Sunday, 29 July 2007

Back to Work....

Well, it's all over for me... free time that is. I have been off work for a grand total of nine weeks due to having had a major operation in May. Recovery was slow, but not painful. I felt so well during the recovery period that at times I was in danger of overdoing things a little. My body soon let me know when I'd gone too far. Then I'd spend a day or two brooding over whether I'd done any lasting damage.

The op represented a pretty defining moment for me, a kind of watershed. Having such a long period away from work and the constant travelling gave me a lot of time to think about my life, and how I want it to be from now on. I'm not making huge changes: I love my job, and the company I work for treats it's staff really well. But I think I've decided to move on a couple of things I'd been putting off. I've decided to treat myself better, I deserve better. This has nothing to do with material things as I think I'm pretty lucky in that department all things considered. I just want my life to be better...

So during my time off, I made a list of things that I wanted to get done before going back to work. It was a pretty extensive list, and included stuff that I'd put off for years [fear can really hold you back]. I am happy to report that I've done all bar one, and that is in progress.

And now it's Sunday evening, I'm about to start my regular checking process before going to bed [the whole thing can take a couple of hours, because I'm easily distracted on a Sunday evening]. However today I feel like I do when returning to school after the holidays. Do I have my books? Where is my favourite pen? Is my BlackBerry fully charged? I know that all emails have been downloaded to my laptop, because I did that on Saturday morning. Have I worked out what I'm wearing? Is it ironed? Are my shoes clean? Where's that doctor's certificate that I have to submit? Arrrrgggghhh...

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

AuntyTS & the "Ferocious Beast"

WARNING - picutre heavy post...

"Man proposes, God disposes" or so a Muslim friend told me when we worked together in Thailand nearly 10 years ago. I've never forgotten it. Remember a plan about finishing clue 3 of MS3 and reading this month's book club choice on holiday? Yeah, well you actually need to bring the knitting and the book with you for that to work. Not leave them prominently positioned on the sofa where you are sure not to see them as you bound through the front door at the last minute.

Where did I go? Center Parcs Sherwood Forest (NAYY). Center Parcs used to have an ad campaign that said "the holiday the weather cannot spoil". Most of you will have seen the weather reports over the last week in the UK; boy, did it rain! We still had a good time despite the weather. "We" were a big group - my parents, my sister, her husband, two children and yours truly. We hired a 15 seater van for the journey, which I drove. My normal car is a small, low two-seater sports car. From this to a honking great bus? It was different, I can tell you that! Unfortunately I didn't think of taking a picture of me driving said bus. Suffice to say it wasn't easy to begin with - my five-year old niece kept referring to us as "AuntyTS and the Ferocious Beast". The thing was so damn big that I couldn't park it in any covered car park. I couldn't park it in a single car bay at motorway service stations either. One time I parked it with the HGVs!

Anyhoo, here are some pics of the niece & nephew having fun, and some of the wildlife that was just outside our villa. Interestingly my nephew (2 years old) generally had no problem with live animals and birds, e.g the falcon in the "The Robin Hood Experience" (we was robbed, I tell ya!), but he didn't like the statue of the horse. Good thing he didn't see the strange cat that I picked up with my camera in the gloom...

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Finished 2nd Clue on MS3!

Yay!, I finished the 2nd clue on MS3 on time - late Thursday evening.

I have realised that I must be a pretty slow knitter. Keeping up with MS3 is a focussed effort. I kinda said to myself, "okay it's only 50 rows for this clue, so if I can do ~10 rows per day, that won't take up too much time and I'll have a couple of days spare". Of course that doesn't take into account the tinking, the need to concentrate, friends visiting, seeing the family, doing the shopping, the cleaning (ahem, not), getting my hair done, going to book club (not having finished last month's book, shame on me) - just ... life.

Then on top of that, there's my addiction to Ravelry. My right shoulder has been a little painful of late. Initially I thought it was the increased amount of knitting, but now I'm thinking it is that plus sitting on the computer half the day. Now I'm not complaining, it's just that I've had burnt offerings for dinner several times this week, because whilst dinner was cooking, I got completely lost in Ravelry, and forgot what I was supposed to be doing...

