Archive for July, 2009

Photo Saturday returns!

July 25, 2009

Wow, there’s lots to tell this week…knitting, garden and surgery news.  It has been a hard week though, lots of pain, only two mornings in the office, no attempt to go to knitting in the library.  There has been a shocker of a letter from the hospital, a big disappointment from family and seemingly endless rain.  Still, it’s Saturday now, it’s sunny and even though I’m tired I don’t feel too bad. 

So, starting with knitting…I sent the baby socks and bunny to David in Bristol, for his new baby Anna.  He got them on his return to work on Weds and by Friday I already had a thank you card!  He seemed impressed by the bunny – once he’d worked out which way up it should go…and what it was! 

I’ve been plodding away at my entrelac scarf for what seems like months, and I suppose is months in reality.  It ahs finally made it to a length I’m happy with, with about 3/4 of a ball of yarn left.   I think I’m going to break off the yarn but leave the scarf stitches live, then make a hat and gloves to match.  I don’t expect there’ll be enough yarn left for both hat and gloves, and it’s a bit garish anyway, so I’m thinking of matching it to another ball of sock yarn, of a similar weight and creating something that uses both.  Maybe a stripe of the Apple Hill craziness?  Even a stripe of entrelac squares…who knows, I’ll get creative and see what happens. 

Anyway, here is the scarf in all it’s lovely longness (bear in mind it isn’t blocked):

Bright, huh?

I’ve also been working on the cobweb shawl I started and restarted last week.  It’s lovely, so delicate, but does take a lot of concentration.  This makes it slow going, especially as I have to put it away as soon as I get too tired, or something on the television catches my attention.  This photo doesn’t show it off very well – it’s really hard to stretch out to show the pattern, and the colours don’t quite look right either.  Still, I’m pleased so far:

The shiny white threads are dental floss lifelines, there to ensure I don’t have to start again if I do lose concentration. 

The final knitting news is that I finally got the buttons for my stripy cardigan:

I’ve worn it so much already, because it’s so comfy and warm.  It’s a surprisingly good fit, too, and it’s only because it isn’t black that A hasn’t stolen it as yet.  Guess what my next big project will be?!

Now, on to the garden.  Lots of growth, a few pretty flowers, herbs everywhere and an apricot tree! 

First, a pot of dill and a window box of parsley, chives and basil:


Next, lavender and pots of flowers:


Crazy teasels – there are three pots of these:

And finally, my pride and joy…an apricot tree:

Okay, so not so much a tree as an almost-not-there-seedling.  But it’s so cool, I grew it myself, from a stone!  The other two planted at the same time didn’t come to anything, but we really don’t have space for one apricot tree, never mind three! 

Apart from all of that flourishment, my Dad came round with a miniature sunflower, which I’ve discovered is very very attractive to snails.  The leaves are systematically being stripped bare, but the brave little thing continues to flower anyway.  The birds are constantly now in the garden, pigeons mainly, but still some other visitors from time to time.  One day last week, I got home from work at lunchtime and spotted a juvenile blackbird and a cheeky sparrow sat on the fence watching me.  As soon as I got out of the car they scarpered, but it was fantastic to see them there.  The pigeons have now got very brave, flapping down to the feeder even when we are in the garden! 

And…so exciting…while I was sat out in the garden last weekend, I saw a leaf-cutter bee!  It was cutting leaves!  Of course it was, that’s why they’re named that, right?  But in a garden that I thought was devoid of life not so long ago, to see something so interesting is such a reward for the work we’ve been putting in this year, and more than repays our insistence on not using chemicals as fertiliser, weedkiller or pesticide.  Slugs and snails we have aplenty, but I’ll live with that for the sake of the leaf-cutter bees 🙂

On to slightly less happy stuff, I got a letter from the hospital this week.  As requested by me (?!), I have been taken off the surgery waiting list!  I phoned them immediately and for once got a reply.  The end result is that the admissions officer is trying to squeeze me in to the August surgery list, and I should get a letter over the next few days.  Apparently I’m a difficult case to fit in because I need a two hour slot and an assistant as well as a surgeon.  As far as I’m concerned that should be their problem, not mine, and it’s wrong that I’m left to suffer for it.  I’m seriously approaching the point of complaining. 

Right, I think that’s enough for today.  In the coming week there’s work as usual.  Apart from a big meeting on Tuesday morning and a trip to Plymouth later in the week. That includes a serious, potentially difficult meeting, but also a chance to catch up with Theresa over lunch and potentially dinner.  And of course, there’s that letter from the hospital to look forward to 😉

Now I’d better go get some washing done, before the rain starts again.


Another week gone?

July 18, 2009

I can’t believe it’s Saturday again already.  I’ve had a much better week, getting in to the office 3 times, working all day every day and even going to the library to knit for the first time in weeks. 

