Our thoughts are with the folk of Glasgow and indeed the whole of Scotland, for there must be many affected by the impact who were not in its precise area.
Some days I sit and trawl the job sites – between waiting for emails to tell me if I have any incoming assignments for the transcription I do from home; which pays little but sometimes takes an inordinate amount of time! – and wonder why I’m bothering. They might not say it in so many words because the legislation forbids it, but many are very obviously looking for some young, silly female, preferably blonde with big hooters, who’s too young and silly to complain about the potentially sexist attitudes already on display. Other days I stumble across things for which I’m well qualified and I send off another application (electronically, in the majority of cases). Most of them disappear into the aether and I have no way of knowing if they ever reach their target audience. Very rarely you get an automatic response, which is at least a bit heartening.
Today I happened upon another in the latter category (as well as a couple in the first) and went through the same routine. This one, as it turned out, sent back an automatic response. So I wondered if this time it might be sufficiently a possibility that I should really make myself a blouse for work? Just in case? You know, I did make the reSewlution at Karen’s behest that I was going to do just that. I later put my hand up to ask if I could change it to using that lovely rayon to make a decent blouse, because with no job to go to, what incentive was there to make anything to wear to it? But a decent blouse is always useful and I don’t have many.
In between helping Dr B with some motorbike tinkering and attending to today’s laundry and doing all that boring domestica, I tracked down the fabric and the pattern I intend to use and put it somewhere near the top of my work pile. I’ve patched YoungB’s jeans and darned them (all by hand, if you don’t mind; the skinny legs meant I couldn’t get the hole under my presser foot, even with the tubular bed freed up) so that he has a spare pair to take with him when he’s interstate rowing next week, and I’ve even done a spot of repair work on the zipper tab of a motorcycle boot for him. Do you reckon it’s my turn now? Should I do myself a favour and make a new blouse? It would be useful and it would cheer me enormously to succeed at something!
Today has been like the past few days in terms of weather: cold enough that my fingers nearly froze, then sunny enough that I almost started to sweat, then back to freezing cold. Luckily, when you’re down by the water photographing rowers, as I was for much of the day, there’s plenty to keep you occupied so that you don’t particularly notice either end of the temperature scale. And judging by the number of photos I have now to edit, I can’t have had time to feel the cold.
YoungB competed in four races today, starting with the second race of the day and finishing in one that was close to the end of a fairly long regatta. We were all worn out. Dr B viewed much of the racing from the warmth and comfort of the car but I wrapped up in my old raincoat and latticework scarf – the one I finished to wear at Ballarat – and didn’t fare too badly by the lakeside, though the strong wind provided some challenges with regard to holding the camera steady.
As usual, I took my knitting with me. It languished in the car for most of the day but I managed to add a couple of inches to the purple Tarrantino scarf while we were waiting for YoungB to pack up after his last race. That probably helped my fingers to warm up again (something that seems like a silly comment when we’re staring down the last week of November, a time of year that’s usually hot). Irrespective of the climatic considerations, that steady bit of knitting made me feel remarkably productive, I can tell you.
I hope your day has been pleasant and that you’ve managed to make progress on your Christmas crafting, whatever form it might take. Productivity is the name of the game at this time of year, and we all feel virtuous when we have something to show for our efforts. Or is that just me?
Yesterday I was exhorting YoungB to make sure he kept cool and hydrated. Today I’m telling him to rug up and keep warm. It’s been a bit like that lately, with the weather fairly unpredictable and seeming to vacillate between (relative) extremes. (I know, I know, it’s either extreme or it’s not. Divergent conditions, then?)
He and I were out early this morning, he to row in a quad that had first to be rigged, I to stroll around the lake. I took my knitting in the hope that I would do a few rows in the car while I was waiting for him to finish training and pack up. I didn’t. There are occasions when even garter stitch is too taxing and I think the morning fell squarely into that category. As I said, at this time of year we’re like everyone else: tired. But, you know, gloomy or not and tired or not, I’d really better get cracking on that scarf or it won’t be under the Christmas tree!
