With COVID-19 numbers dropping nationwide, the order came from On High: “Back to the office with you!” Happily for my continuing sanity and overall family wellbeing, I won’t be. The previously agreed timetable will remain in force for a few more weeks. We may renegotiate the last few days.
YoungB started a new job today. It’s city based and one where the end-of-trip facilities are so good that they feature in the orientation video. That means he’ll be back on his treadley once the first week is over. He’s looking forward to that with great enthusiasm.
In preparation for the forthcoming silly season, YoungB has also been participating in another lot of Latin-American dance classes. Whether from work or from the class, he reckons he’ll be home again before it’s too depressing outside. The evenings are lighter and the mornings are certainly light enough to see where you’re walking. Not warm, mind you! But less dangerous simply because of the improved visibility.
And I have – finally – finished and delivered the little knitted baby beanie I’ve been slugging away at since what feels like forever. It was one of those things where I’d knit a bit, then I’d knit a bit more, and although it should have been growing, it really didn’t seem to be making much progress at all. YoungB kindly reminded me that the longer I took to make it, the better chance there was that it would no longer fit the intended recipient. Fair point!
As you can see from the photo, the beanie is a simple mistake-rib design. The colour is probably brighter IRL, but difficult to photograph well. Bendigo Woollen MillsBaby Meadow 4-ply, 100% Fine Australian Merino Wool in shade Golden Sands. I used 3.25mm (UK 10 / US 3) and 2.75mm (UK 12 / US 2) Aero knitting needles that I have had for many years.
I’m now having a bit of a rest. I hope you are, too 🙂
Last weekend, it rained. Heavily. Nothing daunted, YoungB and a friend took off for an overnight camp at the bottom of Yorke Peninsula and Dr B kept plugging away at matters motorbike. For my part, it translated to little of note involving outdoor activities and a chance to catch up on crochet and reading backlogs, interrupted by the barest minimum of domestica. A winning plan. Right? It was.
By the end of the weekend, row 15 of the temperature blanket was fully attached and ready to be enclosed, and I’d almost finished Book 2 in the sci-fi series I’m trying to read a step ahead of YoungB. That was as much energy as I could muster. I certainly didn’t have sufficient mental fortitude to tackle either of the serious books YoungB has sent in my direction with glowing recommendations; too much effort!
Whether or not you’ve had rain, I hope you’ve been able to take some time out from everyday domestica and do something for yourself.
Youngest Uncle is a scientist. When I showed him and Youngest Aunt the temperature blanket in its present state – unfinished, but with enough structure to make sense – he immediately said, “Periodic table of the elements.” No, although that’s been done. However, when I explained the idea behind the 2021 temperature blanket, he understood what it was about. As brilliant as Dr B is, he really doesn’t have a clue.
Youngest Uncle then asked the sorts of questions you’d expect from a scientist (or, to be fair, any serious academic, including Dr B). Had I kept my notes? Would a scale form part of the blanket? And was I going to have a QR code anywhere?
My responses were something like yes, I have all my notes. They will form part of the accompanying explanatory booklet. Yes, I have a swatch for each of the colour ranges, setting out values. And, what? A QR code?!
I thought he might mean I should simply crochet a mock QR code as the last square of the year. That could be done. He meant print a real one on fabric and attach it to the blanket, but make sure it’s linked to a web page where all the explanatory information would be available without needing to print a booklet. O-kay.
I see the humour in having a QR code – given that 2021 was certainly ruled by them – but wonder about the longevity of something printed on fabric that’s likely to fade and/or fray faster than the blanket to which it’s attached. I think you’d still need the explanatory booklet. Considering that, I may – just for the heck of it – look at redoing the final square so that it is immediately reminiscent of a QR code, if less detailed than some of these images. YoungB is also a scientist, and would certainly appreciate the joke.
Wherever you are and whatever you’re up to, I hope you’re also finding some scientific levity in the early-year. We may need to hang on to that sense of the ridiculous for the challenges that lie ahead as we once again slide into precautionary quarantining and WFH, and keeping a close eye on exposure site reports.
For Girls’ Night In this year, our hostess proposed the theme of Playing a Part. Youngest Aunt suggested the main character/s from Vertigo, particularly referencing either the famous black dress or grey costume as worn by Kim Novak. I could have managed the hair. I’d have been prepared to endure an approximation of the shoes. But the dress, and the figure to match? Hiring the dress might have been the best option, had I decided to go that way. Half the fun of these gatherings is to see what everyone else manages on what is often a minimum-cost model. The more I thought about it, the less readily achievable it seemed.
