Showing posts from August, 2012

How to

1. How to: fill your day with things which are mostly not paid work: go to A & E twice in one day for two separate persons.

2. How to: make a twit of oneself: go to bookgroup when drunk on tiredness and talk too much.  With possibly excessive swearing.  The good ladies of Paroa may prefer I don't come back. 

3. How to: develop insomnia: have a glass of wine at book group.  Lethal.

4. How to: start knitting the pink Miette cardigan: be awake 3-4.30 in the morning.

5. How to: get paid work done around everything else?  I'll let you kow when I've found the magic answer to that.

Good things: all the A & E visits have resulted in people who are okay now.  The Washed Haze yarn is knitting up nicely.  I believe the appropriate term is that it has nice stitch definition.They were very nice at work when I explained that I was going to be late on a big deadline.  The Indian Takeaways shop was very understanding when I drove four kilometres to order some dinner (don't ev…

Ghost town

I'm a lucky woman.  I have a part time job, two awesome kids (y'know, especially when they are asleep), a supportive partner who is in full time work, food, warm home, good friends.  Last night Brighid amused herself fairly badly by coughing endlessly.  At 6.15am she moved into our bed and coughed some more, declaring between coughs that she wasn't well enough for school.  We have had acres and acres of time off work and school this year.  I knew that so long as she didn't vomit, she would be coming to work with me, not staying home while I missed work yet again. 

Even luckier, I asked my lovely friend N if Brighid could hang out with her for a few hours and she could.  Brighid had the loveliest time, coughing all the way but otherwise pretty good.  I had a lovely time catching up with my friend when I picked up Brighid, something I don't get to do much since I increased my paid work hours at the beginning of this year.

Then Brighid and I went into town as I had an…

Slippery elm

Slippery elm, as a little googling will tell you, is a herb made of the inner bark of a tree (a particular one, but I don't remember what it is called) which makes a mucilage with water which is soothing ones innards.  Laksmi recommended it for Fionn a couple of months ago.  Since then, we've added it to the porridge Monday - Friday.  A couple of times in the last month I have seen the early signs of an imminent asthma attack, particular kind of sensitive, tearful, dark under the eyes and tired than would reasonably be expected which is a typical precursor to an asthma attack for Fionn.  But asthma hasn't resulted.  The slippery elm is the only different thing we have been doing.  So I'm inclined to carry on with it.

Brighid, who has endless sore tummies, and myself, who is the grumpiest person this side of Arthurs Pass who also has a sore chest from/causing coughing, do not like porridge.  So I set out to find a way to get slippery elm into us.  Day one I added a tabl…

Spring beauty

Despite consistent neglect, my globe artichokes are survivors.  A local friend had to pull hers out as they were too prolific and crowded everything else out of her vege garden. 
 Every year I photograph and post my first iris.  This year is no exception.
 Calendulas.  Letting them go to seed last year was a great move.  We'll pretend it was deliberate rather than the result of neglect.  Benign and loving neglect, clearly.
 Thyme in flower.  The chook grave garden.
 Daffodils and jonquils.
 Same beautiful flowers, different angles.  I can see these from the kitchen, which cheers me up several times a day.
Pansy amongst the miners lettuce.  I took these photos today, and did some weeding, before the rain returned.  I love my garden, salve to anything which bugs me.

I believe I wrote about budgeting last week.  I don't feel qualified to write about something as ambitious as swiping off $1000 per fortnight tonight.  Since I wrote that last post, we had a brief visit to the pu…

The one thousand project

What would it look like if I wiped $1000 worth of expenditure from our household per fortnight?  It might not smell or sound much different, but I'd wager it would taste different.

I'm very fortunate in that I'm making a choice to embark on this project.  It must seem extremely privileged to people who have been laid off or made redundant.  'Redundancy' implies some kind of financial compensation for the loss of employment, but it is also a horrible word in its implication that a person is merely a unit of labour, of no persisting value.

