Monday, August 18, 2014

Listening to Louise Nicholas

I knew I wasn't going to enjoy it one bit, but I needed to watch the dramatisation of Louise Nicholas' story. I felt like I owed it to her to sit through the entire, horrible series of events, that it was the least I could do. Because I wasn't any use to her at the time when she most needed to be believed - when that news broke years ago it was just background noise, only dimly acknowledged as something going on beyond the edges of what was going on in my life.

During that scene, when she retells what happened in that house with those disgusting examples of human beings - and policemen - my gut curdled. The anger kept me up all night and swamped my other feelings, which were of admiration at Nicholas' bravery in speaking up.

I'll never be able to understand why she couldn't run away when Scholum turned in his car to take her to that house, nor why she kept it a secret for so long, as though it was something that was wrong with her rather than something that was wrong with those men. But it doesn't make what they did to her any less despicable. And if I were a man then at some point I would probably have apologised for being one.


TLM turned 9 last week, and we held her birthday party in the weekend - at home. At our tiny little working man's cottage in which our living room also houses the dining table and the fridge (they're the overflow).

8 girls all in the house at once, making lots of squeaky noise and competing at who could perform the most entertaining death scene.

8 girls gobbling packets and packets of popcorn and marshmallows (and sundry other snacks).

It was a beautiful day (considering it's mid-winter) and we were supposed to have an outdoor picnic, but that didn't quite work out so we ended up with a floor completely covered in bits of popcorn, hand-made "smores", raspberry lemonade and hundred & thousands that fell of the fairy bread.

And I hadn't spent so much effort cleaning the house (both before and after the party) since last spring. Exhausting!

A hat plus two and a half sweaters

Just a check-in on my knitting progress...

This is not a skirt - it's the body of a stranded knit jumper

a cowl in Zealana heron

the back of a surf top for the boy. It is taking a LOT of yarn and time...

A short, barn-red cardigan for me

Sunday, July 20, 2014

winter white

Have you seen those personal style books which show how certain colours - or shades of colours - can affect your look, depending on your skin tone?

Well, I have. And although I can usually see the difference when I compare the before and after photos, I don't  always find it very easy to apply to myself.

I've tried draping fabrics over my chest to see whether it's "my colour" or not, and a lot of the time I can't tell.

Not so with this cream coloured cowl/scarf I blogged about recently -

When I saw the photo of the finished product in Metropolitan Knits I felt an urgent desire to possess (i.e. knit) one just like it. When I found the cream merino cashmere yarn at the Knit World sale my fate was sealed.

But when I put it on one chilly morning before work, I realised that I had fallen for that old "it looked so great on the model" trick.

Not only is my neck far too short for such a wide cowl, but the colour somehow makes my face look...unwashed. One's hand knits should not make one look fat and dirty.

Then I took it off and replaced it with my multi-coloured shawl...
...and I looked SO much prettier. And cleaner.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blood on the trampoline

Taking TLM to my mum's place this Sunday is going to be slightly awkward, because of something that happened last Sunday.

For some reason, my niece's best friend has accompanied her to mum's place most Sunday's for the last few months. She's not Chinese and perhaps finds it a novelty to spend time at an elderly Chinese lady's house and eat her food. 

The rest of us don't mind, though it's changed the dynamics between TLM and her cousin - and not just because TLM is more likely to get left out nowadays.

When the three of them go on the trampoline at the same time, it's damned likely that someone will get hurt.

I should have been on the alert a few weeks ago when they all got on there in the dark (post-dinner) and someone landed on her face. But TLM was - amazingly - not badly hurt.

Last Sunday, someone decided to do a handstand while they were on the trampoline. And TLM's face got in the way.

There was so much blood coming out of her nose and mouth. Once we'd got her cleaned up and calmed down enough for a good look, we found a split lip and a gash across her upper gum (right where she was growing two adult teeth).

I was quite angry and worried, but not comfortable with telling off someone is not my child - especially as I didn't see it happen so I couldn't be sure who was at fault. (The lesson here, I think, is that you don't stand behind someone unless they know you're there and you're both participating in some team-building exercise.)

About a week later, I am ready to stop being angry. But it would help a lot if  just this once, a certain person didn't accompany my brother's family to Sunday night dinner.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

A couple of new knits

Recently I made a scarf and a pair of socks. Here they are:

The pattern is from Metropolitan Knits, and is suppose to have buttons at one end so that it can be worn like a cowl. I haven't gotten around to getting the buttons, but suspect that I don't have quite the swanlike neck that this kind of accessory is made for.

The yarn is a lovely soft merino and cashmere blend which I bought for $5 per ball at the recent KnitWorld sale.

It will keep my neck warm, once it actually gets cold enough for me to need one.

Speaking of colds, I am home with one right now. That's why I've got time to blog this...
These socks were a year in the making. Right after I started (and restarted) the first sock last June, I got bored with it and put it away. I only took it out again when I had to go to Auckland for work and wanted a small knitting project to take with me. And I finished the pair in five days.

Too bad they ended up too big for me - but they fit the boy's size 11 feet perfectly! The pattern is from Blendy Knits Socks.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

In another universe I'm a tech guru...

Unless you've been reading this blog for a long time, or know me personally, you'll know that in another life (but in this universe) I worked in IT.

And that I wondered often how it is that I managed to spend about 15 years in IT without ever becoming one of those really useful people who can help when your computer stops behaving.

I mean, until recently I couldn't even work out how to get a DVD to play in our Playstation.

And yet, when it comes to my mum's Freeview television set-up, I am the guru.

My brother, who is no techie, can't fix it when my mum suddenly loses her picture.
My mum, obviously, can't fix it.
The boy probably could do it with his eyes closed, both arms lopped off at the shoulder and only one working leg. But he doesn't have to, because I have always been able to fix it.

To be honest, there are only three "fixes" in my box of tricks:

  • press the input button in case someone tried to change channels with the wrong remote
  • check that the Freeview box is on, in case someone tried to turn the telly on with the wrong remote
  • turn the Freeview box off and on again, in case it's neither of the above.

But so far I have been able to get the telly going again every time. it does feel nice to be the guru in my mum's Freeview tv universe.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

This year's TLM knit

I made this cardigan for TLM. It fits perfectly and looks great (if I may say so myself). Which just confirms my suspicion that kids make the best models. I used a Sirdar pattern (more details on Ravelry).

Elephant girl

This is what happens when you cut up an oversized sweatshirt for your imaginative daughter to wear, because her plaster cast prevents her from wearing her normal gear... (please excuse the poor photo quality - it was taken at night without a flash)

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Flying off the flying fox

TLM has broken her wrist (well, not broken exactly because being a kid, her bone has sort of bent rather than cracked - but in effect it's a break).

It happened in the school playground, and I got the call while I was chatting to the members of the board at work (specifically, I was trying to explain that my eyes were pink because of allergies, not because they work me too hard).

Saved by the phone, only to be told that my darling was crying her eyes out in the school office. I was  very kindly given a lift to the school, where I picked her up and took her across the road to the A & E.

About three hours later we emerged into daylight again (just). TLM  has a plaster cast on her right (non-writing) arm which stretches nearly to her armpit. She can't get any of her clothes on over her right arm, so it's just as well it's not that cold at the moment.

The bummer is that she was going to play her first game of netball this weekend, and now she's only able to be a supporter for the next six weeks. Plus, she's got Brownie camp in a couple of weeks so I guess archery is going to be off her schedule.