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right, all right

Not entirely straight, and quite gradual but definitely uphill

Dr B had some dental surgery and it was a longer, more difficult procedure than originally anticipated (although not requiring general anaesthesia). I took the day off work to keep an eye on him, but he recovered well and quickly. I decided to capitalise on the unwonted freedom and head out for a longer walk than I’m able to manage on an ordinary weekday morning. This time I did take the right-hand loop.

It’s pleasant to walk at mid-morning when the worst of the traffic has gone and what remains is the background buzz from a distant arterial road. At that hour of the day and this time of year, the sunshine is bright but the UV factor still low enough that you don’t need sunblock. I walked for about an hour and felt much better mentally and physically when I returned to the house. Tomorrow it will be back to the office, which is even less appealing than a long, uphill haul!

What have you been doing to lift your spirits?

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2021 in Health

 

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about that temperature blanket

I liked the look of my bicraftual friend’s solid granny squares, which she starts from a circle. Via messages and sharing photos, we were able to establish a pattern that gave me the same results (the one on the right; photo taken at my computer desk after I’d unpicked the previous model). I ended up doing something slightly different, because I thought that joining on the “circle to square” round was asking for trouble. I’m not suggesting it couldn’t be done, or that I couldn’t do it. I’m merely being pragmatic.

So, using the above as a basis and with that colour, I’ve begun. Nine of the “neutral” squares – to denote month-end and blanket-end – are completed to second-round status, and one to third-round status. I needed one completed square, so I could calculate likely finished measurements. I’m working with a blanket dimension of 19 x 20, meaning there will be 380 squares. I am nowhere near up to date, but there’s no deadline.

Interestingly, when I took delivery of tranche 1 of the yarn, YoungB’s first question was as to whether that was for his jumper? He loved the brightness. Hmm. I have a plan for working on his grey jumper, – grey by request, you might recall – and note that sorting out that yarn is also on my list. At the moment, other things would interfere with my dedicating big chunks of time to knitting. However, I am able to crochet a two-round square in the time it takes me to get to work.

If you’re able to work while you commute, are you also managing to tick things off your to-do list?

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2021 in Crochet, Knitting

 

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not that right

I spotted these colourful hollyhocks in a neighbourhood garden

The other day, the Bs were out on a motorcycle jaunt. I decided to go for a walk. I know I’ve written at length about the walking options in our neighbourhood. That day, I decided I’d do the right-hand loop. In my mind’s eye I could see the long, straight uphill haul that would be my halfway point. I put a load of laundry to do its stuff – see what I did there?! – grabbed my water bottle and off I went.

And that was sort of that, because I wasn’t paying attention to anything much and turned left, not right. It makes no difference at all to the distance travelled, merely puts the ups and downs in reverse order. Perhaps it was my subconscious telling me that going the other way made for a warmer start, and that the shaded part of the path would be less shady if I left it till later; all of which was and is quite true.

I’ve been out walking a few mornings lately – the energy of it, all before work! – because it’s a time of day that, dislike it as I might, seems to fit in better with a working day that exhausts me. There’s less traffic about, so the air is crisp and not yet filled with exhaust fumes, and sometimes I do stop to look at the flowers. I don’t feel virtuous, but it must be doing me good.

I hope all your exercise makes you feel virtuous and does you good 😀

 
 

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settling

Smoke in the morning, this rain later in the day

It has taken me a couple of weeks, and one of them was short, but I think I’m now half-reconciled to being back at the office. Of course the view is wonderful, no matter the weather. All the same, I find myself strangely resentful of people who work part-time, which is irrational and uncalled for. But there you are, it’s how I feel. As I said before we went into lockdown, the departmental Higher Ups are not greatly enthused about WFH as an ongoing practice, but we are trying to slot in the odd request while there is still any flexibility to capitalise on. My GP is supportive of the plan.

In other news, I’m working slowly on the 15 neutral squares for my temperature blanket. I think I have a plan for the colours, but it looks to me as if I could achieve a better transition with one or two extra colours. At the same time, I’m trying hard not to order more yarn. Decisions, decisions. During my morning commute, I’m able to make a two-round square but I have run out of steam by the time I’m on my way home again at the end of the day. This means that I’m not making much progress, but I have a few squares completed.