OK, I'm off on a family holiday next week, so I'm determined to make real progress on this month's book club book "Carry Me Down" by M. J. Hyland AND keep up with MS3. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

My Power Element Is ...

I've seen this on a number of blogs, and thought I'd see what my power element is. I think this is largely right. I was going to say that green and brown are not my favourite colours, but actually I wear these autumnal colours quite a bit. Hmmmm?

Your Power Element is Wood
Your power colors: green and brown
Your energy: generative
Your season: spring
Like a tree, you are always growing and changing. And while your life is dynamic, you are firmly grounded. You have high morals and great confidence in yourself and others. You have a wide set of interests, and you make for intersting company.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

No Really, Socks?

I struggle with knitting socks... Not actually knitting socks, but the idea of knitting them. I only wear socks in my boots, and I only wear boots during the winter, really. Then, I'm a little particular about the socks that I wear. They've got to be very thin (not bulky at all), and the colour/pattern needs to be on the conservative side. My socks are generally grey, or blue, or brown solid colours. So how do you explain the first socks that I ever made?

And how do you explain my desire to make another pair of socks - NOW? I've seen a lovely pattern called Phineas by Rosemary Waits. I plan to make these socks with some beautiful Schaeffer Anne yarn in a gorgeous blue/green/lilac colour. I could not resist this yarn when I saw it.

It is one of my favourite colour combinations. I think this is the reason I feel startitis coming on... However, I am determined to be good. I won't start the socks until I've finished MS3. Oh, and after I've finished my Seraphim inspired wrap (Pictures in another post).

Monday, 2 July 2007

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

Global warming, climate change, environmental issues, being green - you can't ignore it. It's everywhere: on the news, in chain emails, in the papers, online. A number of local councils in the UK have started ABC programmes. One week the regular household rubbish is collected and on alternate weeks recyclable rubbish is taken; glass items are a separate collection, and garden waste is another one again. Our council encourages you to buy a garden waste bag which they collect (pretty sporadically as far as I can tell), and then they sell the compost they have made with your garden waste back to the public... Alternatively, you can have your own compost heap in your back garden - I went for that option. Unfortunately no one told me that you had to nurture a compost heap. Grass and flower cuttings don't just turn into compost on their own! So now I have to take all the grass out, and put a rotting agent in there. It can come as no surprise that I've been putting this off for a while... ~sigh~

Then there are the supermarkets trying to reduce the number of carrier bags we use. Stores are now selling some rather good looking jute totes (or hemp or whatever). They are very popular. This weekend whilst shopping with my sister, we noticed just how many people were carrying reusable bags, and just managed to get the last two in John Lewis. I think they're kinda cute. During the shopping frenzy (we started at 9am for an all day session in the sales), I saw some beautiful glass earrings that I just had to have. When I came to photograph them, I started hunting around the house for something to display them on, and found a glass tumbler that previously had shop bought dessert in it, some gauzy ribbon left over from a present I wrapped for someone eons ago, and a few flowers from a bouquet I'd received last week. Now that's what I call reduce, re-use, recycle!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Pretty Things...

Due to a major operation, I've been at home for several weeks. This is a big change for me as I normally do a weekly commute to continental Europe for work. (Yeah, I know - how can going to Rome every week be work, right?) But the chance to watch lots of craptastic British TV (and I'm not telling you which programmes) whilst drinking a proper cup of tea has its own appeal. The other thing I've been able to do, with a lot of help from my dad, is tend the garden. I've always wanted to put in Hostas, and despite everyone telling me that they are slug-candy (including random people at the garden centre), I've managed to put in a couple in a small bed.

Gratuitous close up of the flower of the hosta on the right (Hosta "Frances Williams")...

Of course once I snapped this picture, I went a little crazy in the garden and snapped the Cape Daisies...

And a close up of the Fuschias... And a lil peektur of the ... OK, stopping now, I'll save the rest for another time.