Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Has a week gone by already?!

November 5, 2011

It hardly seems possible.  This has been a blurry week of early starts and long walks and busy, busy work.

In fact, there isn’t much more to say than that really, so this will be a short post.

It turns out our new Muffin-dog is a morning person.  I am not a morning person.  Not even nearly.  In fact I’m not a pleasant person at all if you drag me out of my bed by howling at 5.30am, then get really excited and expect a lovely long walk.  Nope, not a morning person.

Despite my rule about not allowing Muffin to sleep in the bedroom, I’ve compromised already and she comes in at 5.30 when A goes to work.  That way we both sleep for an hour or two extra.

We’re discovering that it takes 3 walks per day, adding up to at least 3 hours, to tire Muffin out enough to sleep mostly through the night.

She is now mostly house-trained, doing really well actually, expect for the one poo she insists on leaving on the kitchen floor some time during each night.  Dunno what that’s about.

Luckily, we have a very clever dog, who as well as remembering a range of commands and gestures, is already learning some new stuff.  ‘Stay’ for example.  I can now cook dinner without tripping over her in the kitchen, as she obediently (mostly) parks herself in the doorway and stays there.

In knitting news, I’ve started a new blanket for Muffin, so she’ll have one upstairs and one downstairs.  Soft, me?  Never!

I’m also still knitting away at a dark green stole which I started on holiday last month.  It’s a simple enough pattern that I can cope with it even when tired, so it is making good progress.  The forest path stole is hibernating again, for now at least.

Also still in progress is the mitred square blanket, which is doing well thanks to Bristol days.

Finally, I started and have frogged a pair of socks for my niece for xmas.  All she wants is a pair of hand-knit socks.  So that’s what she’ll get.  I didn’t get on with the pattern I started initially, but I’ll start something else instead.  Not today though, as Morgan and her sister Madi are staying over tonight and she’s bound to spot them!

This coming week…apart from Mor and Mads staying over…Muffin has to go to the vet tomorrow to register, get a check-up and discuss flea/worming treatments.  It should be fun, as she is still very aggressive towards other dogs.  And also cats.  Work is likely to be busy again.  A has a doctor’s appointment on Monday and Mum has a hospital appointment on Tuesday.  Then next weekend Gethin is staying over 🙂

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I’m back, baby!

October 22, 2011

I didn’t forget you, honestly, but I’ve been away on holiday and had another week off after that, followed by a busy work week so no chance to write.

Here are a few highlights from the 3 weeks just gone:

  • We went to Dawlish Warren, taking A’s Mum with us.  We all had a good time 🙂
  • I finally managed to clear the sinus infection while away, which was a relief.
  • Thanks to the antibiotics I took for the sinus infection, I got repeatedly sunburned.  In October.  Through my clothes.  And it wasn’t even that hot.
  • We visited two dog rescue centres in our extra week off, looking for just the right dog to rescue.  No luck so far, but we’re still looking.
  • The Gethin-dude stayed over one night, we had a lovely time playing.  Did you know that a dinosaur says ‘aaaaahh’?  Not roar, or rarrr or any of the usual noises associated with big and scary, but a kind of heavy exhaling noise.   That dude is so cute!
  • We went with David, Sam and the Dude to a family christening.  It took over 2 hours to drive each way and was very cramped in the back of the car, but was good to see people.
  • We caught up with Morgan after school one day – she brought her homework and sat at the table doing that while I cooked dinner.  Morgan is as individual as ever, a trait that I love in her, but it is really difficult for her to fit in at school easily.

Apart from all of that, there has been knitting.  Before we went away I finished my party gloves:

While away I started my winter 2011 gloves, which I have since finished – just in time as the weather has turned cold:

I also started a stole while on holiday, which is coming along nicely.

Next up, Morgan has asked for a pair of handknitted socks for xmas, instead of the gift voucher or cash that the other nieces and nephews will all get.  Despite me stressing that she would not get anything else, just knitted socks, she insists that is what she really wants.  Strange (but lovely) girl!

Also in the planning stage is a cardigan for my Mum.  The arthritis in the back of her neck makes her skin so sensitive that she cannot bear anything touching it, so keeping warm is quite difficult.  I’m going to custom-make a cardi that has a low neck at the back…using a pattern if I can find one or making it up if I can’t.  Should be interesting.

This week coming…we’re planning to fit in time for another dog search, and also a good long walk over the weekend.  Then it is work as usual.

Another secret revealed

September 30, 2011

Last Saturday was my step-dad’s surprise 50th birthday party.  It all went smoothly, he was genuinely surprised and all (well most) had a good time.

