Monday, April 28, 2008

Excuses for not working

We all have those days where we can't face the daily grind, when we want nothing more than to simply pull the covers back over our heads and pretend that the real world does not exist. Or those days when the promise of fun and laughter elsewhere beckons us to ignore the responsibilities of life. A mental health day if you want to call it such. Don't get me wrong I love my job, it is seriously the best job in the world, but even I can't be motivated all the time. Especially when the kids are on holiday and spending time with them beats anything work might have to offer. So today was such a day and I'm lucky enough that I can get an afternoon off easily but it made me think of excuses I've heard when people pull a sickie.
Here are my top 5.
1. I thought it was Saturday
2. The car wouldn't start
3. I had an argument with my wife and she hid all my clothes
4. My hamster died
5. I've got 24 hour flu

I have heard all of these, but never used any. What's the best excuse you've ever heard or used?

It's social knitting tonight and I have to say I am in a quandary over what to take. I could take the back of my touch peplum cardy which needs another 4 cm until I start shaping the armholes, or the front of the sweater from the huge brown ball, which is just stocking stitch and needs to grow another 20 cms or I could uncover the sock (note the singular) and work on that but I just don't get into socks. I love looking at the patterns and I adore the wool, and for the first 20 rounds I am happy enough but then something happens in my brain and I lose interest. We have several, well all right I admit it quite a few single socks that I forced myself to complete but never made them a partner. Bad knitter. So not the sock even if I can almost hear it crying, 'pick me, pick me' like a piece of fruit from a tree. No I will not pick you little sock, not by the hair of my chinny chin chin... oops sorry about that diversion into the realm of faiytales. I could go and rifle through my yarn stash and pattern stash and take something new. I really fancy trying the Shrug over at Purl Bee's site (see side bar) and I do have some Bamboo that I've been waiting for just the right pattern for but I think it requires a bit of concentration, and talking might get in the way. Decsions, decsions and I've even done a course on decsion making.
Ok I'm off to have a rummage in my stash and seek inspiration, otherwise I'll take the sock, no the cardy, no... I'll let you know what I eventually decide to take. It would be easier if I could go back to the days when I only ever had one project on the go, but that means being 16 again. No thanks.
How do you choose your next project or which one to work on?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My life from A -Z

I have always been fascinated by the alphabet, I don't know why, in my younger days I adored cross stitching samplers because of the alphabet on them. For me it represents order and logic coupled with creativity and diversity. None of that has anything to do with my post in reality but I felt it might be better if I explained. I often use the alphabet to get ideas for writing.
I had intended to post an A-Z of my favourite books over the last five years and indeed I spent most of yesterday going back through my book journal fondly remembering some of the many books consumed. I made my list but then decided that you wouldn't really be interested in it, after all, we all have our own favourites don't we?
So instead I started thinking of a different A-Z and a million ideas started to fizz about in my brain and it had nothing to do with the diet coke I had just drunk. Honestly, just because caffeine does strange things to me.
Anyway Here's my list on my life
A is for adventure, I truly believe life is one long adventure and will often do odd crazy things for no other reason than it seemed like and adventure.
B is for babies. I have been so lucky to have had four babies,but I wouldn't mind another one. I also love having animal babies. Books are also there.
C is for my cat.

D is the delightful dogs I am blessed to own.
E is for energy and enthusiasm. I am grateful for having so much and pray that it continues for a long time to come
F is for food. I cannot diet, I love my food way too much.
G is for God. Without Him I would be nothing.
H is for Honda Forza. My one. It is a brilliant bike to ride.
I is for the Internet I love the way we can connect with others from our living rooms.
J is for Jackie whom I still consider to be my very best friend. We may be 12000 miles apart and I may be a very poor correspondent but she is never far from my thoughts and I haven't found anyone who comes close to being as valued as she is. I love you Jackie.
K is for - can you guess - Knitting. It has been a constant in my life, it has been with me through many bad patches, and been my joy in the good times.

