definitely not crochet

Old, faded and frayed trousers from deep stash

As it transpires, although Mane Event was a front-runner for our pool-noodle horse’s name, other members of the team have come up with education-appropriate ideas instead. As we are the Education Pod, their input was immediately more meaningful. In any case, whatever its name, that’s approximately the present state of our steed. Lots of work yet to be undertaken, but a good start.

Everything is still pinned. Once we decide on final placement, my hot glue gun is likely to be the weapon of choice for completion. Our OHS rep pointed out that we shouldn’t be using any electrical appliance that I bring from home, as it hasn’t been tagged. Neither, I pointed out, have any of our phones and we plug them into the electrical system All. The. Time.

Okay, back to housework, I think. I’m trying to find a long-sleeved white garment that I know I’ve worn this winter, so that I can use it for this year’s Girls’ Night In. No luck so far, but I’m finding other things.

All the best with your fancy-dress costume efforts, too, as it seems to be heading into that time of the year again.


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that time we listened to the sound bar

Cold nights with cool-to-warm days

Because a good sound system is part of our TV setup, Dr B sometimes uses it simply as an audio device. The other night, he suggested doing just that to listen to some archival music he’d tracked down. YoungB and I had almost forgotten our involvement in that particular recording, so we were willing to sit with a black screen in front of us and challenging music surrounding us.

The value of not having to watch anything was that I was able to crochet and complete three Indian-blue-coloured centres in that time. My plan was to do the middles – a different, same colour; namely, pale eucalypt – and attach them to the blanket. It was a good plan that failed dismally. I was by then so utterly exhausted that I could barely drag myself to bed, never mind haul the crochet bag with me.

Those squares and a few more are now incorporated into the blanket and I am working back through June in the halfway row. As slow as this all feels, I am progressing. The blanket is getting a nice heft to it, and it keeps my feet warm while I’m making the next square.

I hope you’re also able to capitalise on unexpected crafting opportunities whenever they arise 🙂

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Posted by on October 20, 2021 in Crochet


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COVID-safe and delicious

Noting that our workplace is presently feverishly occupied in trying to think of silly names for our pool-noodle horses, I thought you’d make the leap with me there when I inform you that a colleague’s recent farewell morning tea had some beautifully packaged loquats. Although I might usually bring such a treat home for Dr B, I was very happy to take that one back to my desk with a coffee.

The pool-noodle horse nonsense is a contribution to the wellbeing efforts by our management. We are having a COVID-safe event on Melbourne Cup Day. I can support that far more readily than the real thing. I have raided my deep stash of scrap fabric and found something I was able to turn into a fine mane. It’s sufficiently over the top that the horse might readily be The Mane Event, as someone else suggested. I’ll use another part of the same garment to make reins.

I’m likely to be the jockey again for our team. Most of the others are far too dignified to consider such folly, no matter the cause. YoungB suggested Run-on Sentence as a name for the horse but I think that would be an ideal jockey name; that or Comma Splice. Either would be a nicely sly nod to colleagues who attended the same session of the mandatory writing course that I did. We really ran away with run-on sentences, as exemplified by Our Esteemed Leader in frequent email communiques.

I think that’s enough frivolity for this time of the year. What are you doing to keep yourself amused?


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what’s your coffee name?

As long as there’s coffee 😀

I understand why long names are shortened or altered to meet comprehensibility in noisy surroundings. I don’t usually shorten mine, though YoungB has a few coffee names and Dr B has been known to borrow one or another of them from time to time. Me? I’d probably miss out on my coffee because I wouldn’t remember what coffeenym I’d chosen.

However, I had cause to think about what coffee name I could use when I was in a noisy lunch bar recently. Most of the staff were NESBs, some perhaps born overseas, others locally born but whose speech still bore the distinctive cadences of a different mother tongue.

Any monosyllabic choice could sound like too many others. Flick might sound like Nick, for example. Swift mental consideration ensued, but no blinding inspiration. Anything I could come up with seemed set to have as many problems and as little chance of being understood as my full name.

One of my colleagues, who is Scottish, has a surprisingly similar difficulty. His name is John, which he says is sometimes mistaken for Joel, or Jo, or – he’s not sure what! Cue the rest of the team coaching him on a more Strine pronunciation. No matter how he tried, he simply couldn’t get a sufficiently hard final “N” to convince us that his order would ever be in his name. We suggested Johnno as a potential halfway point. He was neither amused nor convinced.