It was lovely to get to the library and catch up, I’ve missed it.  Knitting has really been happening this week in fact.  I finished a pair of tiny baby socks and a little bunny for my colleague’s new baby girl:

The socks are baby ‘Monkeys’ – a massively popular Cookie A pattern, converted to baby size by another talented Raveler.  The bunny is made from a single square of knitted fabric, ingeniously sewn up in the right places to make the cutest little rabbit ever (apart from my bunny-dog of course).  I tucked a tiny bell into the bunny’s head before I sewed it up, so he very faintly jingles.  Soooo cute.

I’ve been working away at my entrelac scarf too, as it’s good mindless knitting now I’ve got the hang of it.  I’ve almost finished the first of two balls of yarn and I’m thinking I won’t need all of it…maybe a hat or gloves to match if there’s enough left?

Finally, in knitting news anyway, I’ve started a shawl.  I have a recurring need to knit a shawl.  I did it once loved the end result, but have only used it once.  That was a reasonably thick w00l, which made a lovely warm shawl.  The one in my head more recently is much lighter, lacier, fancier.  I’ve got some cobweb weight wool from Violet Green, which should be perfect…if a bit scarily delicate.  I chose a pattern, spent two evenings (!) winding the yarn into centre-pull balls, cast on and hated it. 

I have given the pattern more thought and have settled on a circular shawl this time.  I started it, got to about the 24th round, then realised I had dropped a stitch and had a big hole.  So last night I restarted again.  There isn’t much of anything to take pictures of as yet, but as soon as there is…I’ll post again.

Other than knitting, I don’t think there’s much news.  Still no surgery date.  No garden news.  No weight loss (or gain). 

Next week it’s just work as usual.  Except Friday is payday…and we’re getting a bonus 🙂 .  It’s already allocated to various bills and other commitments, but we do get to book our holiday for October with it.

A quick update

July 11, 2009

Sorry, I don’t have much time for this today, got too many chores to get on with.  Somehow everything has piled up all at once and I just can’t put it off any more. 

This week has been a bad one.  I’ve had worse pain than usual, missing the team meeting in Bristol on Tuesday and only going in to the office twice.  I’ve gained 1 lb, instead of losing weight, so  I have to do a forfeit.  This week’s punishment is to clear the backlog of shredding in the cupboard.  The kitchen is full of washing up, as we didn’t have time to clear it last night before we went out.  There’s clean washing sat in the washing machine, which needs drying somehow.  There’s dirty washing piled up on the bedroom floor, waiting to be washed.  It’s raining, so no chance of using the washing line to dry stuff. 

Plus, I have decided to move my docking station, office chair and other work stuff up to the library.  This means cleaning our stuff off the old desktop and getting rid of it, then clearing the desk to make space for my monster of a docking station.  The advantage will be that it will then remain in place and ready for use whenever I need it.  Plus the dining room will be free of it.  At the moment, the docking station gets loaded onto the office chair and pushed to one side when it isn’t in use, then moved back onto the table when I need it.  I’m not sure the desk in the library is wide enough, but I’ll find out later. 

Oh, and I have some work to do, to catch up on hours I’ve been missing through illness, pain etc. 

What else?  I planted my apricot stones last weekend.  Turns out there were 3 of them, not 4 as I thought.  They had already sprouted slightly in the fridge though, which I found so amazing.  The pots have been sitting in the lean-to for a week, growing nothing visible but tiny little mushrooms (must have been spores in the compost)…but then, this morning when I got up…there’s one baby tree!  Hooray!

In knitting news, I finally finished my cardigan:

It has no buttons yet, but I’ll get some soon.  In the meantime, I have worn it every day since finishing it, even without buttons!

I’ve started now on baby socks, using odd bits of leftover sock yarn.  More details another day. 

That’s it then, I’d better go get on with chores, might post an update another day.

No photos this week

July 4, 2009

Sorry, I’m just too lazy…can’t even think of anything interesting to take pictures of.  How rubbish is that?!

This week has been a long one.  But at the same time, good grief it’s Saturday again already!  How does time do that?  Run fast and slow at the same time?  I find myself wishing the working week away, but also frightened about how quickly my life is passing.  Contradictory, huh?  It’s so strange, I’m 34 already, how did that happen?! 

Anyway…what has happened this week?  Work, of course, goes without saying.  I did have a bad day early in the week, when everything seemed difficult, starting with waking up in pain.  Followed by a glance out of the bedroom window, which revealed one of next door’s cats squatting over my pot of dill!  I threw open the window and screeched at the little darling, scaring him off but dropping the key from the window lock down onto the kitchen roof in the process!  D’oh!  I considered climbing out onto the roof, but decided against it as I was in my ‘jamas and A was out at work.  It would not have been a wise choice. 

I ended up digging through craft supplies and random cupboards, and created a key retrieval device by putting double-sided sticky pads on the end of a dowel rod and leaning out of the window as far as I could.  A bit odd, but hey, it worked! 

