in storage until I moved up here, and it's taken me till now to find a shade I liked. No point in rushing things!
Timed the arrival back in Castlemaine to perfection for picking up the boy and home for a couple of hours worth of ignoring the state of the laundry.
After Dave headed off for his social group, I jumped back in the car and had dinner with Robyn and Martin. Then Rob and I went to singing practice for a couple of hours. A nice end to a day that could've started better.
and here's the recent knitting that I've been promising photos of for at least the last week:
one of three identical short scarves - short versions of The Yarn Harlot's celebrated One Row Handspun Scarf.
I had a 200 gram ball of BWM 50/50 wool angora that I'd dyed and I wanted three scarves for the aunts and my godmother, long enough to cross over in front and button close about the neck so I knitted for about 65 grams, cast off with buttonholes, and then did it again twice more. I need to decide on the buttons and actually sew the beggars on...here's the different buttons I'm considering. Opinions?
a pair of teeny newborn track pants in Panda Soft Magnum [ DK/8 ply/sport, 3.5 and 4mm needles ] - still needs sewing up - ETA Patons [ Australia ] Book 6000 Quick and Easy baby Knits
and another EZ Surplice Baby Jacket in Sirdar Snuggly [ DK / 4mm needles ] which is actually finished - except for the buttons - but I haven't uploaded a photo yet so you'll have to make do with an in-progress for now :] Vogue Knitting International Spring 2007
and I gave this and matching bootees to my friend Karen's new little grandson, Jeremy Thomas Cox. Somewhere there is a photo of it complete with its cute little green and white buttons. If I ever find it again, you'll get to see it.
I think I may have reached my current tolerance for garter stitch.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Late morning I had a phone call from #1 son - who has been here precisely three times in three and a half years - to say he was working in Castlemaine and what time would I be picking up David? When he found out that we were at home for the day, he came and had lunch with us.
It wasn't a very LONG visit because we discovered the hard way that his system seems to have become sensitised to cats - horrors - wheezing, spluttering and a nasty rash meant antihistamines and a race for the great outdoors. I'm not sure that was any better - goat hair!!!!!
anyway here's both my boys
Stephen is one week into growing a beard and not at all sure if he's going to keep it but I like it so far... granted he looks a bit grim here but I think it's mainly due to the whole not-being-able-to-breathe thing.
and still speaking of my eldest:
This went home with him for Master Riley.
It's a really simple 'I-spy' quilt - lots of things to talk about - made a few years ago and always intended for the first grandie. It's sturdy, bright and hopefully my DDIL won't be afraid to use this one.
Apparently she has said that she feels like the wedding quilt isn't really theirs... that they are merely it's custodians ... and while it's lovely that they appreciate it ... well ... bed quilts are meant to be used.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Don't all start cheering at once.
David and I hopped in the car at about midday after a semi-leisurely start [ goats don't know about weekend sleep-ins apparently ] and headed down towards Melbourne with a stop at MacDonald's Calder Park on the way. I totally ignored all the healthy choices on the menu - like my usual turkey and cranberry deli roll - and went instead for a serving of fat-and-carbs with orange juice on the side. That counts as fruit, right?
Spent an hour or so with Nadie before leaving David and The Girl to an afternoon of DVDs while I headed back to Corrie and Ian's for the trip BACK into Melbourne and a 5pm performance of a new opera - Through the Looking Glass - which was just as odd and incomprehensible as the Lewis Carroll book it wSas based on.
David Hobson and Suzanne Johnston - who was three years behind me at school - et al were all in fine voice and it suited their quirky personalities. Alice was sung by both an adult soprano and a trio of little girls who held their own against the adults incredibly well ... but there was a slightly uncomfortable undertone at least for me.
I've not felt quite the same about Alice since reading that the very Reverend Charles Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, was besotted with taking photographs of half naked children and although I've never read that he behaved in a way that would land him on a child sex offenders list today, I do most certainly have a problem with any man who rhapsodises about the "exquisite beauty" of semi dressed kids and I have trouble reconciling his two personas... bleurckk!!!!