L is for love. I have been blessed with a man who truly loves me.

M is for My dad. I know it's cheating a bit but otherwise I wouldn't get him in and he's really important to me.
N is for Nigel, the one who truly loves me.
O is for opportunities. I have been lucky enough to get many of these and hope that I will have many more.
P is for Prayer. It saves me having lots of bad days and doing a lot of ranting at people.
Q is for quizzes. I love them
R is for running. I find it very relaxing to pound the pavements allowing my thoughts to tumble around. It also lets me eat a great deal.
S is for Spring my favourite season
T is for talking which I like to do a lot of.
Underwear. I hate the fact I can only wear white at work, so 90% of my underwear is yukky white. I love to wear beautiful, patterned stuff.
V is for violin music. I adore Vanessa Mae and Bond. Something about those strings make my heart sing.

W is for water. I love to be near it or in it.

X is for ? okay stumped on this one. Xpert?
Y is for You, the people who read my blog and write your own blogs. You have given me a community of friends and I am very pleased to meet you all.
Z is for the zoo which I like to have, dogs, cat, rabbits, birds, fish.

Try your own A-Z if nothing else it's a great way to count your blessings.

Went to the library today and by some small miracle came across Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach. I have been after this book for months and so snapped it up quick only to discover I didn't have my library card. Considered briefly running for it, but it wouldn't look good for a naval officer to be picked up for stealing from a library so I hid it while I tracked down my hubby to use his card. I have been reading all afternoon and am totally immersed in it. Oh happy days.

I have also decided I will attempt to read the Orange Prize Long list. I say attempt because as you all know I am not buying books (too many on the shelves unread) and the library is deplorably slow to get these in and there's always a huge waiting list.

Knitting lull as a few projects are finished. I will be posting out the PIF's on Monday so look out for them. One is going to Canada, Two are going to the Uk, so the post may take up to two weeks.
The big ball of wool is going down as the jumper takes shape. Have to block eldest son's but keeping forgetting (consciously or unconsciously). A bolero that I don't feel like finishing and another jumper for me. I really want to have another go at Elijah but perhaps it might be best if I don't? Don't want a herd of crazed elephants out there.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dogs and books on Thursday

Where does the week go, I can hardly believe that it's Thursday already. Having the kids on holidays and going off places makes the time fly I guess.
The pups are now two weeks old and are very vocal. I feel for poor Sasha who sometimes begs to go out in the garden away from them. Demand feeding gets a whole new meaning looking at these fellas, honestly if they even get a hint that mum's in the vincinity they want a drink, and when there are four of them... imagine what a pain that must be. Sasha is an excellent mother in many respects but she does need some space now and then. I remember that feeling well, the times when the only place I could be alone for a second was the bathroom and only then if I'd bribed them with a video or some sweets. Still before too long they will be on their way to new homes and being cared for by another loving family.

When they aren't crying and doing their unique puppy shuffle in search of anything that might be food, they are adorable and get lots of cuddles. Daisy is on strict orders to be very careful when giving them lots of loving, although they are all so tubby there's clearly no food shortage in their kennel.

A bit of brotherly bonding. I think they are still a bit surprised to see the others there, now that their eyes are open. They like to be near each other but are still too young to play. That happens later at around week three. Then they are so funny.
I do like having baby animals around. It always renews my awe of the greatness that exists all around.

How about a chance to play editor-in-chief? Fill in the blanks:

_________ would have been a much better book if ___________

I think That Black Swan Green could have been better. I felt that it took a long time to get into but then once you were hooked it was a great read.
This was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2006 and while it was good it took me a while and usually I would have given up. His other book Cloud Atlas was the same but superb once perservered with. What book would you like to change if you had the chance?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The art of teaching

This is from Tony Ryan for all the teachers and educators the world over.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Big ball of Wool

It's the end of term holidays here in NZ and the children are delighted. 11 weeks is a long time to remain focused even with a four day Easter Break thrown in. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to change my role so that I can still enjoy teaching but without the stress of all that paperwork, discipline and a timetable.
We have all our days mapped out. If I don't then the days just seem to fritter away and we go back feeling like we didn't really do anything. The weather is still pretty reasonable so we can get outside a fair bit. I am taking this week off and next week I plan to work from home during the evenings so that we can spend some time together as a family during the day.