It turns out that I really can’t think of anything useful but only once have I seen a glazed look on the barista’s face. I made sure I stood somewhere readily visible so she could beckon me over when appropriate. That worked so well that, when I won a corporate voucher for a free coffee from their franchise, she recognised me immediately. Now she’s seen my name written on a list, I may be in with a chance of her having a better handle on my handle next time we meet.

Do you have a coffeenym?

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Posted by on October 12, 2021 in Musing


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proper chilly, that was

Pale blue square: it even looks cold

On Friday, I was fortunate enough to WFH. It seems that, no matter what time I stoke up my study and flick switches for computers, by the time I’ve ironed out all the problems, it’s 9 o’clock. Yep. BAU, as they say. That would be “business as usual”, which baffled me the first time I heard it at a meeting but accurately describes how WFH often falls foul of what would be only minor problems at the office.

The entire week was a bit like that. By Friday evening, had I managed to do more on the blanket? Yeah, nah. So, in the spirit of doing it when I find time, after packing up the work laptop again, I sat and made the square that represents probably one of the colder days of the year. It didn’t necessarily have the lowest minimum temperature, but the maximum was around 12 degrees. It’s a cool-palette, blue square and, I seem to recall, one of very few with such a low maximum.

I hope your weekend got off to a crafty start, whether or not your working week looked as wonky as mine 😀

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Posted by on October 10, 2021 in Crochet, Health


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not lunchtime crochet

The few bumpy bits disappeared into the next row

Very last-minute, the Bs decided to indulge in some retail therapy at a city motorbike shop. I wasn’t interested in being part of that. However, they suggested lunch together at the Market afterwards. That sounded much more interesting! I found a nearby pub and sat in a sunny corner with a coffee while they shopped to their heart’s content.

Did I not crochet while I sipped? Do I think that blanket is going to make itself? I didn’t and I don’t. I looked at grabbing a ball of yarn with the aim of making a bunch of centres, but decided against it. Too much danger of things being spilt while I worked.

Once home, I made a pile of centres. I couldn’t think how to store them, but came up with the idea of using an old DPN. There are only 3 that size, and they are much too fragile to use for knitting. I poked one end in a tab that had broken off a blocking mat and decided that, all in all, that wasn’t a bad way to do the job. Those centres have been joined to their middles and are all now part of the blanket.

I have almost finished working back along the joining of row 8. The first square with an Indian blue centre, which was that very cold day back in May, is now fully incorporated. I think this is not bad progress, given that I work full-time.

I hope you’re catching up on any craft projects that are keeping you busy 🙂


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blanketing the days to Christmas

Taken late at night, before packing up. Blanket-like.

Only so-many days till Christmas, I keep hearing. The number isn’t great and it’s constantly reducing. I recently calculated that I would need to make two squares per day to finish my temperature blanket by the end of the year. Logistically, that’s not impossible. If I were to dedicate serious amounts of time here and there to making more than two squares per day, I might even catch up.

I spent yesterday taking it easy because my moon boot is now off. Hooray!! However, I’d been standing about for far too long after work on Friday and the “once this was broken” part of my foot was the least of my aches and pains. I hurt all over and didn’t want to move far, so I set up my bag of yarn in the spare room. I worked out from two centres I’d done earlier (same colour) and added those. Then I made two more squares. Then – and this is the most surprising part – I worked all the way back to the end of the row. It took me hours, but I did it. That’s row 7 completed.

Today, I have done two the first two squares of row 8, as well as lots of laundry and sundry domestica. I’m hoping I might get a few more made and attached before it’s time to sort out tomorrow’s work wear and something to put on my feet.

Weekends are never long enough, I know, but I hope you’ve had a pleasant one.

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Posted by on September 26, 2021 in Crochet, Health


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weeds and blooms

More or less most of my garden, although there is another geranium

I’m still clumping about in my moon boot. Because it tends to make me unbalanced, I’m not being particularly dedicated about outdoor activities that require bending over. I might tip beyond a point of no return. This obviously includes weeding my small garden. I think you can see that in the above photo. I’m pleased that the flowers are blooming and the nearby apricot blossoms are also flourishing. YoungB is looking after his potted plant well enough that it has several new shoots. I don’t know if that counts as dedication, but it’s not full-scale neglect. We’re in front.