I hope that your weather isn’t proving too much of a deterrent to your crafting endeavours; and, of course, that your afternoons turn out sunny even if the mornings are not. Luckily, that’s what has happened here.
Sometimes the stars align and the weather delivers a spectacularly gorgeous day that’s perfect for all sorts of activities. I think the photo makes clear that we had such a day today. Dr B, in his capacity as Audax ride organiser, waved off cyclists from one locale while I cheered, and photographed, rowers at another. We met up at rowing after his cyclists had all vanished into the Hills.
Today’s regatta was a time trial over the distance of 7000 metres. YoungB’s crew came home in second place overall, having been narrowly beaten by a scratch crew from another club. The scratch crew contained at least one Olympian and a couple of state scholarship holders to our certain knowledge. They’ll probably never again row in that configuration but simply vanish back to their ordinary club crews. A bit the way I vanished, really, when the caressing little breeze turned darn cold and I could no longer feel my fingers.
I know. I couldn’t even hold my knitting needles! How terrible was that? I do hope that your weather has been as sunny and splendid as ours was at the day’s beginning but I won’t be wishing the colder stuff in your direction. If it interferes with knitting, it’s not a good thing, is it?
Father Christmas arrived in town yesterday and not only is he now firmly ensconced in the Magic Cave, he’s already started working hard. This is bad, bad news because it means that I really have run out of procrastination time for things I’d planned to make as Christmas gifts. Those aprons? Mmm, yeah, better get a move on with those. Stoke up the ironing board and look for the quickest way to make something useful. Never mind the fancy design I had worked out. There’s not time for that. D-rings and white header tape? That will do just fine for straps. Self-fabric ties are vastly overrated. The Christmas coasters? Mmm, yeah, they’re not going to make themselves. Dig out the fabric and chase up some backing, quick smart. Those lavender bags? Mm’hm, they won’t make themselves either and there are only so many that can be appropriated from around the house. Yes, the supplies of ribbon are adequate and the amounts of lavender mix are nicely up to date but the sachets to contain the mix? Better crank up the sewing machine again.
In amidst all of those heart-shaking realisations, it’s also that time of year when all the weariness catches up with you and your hectic life becomes even more hectic; the combination means that every outing seems like a major effort. Our sport-related outings are ongoing and many, some more onerous than others; but in general, our social outings are few. Even so, I have rarely known us so subdued at a meal in the Asian Food Hall of Adelaide’s Central Market as we were on Friday night. True, it’s usually so noisy there that you can’t hear yourself think, which makes listening to somebody else quite a challenge whether or not you’re wearing your hearing aids (that would be Dr B; I’m not in that category just yet). But on Friday we just sat there and relatively quietly ate our food. Then, equally quietly, we decided we were too tired and had eaten too much for coffee to be an option – I tell you, that ranks as heresy of a fairly high order in this family – so, instead of wandering around the market as we’d normally do (it’s such a fantastic place), we came home and collapsed into bed.
YoungB managed to drag himself out of it on Saturday morning, most reluctantly. Much as he loves rowing and cycling, he said (as if it were not obvious from the fact that he kept bumping into things) that the amount of effort either would require felt beyond him. All the same, with some parental prodding and a willing driver (in this case, that would be me; yeah, Dr B and I struggled out of bed, too, he to make coffee and provide moral support) he made it on time to the cycling meet-up point for the group training ride to the regatta course. There, bikes were swapped for boats for the first of the day’s training sessions. Yesterday was the first regatta for the season at which all the schools were competing and things were busier and more chaotic than usual. The coach decided that one on-water session would be sufficient and the second session would be more cycling. Instead of aimlessly cycling round the regatta course for 90 minutes, YoungB fitted in about 80 minutes of purposeful cross-training by riding all the way home.