Yesterday we went to another LYS, not my usual haunt and I found the biggest ball of wool I had ever seen. Clearly I had to buy it and start knitting straightaway. There was a pattern included on the ball band. So off went my needles quick as a flash.

See how busy I was?

Then there was social knitting last night and the chance to show off my finished Elijah. I am not entirely happy with him, I think it's a combination of things, one being the wool I used, perhaps an acrylic would have been a better choice. However I do feel that a lot of his slightly dazed look might just be because Peri became totally fixated on him while he was being made and would ran away with him at every opportunity. This has had an impact on his looks and has left him with a life long fear of Tonkinese cats. Therapy is not an option as no-one else understands him and I am the cat owner so he doesn't trust me to see his perpective. Sorry Elijah. I did try to protect you.

I am also knitting a peplum jacket in a subtle pink colour which I am looking forward to wearing. I feel that this will be the knitting creation I am happy to wear. I took a long time choosing the colour and it will go with lots of things but I haven't worn any of my other knitting creations even though they also went with my other clothes. Definitely This Time. Otherwise Eldest daughter will get another jumper. She doesn't mind. I struggled with the pattern and last week saw me frog the whole thing thinking I had made a mistake. I hadn't, the chart was wrong. It was a bit disheartening.

I had a great day knitting today. I went to a conference held by Tony Ryan on Social Intelligence and Inspiring Classrooms. He is very interesting to listen to and he had several effective strategies to share. I was able to knit my way through several hours, both morning and afternoon. Heaven. I don't care that several people thought it a bit odd, it helps me to stay focussed and to take in the information and we all know that provided the pattern is simple then you can easily listen, knit and watch.
I have just started reading this

Derek Hansen was born in England and raised in New Zealand and now lives in Australia. I haven't read anything by him before but the first few pages have grabbed my attention so I am happy to give him a go. I have left the Principessa half way through, the story isn't really moving forward, there's no conflict and I haven't even grown to like the characters. I must be knitting too much because my reading has dropped back to just half an hour or so a day.
I'll leave you with a question that Tony Ryan presented us with today. What inspires you?
For me it has to be nature, I am constantly inspired by the sheer beauty that we find ourselves surrounded by, whatever the weather, where-ever we are. It simply takes my breath away. What about you?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What If?

What if....

1. were stranded on a deserted island, name one person you would chose to be stranded with. What would you do to survive?
I am not sure I would want to be stranded with anyone in particular. If I couldn't have all the kids then I wouldn't pick just one of them as they would be better off together. It sounds a bit odd I know but I wouldn't want my husband to be there either as I am sure we would pretty quickly drive each other to running into the surf weighted down with rocks. We love each other but there are limits. I would actually prefer to taker Peri (my Tonkinese cat) who isn't human but who I believe would be the best company.

2. could have one superpower, what would it be?
To be able to fly. What freedom as well as the opportunity to see things from such an amazing perpective, kind of like God being able to look down on us. If I could fly I could be near people and watch over them and maybe protect them from things without them knowing.

3. could bring one character from your favorite book to life, who would it be?
well I guess It would be Mr Knightley from Emma, but he probably wouldn't fall in love with me so that would be a waste. So I would then go for Hedi because I think she'd be a really cool friend to have around. It's hard to choose. I would also like Milly Molly Mandy to be my own little girl. could solve one of history's unsolved mysteries, which would it be?
The Marie Celeste, as a sailor (albeit land based) it makes perfect sense. I would love to know what happen to the crew of that ship.

