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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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why I haven’t or why, I haven’t

I mentioned in an earlier post (6 June 2012) that I hadn’t yet had an article published in Checkpoint; and why, I still haven’t, even though I couldn’t say for sure why I still haven’t. (Actually, there have been plenty of real cycling articles in it lately, a lot of big ride reports. And a very interesting article about an Audax Wife who photographs cemeteries, which helps to contribute to the photographic database that helps people trying to track down family histories and build family trees. There’s a purpose for everything and a job for everyone, it seems, even if they’re not cyclists.)

I work at it a lot, though, at least in my mind. It’s entitled, What I did while you lot were out cycling hundreds of kilometres in the wind and rain/scorching heat (whichever is appropriate; I deliberately leave some details vague). Each year, when the Fleche Oppy 24-hour team ride comes around, I find myself mentally writing a very long article indeed, because it always coincides with a rowing regatta, sometimes an important one. And if it’s the full 360 kilometres and the team that Dr B is riding with will camp overnight at our house? Yes, there are considerations there, there are indeed.

One year, while they were toiling up steep hills, I was driving Boy to an away regatta, braving the morning fog and what have you to ensure his presence where he was needed at the required hour. Then while they were toiling up more hills, I was doing a food dash to the local bakery to buy lots of food for hungry rowers (that prodigious appetite again). While they were descending hills, I was too, driving my sleepy Boy home from a day of rowing where he had seemed constantly to just miss out on victory but, despite that, had had a great day because he’d rowed hard and well. He sleepily commented that Australia is a big country because there are European countries we could have crossed several times in our day’s driving. He and his various crews had worked hard while Dr B and his team had worked hard.

Me? Well, you know, I sat about on the bank and watched and cheered and took lots of photos and found this, that and the next thing when asked (including that food I mentioned), and did all the driving (covering not quite as many kilometres in the car as Dr B on his bike) because that’s what I do.

In that particular year, the away regatta meant then having to set up bedding for overnight cyclists when Boy and I got home. We had to find mattresses and I had to locate bedlinen and it was all just a horrible rush and I was more than usually flustered when the team turned up. The previous year, I’d had an at-home regatta that gave me ample time to do the running about and find mattresses and bedlinen as well as prepare food.

The most recent Fleche Oppy, coming after Dr B’s accident, turned out to be a shorter one, a Petit Oppy. He took himself to the start while Boy and I went to rowing. It was the school state championships regatta and our school was the host club, which meant that for once someone else took photos for the school but only because I was doing other things: handing out bow numbers all morning and scrutineering most of the afternoon. Volunteering for the latter was a cunning ploy because it meant I was able to watch Boy’s Schoolboy VIII crew in its first ever race. So, yeah, I just had a good time while the boys were knocking themselves out in their respective sports, really.

Dr B came home for the night but we didn’t have to accommodate anyone else, so at least I wasn’t running about trying to find bedding and the like. I took him to the next morning’s 6 o’clock start then came home and just, you know, bummed about a bit laundering and doing all that sort of nonessential rubbish, before picking him up from the finish point at about 8.00. Sometimes I’m rushing about doing stuff and can’t rake up the energy to write, although I almost always have a notebook with me.

And today? Today I’ve been providing Audax input in a quite different manner. I’ve been trying to think up clever names for a 1000 Km ride that Dr B is organising for next year. It’s based on a shorter one he already convenes but he didn’t want the names to be so similar that folk would think it was just the same ride stretched out a bit. The Copper Coast Wanderer offers several distances up to 600 Km. The 1000 is that and nothing else. You can see why the extra distance required new nomenclature.

The ride takes in most of South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, which is shaped somewhat like a leg; hence my immediate suggestion of the Shake a Leg 1000. I’d also proffered several other catchy suggestions, alluding to the maritime and agricultural history of the area, but this morning YoungB came up with a couple of delightfully ironic suggestions that had us in stitches and clearly beat my wit to a pulp. What do you think, for instance, of the Life’s a Breeze 1000? Dr B is conducting a poll among the Audaxians. And, no, I don’t suppose I’ll be writing about it though I’ll take my notebook with me when I’m doing support work, I’m sure!

#*BREAKING NEWS*#

More importantly than any of that – really – Karen has launched her Apronalong . Go get your button now. I’ve got mine! Although, unfortunately, my button doesn’t seem to be working, I’m sure you’ll be able to make yours work. And I’ll keep trying with mine.

Also, in case you were wondering, YoungB was still Boy at those rowing regattas. I haven’t really mixed it up!

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Cycling, Musing, Rowing

 

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