If not the heroine/bad girl from Vertigo, then what part should I play? Serendipity saw me rereading a few bits and pieces from various books in Garth Nix‘s Old Kingdom series, in readiness for the new title that was released earlier in November. I happened to reread part of Lirael, the second book in the original trilogy. There was a description of Filris, a character who appears only once but at a moment of great importance.
Filris is the Infirmarian at the Clayrs Glacier. She is described as short and slight, with white hair and wrinkled skin that tans readily. She is said to be about 150 years of age. Like others of her clan, she has pale blue eyes. I didn’t need help for most of that, although I’m no longer slight, nor am I naturally tanned. Being the Infirmarian, charged with healing via the use of both Charter Magic and more ordinary means, appealed to me as something readily achievable and surprisingly appropriate. This is not to say that I am possessed of Charter Magic, more that I could come up with all sorts of quick and easy ways to represent Filris AND, as I have spent many years of my life in caring roles, both professional and personal, the fit felt right. Type-cast, you might say.
I wore clean silver jewellery, with the idea that it represented untarnished silver kept bright by Charter Magic. I wasn’t successful in finding anything resembling the moonstones on a silver circlet that denote a fully Awakened Clayr but you could argue that a healer would have as few adornments as possible. As I think you can see in the photo, I had stars on the cape I made. The stars are meant to be seven-pointed, to represent the Clayr, but I could only find the five-pointed variety. Basic clothing was as simple as a white top and leggings, and I made a green-and-silver belt that didn’t hold up as well as I’d have liked but lasted long enough. To suggest the healer’s role, I carried a bag with some herbs of healing – fresh rosemary from our garden, as well as fresh and dried lavender – and put my hair up in a bun to keep it out of the way. Sorted without too much effort. The fur-edged cape is not entirely true to canon. However, I knew it would be cool outdoors and I am notoriously bad at handling cold; almost like a real Clayr living on a glacier.
And, as if all of that were not enough, I grew up in Clare. It was meant.
I wasn’t happy with my representation of a Charter Mark, but the paler zinc almost worked. Of course, nobody else knew who my character was or had heard of the books. Of course, I was equally clueless as to who half of them were meant to be. It was fun swapping yarns about what/whose part we were playing. It was also deeply heartening to find a fellow crocheter with whom I could discuss yarns of other sorts; BWM is our preferred supplier.
If I was tired before all these fancy dress parties started cranking up – yes, I was – then I think I can safely admit that I’m now utterly exhausted, and ready for the working year to be over. However, the latest Old Kingdom title should be awaiting me tomorrow when I come home from work. I can probably keep my eyes open long enough to read a chapter or so of that. I would usually stay up all night reading, but see my earlier comment re exhaustion AND consider that it’s a school night.
I’m sure you’ll appreciate my reluctance to visit the Infirmarian 😀
I took the better part of two days to do the encircling round on row 3, but I finished it. Then around another corner I went, which means that row 4 is now starting to take shape – that is, mid-March back to the end of February. Yes, there’s still a l-o-n-g way to go before I’m up to date. No matter. I’ll get there.
All the same, in the interests of trying to speed the process, I have done some work while commuting on the bus. It’s frustrating, as the bus ride tends to be bumpy and I struggle to maintain a good rhythm. Grizzle noted, be it also noted that I have managed to complete a few centres and do middle rows from a couple of them. There are then ends to be dealt with as a separate issue, which you’ll probably recall is not my preferred methodology.
I sewed in ends last night – bring out the polish for my halo, right?! – so all of them have actually been taken care of and most of the centres attached to their appropriate middles and then the blanket. I called it quits with one centre still unpaired; oh, the horror! It will be ready for action when I pick up my hook again.
May all your centres, of whatever variety, be securely attached to their respective middles 😀
I met up with visiting cousins this morning; it’s been over a year since we last saw each other. They sent me a message telling me where to meet them. I couldn’t work out where they were relative to where I was. My nav app wasn’t helpful. It said something like head north, and then shut down saying I’d reached my destination when I hadn’t moved! Yeah, right. So while I had a think about that, I went to a nearby bakery and bought some hot cross buns (not my photo, it’s a stock one from the web). As you do. Right?
I love the Markets – I’m sure I’ve said so before – but there’s no doubt that the decibel level is a deterrent to easy conversation. I was able to return a sheaf of genealogical notes and a few additional pages. My explanation as to where those additional pages fitted into the overall picture was necessarily brief because I was rapidly becoming hoarse.
