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but where do we belong?

It’s all right for him, he’s a coach.

YoungB has two part-time jobs, one as a barman, the other as a rowing coach: opposite ends of the day and entirely different skill sets.

Last weekend we had the opportunity to see him in action as a coach. Happily, his intermediate-level girls’ crew acquitted itself well, despite having been rowing as a crew for only a week. Dr B and I couldn’t really cheer. The best you could say of us is that we provided food and drinks for that particular coach. We couldn’t cheer for his old school – divided loyalties, given his new workplace is a competing school – and we couldn’t cheer for either of his old clubs – who’s there that we know any more? – so it was an odd sort of day. The weather was lovely – as you can see – and YoungB’s girls won their second race, so he had every reason to smile.

And was it good to be back among the rowing fraternity, even if we’re struggling to find our rightful niche? Oh, yeah. Rowing tragics, that’s us! And for good measure, I was very grateful to have my cooling neck bandanna with me because the sunshine was fierce. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2017 in Rowing

 

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positively something or other

Monday mornings are usually fairly hard work, I admit. You’d think the weekend would have provided R and R and it generally provides at least a modicum of both of those. Sometimes the weekend has been busy yet there seems remarkably little to show for any of the busyness. So there I was on the bus one recent Monday morning, trying to cheer myself into a frame of mind that wouldn’t have me shedding tears if my computer looked at me sideways. I admired the last of the bottlebrush blossoms and all the greenness of the Botanic Gardens, admired the contrast between the architecture of the Wine Center and its neighbouring buildings and delighted in the splash of colour provided by a bougainvillea overhanging the top balcony of the Botanic Hotel.

I still wasn’t too sure about the sideways glances and how I might react to them, but I’d talked myself into a more cheerful frame of mind by the time I reached the office. And that’s where the truly positive bit happened: I was able to provide lots of helpful advice to a workmate whose son is a beginning rower. In a very strange twist of fate, there are three other rowing mums at work. Much as rowing is often seen as the domain of private schools, our kids all attended or, in her case, are attending, state schools. What’s more, we cover all three such institutions (and not to brag, it’s fitting that YoungB’s school has two representatives since it’s the one with the longest-running program). So that’s positively amazing all on its own.

Equally positively amazing is that we are now into November and Father Christmas is today making his annual journey to the Magic Cave where he’ll ensconce himself till Christmas Eve. In Bologna, YoungB is doing mid-semester exams whereas here the Wayville Showgrounds are hosting end-of-year deciders for his home university.

I must apologise for providing a sparse post with neither photos nor links, but we are presently computerless and this is being typed on a very old and correspondingly unreliable iPad. Fnigres corsesd that this works at all! And avagooday wherever you are, because that would be positively something, wouldn’t it?

Edited to add: I have no idea why that date is 20 October. I posted this on Saturday, 8 November 2014, the day of the Christmas Pageant. Perhaps my ancient iPad is so stuck in the past it couldn’t make the leap!!

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2014 in Musing, Rowing

 

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the satisfaction of being a volunteer

Each bow carries a coloured number. Also, there are boat holders up on the pontoon, keeping things straight for the start.

Each bow carries a coloured number. Also, there are boat holders up on the pontoon, keeping things straight for the start.

Like any parent and anyone involved with kids and sport, I’ve volunteered to help out at all sorts of things over the years. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve just finished four days of heavy duty volunteering at the Australian Masters Rowing Championships, which were held at West Lakes last week. I was supervising the area allocating bow numbers, where our days started at least an hour before the day’s rowing and finished well after and, really, we just stayed in one spot all day with the occasional comfort break when there was a lull between bursts of frantic activity. Dr B came down to see us one afternoon and he thought we were busy. At that particular point, we were having a quiet moment where we could pretty much tick off numbers as they came back in and hand them out as required without too much delay.

For those of you unfamiliar with rowing terminology, let me explain what I mean by bow numbers. Each boat carries a little colour-coded square with an alphanumeric code on it, to identify it by lane and correct race, which goes in a holder on the bow (I know, duh). There’s a set of numbers from A1 to A8 all the way through to Z1 to Z8 so, as you’d understand, in a day that has anything more than 26 races, and they all do, you go through the set of numbers more than once. Therefore, it’s important to get all the information correct AND to get the bow numbers back ASAP after races so they can be reissued for their next use. There is a system of fines for non-return of bow numbers, so I’ve spent four days reminding people that the club will cop a fine if they don’t get that bow number back in time, then further threatening them with removal of digits and limbs and calling in my Italian mate with the cement truck if they really don’t bring their bow numbers back in time. (Yeah, it has been that much fun.)

