Friday, 28 October 2011

Two more sleeps

I went and picked up my registration pack for the QM yesterday. The official 2011 shirt is bright lime green. Totally in-you-face green. I won't be wearing it for the race. My official number is 20850. After seeing how many people have signed up for this race, I'm thinking I'll be finishing somewhere closer to 2,000th. Even that may be a little too optimistic...

The point of this race for me is not to win (obviously) but to participate, and set myself a challenge. Call me crazy, but I'm seriously considering signing up for the half marathon next year. Lets not jump the gun though - I should get this one out of the way first!

Unfortunately I'm battling a head cold at the moment, which turned up yesterday and has been getting steadily worse. It has appalling timing I must say - I do not fancy running when feeling like absolute shite. So I'm getting lots of Vitamin C in the form of fruit juice, resting (ie: sitting on the couch and knitting) and getting to bed relatively early in the hopes that I can kick it in time for the race. Fingers crossed!!!

I finished the first panel for the Aran Afghan yesterday - it took me over a month, which does not bode well for getting the entire thing finished by Christmas, so I'll have to pick up the pace a little bit. At the moment though, I'm knitting a pair of handspun socks (my first handspun socks!!) - they'll be relatively plain so shouldn't take too long to knit. I was intending to get them done by the end of the month, but with only a few days of October left, I'm not sure I'll make that deadline. We shall see...

Well, I'm off to 'rest' some more - wish me luck for Sunday!!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Trying my best not to hyperventilate...

Only four more sleeps until the quarter marathon!! I've printed out my official eticket, and I can go and pick up my t-shirt, timing tag and gear bag tomorrow, when registration opens at noon. OMGOMGOMG..... deep breaths...

School started back yesterday, but I still have one kid at home. The poor thing is absolutely covered from head to toe (literally) in chicken pox. I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before the other one suffers the same fate. Oh, the joys of childhood disease. Thankfully (I think) I'm in the clear - I had chicken pox as a child, as did Deane. So unless this is some awful mutant strain that we are not immune to, we should be okay. The XBox has done a surprisingly good job of distracting T from scratching, but he can't be on it 24/7 so he has managed to do a bit of damage. And he scratches in his sleep. A lot. What can you do?

Having a child (or in the case of last week, children) at home has given me plenty of knitting time, and I managed to finish off a pair of socks:

Gretya in Knitsch 'Cook's Beach', knit on 2.75mm needles (a nice change from 2.25mm!) This was a very quick pair of socks to knit, but it took me a little longer because I got sidetracked knitting a Milo vest and a Vanilla bum cover for a wee baby boy born to a family friend last week. No pics at this point, because I knit them while in Napier over the weekend, and handed them to the proud new mum as soon as they were finished. I had neglected to take any form of camera equipment with me at all, so had to borrow a digital camera from somebody else, who doesn't actually own a computer. They assured me they would get the pictures to me eventually, but I have no idea how long that will be so you'll just have to take my word for it.

The Milo vest was knit in Naturally Loyal in shade #931 (a turquoise-blue), and had two owls on the front. As this wee boy (who is as yet unnamed) was born a healthy 8lb 14oz, I skipped the newborn size and went straight to the three month size. Same with the soakers, which were knit in Naturally Loyal in shade #913 (an olive-green - here's the shade card so you can see). Both were excellent, well written patterns. They shall come in handy in future, I'm sure. The best thing was that I was able to send them directly to Hedwig, and have them on hand at the touch of a button. No more carting around bits of paper! W00t!!

I have less than two repeats left on the first panel of the Epic Aran Afghan - I'm very excited to be finishing this panel, and look forward to starting the centre panel. I'm a little bored with the cabling on this one, and it will be nice to have a break from these cables and do some different ones for a while, before having to revert back to them to finish panel #3 (a mirror image of panel #1). I have no idea whether or not I'm going to get this done before Christmas, but I'm determined to try, so I'll keep you apprised of my progress. I know you want to know. This is nail-biting, hanging-on-the-edge-of-your-seat knitting, isn't it? ;-) Mwaaahahahaha!! (Yes, I know I'm an idiot. Let's move on)

Just wanted to say before I go, that the Rugby World Cup final was an absolute nail-biter, but the boys brought the Cup home, and did a fantastic job of making this country proud. Sadly, as we were travelling, we missed the ticker tape parade in Central Auckland, but I hear it was a doozy. Way to go ABs!!!! Now I have to go pick up the not-sick child from school, which means dragging the sick child away from his distraction. Ugh.