I say it went smoothly, but that doesn’t exactly men it went to plan!  Mum and I had arranged in advance that I would ask her and G out for dinner, to celebrate his birthday.  His birthday isn’t actually until next week, but we’re all busy people so we had to meet up a bit early.  The plan was to actually take them out for dinner, then stop ‘for a drink’ on the way home.

Then we found out that the place we’d planned to go to for dinner was booked for a private party.

Then G got offered a week’s work, finishing on the Saturday of his party at 7pm.

So plans got re-arranged and re-arranged again.  Instead of going for dinner, we’d pick them up almost as soon as he walked in the door and go straight to the party.  Which he still didn’t know about.

Then he managed to finish early…got home by about 6pm.  Too late to re-instate the dinner plan, but early enough that he wanted to go to the local pub for a drink.  The local pub which a friend of Mum’s had just finished decorating with 5oth birthday banners and posters of G and a big pirate ship birthday cake.

So he and Mum argued, he had a strop, and by the time we turned up he was well and truly sulking.

We piled him into the car anyway, and he went from teasing A to frozen silence in just a few seconds when I drove in the wrong direction.  He knew something was afoot but couldn’t work out what.

So the party went well, the cake was impressive, the people had fun and G was surprised.  Hooray!

In other news, I’ve been back to the dr-lady after another week of torment with this stupid sinus infection.  I’m now on another course of antibiotics.  This lot make skin really sensitive to sunlight, so I have to try to avoid the outside world…which is a shame as there’s something of a mini-heatwave going on.  I am starting to feel a little better though, so I guess it is worth it.

Knitting is still on-going…started (and 2/3 through) a pair of lace gloves for our party next year, using the same yarn as for the shawl I finished last week.  Still picking away at the forest path stole, occasionally, and knitting blanket squares on Bristol days and when I’m too tired for a pattern.

This coming week…too much to mention right now, starting with birthday drinks for A in town tomorrow.  Mrs Jarge has promised to play out and a few others, so it should be fun.

Finish! And Photos!

September 24, 2011

It has been a busy week, for various reasons, with ups and downs and lots going on.  A few highlights:

  • On Sunday we went to my bro’s house to try the cheesecake we ordered for his birthday.  And it was good.
  • We also delivered my Mum’s birthday present, which she seemed happy with.
  • On Sunday night I got almost no sleep, suffering a terrible pain in my face and head.  I thought there was something terribly wrong, it hurt so much.  NHS Direct diagnosed a sinus infection at 4.30am.
  • Monday I couldn’t work for ongoing pain and lack of sleep.
  • Tuesday night we had Gethin over, as Sam had planned a surprise birthday dinner for David.
  • Couldn’t see a doctor until Weds, but then got confirmation of the sinus infection and antibiotics.
  • Thursday in Bristol, including lunch with the boss-lady.
  • Friday was peaceful, working at home with no dramas or crises.

This weekend includes another of the secrets I’ve been struggling to keep…enlightenment will follow in my next post.

In knitting/cross-stitch news, I have finishes to show off.  Starting with this simple baby-grow for Mum to give to someone she works with:

Then I finished my shawl for our anniversary party.  I’m really pleased with it:

It’s Aeolian Shawl, from Knitty.  It’s slightly complicated to knit and I decided to leave out the beads, but it looks really pretty once it is blocked and I’m really excited about wearing it next April.  The pattern gives two options for different sized shawls – this one is somewhere in between the two.

My third finish (and I think it really is finished this time) is my leftover sockyarn blanket:

I have run out of leftovers again and remembered that this was only meant to be a lap blanket to keep me warm on the sofa in the winter. I was a little sad at the thought, until I realised that this means I can start a new leftovers blanket next time I have any oddments!  Hooray!

So, this week coming is a busy one work-wise. I have to go to Birmingham for meetings and Bristol twice as well, but I have Friday off, which is good news. We are now in the countdown to our October holiday, so it is getting exciting. We’re starting to plan stuff like bird-sitters for Billy and writing lists of things to take/do/buy on the way. I can hardly wait – a holiday seems so necessary right now.

Not so much going on

September 17, 2011

At least, not much that’s worth talking about.  Work has been really busy and high pressure, but yesterday marked the end of the worst of it for now.  The boss-lady is back from her two weeks holiday on Monday, and I will be thoroughly glad to see her.

In knitting news, I’m still picking away at the border of my anniversary shawl.  It is taking a while, mainly because I’m so tired after work that I don’t like knitting it much.  I get so stressed when I make mistakes that it is best just left alone until I have more focus.