The weather was appalling the first two days but Saturday was not bad and Sunday was lovely, if a shade cool and perhaps occasionally windier than you might want. The race schedule was reinvented a few times which meant that there was a day where the alphabet began at O. Luckily, by that stage we were using a linked computer system, which expedited matters enormously (we’d previously had a manual system that kept being outsmarted by folk with smartphones). By and large, rowers are a fairly good-natured lot and they were patient through the trying part of getting the systems in synch. We made one mistake in handing out numbers, which we caught fairly promptly and notified to the referees, so no harm done. By the last day, as you’d hope, we had things running very smoothly and received many a word of thanks and congratulations for our efficiency. That’s always heartening. Bad weather can and does happen everywhere but if the event is well organised and runs smoothly in other respects, then you don’t feel quite so grumpy about what’s beyond your control.

As part of the packing up procedures, one of our admin/runner volunteers did a sweep of the boat park and nabbed a few bow numbers that had been overlooked and brought them in for us. Because there were so many composite crews, the chain of communication and responsibility was often a shade smudgy, with one club assuming another had done the right thing and nobody having actually managed it. It’s therefore truly astonishing that we managed to pull off what we were told was a first: that is, not lose any of our bow numbers. By that I mean that we had a full set of numbers at the end of the regatta and were only missing one from the spare set for which we really couldn’t account, because it didn’t appear on any list of lost numbers (truly, it was probably lost at sea on the day where conditions were so rough that a couple of bow numbers broke). I personally think the threat of the cement truck did the trick. 😉

It would really be remiss of me not to mention our young boat holders. They were all high-school kids and some of them probably in their early secondary years. They did a fantastic job. One lot received a thoroughly deserved standing ovation from the rowers when they finally staggered into the main pavilion at the end of the day when there’d been whitecaps on the water. They’re not that common a sight at West Lakes and those who’ve been around the place a lot longer than I have were saying they’d never seen such bad conditions there. Through all of that, two lots of kids were working hard on the pontoons to hold the boats. I heard that one of the girls was chucking up over the edge but, heck, the waves were breaking over the pontoon so you’d need to be a very seasoned sailor indeed not to be adversely affected. I hope they haven’t been put off by that, though I’m not sure I’d blame them if they were, because they are the sorts of people who will be the tireless volunteers of the future.

Lest you fear that there was a complete absence of knitting and things of that ilk, I’m pleased to report that I discovered that one of the other head honcho volunteer folk is a very serious knitter who makes lovely little scarves in yarn that’s a wool and silk blend, bespoke dyed by one of her friends in muted colours, and as soft and cosy as you could wish to have around your neck (I accept that my Ballarat scarf is a little on the scratchy side because of the metallic yarn). We swapped a few yarns – sorry, couldn’t resist – about our various knitting projects. During one of my short strolls around the place during a comfort break, I was complimented on that very same Ballarat scarf by one of the vendors (I resisted the merchandise). She said that the colours are lovely. So they are.

Not Great Aunt Susie's sofa despite appearances to the contrary.

Not Great Aunt Susie’s sofa despite appearances to the contrary.

Besides knitting confreres (I spotted a few amongst the rowers, too), one of my bow number co-volunteers admired the above tote that I made from those samples of furnishing fabric given to me by an erstwhile colleague (I’d used the tote to tote my day’s supply of water bottles). She recognised it as a particular linen – apparently that furnishing fabric is distinctive – and congratulated me on how sturdy it was while reminding me that I’d pay a lot of money if I wanted to buy such a thing. She’s quite right. And while I suppose it might not be everyone’s idea of chic to cart around a bag made from fabric that’s recognisably the same as Great Aunt Susie’s sofa, I’m really pleased with mine (and couldn’t care less whether it’s chic or not). It works well and I know it’s much better made than any I’ve bought so far.

Have you been volunteering of late? f so, I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed yourself as much as I did.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2014 in Knitting, Rowing, Sewing

 

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oooooh

YoungB came home with his state team polo top and hoodie today. Ooh, lovely. They do suit him.

I walked up a very steep hill yesterday, the sort where going down has to be taken very slowly for fear of falling. Oooh, my glutes are letting me know about it today!