Enjoy your week, and think of me this Sunday morning, when I will be getting up (ridiculously early) to run 10.55km with a bunch of like-minded loonies. And coming in somewhere around 200th place, would be my estimate... ;-)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Deep breaths. In... Out...

We're well over halfway through the school holidays, and I'm managing to hold it together. I started out this time around with a bunch of activities written onto little cards. They were thrown into a bag, and every morning the bag would be shaken up and one of the boys would grab a card out. The rule is that we have to do whatever activity is on the card, whether they want to or not. I was nice, and included a few XBox days for them (it's always best to avoid meltdowns, non?). The first Monday of the holidays was officially a bum-around day, because they'd stayed up late the night before to watch the All Blacks play Argentina in the quarter-finals. The rest of the first week ended up being almost all XBox days as well, although we did get a baking day - they made biscuits with mini M&Ms on them - and on the weekend we took them ice skating.

They had so much fun ice skating, they wanted to go again the next day! In fact, they're still asking if they can go again. Maybe we'll have a couple of ice hockey players in the future... ;-) Deane would be happy! Perhaps next holidays I'll sign them up for some lessons. They started out scooting around with frames, so they didn't arse over too badly, and by the end of the session, they were both able to shimmy across the ice without them. T was a little clingy with his frame, but gave it a go (without holding a hand too!) and did surprisingly well. I was certainly impressed. I rather like that they make such small ice skating boots - they're so cute!!

I don't know if you've ever noticed while ice skating, that by the end of a session, there's all these little spots of blood in various places around the rink - inexperienced skaters falling over and injuring themselves. Thankfully I've not yet done this (although I've seen Deane fall over many times while showing off - quite a laugh I have to say) - but there's always a first time, right? Ice skating is fun, and a great excuse to get out the woolly hats and mitts :-)

This week we went out to a place called Crystal Mountain. I'd never heard of it, but a work colleague of Deane's had told him about it, and said it wasn't bad for a day's outing. So we went out and had a look. To be honest, I was a little dubious when I pulled into the car park - the place looks really run down. All the grounds are overgrown around the outside, the fences and gates look about ready to fall over, and when you pull up it looks rather sparse. But we went in and paid our admission fees, and started with the crystal museum, which they've set up under the main building. You take an elevator down (80 metres, according to the light panel in the elevator car) and walk into what looks like a cave, chock-full of natural rock crystals of every size and shape - amethyst, rose quartz, lapis lazuli, hematite, agate... there's even petrified wood, dinosaur bones and fossilised insects. I found it quite fascinating - particularly the desert roses - though the kids were only mildly interested. Still, they walked around (looking for kryptonite, which we didn't find) and pretended they were in the home of a really smart cave man, who had invented the elevator.

Once we'd seen everything in the museum, we headed back up and got stuck in to the activities - trampoline bungy, pony rides, a roller coaster, train, feeding the animals (llamas, alpacas, lambs, goats, peacocks and peahens, chickens galore, roosters, a turkey, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, emus, horses, probably some others that I can't remember...) - they had a great time. We went on the roller coaster twice, they rode the horses at least three times each, and I lost count of how many times they went on the trampoline bungy. X was very proud of completing a total of 22 back flips! Somewhere in the middle we had some lunch, and they drew a picture (paper and crayons supplied - hurrah!). We were there for about 3 1/2 hours, and could have stayed longer if I'd allowed them more roller coaster rides, pony rides, and bounces on the trampolines. Not the flashiest theme park, but good for a day of children's entertainment that won't have them bouncing off the walls.

