Sunday, September 27, 2009

The damage to my car has been repaired and I have my darling back, but ever since that seemingly minor bingle (a minor accident, one of my favourite Aussie terms), I've been getting headaches. Nothing blinding, no signs of anything wrong in my back or neck. I am seeing my GP this week so I'll ask if there is any test I need. Maybe just a very mild concussion but it takes the edge off my view of the world.

The weather here has been bizarre. We've gone from highs of 24C to a high of about 8C yesterday, gale force winds, rain, dust storms (we made US national news I hear), and snow in the mountains. Poor Floriade must have their blooms a bit tattered. My apple trees and pear tree were getting ready to bloom but I don't know that they will pop until it get warmer. It's kept me out of the garden even tho the lawn needs mowing badly. My peas are up and I am enjoying asparagus.

I was hoping to get in the studio during the enforced indoor spell but instead I have been wrestling with the Big computer to get stuff off it so I can take it to recycle this week. Since it crashes every time I do anything, this takes a while. I've also spent time shredding 15 year old bank statements and other such antique documents. I'll have lots of mulch for the garden when I'm done, but these activities took most of yesterday.

I have been spinning Robin's wool and have a bobbin full. Time to ply my blue sock wool. I have knitted one round of the fair isle vest. I got the Dover reprint of Alice Starmore's Fair Isle knitting book which gave me some ideas about what to do about steeks espicially for armholes. I've done about half the top of one of the new socks.

Music is very important to me and I am firmly still age 18 when it come to most of the music I like. X2 and I were moaning about having to buy all the Beatles albums for the third time (vinyl, 1st gen CD and now remastered). We also were enjoying Cheap Trick's live performance of Sgt Pepper. A very satisfying product, considering it has never been performed live in its full form. My tastes lay mainly in power pop and what apparently is called emo because it expresses feelings. My iPod is full of bands like the Honeydogs and Five for Fighting but I'm a big fan of Eskimo Joe and Coldplay as well. I got out the Bear's big Altec Lansing sound cancelling headphones and spent yesterday listing to music while I shredded. I am bemused when iTunes classes some of my music as pop, some as rock, and some as alternative and I don't think there's that much difference in style. It's not like I was listening to Mariah Carey or Metallica. I'm always looking for indie bands and Notlame and CDbaby are favourite hunting grounds.

The Age of Homespun is not what I was expecting. It is a response to a speech, given much after the colonial and Revolutionary days, that romanticized the days when women did spinning and weaving to clothe their families. Her method is to take an exhibit of early New England artifacts and analyze both the object and its construction and its place in the social and economic life of the people who created them. For example, an Indian made purse with porcupine quill decoration leads to a discussion of the level of skill not only of the creator of the item but of the Native Americans the new settlers came in contact with, and a discussion of how the two groups interacted on many levels. There are lots of quotations from diaries showing, for example, how women would spin or weave for each other, would buy commercially prepared (imported) cloth for their Sunday best but also wove acres of homespun for domestic use. A father left his land to his sons but his movable property to his daughters and was careful that each daughter had both linen tablecloths as well as more mundane textiles. This is a scholarly work with much research evident behind the text, but it makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in textiles.

On the light side of reading I have been going through S,M, Stirling's alternative history trilogy that begins with Island in the Sea of Time.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I was out exploring the shrubbery in the front yard and discovered that our flowering peach was in bloom. Most of the time it looks nearly dead but then it surprises me with blooms. It never should have been planted under the towering street tree, but I'm thankful it's alive and still produces blooms. The flowering quince is also in bloom; there is a red one planted way too close to the letter box and various self seeded salmon-coloured ones around the rest of the front. The juniper is gone completely now, leaving me with a pile of wood chips to move. Then I'll find out how big a hole I've got to work with. I will need a deciduous shade tree there to protect the living room windows from afternoon summer sun. I may get a new awning to match the others over the other west-facing windows. The fabric on them is probably 12 or so years old and has gotten grubby. Note: do not buy awning fabric that is chiefly white. It won't stay white. Next time it's green with white stripes instead of the reverse.

The week started off with me being hit from behind in the stop-and-go which is Parkes Way on a commuting morning. I lost the light over my number plate (license plate) abd I couldn't tell what happened underneath. So Friday I turned my dear red car over to the insurance people and am driving a rental Yaris which I loathe. For one thing, there's no place to put my left foot. It's an automatic and the supposed place for a left foot must hve been designed for a pixie so it forces my ankle into an uncomfortable position. It also doesn't like going up hills and I have a rather high one between me and the city. This should only last a week (please).