Notwithstanding all that, I had an interesting time and later a nice [vegan] dinner with Corrie and Ian before heading back to collect Dave, and then back AGAIN in the direction of Melbourne and then points north.
A good run, and after 2 hours on the road, we finally got home around 11pm and I think David was probably asleep within 5 minutes.
Repeating the teaser photo from yesterday:
that's the program from Sunday on the left with a photo of the 'real' Alice, a flyer for August's Elixir of Love which as you can see will also feature the lovely Mr Hobson AND a flyer for July's Coronation of Poppea which I wasn't going to see until Corrie's friend Kay handed me her unable-to-be-used ticket. That's Tiffany Speight on the Poppea flyer. She lives reasonably locally and although I've never met her, I do know her mum ... who also knows Corrie's friend Kay that gave me the ticket ... who knows Jan, who knows Alice, frequent commenter on this blog. Alice and I will finally get to meet when she drives down to Ballarat next month for a concert where I will be sitting 3 rows in front and five to the side of her. Talk about six degrees of separation.
and btw don't feel sorry for Kay - she's missing a couple of operas here only because she's spending July and August in Italy and then seeing the Ring Cycle in Bayreuth, Germany.
I'm going to gloss over Monday and Tuesday - dancing, more dancing, no quilt class and no dancing cos I felt like S**T - but I'm fine now - which means I'll only be one day behind for tomorrow's post.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
that the number of blog-worthy things that happen in one's life are in inverse proportion to the amount of time one has to blog about them
which both sucks and blows big time
yes folks, it's been one of THOSE weeks - you know the ones - where I compose scintillating posts under the shower because that's the only time I have to think stray thoughts and then can't quite recapture the coruscating turn of phrase once I'm dried, dressed and seated before this dread machine.
so basically you're getting "a little bit of what I did this weekend"
when I left you on Friday I was actually onto day 2 of a migraine - rather a minor one as such things go but still... something that feels like an ice pick through the temple is never pleasant.
Saturday dawned and with it and day 3 of the aforementioned which required that I hit the meds with a vengeance because friends Kath and John were coming for a visit from Sailor's Falls [ slightly beyond Daylesford ]
They were bringing bread from Himalaya Bakery, I had promised soup.
Soup is good.
Soup is easy.
It was sort of tomatoey, garliccy, lentilish and heavy on the cauliflower.
I can't quite remember the precise order of the afternoon but the Imagran worked, lunch was consumed, the bee-oo-t-i-ful book that bookbinder John had made and covered with the results of one of my silk paper classes was duly drooled over all goats in the vicinity were petted and admired , puppies were cuddled, horses patted, Kath got her crochet lesson,
and given that you have already seen John's book and in the interest of equal opportunities for admiration, you may now have a closer look at Kath's [knitted] shibori scarf.Kath and I both scored show quality chryssies from Brenda next door. It should surprise no one that most of mine were pink. Never EVER wear it, rarely decorate with it, but LOVE it in flowers. the dogs alas had to spend the afternoon inCARcerated and I'll leave you with a teaser from Sunday because I've just realised it's after 11pm and I should be thinking about bed.
Friday, May 23, 2008
You really can't argue with that whole "thou shalt not kill" deal.
Granted I'm not entirely sure where I stand on the graven images issue, and the sabbath is for sleeping in, if at all possible, but certainly I don't usually have all that much trouble sticking with the tenth commandment. I'm not big with the coveting.
My neighbour's wife is quite safe and so is his ass.
For which he is eternally grateful.
you can have your fancy-schmancy house or car, and I promise I won't covet it, not even a little bit.
... but then Sheepie had to go and blog about this
and every covetous atom of my being began screaming it's little atomic sized head off
want one right now
Sheepie - just so you know, you are a bad influence!
It arrived this week from a very nice little man in Texas
I've got the robe
I've got the flannel jammies
so now all I need is the headband and the scary eyeliner
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Below are the top 106 books tagged “unread” in Librarything.
