Archive for April, 2010

Knitting! Gardening! Snooker! Cross-stitch!

April 24, 2010

The excitement around here is becoming hard to handle!  No, really…I love all those things and they’re all happening at the moment.  Maybe excitement is too strong a term, and it’s difficult to really fit enough of them all in, what all the full-time working, but still…they make a happy me!

Starting with a catch-up from last week then, on Saturday night we went out for a belated anniversary dinner.  We went to Fratello’s, an Italian restaurant which we have only been to once before, but which we are already coming to love.   We each had 3 courses, which is a rarity, and it was all good.  I was in serious pain for some time afterwards – I know I cannot eat big meals without suffering, but sometimes I’d rather stuff my face and suffer for it! 

On Sunday we started tidying the garden, then potted up a few things, and before we knew it we’d been out in the sun for a good 3 hours or more.  There are pictures…

That’s one of my two apricot trees, grown from stones last summer.  We kept them in the lean-to through most of the winter, thinking they wouldn’t survive outside, but they didn’t do too well.  In about February, when it looked like they were almost dead, I put them outside…kill or cure.   Then a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that they both had lots of new green leaves – a miraculous recovery!  So on Sunday they got re-potted into these big containers to give them lots of room to grow.  This is the smaller of the two, but the one which started growing first.  And here is the other:

On the left is a newly-potted raspberry cane, a birthday present from my friend Mrs Jarge. 

This gooseberry bush came from the same source – it already has new leaves since I planted it on Sunday! 

I also planted some herbs, from seed.

If you look closely at the pot on the left, there are three tiny little seedlings just popping up.  There is another tray like this, with more herbs, and A planted some tomato seeds into a propagator tray, and spring onions and radishes outside in another big pot. 

Finally, we managed to retrieve my Nan’s bird bath, which had become very overgrown behind the cherry tree and climbing rose. 

There’s lots more still to do.  The gravel needs topping up, as the blue sheeting is visible through it in places.  There are more pots to be filled, once we get more compost.  We need at least one more massive pot, to grow potatoes in (they are chitting at the moment – isn’t that a great word)?  And we have lots of packets of flower mix aimed at attracting bees.  We get lots of bees anyway, but they are lovely to see and hear buzzing around, so why not feed a few more? 

Moving on, I started knitting the shrug I want to take away in the summer.  I’ve made some progress, but I’m torn between knitting and cross-stitch at the moment, and thoroughly enjoying both.  I’ve been doing both in the evening, while watching snooker, but whichever I pick up first I end up keeping in my hands, however carefully I plan to switch. 

There’s not much to see really, but it’s very soft and pretty. 

This is Elmer, the elephant cross-stitch I’ve started for my youngest brother’s baby:

Again, not much to see so far.  Maybe I’d make more progress if I worked on one or the other?!

In work news, the anxiety of change is back.  We’re just settling into our new organisation, only this week a new manager’s post has been advertised.  It’s equivalent to the boss-man’s job, only no-one seems to know whether the team will be split between the 2 managers, how the work will be divided up, or how it will work.  Almost everyone in the team has decided to apply, which could make things uncomfortable.  I can’t make up my mind whether to go for it or not.  It’s a lot of extra responsibility, and likely to involve more travel, including more regular days in Bristol and visits to National Office in Coventry.  It is a lot more money, and the work I’m doing can be repetitive and dull – I could do with a challenge.  I’m not particularly healthy or reliable though, and the director appointing the post knows that.  Plus, interviews are really stressful. 

But if I don’t go for it, I won’t even be trying to have an impact on the coming changes, which will happen to me anyway.  And it’s good to go for interviews from time to time, to keep in practice and minimise nerves. 

I dunno, but I have to make a decision very soon.  It’s a stress I could have happily lived without. 