I am dedicated enough about my crochet that I’ve now finished working back along row 6 and am just over halfway along the row 7 squares. One night, I was so tired that it took me three or four attempts to get just one centre right. I read that as a message and went to bed once I’d finally finished the square and attached it to the blanket.

There’s a run of periwinkle centres in this row, so I’ve made a few. I’m attaching middles in batches, too, where there are repeated colours. There are no rules about the best way to get it done. Sometimes I can do batches, sometimes I can’t. Sitting at home is better suited to that sort of piecework approach, because I’m far less likely to lose anything. I can hide away in the spare room while the Bs watch TV.

I hope you’re finding pleasant hiding places, too, when you need a break from the madness of the outside world.


Posted by on September 19, 2021 in Crochet, gardening, Health


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be your own caring friend

If not cocoa and biscuits, perhaps time in the garden

One piece of advice we’ve received from upper management is to talk to ourselves as we would to a very dear friend going through tough times. It’s greatly to the point when you’re so exhausted that one 32-stitch round of crochet is beyond you.

You’re doing well, you would say to your friend. You’ve had an exhausting day dealing with grantees who are doing their best to understand government jargon, which is rarely as “plain English” as it ought to be. You’ve been polite and helpful in every email. You haven’t snapped at anyone, colleague or grantee. You’ve encouraged your colleagues when they were flagging. And you’ve done all that after commuting in bumpy buses with one foot in a moon boot, then staggering over uneven pavements and crossing tramlines without falling over.

Here, you’d say to your friend, have a big mug of cocoa and a biscuit. And, you might also say, remember to keep taking the painkillers.

On Thursday, I had certainly reached the point of needing that support from some caring friend. I thought finishing one square and adding it to the blanket ought to be achievable, but I was wrong. Last night, while the Bs were otherwise occupied, I did better. I managed to finish and attach a couple more squares. The blanket doesn’t care. YoungB isn’t really all that fussed, either. He ribs me gently about how far behind I am, but he also encourages my efforts.

Dr B looks up from the innards of a computer every now and then to pass on news of his old friend in palliative care, who looks terrible but is in good spirits, and life rolls on. We’re all simply that bit more exhausted than we want to be. YoungB has worn himself out doing a month’s worth of domestic work in the week between finishing his last job and starting his next one. The sense of achievement is worth the weariness, I think.

Once in a while, we pull up a spot at the sofa and all watch some TV series that’s been recommended, then spend hours dissecting what we liked or disliked about it. Sometimes the themes are too close to the heart to be comfortable, but that provides other avenues for being a caring friend and to make sure we’re all managing. We are.

Whatever your lockdown or work situation, I hope you’re managing too; and you could do worse than be kind to yourself if things are tough. Remember, you are doing well. You’re doing a great job.


Posted by on September 4, 2021 in Crochet, Health


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son of plant-killer?

Irrepressible as ever and incorrigibly growing anywhere

Here were are, almost at the end of August again. Life continues to be a mix of good news and bad. I’ll be back at the office tomorrow, with my moon boot. I anticipate that’s going to be tiring but considerably less painful than being without it. Wearing the moon boot will be situation normal for another couple of weeks.

YoungB is about to have a week’s holiday. He’s leaving a job where he worked for only a few months. Despite the prospect of permanency offered by that employer, he’s moving to another contract position that’s more customer-facing, as today’s jargon has it. I (and others of my generation) might say he’ll have face-to-face interaction with the people he’ll be recruiting to clinical trials. Either way, it is more the sort of work that plays to his good looks and charm, aka emotional intelligence. Ahem. He is also well qualified and with sufficient experience in the field, or he wouldn’t have been their top candidate. It will be challenging but more personally rewarding than the largely administrative position he’s just finished.

As a tribute to the strangeness of the world in which we live, and acknowledging that the company he’s leaving is one where teams and clients are all around the world, his farewell card was, in fact, a digitally-signed e-card. There was also a genuine, living, ficus plant, which he’s brought home and promised to do his best not to kill.

We have to hope it will be as hardy and irrepressible as the violets that pop up every year in the wilderness that’s our back garden.

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Posted by on August 29, 2021 in Health, Musing


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