May you, too, have a few of your square equivalents completed, whether you’re WFH or commuting to and fro 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2021 in Crochet

 

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ten more tiny toes

Another little cousin joined the family

Three elderly cousins in Italy didn’t make it to the end of 2020. None of them succumbed to COVID, but their age-related frailty saw the family tree lose a few more leaves at a time when families perhaps couldn’t visit, and certainly couldn’t attend funerals. We saluted them virtually and reminisced about happiness we’d shared in the past. We also sang a rousing chorus or three for the one with whom we’d done such a thing many times during her life.

In Australia, we lost two interstate friends suddenly and unexpectedly. Here in SA, we lost an elderly cousin, less unexpectedly. She had somewhat lost the will to keep going after a fall that had severely impacted her physical sprightliness. Youngest Aunt and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the funeral ceremony. It was strangely difficult to enforce staying two arms’ lengths away from everyone else. Sometimes, when one of the older, frailer folk needed a steadying hand at the elbow, the practical aspect ruled: wiser to provide that than to let them struggle and/or fall. As is often the way with funerals, it was also an opportunity to catch up with other family members whom we hadn’t seen since physical distancing and lockdown changed life for everyone.

On the plus side, we welcomed our two great nieces and, around Christmas, another little cousin joined the clan. There were a couple of weddings and another cousin announced his engagement. Life is always shadow and shine, flower and thorn. Nobody could dispute that 2020 had more than a few thorns and a great deal of shadow. There is some comfort from knowing that a young person is secure enough in his employment to commit to marriage; and the flowering promise from new lives has helped restore at least a little of the shine for us.

My your 2020 also have had some beautiful things to balance the unbeautiful.

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2021 in Family history

 

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honesty tempered by pragmatism

As lovely as ever, and almost enough to make the journey worthwhile

On Sunday afternoon, when one of the retail folk to whom I was speaking asked if I was pleased to be going back to work the next day, I answered honestly and said, “No.” But I acknowledged aloud that I’m fortunate enough to have a job and correspondingly grateful. YoungB is back on the job-hunting treadmill, although his contract doesn’t finish till the end of March. But you’re foolish to leave looking for the next job until you finish this one, and – sadly – in today’s climate, foolish to complain about the job you’re in, no matter how merited those complaints might be.

During the downtime, my office’s work systems had a major upgrade, one we’d known was coming. Many personalised settings simply went west and now have to be redone. I’ve had to redo mine three times in two days, as well as move to a different desk. The move was utterly unnecessary, but puts me between two other people instead of quietly at the end of a row. Now I feel a bit as if I’m the naughty child being moved to where the teacher can keep a better eye on me. I always did sit close to the front of the class, but only because I couldn’t see well enough to sit any farther back! Nowadays it doesn’t matter where I sit, the computer is the same distance away.

All the same, the view out the window is still very attractive, and it’s hard to complain when you can rest your eyes on that every now and then. I hope you have something similarly restful for your eyes 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2021 in Health, Musing

 

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greater love hath no woman…

…than to sacrifice her Saturday to catch up with friends. Photo © Mayfair Hotel

It’s a warm weekend day and on Monday – two days from now – I return to actually working at the CBD office. My preferred Saturday occupation would be taking things easy and making sure my trousers aren’t too crumpled from having hung in the wardrobe for such a long time. But, no, I hopped out of bed early and made myself far more presentable than I would for work so that I could help a friend celebrate a significant birthday.

Four of us who have been friends for a long time enjoyed a sumptuous High Tea and a lot of chatter about how flexible we’ve had to be in terms of rethinking plans for whatever last year was and this year is turning out to be. Travel? Yeah, maybe, but certainly not overseas and perhaps not even interstate. There’s plenty to see close to home and we have some of the finest beaches in the world if that’s more your style. Terminology also came under discussion. One friend is embracing the “R” word but another feels strangely reluctant to describe herself as retired, so she is embracing the notion of “the next stage”.