And, ooooh, tomorrow YoungB turns 19 – I don’t believe it, but apparently it’s so – and on Friday he flies out to compete at Rowing National Championships, representing South Oz at the Interstate Regatta. Are we ready for this? Not really; but we’ll manage.

Sewing? None. Knitting? I’m getting my travelling projects lined up to take with me so that I can occupy myself usefully when I’m not driving during the two-day trip to Sydney. A beanie for a friend’s husband looks like being the ideal project: not complex but using a self-striping yarn that will keep things a bit interesting (and which I can deliver in person on arrival). Mitts also feature. But the Noro Silk Garden scarf that I still haven’t finished? No. I’m sure I’d finish it on the way, but that’s one I’ve discovered is better worked on when I can pay careful attention to it. Otherwise, I have a habit of losing slipped stitches and the edges are suddenly uneven. Knitting while travelling needs to be relatively simple. I’m sure there are plenty of knitters who work on immensely complex patterns while they’re travelling, but I personally find cables about as much complexity as I can deal with in a car. And I’ll be expected to converse.

Anything else? Organising photos I’d promised for an imminently forthcoming presentation night. The technology misbehaving didn’t help that, but at about 2 o’clock this morning, I called it quits and went to bed. As far as I can tell, the systems churned all night and delivered on the promise by this morning. Nothing I could include in the blog, of course!

So am I tired? Oooooh, don’t ask! But, ooooooh, it’s really all a bit exciting and we are buzzed. Hope you’re finding lots of ooooohsome things in your life, too!

PS: too tired to chase up links. Soz.

 
 

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do cups runneth over?

At the interstate regatta, at least as far as YoungB was concerned, the singles competition was important – he didn’t progress to finals but was pleased to have improved his time by about 30 seconds since our state championships – but the main game was the lightweight men’s IV, in preparation for the Penrith Cup competition that will take place during National Championships later this month. How did they fare? They missed out on a podium finish but, all in all, their coach was very pleased. They didn’t – and, indeed, don’t – have the same amount of race experience, and certainly none against that level of competition, as the other crews on the course, most of which contained national-level athletes. Even so, they were in third place right up to the 1500 metre mark (I was following it in real time on the computer and cheering loudly all the while). They placed fifth by about half a canvas. You can imagine that they were a little crushed after having started so well, but they’ve had that experience now and know what to expect for Nationals and the Cup in March. They’ll be out for blood, I expect; and the reputation of the state will be at stake.

As to jungle parties? I don’t know why I do it to myself, really, but I stayed up most of the Friday night sewing! Having the house to myself meant that I could but it hadn’t been my intention to do so. I went to bed a few times, but my mind was racing along at light speed, trying to solve problems. And when I found a solution, I had to implement it at once. My mantra, however, irrespective of problem or solution nutted out, was, “This is a $6 fancy dress costume, not couture sewing,” that being the fabric cost, not the value of time invested.

Of course I had equipment problems. My overlocker decided to throw in the towel. I must have lost nearly an hour doing a complete re-thread or three, but in the end I decided that more time spent there would be truly wasted and did most of the work on my sewing machine. It doesn’t take much longer to do that, I suppose, but the seams aren’t finished neatly (I could have taken extra time to do tidy seam finishes but that didn’t feature in my plan; that would rank as couture), and because of overlocking problems the side seams pull slightly. Neither is a major concern for a wear-once garment, I assure you; although it’s sufficiently well hemmed and put together that I could drag it out for a family dinner if I so chose. Or possibly a rowing presentation night.

Because I was travelling to the party with Youngest Aunt and Uncle, I had to meet their departure timetable (my own would have allowed me a bit more sleep, I think). Youngest Aunt had said they planned to go as Tarzan and Jane – at which, Dr B had suggested that I should, therefore, go as the monkey; he lives, though I don’t know why! – but in the end Youngest Aunt wore a leopard-print dress she’d had in her wardrobe from years ago and Youngest Uncle added a jungle-themed T-shirt – genuinely from Botswana – to his shorts and they were suitably attired. Youngest Aunt and I reckoned we almost matched, except that I’d spent some considerable time getting my hair to a state where lavish application of product would ensure that I could rightly consider myself the Wild Woman from Borneo. (It was what we were told when we were kids and we hadn’t brushed our hair, so I thought it would be both sufficiently jungly and reasonably achievable.)