I hope you’ve been able to catch up with the chit-chat in person?
I was searching our work chat files the other day, looking for something as simple as the name of one of the several babies born during lockdown, whose mother has now returned to work. I couldn’t find it. Luckily, she mentioned the name when showing me photos, so I was saved from the disgrace of having to admit I’d forgotten. Phew.
This year, now, life has returned to a sort of half-normal state. The roads are crowded with cars because fewer people are willing to risk public transport but the local shopping centres are weirdly empty. Pedestrians observe some distancing at traffic lights, though it’s probably not the recommended 1.5 metres. Everywhere we go, we login with our phones as if we’ve been doing it forever. Large enough private gatherings have Covid-SAfe check-ins and Covid marshalls. Masks have once again become a rarity but haven’t disappeared. Any specialist medical appointment requires additional paperwork around travel, health and potential contact status. Dots and crosses on floors remind us not to get too close, and rows of chairs bar physical approaches to benchtop counters.
Remarkably, or unremarkably, life goes on pretty much as ever, even with all the restrictions; and, yes, we are extremely fortunate to be able to say that. Why, we had a last-minute pub meal to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, whether or not he’s worthy of celebrating. I suggested it because we’d all had a long, tiring day; but any excuse will do. Right? There were plenty of other green-themed suitably distanced groups also having a good time at the pub. We take our wins where we find them.
As for the coming year, what do you reckon it has waiting for us?
We had a “Remember the 80s” morning tea at work today; fancy-dress optional. There were some hilarious outfits. The colleague who fished out her legit 80s granny-square crocheted jacket and manufactured some truly over-the-top shoulder pads to bulk it out was the clear winner of the informal competition, judged mostly by the decibel level of the laughter evoked. She would, she agreed, have had an accompanying frizzy perm back in the day. Many of us could imagine it from the perspective of having been there.
In terms of food, there were several offerings of French onion dip accompanied by crackers and what are probably nowadays referred to as crudites. Here in Australia back in the 80s, we simply said carrot sticks, understanding that there would also be celery and sometimes cucumber; as in the photo. It was good finger food and surely not entirely unhealthy, even allowing for higher salt levels in some of the dips.
I remember the 80s as a time when we more usually held dinner parties. But, goodness, who has the time to dedicate an entire day to making almond soup (using a recipe similar to this one)? That was time-consuming and labour intensive but lacked the commensurate wow factor. I haven’t made it since. Or basting a chicken every half-hour so that it turns a glorious brown and you can show it off to your guests as you carve it at the dinner table? Been there, done that, too. But, you’re right. Do it now? Yeah, nah.
I can’t say the rest of the day went quickly, and there’s a general feeling that, despite Monday have been a holiday, it’s been a long week. Yes, it has. But we’ve survived this far, and tomorrow is Friday.
I hope your week hasn’t felt too long. Do you think some of the crunchy stuff would help?
Yesterday, Dr B came home from his latest pushbike outing and suggested we go out for coffee. The sun was shining, the laundry was already hanging out in the sunshine, and – because it was a public holiday – there were no other calls on my time. No-brainer, really. I grabbed my sunnies, locked the house, and away we went. Dr B always intends to park right out the front and usually does. Sure enough, he did it again today.
Gawd, it’s tough, slumming it there by the non-potable (but also non-odorous) waterways and the bound-to-belong-to-a-millionaire mansions! The cafe was doing such a roaring trade that we had to wait for an outside table; any table, really, because they were already beginning to limit their service to takeaway only in readiness for the early close dictated by public holiday demand: busy all day, but everyone fleeing for home at about 3 o’clock because “Tomorrow is a school day.”
We were ahead of the home-going crowd so we came back up the hill in next to no time. We’re very lucky to have such delightful facilities so close to us.
Monday morning enthusiasm, such as it was, wore out rapidly today when the stuttering technology had me stuttering, too, because I simply could not be productive. When put on the spot by my upline manager, I was utterly unable to defend that lack of productivity or remember what I’d been trying to do.
Dr B says, and I know he’s right, that I don’t have to take the blame for any of that. He encouraged me to think of various leaders who don’t hold themselves responsible for anything, and take a leaf from their book. I have a feeling there might be enough leaf to tamp a large decorative pipe, but that isn’t the point. The point is that beating myself up is not the point, either. In fact, it’s pointless. The only answer, really, was coffee. And, too many coffees later, I’m sitting here wondering about the origin of tobacco!