Bold what you have read, italicize books you’ve started but couldn’t finish, underline those ones you read for school.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Pride and Prejudice
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canturbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame -
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
In Cold Blood
The Three Musketeers - does reading it in french count?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
there is a season
and a time for every purpose under heaven
and my purpose, this fine and cold Castlemaine morning, was to take PND up on his three year old promise to teach me how to use a lathe ...
so there I was in a pair of blue overalls, protective goggles firmly in place - so not a good look - and now that the hour had come, filled with doubts as to my ability to actually DO this
I mean it's all very easy to say ' one day PND's going to show me how to turn wood"
what if I sucked at it?
what if I didn't know which end of the chisel was which?
what if I got sucked into the machine fingers first?
remind me why I wanted to do this...
oh yeah - because I have a lathe sitting up in the shed
anyway long story short
I spent an hour turning a block of pine into
wait for it
wait for it
a bit of dowel
I'm still three legs short of a seat
unless it's a milking stool in which case I'm two legs short
and this is the bit that has been lovingly beeswaxed and polished
are you not amazed and delighted??
okay so maybe you had to be there
Monday, May 19, 2008
I was actually really really asleep
under the covers
so I'm well and truly up
Trying to dig a claw out of your leg at 5 am when it's attached to a convulsing cat tends to wake one up in a hurry as does the dash for dry towels
Given that the washing machine is next to David's room, I'm waiting till he's up to do the laundry.
Cup of chai
Sophie probably could do with some quality lap time round about now
proper post later
Sunday, May 18, 2008
After the high of last Saturday's Peace Concert, and the puppy delivery of Mother's Day, Monday shaped up to be an entirely different sort of a day:
Nadie and I had breakfast together and then I left to take Seigaiha down to Melbourne and to visit Saint Anthony for him to work his usual [ high priced] miracles on my mouth. Nadie was going to follow along later so that she could start work at 2 after some last minute puppy fondling
The trip down was fairly uneventful but the mobile rang just as I landed on Corrie's doorstep.
someone was going to be very late for work
still, as she said, there are worse ways to wait for the RACV guy than with a cuppa and a book on mum's verandah.
nothing at all I could do about it, so onwards...
the quilt was handed over, duly raved about and paid for,
lunch with Corrie and Ian was a wonderful cauliflower and spinach soup and falafel avocado wraps [ a la catsmum], and then I headed over to Blackburn for the less joyous portion of the day.
Let's just gloss over it by saying, 2 fillings and one hour later and slightly over $400 poorer, I emerged with a numb face and rang ma in law to tell her to put the kettle on, I'd be there for a cuppa in 5 minutes.
although with hindsight perhaps I shouldn't have specified a hot beverage
two fillings on opposite sides of my mouth
extra anaesthetic when the first one wore off mid filling
equals Catsmum dribbling coffee all over MIL's clean tablecloth
uneventful trip back up
quilt class here ... this is more of a guidance group really. Anyone who wants help with a particular project or technique comes along for however many weeks they need to. Mostly they end up staying semi permanently. Good friends, good music, and a reasonable amount of patchwork. Ms Beverley D, who is an opera teacher decided mid class that she was going to teach me how to breathe properly for singing. Apparently I intercostal breathe when what I should be doing is diaphragmatic. Time will tell if I can do it.
Tuesday night, I should've been at clogging class in Bendigo but Karen wasn't going and I was too tired to face the 45 minute drive each way so the carer took Dave out for an hour or so and then picked up takeaway. Good man!
quilting in town - I was still working on the double sided drunkard's path and probably will be for months to come. this is a BIIIIIIIG quilt.
Wednesday night was our peace choir 'final' get together and debrief. Except it wasn't because we're singing at a conference in 2 weeks. Sort of anticlimactic as half of 'em weren't there. Still we had a good sing.