Sorry to say, there are no photos of me and my outfit. I’ve sent out an SOS to other family photographers and while I’m hopeful of getting something at some point, I haven’t so far had any donations to the case. It’s true that the dress on its own is not terribly exciting or appealing, although the funnel neckline is rather fetching. I like that little piece of silliness. And I confess to having gone back and sewn the side seams so that they don’t pull quite so much. I mean, I know myself well enough to know that I’ll wear it again, no matter that it started life as a fancy dress outfit.

There’s been a lot more rowing. The state squad for Nationals has been announced, and YoungB has held his seat for the Lightweight Men’s IV. It’s the first time in seven years that our state has sent a crew for Penrith Cup comps, we’re told, so that’s exciting in itself (if they weren’t up to scratch, they wouldn’t have been given the nod). There was a presentation evening with wine and cheese sort of stuff (hence my suggestion that the leopard-skin dress might be all right; but Dr B insisted that wouldn’t be necessary because they’re rowers not ponces). What was nominally the last of the Schools regattas before Head of the River was lengthened by inclusion of competition for the remaining state championship races, those held over from the extremely hot second day of state champs (you know, when it was generally reckoned rowers were wimps, however sensible). We had a country regatta in the meantime there, and YoungB always enjoys those (we do, too) because they have a completely different atmosphere. He raced hard and was exhausted by the end of the day.

We had an OS friend staying with us – herself a former rower, so she’s always good value for YoungB because they can talk tech and be on precisely the same page; I understand a bit more than Dr B because I’ve done some rowing, but I can’t give advice from a position of expertise – and that’s been a lot of fun in all sorts of ways (including some long lunches at local eateries). We’ve all exercised together and learnt a few new tricks to keep the weight loss going. There have also been employment-related interviews of various sorts. In a word, we seem to have been doing a fair bit of rushing about and it’s sobering to realise that autumn is officially here and uni term has already begun. (YoungB probably feels as if he hasn’t had quite the break many of his mates have enjoyed because of the intense chemistry summer school he was obliged to complete and the amount of rowing training he’s been doing.)

More rowing and more jobs to apply for and more rushing about all over the place have all taken their toll on our patience and energy. YoungB was the other night ready for bed when he came home at about 7 o’clock (that was quietly reminiscent of a time when he was small and did actually fall asleep at the table).  Dr B and I are barely managing to put our feet one after the other. Oh, yeah, I think our cups runneth over all right, but with exhaustion rather than elation. Having said that, it was very heartening to see the state crews announced and officially presented to their adoring fans (parents, for the most part!) and not a little exciting to realise that YoungB can now claim to have been a team-mate with some of our local Olympians, who are also getting a (or in their case, another) state zootie.

On a positive and non-rowing-related note, the Maine Morning Mitts finally reached their intended recipient – ahead of her needing them, she assures me; I’ve needed some plenty of times already but it is probably the case that we keep much earlier hours – and she loves them and seems to think they were a lot of hard work. I have no intention of disillusioning her on that score. 😉

I’ve also sewn up half a dozen or so lavender bags for Nonna. I don’t know where hers disappear to, but no matter how many I send, she never seems to have any, whether I make them with loops to hang in the wardrobe or simply ones that she can throw into the drawers where she stores her undies. Still, that’s little enough effort and I try to make a couple extra – I did – so that I replenish our own stocks, which tend to dwindle because I have a terrible habit of taking them to give to other people.

If this has been a little more all over the place than usual, it’s a fair reflection of the way things are. Messy but busy. Whatever your place looks like, I hope you’ve been able to get lots of knitting and sewing done and that, if you, too, are involved with sporting folk, you’ve thoroughly enjoyed cheering their participation and saluting their achievements. Now I’d better get back to work or the house will probably fall apart around us!

PS: I’m not at my usual computer and I haven’t been able to scavenge any appropriate photos. 😦

 
 

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it’s supposed to be summer

Arguments rage as to when summer begins officially – in Australia, we don’t start our seasons coincident with solstices and the like, but arbitrarily on the 1st of the relevant month; I have no idea why such a decision was taken or by whom but it was and a long time ago – but whenever it’s meant to be, our temperatures lately have been too cold for comfort. Well, for my comfort. The upside to the continuing chilliness is that it’s still perfectly all right to whip out your knitting and whizz through a few rows between time trials at rowing. So today, that’s what I did. That purple scarf? Mate, I’m on the home straight! And, you know what? One of the coaches came up to congratulate me for knitting. Yeah. Trendy as, that’s me!