Yesterday we went swimming at West Wave, before dropping Deane at the airport. By the time we got home and I got them to bed, it was quite late, so it's probably a good thing they've pulled another XBox day out of the bag today (I'm sure there weren't that many to start with!!) - fine by me, I have knitting and reading to be getting on with ;-)

I was so excited about getting my Kindle, Hedwig, that I started knitting covers for her that very afternoon. She now has two (plus the neoprene cover she came with):

Hedwig's Sleeping Bag, knit with some Vintage yarn left over from the Ron Weasley blanket squares. I had to adjust this pattern a bit to make it longer, as the original pattern appears to be made for a smaller version. The width was fine, but the length was way too short - I added 12 rows of the stripes at the top, and it still could have been longer. Still, I quite like it.

Not happy with just one cover, I made another one, again with leftover yarn in my stash - from my blue sweater, and some white aran weight from my Lupin scarf:

Hedwig's Argyle Pyjamas! The fit is much better, so I know the pattern is written for this size Kindle (of course, it didn't occur to me until I saw the pattern name that there would be different versions of Kindles, and they could quite possibly be different sizes... never mind). I may block this to get the corner of the cover flap to sit properly, but I like it all the same. Rather stylish, don't you think?

I've also been knitting more on the Epic Aran Afghan (only 6 1/2 repeats left on the first panel!!!) and some socks as well:

The first sock of the pair - Gretya - knit in Knitsch 'Cook's Beach' (yarn club colour). I was going to knit a pair of gansey socks in this yarn, but the pattern didn't really show because of the twist of the yarn and the slight variegation, so I picked this pattern instead, and I'm glad I did. It's a nice pattern, and very quick to work up. The second sock should only take a couple of days to knock out but I'd like to get some more done on the afghan first.

Although I keep getting distracted by books - I read the first Nikki Heat novel (which Deane had kindly loaded onto Hedwig). I thoroughly enjoyed it, and want to read the other two, but feel I should read the two library books I have in my possession first. So I'm currently reading The World House by Guy Adams. This dude must have a seriously warped mind!! It's quite an interesting read (although the editing is a little unfortunate - there's a number typos throughout the book). I find myself wanting to keep reading to see what happens (which I suppose is the point of a story). Next on the list is Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre. I remember somebody recommending it some time ago as a good read, so I'll give it a go.

Right now though, I have to get the boys cleaning up the lounge, and I have to get dressed (sitting here in my bath robe - not a good look). Enjoy the rest of your week!! Only six more sleeps before school is back (Labour Day next Monday, an extra day off school - ugh).

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Thirty two

Yep. 32. Starting to feel old...

I remember way back (ahaha) when my parents were this age. I thought they were really old. Of course, its all relative. When I was a new entrant in primary school, the ten- and eleven-year-old kids looked huge. I was below average height, which probably didn't help. Still am. Other people still look huge - the tall ones at least ;-)

I got a cup of tea in bed this morning, and the boys came in all dressed (hurrah!) with a parcel nicely wrapped up in fabric (from my stash - guess Deane went digging. I wondered why he needed safety pins).

It was a Kindle e-reader, named Hedwig. Here's the back:

The owl, while not the 'real' Hedwig, is a snowy owl, hence the name of the Kindle. Clever Deane ;-)

And here's the front:

Yep, I will always have eyes watching me while I read, saying "are you sure you've got time to sit around and read? Don't you have some housework to do or something?" I shall master the art of ignoring its stare ;-) Shouldn't be too hard, with the books Deane has already loaded on there for me - A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R R Martin, and the three Nikki Heat books by Richard Castle (aka Dan Brown and other real authors). I love the Castle TV series, and I'm very much looking forward to reading the books - I hear they're very good.

There's also a couple of knitting books on there - Vampire Knits and Lily Chin's Knitting Tips & Tricks. Fabulous! Deane always comes up with the best presents (^_^)

I finally got around to getting some pics of my Simplicity cardigan, and was quite horrified to see how wide my shoulders are in comparison to the rest of me - totally disproportionate!! I now know why so many people asked me when I was growing up if I was a swimmer...

