Thursday, 29 July 2010

High Fidelity

Romantic and/or marital fidelity, I'm talking about. Fidelity is important to me - although I enjoy flirtation, and for many years it was part of my job; I've sailed a little close to the wind on a couple of occasions, but when it boils down to it, I'm a coquette.

However, things have reached a ridiculous level recently. Today the children were playing at a friend's house for the day; I came back from the hospital to a quiet, peaceful house, and rather than get down to anything useful or productive, I took the luxury of a daytime nap instead.

My dreams were centred around one of my favorite actors, whom I also consider to be super-attractive in spite of his recent weight loss (I do not like small, skinny men):

In my dream this afternoon, I was being invited in a very seductive, enticing, steamingly hot way, to step out of my marriage vows of fidelity. And I refused the invitation.

Not so long ago, my dreams were troubled by the dark handsomeness of this man:

Gorgeous George and I were in a swish hotel bar somewhere, and he was X-rated temptation with suggestions to match.

Again, I declined.

It's come to something when even in your wildest dreams, where of course, there are NO consequences, you still say 'no' because you're married.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Mondays apparently being my father's day for calling with big surprises, this Monday he called to tell me that he has become engaged to the lady he has been stepping out with for coming up to a year. OK, so it wasn't a surprise, but it was, if you see what I mean.

I am so very happy for him, and am joyful that he has had the incredible good fortune to find another person whom he loves and who loves him, who is willing to share his life permanently. Another bite at the cherry of happiness is to be snatched at, then cherished and celebrated: a lesson which most of us only learn after being forced to confront our mortality - as it was for us after my mother's death, drummed in by my sister's ongoing tango with Behcet's Syndrome (I've had at least two phone calls saying 'get to the ICU now'), my father's brush with cancer, and triple cardiac bypass.

This is perhaps some of the reason why I am perhaps more lax than I should be about my children's attendance at school, housework, and lack of money: given my great good luck in my own life - like The Fool, I always land on my feet, even if there is a bit of a stumble - I give thanks every day for what I have been given: love, children, family, friends, happiness, health, opportunities.

I wish my father everything of the very best in his new adventure.

Thursday, 22 July 2010


I had some lovely times staying with my Bubicka when I was a child, but my spoiling was in the form of a later bedtime, cups of weak tea, fresh grapefruit and radishes. My maternal grandfather did not seem to be aware of our existence much, and I don't recall any gifts from him ever.

I am so glad that my father and my MIL are not cut from the same cloth as him - that my kids know, like and love their grandparents and are always keen and eager to spend time with them. Nanny always knows the best secret spots - parks, beaches and ponds; Belo allows them to help paint the sheds, rootle around in the loft getting filthy dirty, and takes them out to eat fast food. Both children are seriously excited about their week's holiday at Nanny's house, and Belo's return at the end of summer ....

This week, in celebration of their good school reports, from their Belo the children received this:

Enough candy to make me go out and buy new toothbrushes and brush their teeth myself. They had no idea it was coming and couldn't believe their luck.

Although I said earlier that I didn't plan on learning any new techniques, I wanted to knit something for my youngest nephew, and found a pattern for a cute cabled tank top. So I learned to cable this week. It wasn't difficult when I got used to it, and I only had trouble when I wasn't paying enough attention to the pattern when decreasing for the armholes.

The photo is appalling - I've decided now to wait for weekends when DH is home, so he can do the artistic creative thing, as he is so much better at photos than me. It is knitted in Stylecraft Wondersoft Pearl DK, which is 100% acrylic (and therefore machine washable), but with a cottony look and feel to it, and with good stitch definition. I liked the pattern so much I'll use it for Destructo Boy's school tank top ...

Now I have to decide what knitting to take with me to my SIL's wedding party: I can't take any of my Christmas knitting, as it's mainly all for DH's family. I need it to be fairly mindless, but simultaneousyl impressive to non-knitters. A challenge that I must rise to.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Bimbling Along

A slight blogging holiday last week, as DH was home for a few days; so Ingrid has a new alternator, and we all attended Mini Diva's school sports day. It was disorganized chaos as usual, but her team (Blue) won, so she was happy.