All I can say is that, after this morning’s efforts, my next stage is probably going to be plonking myself near the aircon and catching a few ZZZZzzz’s. I’m not much fussed about what terminology we use to describe that.

Whatever stage of life you’re in, and whatever terminology you to describe that, I hope it’s treating you well.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2021 in Food, Health, Travel

 

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pocketses

Pockets to hold protective armour – white original, coloured reproduction

A good number of years ago, I mocked up some pockets to hold kevlar inserts for motorcycling jeans – one was the single replacement above, the other a complete re-creation for motorcycling jeans that had none. Making pockets isn’t impossibly difficult. Right? Today, I’ve been looking at online tutorials for putting pockets in shopping bags, on the principle that you need somewhere to put your purse and your mobile phone. There are few things in life more annoying than reinventing wheels when you know there are patterns out there – often accompanied by videos – that already have the answers you want, so a bit of research was in order.

Having said that, I was happy to put all that away and accompany Dr B to a brief appointment in town. And, as we were there, and it was lunchtime, we decided we’d try one of the nearby eateries. It’s something I can’t readily do when I’m at work – as I’ve said before, half an hour is not enough time to go far afield – so it was a pleasant way to spend an hour or so on a sunny Adelaide afternoon. The menu offered a good range. Dr B’s pizza was light and tasty. My soup was also tasty. Best of all, the accompanying bread had a pocket.

It’s nice when your diverse themes come together. I hope that you, too, have been able to enjoy a conjunction of ideas from both craft and cuisine, however unrelated they really are 😀

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2021 in Food, Sewing

 

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slippery sidestep

The flat join and tidy finish of this CJAYG method

YoungB likes to wind me up by describing all my yarn work as “knitting”, even if it’s actually crochet. This afternoon, I visited a friend who lives nearby and, because of considerable health vulnerabilities, has been locked down tightly since before the official lockdown began. She is still being super cautious.

My friend is also bicraftually fluent and has occupied much of her lockdown by crocheting granny squares galore. She sews the squares together then donates the blankets to various worthy charities. We discussed the virtues of several JAYG methodologies. When I mentioned CJAYG, she wasn’t sure how well it would work with her squares. I showed her the progress shots of my two baby blankets and the one above will do to reinforce that it produces a neat, flat finish. I told her there are some excellent YouTube videos available (as, indeed, there are).

When I came home, I happened to mention to YoungB that my friend had been doing some beautiful crochet, and that her work was very neat (it is). He said something like, “So she’s a knitter too, is she?” I responded that she does knit, and her knitting is also beautifully neat (it is). YoungB thought I’d managed to deflect that very nicely. I decided there was no need to complicate the issue with mention of joins.

May your family not be winding you up too much 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2021 in Crochet, Health, Knitting

 

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bicraftual intentions

I could craftily crochet while enjoying the sunshine and sea breeze

I’ve decided that I can claim to be fluent in both knitting and crochet (in that order, with knitting slightly the better). I can also claim proficiency in embroidery and other sewing. What that boils down to most of the time is that I can make mistakes in many media and your average punter wouldn’t even notice.

This might explain why I’ve decided that I will crochet a temperature blanket for 2021. I have wanted to join CALs or KALs in the past, but been unable to fit them into the chaos of life that sometimes derails the best of plans. This year, I need to do something that isn’t dictated by what other people want. Having said that, I note that if YoungB ever gets his act together to choose a jumper pattern, I will happily do that alongside the blanket. In any case, I have begun well by recording yesterday’s temperatures and noting that there was no rain.

Australia is in a confirmed La Niña weather pattern, so it’s possible I might not need to worry about there being any days above 40 or below zero. This would mean that I could manage with a smaller palette than I might have needed the last couple of years. Who can say? I’m researching layouts and assessing yarn options. I have almost decided on a minimum and maximum temperature-only two-row solid granny, joined by a single additional colour. I would add a different colour for the border.

All the best with whatever crafty medium you choose to express yourself in during 2021.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2021 in Crochet, Knitting

 

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