Having picked up said rental car, I went over the the ANU to get my latest addition: a 16-shaft table loom which cost me all of $200. It seems that they are upgrading their looms and selling off the old ones. Once I cleared off the door (table top) in the studio, there is barely room for the 2 table looms. Once I get rid of or stow the remaining junk, I'll post a picture. I've brought the spinning stash in from the deck and moved an old bookcase from the computer room to house coned yarn. Seeing it there makes me want to weave instantly, but of course, the garden has first priority at this time of year. I'm cutting asparagus and weeding mostly. Something has been eating my heirloom strawberries and I don't know who.

On the knitting front, I've swatched and am ready to cast on a simple shell in Ella Rae silk & viscose which is a lovely dusty rose colour. I finally got the right size needles out (altho I worry that they won't be long enough for the task) and cast on the fair-isle vest. Having finished a pair of socks for me I cast on another pair, also Regia cotton/wool blend this in the cream to light brown range.

It struck me this morning that I have been living by myself for over two years, which is longer than I ever have before. I've learned to get things done even tho not to the standard I used to have when the Bear took on some of the more labour-intensive tasks, like mowing the lawn and grocery shopping. I'm preparing to recycle the Big Computer that was his plaything leaving me with just the Macbook. I've made two major purchases now on my own, a new car and a new computer. If I can maintain strength and energy, I can continue to live like this life. Two years ago I felt completely helpless. It's now my junk that clutters the table and my dirty clothes I must wash. It's a miracle to me I'm still alive. Don't think I'm not grieving because I see him everywhere.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I can't remember whether in other years I noted the arrival in spring of the pallid cuckoo to our neighbourhood. I only know it because of its very distinctive call; I don't know that I've every seen one but they are very nondescript bird anyway. Spring is upon us in a rush. All the plum trees are in bloom and I had to mow the lawn (flat area of weeds) yesterday. The big juniper at the front door was cut down this week and I await the stump grinder before I can seriously tackle refurbishing the front. I have asparagus coming up and the citrus is looking like it's ready to come out of hibernation. The down side of all this is that after throwing myself into garden cleanup up I get totally wiped out. Even if my legs would hold me up to do more weeding, my hands hurt quite a bit. I might have to fork over some $$ to a garden maintenance person to help out so I can enjoy the good parts and not be exhausted all the time. It is actually 24C today which is quite a change in a short period of time. Now we need rain. My peas got planted before Monday's showers but more would be nice.

I'm also making progress on cleaning out the cupboards in the computer room. I unearthed yet another box of old photos and a box of old financial statements like phone bills from 1995. I want to make that room into a proper bedroom when it comes to selling the house, to make it really a 4 bedroom house and not a 2 bedroom with 2 junk rooms.

Yes, I have been paying with genealogy and love reading old documents about how one ancestor was disinherited by his father for his drinking and neglect of his family. They weren't all saints like Roger Williams.

I know this has become a weekly blog but, my dear friends, I am just so tired all the tired, if not in real pain. If my choice is to blog or to take a nap, you don't have to be very smart as to which I'll pick. Matter of fact, that sounds like a good idea right now.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Spring has truly sprung. I just went to the garden centre (replacement rhubarb crowns, new gloves) and my car was nose-in to a clump of grevillea in full bloom. The blooms were being fed on by a pair of white-plumed honeyeaters, who not only were eating but took 2 seconds to mate every now and then. Very common bird but still nice to see them a meter away than through binoculars.

I've spent the past week in bed with a cold but am feeling OK now. It is extremely important for me to fight off a cold before it settles in my chest since my sternum reacts badly to a chest cough. I've been busy clearing weeds in the garden and am planting peas. I have 3 stalks of asparagus up which I have supplemented with some from the markets. There is a big bunch of very fragrant Earlicheer narcissus on the counter. One of The Imp's redeeming features is that she does not eat flowers like The Senior Cat did. She does, apparently, like pumpkin soup.

Of course genealogy takes a lot of time but it's fascinating research and colonial American history is a lot more interesting when these are my people I'm reading about. I'm back into the 1700's on several lines but some have brick walls. I know my grandfather existed and have birth and death dates but can't find records on him partially because I don't know where he was born. New York, I think.