She and I talked about knit and natter sessions – or stitch and bitch, whichever it might be wherever you are (and perhaps that varies according to mood) – then for a little while about knitting for payment and knitting whilst commuting on long bus trips – the two are linked, because it’s possible, we agreed, to bowl over a lot of knitting in a six-hour bus trip – and the joys and attractions of Arans and Fairisles. Dr B just sat there and grinned. Of course, he probably couldn’t hear half of what we were saying because he didn’t have his hearing aids in (he’d taken them out for cycling purposes) but obviously he caught the gist of it because, once the coach had returned to her rowers, he felt absolutely obliged to point out that, in the big scheme of things, fancy knitting is decadent. Plain knitting? Perhaps allowable. Anything else is beyond what’s required for immediate survival and therefore has to be considered wasteful of time and resources. Hmm, yes. You can tell, can’t you, that YoungB did a philosophy unit this year?? Me? I just kept right on with my very plain knitting. I mean, it doesn’t come much plainer than a long, straight, garter stitch scarf.

Of course, I haven’t really started any other of my Christmas crafting, unless you count pulling out relevant patterns, ironing fabric and ensuring some clear space for sticking PDF patterns together prior to eventual cutting out of fabric. I consider all those things progress, because I’m much more easily able to do something for a few minutes if it’s all just waiting there; but I’m scarily aware that, help, the Advent calendar is at the halfway mark and I have such a busy weekend coming up that there’s little likelihood of doing any sewing. Too bad. What gets done will get done and what doesn’t get done I plan not to mention. Out of sight out of mind, and what the eye doesn’t see the heart won’t grieve and all that. What about you? Do you have a good plan for making light of the unfinished projects and instead celebrating what you have achieved?

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Knitting, Rowing, Sewing

 

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wheels and water but not waterwheels

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.

I don't really have permission to display their images; but if you can identify them from the back view, you're doing well

I don’t really have permission to display their images; but if you can identify them from the back view, you’re doing well

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?

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2013 in Cycling, Knitting, Rowing

 

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just the usual dilemmas

Suitably simple but not entirely plain

Suitably simple but not entirely plain

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???

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in Cycling, Knitting, Musing, Rowing, Sewing

 

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broadly brilliant

Someone asked me recently if YoungB had got what he wanted out of high school. By way of reply, I recounted YoungB’s Year 7 mantra of, “A good-looking chick on each arm, head prefect and rowing captain.” Lest you accuse him of utter sexism, I explain that that helped him to focus when one of his erstwhile mates, already a successful sportsman, turned on him and started being an utter pr*ck. YoungB wanted to return to that primary school, or perhaps to somewhere where that erstwhile mate was at school, and show him that, hey, being flatfooted and colourblind wasn’t the end of the world, after all, and that he, too, could achieve in a sporting arena AND be successful with girls.

It might have been spectacularly politically incorrect but I didn’t care. I told him that, if that worked for him, to go for it. I’d have to say that he certainly came close. He didn’t quite make the head prefect bit though he was a prefect; and he was rowing captain twice. Not bad work at all. So, yes, I think you could say that YoungB did get what he wanted out of high school. Mind you, he’s forgotten all about that mantra! He looked at me as if he thought I were making it up when I reminded him of it only the other day. Luckily for my credibility, Dr B was able to confirm it.

Did he get what WE wanted? Yes, I think he did. Those achievements were pleasing to us, too, and as I’ve said before, he had a string of other leadership roles throughout his high school years that assured us that he was not just having a good time; he was contributing to his community. The school has a human rights focus and a large multi-ethnic student body (Greeks form the single largest ethnic group and Asians – a bit generically, I know, because there are many folk in that broad sweep descriptor – come close behind) and he had friendships across the whole gamut of represented ethnic groups.

And what were some of things that were so good about those five years? They started with the transition day at the end of Year 7 and kept right on rolling through Year 8 orientation camp and trying out all those sports offered within the school. The Year 8 Head of the River rowing regatta was the first foray into the serious fun of the sport (the serious competition happens at other regattas). Year 9 camp was good, too, providing lots more leadership and sporting activities. There were many excellent teachers. Of course, there were some less than excellent teachers and some subjects that were not as useful as we’d hoped they might be; opinions regarding both of those sometimes changed as YoungB matured and was able to get over his immediate dislike and/or resistance. Life is like that. There were several significant celebrations for the school and it was great that YoungB was there to be part of them: the school’s centenary, an interstate exchange centenary, the rowing club centenary (and he was captain in that year), so he’s been fortunate enough to have had some special and exciting times and to have contributed to the school’s history.

