Tuesday, May 23, 2006

the good and the bad

So I had this post all sorted, all was well with the world and I was all systems go. Unfortunately, a couple of days go past and everything changes, of course. So here, at the start is the good stuff that's been going on, and it has been quite good. The bad stuff follows it and has kinda been clouding my view of the good stuff. Enjoy

My brain has been working in the last little while. That excites me.
People have been really nice to me in the last week or so, that is also exciting. I knew I loved autumn for a reason. So today, here are some reasons why I'm happy and feeling great:
1. my birthday was a resounding sucess, I turned 26 at 4.32pm on Monday 15th May. My sneaky mother got me a scarf that she bought while visiting me in Canberra. She took it all the way back to Melbourne and then posted it to me for my birthday. My brother sent me an excellent DVD for my entertainment. The boy bought me some 'kateporn' which consists of TV series that I love, including things like, in this case, press gang. But also includes series such as kath and kim, little britain, hamish macbeth, pride and prejudice and coupling. He also wrote the sweetest birthday card I've ever received. This was all topped off by the fact that I was able to wake up next to him. Mmmmm, yum.
2. My midterm review that I've been stressing over and spending inordinate amounts of time on has come and gone. It went well, they're letting me continue with the PhD, I will get a floppy hat eventually.
3. The physio doesn't want to see me for two weeks! How good is that? Much as I adore the amount of evil pain that man inflicts on me once a week, every week. The fact that he doesn't want to see me can only mean my shoulder is getting better. Albeit slowly, but it is getting better. Give me another month and maybe it'll be good again. Here's fingers crossed.
4.I was a replacement dancing teacher on Tuesday a little while ago. One of the students came up to me at the end of class and told me that I was the reason they started dancing. I inspired them. That was pretty cool, I have to admit. Sometimes it's nice to have someone recognise something you do creatively as being rather good.
5. The birthday note I received from my grandma was fabulous, as was the present. She wrote how proud my grandfather would have been of me and how proud she was of me. Really means alot.
6. I'm going to be MC at my cousins wedding on the 17th June. Quite looking forward to it. Especially as I'm going to be wearing 'the' dress. More details on that one later, don't want to spoil the surprise, but photos when it's finished and gorgeous.
7. I heard from lots of friends for my birthday, with cards and phone calls and the like. They've inspired me to do a sock inspired crafty friendship thing, more details on this later too.

I really have a lot to be grateful for, and it's delightful that I have all this goodness around me. However, after seeing my grandma the weekend before last, I've been a bit down. She was having difficulty breathing and was coughing a lot. After examination by the doctor on Monday, she was sent to hospital. Long story short, it's about 99% likely that she has lung cancer. It sucks because I really don't want her to die, but it seems that she might do so sooner than I thought. While it is really sad, I have to look at the bright side. 6 kids, 13 grandkids (at my most recent calculation) and 5 great grandkids. She was married for 55 years to a fabulous man. Grandma is an exceptionally intelligent woman and I'll miss her. But she's given me a lot of memories and skills.

So, to finish up, life is both looking up and down at the moment. I have a lot of things in my life that are great and fabulous, but one thing that is sad. But I'm determined to keep reminding myself of the good stuff. Good friends, good family, good food.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Dogs and knitting

Last night I got home a little later than usual, working in the lab until about 8pm. My housemate LJS had some friends over for a baked potato dinner. I was invited to join them and may I say, she makes an excellent baked potato. So, two other friendly type dogs were in the backyard with our favourite Tikka, Casper and Torren (Tikka's brother). Tikka and Torren are both husky/kelpie crosses and I think Cas is a dalmation/kelpie cross. Those dogs love playing with a ball, I managed to snaffle a couple of photos of them, all excited by the prospect of being able to chase a ball around our quite dark backyard.
casper, tikka, torren
so from left to right you can see Casper, Tikka and Torren. They are quite attentive when they need to be.

throwing the ball
Here's my famous action shot. The tiny soccer ball is able to hold their attention like nothing else. They ended up all covered in each others dog spit, except Casper, who managed to avoid all the slobbering.
All in all last night was quite the girls night. My other housemate SKW, got back from a date with the biggest grin on her face. We all sat around and chatted until it was quite late for we 'early to bed' types. We were momentarily distracted by the TV when the subject of persistent arousal syndrome was raised. Apparently some women (not sure about men) are in a reasonably constant state of arousal, and it's a physiological condition. The only solution is orgasm. One woman broke up with her husband because she couldn't talk to him about it. Another one was quite aggressive in a sexual way with her husband, somewhat. . . .demanding? We were all intrigued, but unfortunately didn't really get much more information out of it as we ended up being distracted again by the dogs.

Onto other things, I finished writing up my mid-term review today and felt reasonably good about it. But now I'm mentally drained and ready for more sleep. I think I'll head to the gym though and get rid of some of my tension. I've booked myself in for a massage on Monday to work out the kinks in my shoulder. I figure it should be worth a go, just to help with the healing process. Can't hurt anyway, or in other words will probably hurt like buggery (assuming I knew what that was like) but may be ultimately beneficial.