Thanks to Melody for the meme which I saw at her blog and thought was a pretty cool idea for this weekend. I am seriously busy this weekend teaching the naval reserves instructional techniques. It's intense but worthwhile. I did try to knit but the breaks are fairly short so that we can get a lot crammed in adn it was a bit dissatisfying to just knit two rows before going back to class. Never mind it is the school hols and I have three days off in lieu of the weekend and then I'm going to work at home. I love the flexibility of the navy.

Pups all happy and healthy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Knitting Guru Moi???

What Kind of Knitter Are You?

You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting and do it all the time. While finishing a piece is the plan, you still love the process, and can't imagine a day going by without giving some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation involves leaving ample space for the stash and supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn ends and you begin.
Take this quiz!

I know it's Thursday and it's supposed to be about the dogs, but I came across this quiz at
Crimson Purl

I was, am totally amazed that it said I was a knitting guru. I would have described myself as more of an enthusiatic bumbler. I do love knitting and I love the fancy complicated stuff but let's just say that it's not always lovely or loved. Sometimes it's just okay. Mediocre at best. I don't mind, for me it's all about the journey and the joy I get from knitting, watching the piece slowly build, the rhythmic soothing click and slide of the needles, the softness of the yarn, the places and spaces that I can go to in my head lulled by the stitches slipping along. I have seen a great deal of talent out there, Wee Wonderfuls, Little Cotton Rabbits, Allsorts to name just a few of the great blogs, there are many, many, more. I love seeing that talent and knowing that there are people out there doing good things. I am just happy being the best knitter I can be, not the best knitter in the world, just as good as I can be. So long as you all continue to be the best you can be at the things you do then crafts continue to make the world a brighter place.

The puppies are all doing well, I will post photos of them when they open their eyes which will be in two to three days time. They are quite funny at the moment all squeaky and just adorable to cuddle. It will be soooo hard to let them go to new homes in six weeks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Alphabet fun

This one is on a couple of sites. Basically you have to use the first letter of your first name and write down the answer for the items. If your name begins with the same initial as me you can't use any of my answers. Kitty had it on her blog but I've seen it around. It lightens the blog and is a just about the right level for my brain to cope with right now.



STREET: Abercrombie Street

COLOR: Azure

GIFTS/PRESENTS: Aromatherapy oils or an Anchorchief (get it?)



GIRL'S NAME: Annabel

MOVIE TITLE: Amytiville Horror

DRINK: Advocat


MAGAZINE: Australian Women's weekly

U.S. CITY: Arizona

PRO SPORTS: Athletics

FRUIT: Apple




Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sad News

We lost one of our beautiful pups on Sunday night. She was the smallest and had been losing weight despite two hourly hand feeding. It was so sad but we finally had to let her go and realise that perhaps nature knew best. We tried our hardest. it was so difficult to realise that all we had done was simply not enough to give her what she needed to thrive. I wonder whether all we did was delay the inevitable. The four boys however are all doing well and growing plump and cuddly.

Soft fur
barely breathing,
a fight for life that was not to be,
deaf and blind to all
fragile in your struggle
too weak to try
asleep forever

Friday, April 11, 2008

I've been tagged by Fireflynights

For the book tag, here are the rules:

Pick a book at least 123 pages long.

Open that book to page 123.

Find the fifth sentence and post the next three.

Then tag five other people to do the same.

So the book nearest to me happens to be Anne Enright's The gathering, whihc is hardly surprising as I am just about to post the winner of the giveaway.
I'll tel you the winner in a moment.
Sentence five reads like this:
The suitcase was air-force blue; stiff, with rounded corners.
the next three are:
It belonged to my friend Deirdre Moloney from college, the one whose mother threw her out three months before her final exams. At this stage she still lived a twee little life, where things like suitcases and, say, walking boots, were readily to hand. So, it was an air hotess's suitcase I carried down the stairs filled with dirty clothes and squeezed out tubes of spermicidal jelly: in the middle of it all, the tiny, smothered sloshing of a mostly empty bottle of gin.
I found that there was a real sense of flow and rhythm to Enright's writing, it sounds authentic and realistic but is still quite obviously crafted. The little details that are thrown in but not dwelt upon allowing the reader to make of them what they will. I'm sure the winner will love it. Drumroll please. And the winner is number 6 because there were 6 puppies. So congratulations to Mr Puffy the dog