Thursday you already know about - Silk paper making at Daylesford
Friday - Line Dancing at Fryerstown followed by a quick trip at the Campbells Creek General Store...yes... I said AT not TO.
The floor has a ledge along the centre of the shop - maybe 5 inches or so high - which is usually barricaded off by display shelves. This time it wasn't and I ended up going forward onto the concrete floor, taking a display with me. Very elegant.
- net result a slightly wrenched ankle, assorted bumps and a bruise the size of my palm on my right knee. Not all that dark though... bugger... it should be a spectacular aubergine purple for how much it hurt[s].
I should be able to display it to my friends for their horror and immense sympathy.
It's not even worthy of taking a photo for the blog
how sad is that?
I had to resort to an afternoon of listening to gorgeous David Hobson to sooth my ruffled feathers.
PND and Brenda arrived back from Tassie yesterday so I am no longer on extra goat-and-other-assorted-animals feeding duty at ungodly hours of the very cold morning. Just my lot to look after which some days is quite enough.
don't all die of collective shock but there has been actual knitting happening here Chez Catsmum and I'll show you
Thursday, May 15, 2008
That's Mount Franklin at the left of photo 1 - an extinct volcano with a picnic ground in the center of the caldera. The hand built stone fences probably date back to the 1800s
Silk paper which is what I was there to teach
had a great time
dropped into Spa Quilters for a cuppa and a chat rather than trot straight home
[and there were choc coated shortbreads!! ]
goats, cats, ducks, mini horses, dog and new puppies - present and accounted for and doing fine. No other names for the puppies yet but PND and Brenda are due back on Saturday. Privately I've been calling big, boofy boy #2, "Bear"
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Like any good surrogate auntie I beat a path between my place and the dog about once an hour.
At 11.30 I found her with one pup - male - and got duly growled at for trying to check his undercarriage.
Nothing for a while then, and I was beginning to think maybe one was all there was.
Then Nadie arrived around 2pm and we went over again to find 3 puppies ... another black and white boy , considerably bigger than the others
and goodness knows how such a tiny dog pushed him out by herself
... here's the boys with tassie at the back: and a slightly smaller and very new, wet and bloody, mostly black little miss.
From the state of mum and daughter, I think we probably missed out on seeing the birth by a matter of minutes.
Nadie ended up covered with unspeakable substances and her clothes are drying even as I type, but it was just lovely to see.
The new 'grandparents' have been phoned in Tassie at each stage of the delivery and have accordingly decided to name boy #1 Tassie.
Goodness only knows what fathered these puppies because they certainly don't take after their tiny wee mum.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
The occasion: the multi - faith Peace Concert
It all started with a chant written by the Dalai Lama, presented by the monks of Drati Khangtsen monastery who were introduced by the Venerable Lozang Tenzin, who is a Victorian born Buddhist monk - or perhaps Buddhist nun would be more precise - and quite possibly the only woman in the room with a hair cut shorter than mine.
Hers, however, wasn't dyed purple for the occasion
It finished with our Peace Choir, joined for the final verse by The Arcafellas and The Chat Warblers, and John Lennon's incomparable "Imagine" sung in the glow of hundreds of candles.
In between we had 2 hours of beautiful music across a wide range of genres, sung by the many community based choirs of our very musically oriented city.
...the Arcafellas [ including one young father who cradled his new babe for the entire performance ]
...the other 'gender specific' choir, The Chat Warblers
...A lovely folk/gospel group, The Blenders - rather unfortunate choice of name notwithstanding - who were joined later by Mainly Gospel for some close harmony - and perhaps you can see why certain members of my extended family refer to this area as Hippy Central and/or Hippy Heaven.
and of course our Peace Choir accompanied by James Rigby on the guitar to finish up.
To be honest I think most of us were a little apprehensive [ shit-scared was the phrase used by one male singer I believe ] mainly because the other groups have all been together for a very long time and sounded absolutely bloody wonderful, with clear tight harmonies, whereas OUR experience of group harmonics stretches back into the dim mists of ... oh, about 2 months ago.