I have been knitting blanket squares on Bristol days, as usual.  And I’ve almost used up all my leftovers on my leftover sock yarn blanket again.  It will soon be time for that little beauty to keep me warm in the evenings – it almost makes me look forward to being cold!

The only other thing going on is a return to birthday season.  It was my baby bro’s birthday yesterday, my Mum’s tomorrow and a nephew’s on Tuesday.  Then step-dad and A’s both in a couple of weeks.  And one or two other non-family ones to remember as well.

For my brother’s birthday yesterday we ordered a cheesecake to be delivered to him at work.  He was surprised and really pleased.  Luckily for him it was delivered frozen and took 8 hours to defrost, so he didn’t have to couldn’t share it with his colleagues, as much as they pleaded!  We have been invited round this afternoon to try a bit, so I’m happy.

This week coming, apart from work and all the birthdays…not a great deal, I don’t think.  There are several surprises planned, but I won’t explain them now, just in case. 😉

Resident hedgehog

August 6, 2011

That’s right, the hedgehog who has been visiting our garden for a couple of weeks is now resident!  We made him (could be her, but we always say him) a home in the vague hope he’d find it useful, but hadn’t really expected it to work.  All of the hedgehog homes we found online were expensive and most were also ugly, but one or two were promising.  Sadly we don’t currently have money to splash on hog-homes, so we were going to do without…until A had a brainwave.

We were browsing the garden dept of a shop in town, when he spotted a hanging basket liner and it reminded him of some of the more natural looking hog-homes.  We bought one, cut a small hole in it for a door, stapled a carrier bag over it to make it waterproof and stuck it in the garden with a brick on it to stop the cats turning it over.

Of course, it’s almost impossible to tell whether a hog-home is in use, but one night this week when we peered out with a torch to see if our hedgehog was about, we spotted him legging it across the garden to the hog-home.  Hooray!  We got really excited, which is not good at bedtime 😉

In other news…last Saturday we went out with a crowd of friends and I surprised myself by actually enjoying it.  We just went to a pub in town, one we used to hang around in when we were younger, and had a few pints.  I’d forgotten the joy of drinking pints (yes Mum, very ladylike) and chatting nonsense to people, and it was lovely to wake up next morning with nothing worse than a mild hangover.  Not so long ago I’d have paid for that evening with 2 or 3 days of severe pain, if not worse.

On Monday A looked after his brother’s boys.  I had to work in Bristol, but managed to get away early enough to see them before they went home.

Apart from that, it has been a relatively uneventful week…the calm before the storm…we are both off work for a week now and have all sorts of adventures planned.  But more about that next weekend.

Happy 1st Birthday Gethin-Baby!

July 2, 2011

I suppose I should call him Gethin-Toddler or even Gethin-Boy now!  It’s frightening, how fast he has grown:

That was Gethin at 4 days old, meeting Uncle A for the first time, when he and his parents drove down to Southampton to meet us from our cruise last year.  You can see the big, big boat in the background.

Gethin at about 5 weeks old, with knitted/stitched gifts.

Gethin at 7 months, giving wet, sloppy kisses.

And Gethin eating toast with jam (get a look at Uncle A’s expression…he isn’t so keen on jam, or half-chewed toast for that matter), just a few weeks ago.

I’ll try to get a pic or two at G’s party this afternoon, just to complete the set 🙂

Tired.

June 18, 2011

That about sums it up, really.  As expected, work has been all-consuming this week with long days and big deadlines and technical difficulties a-plenty.

BUT – I met the biggest, most critical deadline yesterday and now I can breathe a little easier for a while.  I’ve still got plenty to do in the near future, but nothing so difficult or important.

Sadly, that means there isn’t much more to tell today.  Last weekend was lovely and quiet.  When it rained all day Sunday, we got our waterproof coats and trousers out and walked anyway…well, it isn’t Sunday without some outside time.

On Wednesday I made it to Knitting in the Library, and was able to stay a whole hour!

Yesterday was our niece’s 3rd birthday, so we met up with her family in the local pub for an hour or so.  Amy seemed thrilled with her funky flowered jeans and hippy top…her parents less so 😉  There was a comment about ‘Auntie Helen clothes’, which of course just made her love them more.  She even offered to lend me the jeans!  I’ve lost a little weight, but not that much 😉

I don’t even have much knitting news this week.  I’ve been plodding away on the forest path stole, which I’m much happier with.  The Citron shawlette is somewhere near done, I’ve just got to decide whether to put in another pattern repeat before the edge ruffle.  I think I have enough yarn, but I’m not sure how big I want it to be or how blocking will affect it.  And of course there are socks.  The first of the bedsocks I started last week is almost done, just the toe to do.