When I was at home with young babies, particularly the second time round when we also had a mortgage to service, I spent a lot of time both saving money and reading about ways to save money.  I'm okay at it rather than exceptionally good.

The short answer to saving money is not to spend it.  Almost as short is 'don't get unlucky'.  Don't lose your job, or get sick.  Don't buy a dud car or a house with unfore…


Not so much writing at the moment.  I'm knitting a cowl, and while I can more or less read online and knit at the same time, I do need two hands free to type a blog post.

The cowl is an interim project before I start my Miette cardigan (ravelry afficionados may already be familiar with this pattern).  I started unravelling my shapeless excuse for a cardigan which happens to be made in lovely wool, and thought I'd better do something more than just unravel.  I had advanced knitting techniques lessons with my friend Ruth on Saturday night and I'm feeling almost ready to start the Miette.

I've been seething about Rosemary McLeod's opinion piece in yesterday Sunday Star Times, but I'm waiting for it to be posted online before I dissect it here.  The short version is that she is wrong and annoying, and so is the layout/images editor who placed a photo of Catherine Deneuve wearing underwear only alongside the article rather than McLeod herself in clothes.  It's p…

Simplicity 1945

I finished the blue crossover top (Simplicity 1945) in the weekend, and wore it for the first time today.  Brighid took some photos for me at the end of today.  She even interrupted the story she was writing for her homework to take them.  "A unicorn was going over a rainbow one day.  It found a dead unicorn.  It fell down through the rainbow."   
 It has definitely turned out better than the first version.  I learnt a lot about making full bust adjustments and taking better care of details as I sewed, so this version doesn't, for example, have two different sized sleeves.  That is an improvement.  It is very comfortable to wear.  The fabric is very clingy - I think a print would be more flattering, but print fabrics in jersey knits are not easy to find in New Zealand.  The first version was too tight across my tummy.  I could carry a pregnancy in this one.  I don't plan on doing anything of the kind.  I had hoped that this would be a pattern that I would make sev…


I finished the scarves for my nieces.  Of course, it is spring now, so we might be well into 'it's the thought that counts' territory rather than 'let's wear it every day'.  The next step is to organise myself to find their address and make a trip to the post office.  History suggests that may take a while.

Today, when I should have been at the post office being an organised auntie (or alternatively watching Brighid's ballet class, but it is so easy for a parent to get in trouble with the ballet teacher there that I'm best out of the way), I had another look at our local wool shop.  Ten ply cotton-rich yarn is what I want to make the Miette cardigan, and 10 ply cotton-rich yarn is some kind of foreign concept, not available in New Zealand.  But in the sale basket, I found Patons Washed Haze Aran, only in pink, but with enough left to make a Miette.  I bought one ball and did a swatch tonight.  The wrapper of the Washed Haze suggests using 4.5mm needles,…

See the joy, see the promise, smile and love

This morning I learnt that a young woman I know, only 17, died in a car crash in the weekend.  One of the really great things about working with teenagers is that they are all full of hope and promise, even the naughty ones.  I really struggle with the idea of Ms L, a warm, friendly girl with a good work ethic and a desire to be a mum (she was training to be a nanny at the polytech and was also experienced in farm work), slashed from this life.

Don't grieve for me.  I'll be alright, blessed with my own children and the gift of so many other young people to spend time with. Just remember the great joy of life and smile at the teens in your life, on your street, your bus, at your supermarket checkout.  No matter if they are pushing a pram when you think they are too young, or smoking a fag when you think they are too poor, or making too much noise or filling the footpath.  Love that aliveness.