If time permits tonight and the brain function returns, I might continue working on my lace scarf that I started many months ago and abandoned in despair. Who knew knitting on small needles with mohair would be difficult? And making that lace pattern, difficult? Certainly not me, it actually requires concentration and counting, hmmmm, maybe not tonight. But here are some pictures I took of it this morning in the rather glorious sunshine that Canberra is blessed with. Pity the temperatures aren't as nice as the sunshine.
lace scarf #1

closer up view of scarf

And while I think about it, I really have to get some more Ray Charles music. I watched the movie Ray again on the weekend and loved it the second time as much as the first. That man was awesome. I've been using 'Hallelujah, I love her so' and 'Hit the road, jack' for my swing classes and they are fabulous for dancing to. Oh, and 'let the good times roll' that has some great breaks in it. Got it on my iTunes at the moment while I type this up, awesome. The copies of these songs I have though are from a really crappy compilation CD with poorly recorded live songs. I'm determined to get myself a CD of decent quality recordings soon.

Right, off to the gym now to move those muscles for the first time in a while, then home to collapse into sleep.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

back in the saddle

This week I braved the scooter once again. I even braved the 'round-a-bout of doom' yesterday. It's going pretty well and it's nice to be independent again. It's something I really missed, being able to get where I wanted without the bus or asking for a lift somewhere. But no worries now, I'm mobile and enjoying it.
So, what else is new you ask? I'm rapidly approaching my 26th birthday and my mid-term review. I spent a good chunk of this morning writing my mid term out. It's been scary and informative. I actually realised that I've done a fair bit of work since I last spoke to the committee and I'm actually getting somewhere. Albeit slowly at times, but I'm getting there.
Let's see, last weekend was spent in Melbourne with the family and the boy. I'm waiting on Mum to send me photos of the inagural keilor harvest festival. On Sunday we all got together out the back of my grandparents block (5 acres) to celebrate the harvest. The harvest was of grapes mostly. My Dad and my uncle G have been making their own wine for the last couple of years and this year I think they've actually done quite well. They turned the old stable out the back into their winery and they have two enormous food-grade stainless steel milk vats to ferment the wine in. This year they are making (I'm pretty sure anyway) cabernet, merlot, shiraz, chardonnay and maybe reisling again. Last years reisling was awful and is now being made into grappa. So yeah, we were celebrating the harvest. My brothers band the black swan of trespass played for us all. All the family was invited and also friends of the family were invited. It was a big afternoon. My Dad went out early to get the spit organised and to set up all the tables and chairs and wine tasting area. We had so much food, there was a whole lamb on the spit and there was some pork and I think there must have been about 100+ potatoes that were cooked in the spit as well. Mary, the next door neighbour, an elderly Italian woman made the best vegetable burger thingies I think I've tasted in a long time as well as homemade bread. Dad and G had also made up labels for their wine. It's going to be called Ganga's Garage, after my grandfather who passed away in 2003. He was called Ganga by all of his many grandkids and also used to make his own wine (but perhaps without the strictest sterility) from grapes and plums. The garage I believe is because Grange might get a bit upset at the use of their name, should the wine ever go into commercial production.
Anyway, the day was fun but sad too. I really didn't want to fly back to Canberra and the cloudy, grey, rainy weather was making me homesick and I hadn't even left yet. Fortunately for me the flight home was amusing enough to make me temporarily forget my woes and giggle like a mad thing. Our cabin crew were hilarious, or more correctly the guy on the microphone was hilarious. John has a serious career with virgin blue I'm sure. I was seated in 1A and had a full view of his antics. They began with him welcoming us on board and telling us that they were here to make our flight to Christchurch as memorable as possible. When questioned about Christchurch he told us we could vote. All in favour of Canberra? (no-one as far as I could tell) All in favour of Christchurch? (everyone raises their hands) Christchurch it is, however the next option was going to be Tahiti. Every announcement from then on contained a little gem. He told us all about meeting his childhood crush that day on a flight (Sigrid Thornton) and how he got to hold her hand and then continued to tell us that no other airline would hire him but thank goodness virgin did. Most amusing.
So, since being back, I've been at work, the physio and at home catching up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm currently up to series 3. Having only ever seen from series 5 onwards, it's nice to be catching up on the back story. Fabulous to be living with a sci-fi nerd, fabulous. Oooh I've also taught some more dancing and found that sexual innuendo works well with first year university students. Who would have thunk it? Not me, that's for sure. ;-)
Tonight, if I get a chance, I'll get back into knitting myself some socks with the famous german sockenwolle and maybe also the socks I promised to JJF a million years ago. Then comes the weekend when I will endeavour to finish the bag for my housemate LJS, from Xmas when I got all excited about making a bag, with a printed silk pattern on the front with a peacock theme. It only halted because I was unsure of how to attach the very thin silk to the denim of the bag. It took my Mum to mention quilting it on to get me enthused enough to even attempt it again. I am determined to have it done by the end of the month.
Really, I will.
Other crafting news, I've finished my stitch n' bitch hoodie that I started sometime in November (the sewing up took a while) and am now faced with my first ever attempt at blocking. I tried once and failed but hope that this time I'll get it right. The hem tends to roll up and the edges of the hood also roll up. But otherwise I'm very impressed with it. I made it from some Jo Sharp silk road aran and it's delightfully soft. 85% wool, 10% silk and 5% cashmere. Man I love cashmere as JJF (the sock man) will attest. He's in big trouble when wearing either one of his two cashmere jumpers, so soft, so nice. I may have to steal them.