Anyway, this week there’s more snooker.  This afternoon we’re going for a picnic at Coate Water with Mrs Jarge.  On Monday I have the day off work, to take some flowers to Oxford Crematorium for my Nan’s birthday.  A’s Mum is coming along for the day out, and we’ll probably stop off at Millet’s Farm (pick your own, farm shop, garden centre, petting farm, restaurant and more) on the way back.  Then on Weds lunchtime I’m meeting Caron for lunch, and it’s our niece Morgan’s birthday.  And next Saturday we’ve offered to have Morgan and her sister Madison round for a while.  Busy, busy!

Anyway, I’m missing the snooker while writing this monster of a post – gotta go!

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Rare mid-week update

April 21, 2010

Just because I finished another cross-stitch picture last night:

Of course, it isn’t really complete, but I can’t add name and date of birth until Baby is born!

Also, I picked out a pattern and bought the yarn for the summery shrug/cardi I want to knit:

That’s it for now…more on Saturday as usual.

Food Freedom!

April 17, 2010

I saw the dietician on Thursday, and she has taken me off the crazy-stupid intolerance testing diet.  I can eat whatever I want!  Strangely, there doesn’t seem to be much that I do want.  Since reintroducing cheese, butter, chocolate, bread and pasta I’ve been craving less.  Although it was nice to be able to use tomatoes in a home-made chilli yesterday. 

Now I just have to attempt to keep the weight off – I’ve lost over a stone since December, and gone down a size in clothes, and I don’t want to go back up. 

Very little knitting to report again this week, just a little progress on the travel socks.  Although I’ve decided I want a shrug or cropped cardi to take away in the summer, so I’ll be browsing Ravelry for suitable patterns later. 

I have started another cross-stitch picture for one of the many babies due this summer.  It isn’t the Elmer design I was planning on though, as I couldn’t find the magazine with the pattern in.  I went back through the design books I keep, with photos of stuff I’ve made, and found the details from when I made it once before.  So I even knew the issue number and release date of the magazine, not just the name.  But I still couldn’t find it.  A and I went through every magazine on the shelf, then pretty much emptied the entire craft cupboard.  We just could not work out what had happened to that damn magazine.  On Monday morning I e-mailed a former colleague, just on the off chance that she’d seen it, borrowed it, remembered me lending it to someone else…and she e-mailed back a couple of hours later to say she had it. 

In the meantime of course, I’d started a new pattern anyway:

This one is probably for Caron’s baby, although it may go to A’s cousin’s baby instead, depending on baby’s name. 

On Weds I met up with Avril, to hand over April’s picture.  Instead of framing it, I rolled it up in tissue paper and slid it into a cardboard tube, so it will travel to Australia more easily.  Avril was really pleased with it, and treated me to lunch.  🙂

After that I went to Knitting at the Library for the first time in weeks.  It was good to catch up. 

This week…I don’t think there’s much going on.  The usual 2 days in Bristol.  Oh, and we’re off out for dinner tonight.  We didn’t go out for our wedding anniversary on Monday, because of the diet, so we’re making up for it tonight.  And, of course, the Snooker World Championship starts today…that’s just over two weeks of excitement 😉

New Shoes

April 10, 2010

Not something I normally get excited about, but then I don’t often go shopping for shoes.  Or clothes for that matter.  But we’re starting to think about all the things we will need for our cruise in the summer, and on my long list of stuff I found shoes.  And sandals.  And trainers.  Oops! 

So we trudged around town and the outlet village yesterday, and I found a lovely new pair of Converse (I do love Cons) in a funky purple colour, then a bargain3-for-2 on all women’s shoes in Clark’s at the outlet village.  And by some miracle I actually found 5 pairs I liked!  I’m really fussy about shoes, have my own peculiar taste and will not compromise.  Luckily 2 of the 5 didn’t fit so well, so I didn’t have to make any really difficult decisions. 

The red shoes are almost identical to my previous pair of favourite shoes…only leather instead of suede.  I even bought sparkly silver laces for the Converse. 

Anyway, in other news…again, a week with very little knitting.  I have made a little progress on the trainer socks I’ve been knitting on train journeys, but that’s it really. 