I won't forget your smile Ms L, or your melodrama.  I remember talking about…


There is a lot of tripe written about marriage.  People bend it to whatever suits their purpose, and so long as that purpose is consensual between the parties involved, that seems quite realistic and acceptable to me.  I quite like being married to Favourite Handyman.  I love it a lot actually, primarily because I love spending my life with him (I'm in particular thrall to his talents tonight because he is fixing the broken toilet cistern).  If we hadn't gotten married to each other, we could have still shared our love and life, though we couldn't have gone to England together as he had ancestral visa status (English grandparent) and I did not and de facto doesn't work for that.  We pulled our marriage forward in order to go to England.  The colleague who thought it funny to call me a 'passport slut' at the time missed his aim - I didn't find that funny.  "Congratulations, Sandra" would have been better.

In tonight's local rag, I happened to r…


If you ever feel that the blogosphere is just full of pretty people making pretty clothes which they model in their pretty and immaculate houses, and that feeling is just a tad oppressive, then I'm here.  The Letters from Wetville antidote effect.

Above are three photos.  They are all bad shots, of me, in Brighid's bedroom, which has no wallpaper on it and consists entirely of mess.  But my point, beyond that obvious stuff, is that I've finished the Colette Crepe curtain dress.  I quite like it.  Will I have the guts to wear it out out, or to work, rather than just on errands and round home?  Not sure yet.  Now I see it completed, I'd like to make a red one.  Actually, I would like to wear a red with polka dots version, and sewing is clearly how I'm going to get one.

I've started some more sewing.  This time Simplicity 1941, which is a bunch of new skills entirely, as I've never made a collar, or a placket, or a woven blouse of any kind before.  I'm ma…

Planet Forty

There is a slow return to functional health here.  After both children took a turn (consecutive nights) at being up almost the entire night with wicked ear pain, I got doctor's appointments for the three of us yesterday.  Fionn is back at school with just a cough now.  Brighid is on antibiotics and tonight she finally returned to her usual perky and cheeky self.  After a battery of checks, I have been ordered to stay home and rest for the rest of the week and been given the medical certificate to endorse it.  The doctor, the best doctor I've had in a few years now, even rang me at home later on and told me off for not being in bed. 

Favourite Handyman is being awesome, working all day, then supermarket shopping and coming home and cooking lovely food every night.  He also fills the coal bucket so I can light the fire in the morning without having to lug heavy things in the cold. 

I have the beginnings of thoughts on topics outside my own body, but I'm still in a slightly…

The secondary ear infection and its tertiary effects

I was just about on my feet again.  I've been out of bed almost all day, even did a wee bit of gardening and some sewing. I was doing the dance of sick leave/disruption to 57+ people if I'm not at work/problems of going back to quickly and being sub-standard for much much longer/are my kids sufficiently healthy to return to school.  You know that dance?  The one that gets trickier as people get to marginally well again status?  I'd settled on going back to work tomorrow for the most essential 2.5 hours and requesting permission to go home early instead of doing the next 2.5 hours part which is normally compulsory but doesn't impact on others if I'm not there.  That would give me the opportunity to go up to the primary school and check on the kids and bring anyone not coping home with me to rest for the afternoon.

Well Brighid just sorted it.  She's been extremely out of sorts all day, culminating in when she slammed the door so hard that the lock broke (bad bad…

the pathetic sighs of a quadruplicated flu dweller

The flu.  In quadruplicate.  Don't introduce your children to mine in years to come; we have weak genes.

I'm currently up in the middle of the night because the coughing is less horrible when upright.  I'm currently very very grateful for the bed protector which has just saved the big bed from disaster.  Our little girl is in with me tonight as she is too sick to sleep alone and, in the manner of small children who are ill and out of their usual body rhythm, I've just had to strip the bed.  She had moved the bed protector as she wriggled around trying to sleep as close to me as possible, but by dint of divine grace she was still on the bed protector when she had an accident.  Thank you God, The Universe, Everything.

Some pictures from before the fall:
Above, the duplo tower.  Accessories: two league players, one of whom did some tackling and won herself a fish and chip voucher earlier in the day.    Below, the 'after' photo of my hardly-drinking hair colour tre…