The last week has been a scorcher, weather-wise.  Temperatures have been so high I’ve really been struggling.  Even the over-active air conditioning in the office can’t keep up.  The worst result for me, is that my already low blood pressure has dropped further.  Every time I stand up, I have to grab hold of something until the dizziness passes, and I’ve been very careful not to stand up too quickly or I’d be certain to faint.  To counteract this, I have to eat frequently…which is not helping with my weight-loss plans.

Hang on, I haven’t talked about that, have I?  Hmm, well…confession time.  I’m very overweight.  I don’t look as overweight as I actually am, but it’s there alright.  As I’m reminded every time I go near the scales, or even try to wear the clothes that fitted just a year ago.  I can blame the illness/pain thing, and that’s what I’ve been doing so far.  To some extent that’s reasonable as a lot of the drugs I take daily cause weight gain, bloating and water retention. 


I also have to take some responsibility for it myself.  I have been comfort eating.  I’m so miserable, so much of the time, so I eat to feel better.  Except that eating junk food makes me more bloated and lethargic, and I feel guilty because I know I shouldn’t do it, so I end up feeling more miserable.  So I eat some more junk.  I’m sure you see the problem. 

I have finally decided it is time to do something about it.  Some lovely people on Ravelry have started a weight loss group, with the intention of supporting each other, so I’ve joined.  Every week that I lose weight (or stay the same), I get to put money in the guilt-free yarn jar.  Every week I gain weight, I pick a forfeit from the forfeit jar.  Both jars are virtual, as we rarely have any cash and I can easily keep a forfeit list and roll a dice to select one. 

This week I lost 4lbs.  I’m so happy!  I feel better for not eating the junk, although some is still allowed.  I can’t follow a ‘diet’, I just won’t stick to it, so I’m doing this my own way.  I can eat 3 sensible meals a day – anything I want, in reasonable portions, with just a thought or two about fat, sugar etc.  I can eat some chocolate, but not a lot.  Occasional takeaway is ok, but no more than once a week and not too extravagant. 

The main differences are cutting out crisps and changing my approach to fruit. 

Oh how I miss crisps.  I crave them at least once every day, but I have now gone more than 2 weeks with none.  Not one.  Despite occasions like parties where they are placed in front of me.  I just don’t have the willpower for one crisp.  I buy a bag…always a big bag…and once it is open it doesn’t last more than one sitting.  Crisps, I love you, but at the end of the day you’re bad for me and you have to go. 

As far as fruit goes, I can eat as much as I like.  In fact I’m trying hard to make it my snack of choice every time.  The difference is I’m eating a small amount more often, rather than a big old plate full all at once.  Someone told me that to consume  more than one or two pieces of fruit at a time is actually bad for you.  Your body is overwhelmed by the quantity of sugar and processes it into fat.  They were actually talking about smoothies and juice drinks, and I have no idea whether it’s true, or urban myth, or even unproved theory.  I decided it makes some sort of sense though, and I need something when the crisp craving takes hold, so I’m breaking the fruit up into smaller portions more often.  It’s worth a try. 

Anyway, on to garden news…I transplanted my window-box herbs into their new, bigger home.  The basil plants are still flourishing – I’ve even been able to pick a few leaves off and use them while cooking!  The parsley isn’t so happy, but seems to be making a come-back.  I planted a few more chives in the newly-emptied container, as only 3 grew last time.  So far, one seedling has come up, but it certainly isn’t a chive!  In fact it looks suspiciously like more basil.  Oh well, I do love basil.  Just the scent of it makes me smile. 

The garden pots are doing well, too.  The dill is looking dill-like, growing fast and not at all affected by the near-disaster of the cat variety.  The lavender has recovered from it’s digging over, and there are now a good 5 or 6 seedlings growing well – starting to look and smell like lavender too.  Unfortunately, because the lavender is so obviously lavender, it is now clear that there are as many seedlings in the pot that are not lavender.  I’m too soft to pull them out…it’s a big pot…just gonna see what they turn into. 

This weekend the apricot stones I tucked away in the fridge should be ready to pot.  Apparently they need 4 weeks of cold, damp conditions before planting.  This makes them think it has been winter and now they are warmer they should start to grow.  I’ll put them in pots in the lean-to, where it is warmest, and see how they get on.  Although…if they all grow…A pointed out that our tiny garden is barely big enough for the cherry tree that dominates it.  Where on earth are we going to put 4 apricot trees?!

In knitting news, the cardigan is finally coming together.  I’ve done all the separate pieces.  Now I’m working on the button bands and then I just have to sew it together and get some buttons.  It’s nearly there!  The scarf has made little progress as I’ve been absorbed in the cardi completely, now the end is in sight. 

Next I need to think about baby things – several are due, and I’ve done nothing for them. 

Finally, in the coming week…Alan and Kat are having a barbecue on Friday, which should be fun.  We have a team meeting on Tuesday, in Bristol, after which the boss-man is taking us all out for lunch.  I will have to start the ‘phoning the hospital every day’ campaign again – still no news about my op, even though I was told early July.  Apart from that, life as usual (I hope!).