So, this week coming…tomorrow is Father’s Day, so of course I have to track down my Dad.  Easier said than done.  I think I’ll make him some jam tarts, to go with his present.  This week’s Bristol trips are a little disrupted due to meetings, so that will get confusing.  And I’m considering taking an afternoon off to visit Caron and her little ones.  We’ll see.

Happy Birthday Dad!

February 19, 2011

Today is my Dad’s birthday, and I’ve already made contact to establish when we can go and see him.  He is notoriously hard to track down, and even when he says he’ll be somewhere specific at a particular time, that’s no guarantee. 

Next year is his 60th birthday, so may take a little more planning/involvement on our part. 

Anyway, this week has been a quiet one.  I made it to Bristol on Tuesday, but came home early as I did not feel well.  I sat through two meetings, almost back-to-back, with no chance for a lunch break and I think it hastened the bug I had been fighting off.  I ended up off sick on Thursday/Friday, when I slept a lot, watched snooker and skiing (which I have recently discovered is fascinating) and knitted. 

Last weekend I finally got on with the card for Theresa which I was supposed to do weeks ago:

Frustratingly, it was done in time to take in to the office on Thursday, but then I wasn’t well enough to go.  It’ll go with me on Tuesday instead, and Rachel will start passing it around for signatures.  That leaves about a week and a bit before Theresa’s last visit to Bristol before her maternity leave starts. 

Also finished this week, were the socks I seem to have been knitting forever! 

Funky!  I have, of course, cast on another pair…almost finished the first one already. 

Now that the blanket is done with, the knitting seems to be happening really fast.  I have made loads of progress with the rosebud shawl, although it still takes a lot of concentration and I can’t get through more than a few rows at a time.  Next I have to get a few more baby things done. 

On the subject of babies, our friends Tim and Jenny in New Zealand welcomed their second baby into the world this week.  Dexter is their second son, a brother for Monty.  Alan and Kat’s baby is now due very soon, then there are 2 more due in April.  It’s all babies this year! 

So, this week coming…work as usual I suppose.  A has an unusual shift pattern at work, as he needs Weds off for a hospital appointment.  That means he’ll be working Monday (usually his day off) and his Saturday shift is an evening instead of a morning.  I guess that means my weekly post will be late next Saturday.

But I LOVE that blanket!

February 12, 2011

Yes, you guessed it, more about the blanket!  Only this week will be the last post about the blanket for a while as I have run out of yarn.  Not completely, you understand, I have plenty of yarn in the stash…I just don’t have any more for this blanket at the moment.  It’s looking good though:

Instead of casting off the last stitches, I have threaded the end of the yarn through and knotted it so it shouldn’t come undone.  I could have used a stitch holder, but I want to use the blanket as it is and my only stitch holders have wicked points on them!  So, there it is – cosy and warm, just in time for the weather to warm up 😉

Now that the blanket is done with, I have returned to my rosebud shawl, and made loads of progress on the socks which were taking forever.  I have also started plans for a card for Theresa at work, which has to be done this week as she goes off on maternity leave very soon! 

Anyway, this has been a busy week, as predicted.  Way back last weekend (which seems so long ago), we had Gethin over to stay on Saturday night.  That will now be a regular event, the first weekend of each month.  It is so much fun!  Hard work, but really worth it.  He’s an affectionate little guy:

Unfortunately, his kisses are with mouth wide open, and I always have to keep one hand free to guard my hair and piercings from his grasp.  This is an unusual picture, as A managed to catch me laughing – I’m notorious for my solemn photos, right from when I was a baby. 

After returning Gethin to his well-rested and happy parents, we slept for a while to recover (oh, the luxury of being auntie and having time to sleep) then went out for dinner with Alan and Kat.  Their baby is due in just 2 weeks now, so we may not see them for a while, but that’ll be another new baby to fuss and play with 🙂

This week was work, but not quite as usual.  I had Monday off as leave, and we slumped around the house all day and generally chilled out.  Tuesday morning I got up oh so early to catch a train to Bristol, only to spend 45 mins waiting at the train station with no sign of any trains at all!  There was a major problem with signals near Didcot and nothing could get through!  By the time I gave up and came home, the 8.00 had been cancelled and there was still no sign of the 7.30 – the platforms were packed solid with people! 

On Weds afternoon, working from home, getting frustrated with various technical issues, we had a massive power cut.  It affected a huge area, apparently, and meant I could not work at all.  I have opted not to go Knitting at the Library, as I had so much work to do, but I may as well have gone anyway! 

But now it is Saturday again, and I have 2 days of peace.  We have no plans for this weekend at all, except a bottle of wine and a take-away tonight and hopefully a long walk tomorrow.  🙂