In the expectation that he’d have had two on-water sessions, the original plan was that he’d be picked up. That was going to be my job. Had there been any waiting around involved, I’d planned to keep working on that purple scarf I’m knitting. Yes, thank you, it’s going along well and will probably be finished in time to appear under the Christmas tree. It’s plain but pretty and will certainly be warm. Any portable knitting that requires more brain power than garter stitch is too complicated at this time of year, so I’m keeping it simple as you can see from the photo. How’s your Christmas crafting coming along? Is Father Christmas already ensconced in your equivalent of the Magic Cave?? And have you completely lost the plot as a result???
If it is – and if the swooping magpies didn’t suggest so, then the amount of sneezing and general misery associated with hay fever certainly would – then I think my knitting is likely to be put into some form of storage, the sewing machine come out of semi-hibernation and the seasonal swap take place. I don’t really sew much but I think I do more of it in the warmer months. That’s plain silly, really, when YoungB is always on the lookout for warm, knit-fabric sweaters and the frankensweater is yet to be made. On the other hand, it’s generally far too cold in the sewing room for me to use it during winter. It’s clear, though, because I checked on my Ravelry page, that I have been reasonably productive this year with knitting projects, many of which haven’t been hanging around forever but were actually started this year. Of course, some have been around for a good bit longer. By about now, though, I’ve run out of steam and I’m sneezing too much to be bothered with knitting.
Sewing seems to be the answer. I went so far as to purchase a couple of sewing patterns this year, with stash fabric in mind, but whether I’ll ever actually get around to making them up is quite another thing altogether. The PDF one that I have to stick together, then trace my size onto lightweight interfacing, then actually cut out on fabric, is just sitting there patiently awaiting sufficient clear floor space – and enthusiasm – for all of that to happen. The one that has to be ironed, spread out and then traced and cut out? Yeah, see previous comment about floor space or implied lack thereof. I have made up some shopping totes and lavender bags and no doubt I’ll make a few more of those sorts of things with Christmas in mind. But, you know, I’m tired (hence the lack of enthusiasm). It’s been an odd sort of year and it’s quite scary to think it’s nearly over.
YoungB is nearing the end of his first year at university. I don’t understand that at all. It’s only yesterday, surely, that he was starting primary school. Although, come to think of it, I do have some photos of his last primary school sports day and I can tell you he’s grown some since then. Actually, I have photos of his last assembly at high school. They were taken about a year ago. Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt.
We are presently in the throes of organising YoungB’s application for a year of exchange study in Italy. In the interests of assessing his language skills so we can get an idea of his proficiency levels (and what summer courses he might need to do to boost them if they’re not as they should be), I’ve been looking up a few applications and trawling the web for sites that might be of assistance. I tried out a few of them. I have a great verb trainer on my smartphone. It turns out I’m very good at knowing what the verbs mean, even some of the less common ones.
I’m not so good, and this doesn’t surprise me at all, at conjugating anything much beyond fairly oft-used verbs in ordinary tenses but not moods. I think I’ve said before that I get stuck when I’m faced with having to choose between conditionals and subjunctives. It was ever thus, hence my relative silence whilst I was living in Italy. By the time I’d worked out which of them I should be using, the conversation had moved on so far that it didn’t matter any more. YoungB is much more inclined to just jump in and have a go. I’m hoping he’ll have such a fantastic immersion experience that he’ll come back fluent in all conjugations, whatever the moods or tenses and whether it be spring or any other season.
Of course, that’s all very well. But needing a quick, undemanding project (read, something to fill my hands while we’re discussing all the implications of such an exchange at the kitchen table), I had to dash off today to buy some yarn to make a winter scarf for someone in the family. It will be a Christmas present though not required till next year; but if I wait till her birthday, the poor thing will have died of cold in the interim! So, you know, what I was saying about giving up knitting for a bit? Yeah, maybe not just yet.