I knit the 35" bust size, with Vintage Purls laceweight yarn in 'Quinn'

Last night, I finished knitting my Danu socks:

Aren't they beautiful? Knit in Malabrigo Sock yarn in 'Ravelry Red'.

Because of these socks, I haven't got any further on the first panel for the Epic Aran Afghan, but will knit some more on this now before casting on another pair of socks. I need a wee break from tiny needles!

For now though, I'm going to pry the children off the XBox and put on a movie to watch, before Deane and I go out this afternoon. I assume we're having dinner somewhere among other things - you never can tell with that man...

Thursday, 6 October 2011

How do you sleep?

I sleep on my stomach. Always have. In recent years I've been sleeping in what I like to call a 'Superman' position - one arm extended straight up above my head, the other curled around my pillow, tucked into my chest. An advantage to being short is that I fit perfectly into the length of the bed, fingers curled just over the top edge of the mattress, and toes not-quite touching the bottom edge. Deane has had to adjust his sleeping position to fit around me, because I refused to change. That may have a lot to do with my recurring neck problems (not to mention of course, the large amount of looking down I do in a day, what with knitting, reading etc).

My neck has been quite stiff and sore this week, so after some discussion at knitting group yesterday, and more discussion with Deane last night, I decided to try sleeping on my back. Horrible. Uncomfortable. Boring! There we were, both lying on our backs, nearly a metre between us (gotta love a king-sized bed!). I started imagining us as an elderly, chaste couple, sleeping together. Me, with a full-length flannel nightgown that tied up under the chin, Deane with stripey long pyjama pants and a baggy white singlet. I started laughing and just couldn't stop! For some reason I found this picture quite hilarious. It took a while for me to settle - I'd quiet down for a while, then another giggle-fit would errupt. I eventually got to sleep (on my back I think), but I have to admit it wasn't the bed night's sleep I've ever had. Several times I woke up and just gave in, flipping over onto my stomach and snuggling down. No surprise that my neck isn't any better today. At least it's not preventing me from knitting, so it's not the end of the world ;-)

Things may improve with a round of physiotherapy or a few visits to a chiropractor, but as I very much doubt their prices will be reducing any time soon, this will quite possibly never happen.

I have been rather busy in the knitting department of late, although not much to show for it. I finished my Simplicity cardigan last Saturday night, and blocked it straight away. Thanks to the wonders of laceweight yarn, it was dry by morning, so I could weave in the ends and wear it to knitting group at the library. Still haven't got any pictures of it though - all in good time...

The last blanket square was finished:

June 2009 Afghan square in Vintage Porcelain and Port Wine

I've turned the heels in my Red Danu socks, and am now working on the feet. I'd knit one heel at knitting group yesterday, but mustn't have been paying attention, because the heel flap was a few rows too short - something I discovered when knitting the second heel last night:

I frogged the offending heel, and reknit it, so all is well:

Knit in Malabrigo Sock in Ravelry Red

And I'm over halfway on the first panel of the Epic Aran Afghan:

Hmmm, now that I've posted this photo, I have spotted an error in my knitting that will have to be fixed. Can you spot it? Here, I'll help you:

Thankfully, I have mastered the art of dropping down a section of stitches and reknitting them, thereby avoiding having to rip back row upon row of knitting. Should take no more than half an hour to fix! I guess the little reminder I gave myself to check my work thoroughly while knitting this afghan hasn't yet sunk in. I wonder how far I would've got before realising my error, if I hadn't posted the update photo on here? The mind boggles...

I took a little time out from knitting last night, and we, as a family, went to the boys' annual school art exhibition. We were pleasantly surprised to find that T had won a prize for the second year in a row!

X was a little disappointed, especially since they spelled his name wrong when labelling his artwork, but I think he's moved on now. Again this year, the winning artworks will be displayed at the local supermarket for all to see, so it'll be fun to go along and have another look during the school holidays, and T can put on his proud face and say "that's mine". Yay. Mum will have her proud face on too ;-)

Right, I'm off to fix the afghan! Enjoy the rest of your week!!