This is the final few days of the summer term, and I am really looking forward to the holidays. That, of course, will last only until the first morning, when they are at each other's throats. But the high winds and heavy showers of early last week are over, and the sunshine has returned, which makes life a lot more optimistic.

Auntie Fashion was down this weekend, and we went shopping together in town. Having been given some gift vouchers at Christmas, I bought a new skirt, sweater and a couple of tops to go with them, hopefully to wear to the wedding party this weekend if it stays warm. Auntie Fashion and I having got separated, I had to call her to come rescue me from shopping hell - the shop I was in is huge, busy, crowded and has no system as to how things are set out - and then the demon Indecision set in. It was the work of a moment for her to make my mind up for me and get me to the checkout before I had a meltdown.

I never used to have trouble shopping for myself, or deciding - but it has been so long since I actually bought any clothes, and since money is an issue, I have also become far more discriminating. It was an unwelcome surprise when I was weighed at the hospital to find that I have put on 14 lbs (and I know where it all is too) and that affects what I wear. I am not overweight (BMI of 22.2 and 'green' on the calculator) as yet though, which is a good thing as dieting takes considerably more willpower and need than I was born with ...

I've also taken a break from Christmas knitting and instead managed to complete in a few days this little lace shrug for my youngest niece:

The pattern is Sirdar 1690, it's knitted in Lavender Stylecraft Kon-Tiki, a cotton/acrylic blend that was a pleasure to knit with. It has a great drape and semi-shiny finish, and should be cool enough to wear during the summer. The only thing wrong with the pattern is the lace border - all two million miles of it is sewn on.

Now Mini Diva wants one, but the pattern only goes up to age 6; the maths/knitting sector of my brain is not turbo-charged enough to handle the increases necessary to size it up and keep the stitch pattern right; there does seem to be a dearth of patterns for ages 7 through 14 or so: any suggestions, please let me know.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


Well, what a great day. Mini Diva had a fabulous school report, and so did Destructo Boy. I did laugh at the bit where the teacher said that Destructo Boy had a ''good awareness of space and safety'' - she wouldn't have said that had she seen him standing on the bay window roof, having climbed out of my bedroom window. So a trip to the cinema at the end of term has been promised as a reinforcement that effort and work bring rewards. DH will have to choose which arm to lose in order to pay for it.

Having received book vouchers at Christmas and (obviously, since it's now July) taken my sweet time deciding what to buy with them, I ordered Barbara Walker's 2nd Knitting Treasury from my local Waterstones. They had to order it, and told me it would be about 3 weeks. 4 weeks later I called for a progress report to be told their supplier didn't envisage having it from the USA for at least another month. I wasn't very happy with this, having already paid £35 to them for the book. have it for $30 - I could have ordered it from them and had it well within 3 weeks. So strolling round the interwebs, I came across the marvellous people at iKnit, whose website said it was in stock, and that was confirmed by the lovely man I spoke to - and it was only £21.95. He popped it in the post that day, and I had it the next. Friendly, efficient service - we love it.

You'll notice that in the photo is some new laceweight 100% Bluefaced Leicester yarn in a vibrant color called 'Fire Festival'. Well, having saved so much money on my book, I now had some left over for yarn - a quick click to Abstract Cat's Folksy shop soon took care of that. I plan to knit this Candleflame Shawl with it = a perfect marriage of color and project.

And - as if that weren't enough - I heard from the lovely Annie, President of the Australian Tarot Guild that my Bereavement Spread was used successfully in a spread workshop they held at the weekend. My cup runneth over.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Lazy Hazy Days

This week it has been baking hot - as high as 38C (101F) - and I am loving it, unlike my friend Mimi. Although I'd rather die by freezing, since one falls asleep and knows nothing about it, I luxuriate in these hot summer days when others wilt and stay indoors. There are those who say I have lizard blood in my veins, but I am no Diana, chief malefactor from ''V''. It is simply that in winter I find it impossible to wear as many layers of clothing as I need in order to stay warm and yet remain mobile. DH is of the opinion that I should just sew buttons onto a duvet and be done with it.