Jane and James being the smart little choir master/mistress that they are, let the audience in on the open secret of out relative inexperience - thank goodness -
The response was slightly overwhelming actually. It escalated with each song and by the penultimate one was almost a roar ... Felt pretty damn good if you want to know.
David sat in the front pew and was beautifully behaved for the whole time although there may have been a bit of vocalising to some of our songs... and why not? he'd been to most of the rehersals and he WAS wearing a Peace Choir T-shirt after all.
Make A Change - Buckwheat Zydeco
Peace Must Come - Paul Metzers [ New Zealand ]
Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Paul Simon
Am I not Pretty Enough - Kasey Chambers
Three Little Birds - a lullaby based on the singing of Bob Marley's mum
and of course
The funny thing was the [relative] quiet after we sang Imagine - you can't clap with a lit candle apparently... mind you, some got round that by stamping their feet instead.
Although we had to extinguish the candles to walk out of the church for safety reasons, everyone was encouraged to relight them at the door so that those tiny bobbing symbols of hope could lead us out into the clear, crisp, autumn night.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Okey dokey, seeing it's taken me nearly a week to get this far, I'll gloss over the rest of the trip down to Apollo Bay which involved a few hours worth of flat, muddy, spud farming nothingness, followed by long stretches of tortuous hairpin mountain-rainforesty bends and vertiginous drops.
An uneventful trip this time, except for having a very large filling fall out for no apparent reason. Net result: a rather distressing propensity for spitting at people all weekend and a dullish ache... and as I've written before of the damage inflicted on my person by the dentists I've had the utter misfortune to see up here, I'm booked in for the 2 hour trip down to Melbourne on Monday, to see Saint Anthony, the only dentist in Victoria , if not the whole damn country, capable of coping with my dodgy bite.
If he ever retires I am so sunk.
What? Oh sorry
The class which was the pretext for us all getting together for some play time, was my double-sided-quilt-as-you-go Drunkard's Path [ and no, that's not a reflection on either myself or the company, thank you very much! ]
DP is a traditional american quilt block, or rather one of a set, comprised of variations on a square with a quarter circle in one corner. That info is just in case you're one of my knitting/spinning friends, rather than a quilting friend.
I don't think I actually have too many 'blog' friends who aren't one or the other.
Funny about that.
My take on the DP idea involves machine quilting the squares first, then cutting the curves from the already quilted bits, switching them around, covering the raw edges with a colourful strip of bias and then joining 'em back together again. You end up with totally different colour schemes on each side of the quilt.
I may have already mentioned that last week but I'm too lazy to go back and check.
Anyway this was actually a cunning plan My Lord concocted last year by my hostess Judy, devious little beggar that she is, to 'persuade' some of the ladies to practice/learn meander machine quilting... and said scheme worked pretty damn well. With the exception of two delightful ladies whose elderly machines lacked the right feet and couldn't be made to behave, and who realised that it was out of my control, they were all stipple quilting like pros by the end of the weekend.
and this is Barb, one of the 3 ring-ins from Barangarook [ pronounced roughly B'rung-gah-rook ] near Colac, who knows my best-friend-from-College-and-bridesmaid Lucy... and was bound and determined that we were going to see each other . Phone consultations followed with Lucy's hubby, and when that didn't get a result, Barb rang Lucy on Saturday night ... and even though we couldn't persuade her to drive over those hairpin bends to come play with us [ why ever not? ] she and I did manage a catch up over coffee and family photos in Colac which was more or less on my way home. .. and just as well, because I'd managed to leave some of my gear behind and Barb caught us just as we were leaving the Cafe. I suspect that she had probably left the venue at Apollo Bay early in order to catch up with me.
Another reason why I'm forever in her debt.
The kind of debt that can only be assuaged by fabric ... or chocolate.
still some weekend related odds and sods to catch you up on, so more tomorrow... possibly something in the style of Sheepie's world renowned WNBPP. I'm allowed to.
Sheepie said so.