So now I have to tag five people to do the same. I know some people don't like being tagged so I am going to apologise in advance if I tag you and you don't like it. Just say thanks but no thanks and it's all cool. No pressure on anyone out there.
Verbal one
Tea time and roses
A patchwork of books
Pages turned
mabel's house

On another note all pups are doing well. We are having to supplement the smallest one but that's to be expected. Thank goodness for heat pads otherwise she would be getting quite chilled. There's always one that needs a bit of TLC.
I have managed to knit a grand total of 4 rows. I just can't relax until the pups are a few days old and I know their all thriving. I have several pieces in progress and will probably post about them over the weekend.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dogs... No make that puppies on Thursday

How clever of Sasha to realise that today was Thursday and that she should whelp her pups today so I could blog them. I thought briefly about capturing the moment on youtube by Ben Elton's latest book Blind faith came to mind and I thought that might be a bridge too far.

She started at 15.30 and luckily I had come home early from work as she was out in the garden at the time. I was just making a drink when I heard her give an almighty yelp, being a good dog mummy I dropped everything and knew as I ran out that she has delivered one of them. She was supposed to be in her whelping box but Hubby kept saying she wanted to go out and be near Ollie.
So there she was looking a bit bemused in the middle of our vast garden and there's a small not moving pup on the grass. I grabbed both pup and Sasha to get them inside getting totally covered in all kinds of fluids. Lots of vigorous rubbing and one breathing boy pup.
The rest followed fairly easily at about 40 minute intervals, and apart from the only girl who took a long time and a bit of swinging as well as rubbing to get breathing Sasha did very well.

So we have four males and one female. No brown and whites this time round only black and whites. They are sooo sweet. There was a sixth another little girl but we couldn't make her take her first breath. So sad that we lost one, but great we have the others.
Peri was a bit put out with all the fuss being made of Sasha and he had to have a peek in the box to check out what was going on. He had been sharing the box with Sasha just that morning and I think he was hoping to play midwife.

I am very pleased that she's safely delivered and I'll try not to think about what happens when we have to say goodbye to them.
Her last lot are growing into very nice young dogs, all with the same calm natures that their parents have. None of them spook easily and all handled the New Year's fireworks like water off a duck's back. Must be the chaotic household they were born into, somehow prepares them for unexpected noises.
So now we keep them warm and watch and pray they all thrive. At least it's still pretty warm here during the day so I'll only need to use a hotwater bottle.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My cat likes

My cat Peri ( Syrian) for Sprite loves lots of things. Some of the time he manages to be a good little kitty but he's only four months old and still has a lot of energy in him. His top five likes right now are:
1. To sleep on my pillow so that every so often during the night I get a mouthful of fur, or some rather loud purring in my ear.
2. He likes to watch me have a bath or shower. He leaps up onto the edge of the bath and is very interested until he gets splashed by water. He shoots out of the bathroom and then complains loudly until deciding to come back in.
3. Playing with my wool, in particular a ball of green acrylic. He will hunt it down wherever I hide it, and will then parade with great pride past me with it in his mouth.

4. He like to play with his toy mice, but mostly their fluffy tails are the attraction.

5. He likes feathers, loose ones and thankfully not while attached to any birds. We have two Cockatiels and a Rainbow Lorikeet he totally ignores

So that's the low down on Peri, he's developing his personality and growing into a very loving cat. My hubby is constantly surprised by how affectionate Peri is. I did try to tell him. I had a cat several years ago that looks just like my widget cat and was called Darcy, but Peri has helped me to get over missing him and the dreadful decision I had to make about leaving him in the UK.