This morning, however, I finished this little pretty:

And a close-up:

I’m pleased with it, and I hope Avril will be too.  Now I just have to track her down and hand it over. 

Next I’m going to start another cross-stitch picture, this time for my brother’s baby, which is due in June.  I’m going to make an Elmer picture, which A’s Aunt is planning to incorporate into a patchwork cushion for Baby’s room. 

In work news it was another weird week, with lots more IT issues.  I even ended up working at home on Weds with no laptop!  Not much work got done. 

I didn’t get out to meet Caron for lunch, as planned, as she was unwell.  I could have gone to Knitting in the Library instead, but I had the crisp craving and decided it was best to stay away from shops (the library is next door to an enormous supermarket) altogether. 

This coming week…hopefully a straightforward one.  I have an appointment with the dietician, to discuss my progress on the intolerance diet.  I’m sorry to say, I don’t think the pain is a food thing…I really think it’s more about exercise and activity.  Still, I’m persevering with the diet, and this week get cheese (today/tomorrow) then chocolate.  Mmmmmm…chocolate.  It’s easier now I can have stuff like pasta and bread, and some dairy, but I still miss the treats.

Pasta!

April 3, 2010

Ok, maybe not that exciting to most, but I am thoroughly enjoying being able to eat pasta again, even if sauce is a bit tricky.  If I’m honest, I did get some swelling and pain last night, but it could have been the stressful situation, it wasn’t necessarily the food.  No, really! 

I’m re-testing pasta today, and if it goes well I get bread tomorrow.  Bread!  I can hardly believe it! 

Then, on to milk.  I’m not particularly excited about milk, except that it is followed by butter and cheese, which I love. 

So, this week has been all about the food, if you hadn’t guessed.  It’s starting to get exciting, as I begin to reach more normal ingredients. 

Apart from that, there has been very little or no knitting at all – for the first time in ages I’m not even fretting for it.  I have been cross-stitching quite a bit – this is the progress on the picture for Avril’s grand-daughter, which last Saturday was a blank canvas ready to stitch:

And a close-up on the detail:

Her name isn’t finished (some outlining on April to complete, and her middle name to add), and her date of birth needs working in somewhere, then I’ll add a border. 

After that, probably more cross-stitch as lots more babies are on the way. 

Work has been busy, lots happening this week.  On Tuesday I delivered an important training/presentation to some external people I’ll be working with lots in future.  It went well, I think, lots of questions and discussion.  Nerve-wracking though – I haven’t delivered a presentation in a year or two at least. 

On Weds my laptop packed up, kept trying to synch to a server which was de-commissioned on Tuesday.  I hoped that taking it in to the office on Thursday would resolve that issue, but no, it got worse.  IT support promised to get someone to me urgently, but no-one showed, despite the boss-man calling to harass them a bit. 

Now I’m hoping the proposed train strikes don’t go ahead this coming week, as I really need to get the poor broken laptop back in to Bristol on Tuesday in the hopes that a technician will show up.  If the train strikes happen, I’m working at home all week, without a laptop! 

Last night we did a rare thing and voluntarily went out for a social family occasion, a party to celebrate A’s cousin’s 40th birthday.  It was in Lechlade, so a bit of a distance to drive in the pouring rain in the dark, but worth it to show our faces.  A’s Mum didn’t look so well, and has a nasty cough, I’m a bit worried about her.  We’ve invited her round for Sunday dinner, but will have to check she’s well enough on the day.  If needs be we’ll go to her house instead, make her soup, persuade her to rest for once. 

So, this coming week…I’m going out for lunch with my friend Caron.  She heard recently that the baby she’s expecting is completely free from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which her first baby died of.  She does have a heart problem, but one which can be treated within her first two years, enabling her to live a normal, healthy life after that.  Caron is over the moon, as SMA is a terrible illness with no treatment or cure, whereas the doctors are fairly confident they can fix the heart condition. 

Apart from that, business as usual (with added butter and cheese)!