Let’s not forget that out of high school came rowing as a lifestyle and cycling as something similar. We have all benefited from YoungB’s high school education!

Now? It’s on to university studies and all the thrill and excitement of that new lifestyle. Will he get what he wants there? As long as he puts in a good effort, I’m sure he will. Dr B keeps telling YoungB that uni is a lot of fun. That’s certainly not my memory of it and I think Dr B’s view is coloured by distance and the fact that, as a mature age student, he went in one door and stayed behind it for the years of his degree, in a manner of speaking. He was focused and from the outset had a clear goal. I didn’t. YoungB does not. But many of his friends will be attending uni, too, and he’ll bump into some old friends – and perhaps foes – as well.

If he meets up with that erstwhile mate who was such a pr*ck? I think YoungB will be secure enough about his own achievements that he won’t care a whit what that erstwhile mate might or might not think of him; if there’s no blip on your radar, you don’t take any notice. Or they might both look beyond all that adolescent insecurity and find that, actually, they can be mates again. Perhaps that’s one very valuable lesson that he’s learnt: some people are not worth expending effort and energy on but it’s OK to re-evaluate at any time if circumstances dictate. Isn’t that a good sort of philosophy for life in general?

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Cycling, Musing, Rowing

 

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weekend

Saturday was a big day in the City – and the crowds started to gather early; we saw youngsters at bus stops as early as 6.30 in the morning – but YoungB and I were away from it all, having a good time at rowing. Food was a problem, though. He’d been at a mate’s and hadn’t breakfasted, so he was hungry. The cafe at rowing? No, they weren’t up to coping with a hordes of hungry rowers that early in the day and their ovens/pie warmers weren’t hot, so I ended up with junk food: a doughnut and a very dry scone. The drink was at least reasonable. YoungB is now coaching and his crew of beginner girls fared so well in their heat that they made it into the final! Late in the morning, we managed to get egg and bacon sandwiches from one of the schools that does food, so we didn’t starve.  We stayed to watch some of the senior crews but for family reasons were unable to stay all day. Things will settle down eventually.

Last night we went out for dinner to celebrate YoungB’s finishing high school. By happy coincidence – really; the original plan had been for a different Greek restaurant – the place we ended up choosing was next door to a great video shop, so not only did we have a lovely meal – salt and pepper squid; mixed grill; and lentil patties – we came home with a week’s worth of quality viewing. I admit to having sat in the car and knitted while those two selected the videos. My feet were sore and the notion of having to traipse around? No, that didn’t have my name on it or anywhere near it.

Today I lunched with a group of family members at a delightful cafe a few suburbs away, helping to celebrate Youngest Aunt’s birthday. All tastes catered for – Youngest Aunt eats a vegetarian diet and her nachos were just the thing – and everything delicious, especially the white-chocolate baked cheesecake. Dr B and YoungB were not there. They’d gone to a locally famous motorcycle cafe up in them thar Hills (sometimes, when you ride a motorbike, you just have to do what all the other motorcyclists do). It’s particularly noted for its humungous burgers which come speared by a knife but accompanied by no other cutlery. YoungB said he felt like a bit of a wimp asking for a fork!

As if all that were not enough, a friend and his son rocked up for coffee and motorbike talk later in the afternoon. I sat and knitted while they talked bikes. I mean, just because I’m a wench and it was my turn to make the coffee doesn’t mean I have to banish myself to the back room! (If I’d had a sewing project to undertake, I might have; but knitting is at least able to be accomplished in company.)

I’m knitting the White Caps Cowl and I’m knitting a long scarf for the Vic Square yarn bombing project, alternating as circumstances dictate (if I’m having to participate in discussion as to family timetabling, something mindless like the long scarf is ideal because I don’t have to count stitches or rows or pay too much attention to what I’m doing). I’ve crocheted a couple more little roses as experiments but they’re probably not colourful enough for yarn bombing purposes.

Then I took a few photos of the orange rose and the long scarf so I could share them with you. And although they were on my phone when I checked, they seem to have disappeared into the ether between that checking and my trying to upload them to the computer. So no photos, sorry, until I figure out what’s going on with my phone!

I hope you’ve had an enjoyable weekend and managed to fit in copious amounts of food, family and fibre (by which I mean the sort of fibre you make things with, not the sort of fibre that makes you – well, you get my drift, I’m sure).

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Crochet, Food, Knitting

 

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