Today I have started to read Christie Dickason's The Principessa as part of my reading what's on my bookcase.
The opening pages starts with Sofia's rules for survival and it made me think of my own rules
Always find the good in a situation ( if possible)
Take a leap of faith ( when safe to do so)
Be grateful (for everything, even when you're not)
Smile (it saves on wrinkles)
Be positive (everyone else moans enough)
Give to others (when you can)
Expect good things (they have to happen to someone)
Love a lot (it's lonely otherwise)

What rules do you have to live your life by?

Monday, April 7, 2008

What Your Little Black Dress Says About You

You have a flair for the dramatic. You love attention.

You feel alive when all eyes are on you... and you definitely love to work a room.

Your style is glamourous, over the top, and luxurious. You love to shop, and you have expensive taste.

If you were a shoe, you would be: Stilettos

All true I have to say. I am hoping that this works better than the bubble gum quiz which seems to have decided to be tempermental. Never mind.
Decided that today I really needed to get out of the office and the uniform and do a bit of running. Being me I decided that it was a good idea to run to the top of Mount Victoria which overlooks Devonport and out across to Auckland. It's autumn here and the humidity has receded making it much nicer to run. It was still pretty warm going but the view from the top is amazing.

This is the view from the ferry terminal looking towards Mount Vic

And the view of Auckland from the naval base. It's even better at night but I don't go to work then so this will have to do. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to live in such a wonderful place, although it took a lot of hard work to get here.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


You Are Bubblegum Flavored Gum

You are friendly, outgoing, and energetic.
You love life, and you can always find some reason to smile.

You are a bit hyper, and you're always looking for your next challenge.
You love getting things done - and you are usually on the go.

Your confidence and positive attitude makes you a very attractive person.
You can be a little flaky at times, but people are able to overlook that - because you're so fun!

What Flavor Gum Are You?

I have to agree with all of the above.
I am feeling in the mood to clear the bookcase and so would like to offer a free book. It's the winner of the Man Booker PrIze 2007, so I guess it counts as literature in the broadest sense. It's called The Gathering By Anne Enright. It's described as a family epic and I found it an engaging read. It only took me one Sunday afternoon because I was so drawn into the text


So to be in the draw for this novel all you have to do is post a comment to this post before 1800 (6pm) Wednesday 9th April 2008. I will then use the random number generator to select a winner.
To the PIF (pay it forward) winners your handmade gifts are now finished and will be setting off sometime next week. I have really enjoyed making them and hope that you will enjoy them.
Just a quick glimpse at some of the goodies I bought over the weekend. I have resolved to try and use up my materials during April but these were on special and I fell in love with them. I do that a lot. Total lack of will power.

I'm sure you can see why?

And this is just a glimpse of the button stash.

Hope you all had a great weekend doing things you enjoy doing.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Booking on Thursday

When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)
Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

For me literature has to be something that makes you think or feel. It makes you question the world you live in and makes you wonder whether you might be able to do something to either change it or to change yourself. Literature stays with you after the book has been read and consigned back to the bookcase. It doesn't have to be Dickens, Bronte, or Austen although I think they are all excellent examples, it can be Pratchett, or Elton but probably not King.
Books that make me cry have done something right. If they make me laugh they've done something right but in a different way.
What do you think?

Dogs On Thursdays

I have two dogs,Sasha and Ollie. They are both Shizhus and extremely dim but terribly loveable. Sasha is expecting her second set of pups in about ten days and I am very excited. It was such a magical experience last time. Ollie is the father and while he is highly devoted to Sasha right now, (aside from eating her puppy food when he gets the chance) when the pups arrive he'll stay well clear and will pretend they're nothing to do with him.

The brown one from Sasha's last litter

The spitting image of Ollie

Ollie in his best outfit
I can't find one of Sasha at the moment as my darling hubby never labels the photos he down loads. I will try and get one, basically she is the same colour as Ollie but she has long hair.

Not a lot of knitting done tonight as Peri the cat keeps making off with my wool while I'm at work and tonight I spent several hours untangling the spaghetti mess he managed to make. I am going to have to start hiding it.