So in the garden, as a result of the weather, we have:

Baby runner beans and nascent cherry tomatoes, which the children are checking every day for any signs of color change and edibility.

And on our back wall, the jasmine is simply festooned with highly fragrant blossom which we can smell most strongly in the evenings, even when we are indoors.

The heat hasn't stopped me knitting, but it has slowed me down ...this week I completed another lacy scarf in Wendy Allegra (35% alpaca, and very, very soft) in the colorway Isabella. I found the stitch pattern in the Harmony guide as Knotted Openwork, but in Vol.II of Barbara Walker's Treasury as Star Stitch. No matter it's name, it is an easily memorized, quick lacy stitch which gives a very light and airy effect.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

And the Livin' is Easy

Things in the tarot world having regained equilibrium for the present, today I have been enjoying my garden - the runner beans have got actual beans on them (all of 2 cm long) and however much of the lettuce we eat, we don't seem to be making a dent.

I was glad I'd taken photos, so I have something to compare - the first one was taken only on the 22nd of June, the second photo today about 5 minutes ago: it's not even a month, and everything has burgeoned ....

And a photo of the Rose Leaf Trellis scarf which I modified from Janet Barton's Rose Leaf Trellis Shawl (available as a free download from Ravelry) - a beautifully simple and easy pattern - in Laines du Nord Kiddy Print that I completed last weekend; it was quite scratchy to knit with, being 70% mohair, but has yielded nicely to fabric conditioner and blocking. I've discovered that dark yarn photographs best against a light background, but I need to find a darker background to show lighter yarns to their best effect ...
this one is kind of a raspberry ripple effect, but it looks really tatty in the photos for some reason.

Monday, 5 July 2010

The Empty Teacup

The attempt by Marcus Katz of Tarot Professionals Ltd to trademark 'World Tarot Day' has failed - he has withdrawn his application owing to an 'Intention to Object' being filed by Louise Underhill. Kudos to her for standing up for her convictions, and lucky that she has the finances to back up her objection. You can read his open letter here, but be warned, it tastes to me somewhat of sour grapes, and includes some very flawed assumptions.

Many complaints have been registered against this hijacking attempt, mainly by people concerned that the original ethos of the day ought not to be under the control or altered at the whim of any one individual or organization; that it should be open to any and all tarotists who wanted to be involved, rather than certain individuals or organizations being proscribed because Mr.Katz has some personal grudge against them. There has also been concern over Mr.Katz's motives - there is a perceived possible intention to commercialize and profit from it, as Tarot Professionals is a business.

It is unfortunate that Den Elder, the originator of the World Tarot Day, did not communicate her desire to 'retire' from promoting it to any of the several international non-profit tarot organizations who would have been delighted to take on and promote it with full access, engagement and involvement offered to all the tarot community, both individuals and organizations - the Tarot Guild is one, TABI is another.

Perhaps Mr.Katz will now cease to harass Alison Cross both personally and as Chair of TABI, and focus his considerable talents on running and developing his business. In light of his recent actions and behavior, perhaps it is time he re-visited his company motto to consider whether it is appropriate for him to claim that he is ''restoring the spiritual dignity of tarot''.

Friday, 2 July 2010

It's An Ill Wind

What used to be the Co-Operative Department Store in town was taken over by Vergo just before Christmas last year; for the last 6 to 8 weeks or so, Vergo has had 'we are in administration' posters all over its windows.

Sales have been running constantly, starting at 10% off retail price. Today, the day before they shut the doors permanently, it is 70% off. All the fixtures and fittings are for sale also.

So I popped in today, and used up some more of my overdraft in buying the last remaining ball of Sirdar Blur, and a knitting bag ....well, it's not a bag exactly, but I don't know what it's called. I've wanted one for ages - for no real reason - but refused to pay full price as I think that they aren't worth £19.99, for a bit of pretty material and a few bits of wood.

The yarn and bag should have cost me £23.34. I paid £6.99. I love a bargain.