Monday, 31 May 2010

Irony or Paranoia

I haven't yet quite decided. On Saturday we got our appeal hearing date (appealing the LEA's decision not to give Destructo Boy a place in the same school as his sister).

It turns out that this is the same day that I have an appointment to see a gynaecologist about something that's been rumbling on for a while; an appointment that's been scheduled for a month and a half. Therefore the kids for the afternoon are already sorted out, playdates at friends' houses, as the appointment is at 4:30 pm.

Pay attention to the times here, and remember that my DH is away from home all week.

The first part of the appeal is at 9:30 am in a place about 7 miles away. I have stated in the original school application and again in the appeal paperwork that I do not/cannot drive. To arrive at the 1st part of the hearing on time, I would have to catch a bus in the centre of town at 8:55 am. No hassles, you think. But - what do I do with my two children, one of whom needs to be at school at 8:50 am, and the other at school half an hour in the opposite direction at 9:05 am ? By the way - you are not allowed to bring your children with you.

The first part of the hearing is scheduled to last no longer than 2 hours, making an end time of 11:30 am. If it starts on time. If it finishes on time . Destructo Boy needs to be picked up from school at 11:35 am. The bus is at 11:45 am and does not reach the centre of town until 12:06 pm.

The second part of the appeal process is scheduled to start at 3:30 pm and last for a maximum of 45 minutes, implying a finish time of 4:15 pm. At least the bus' return route to town takes me right past the hospital, and if everything is running EXACTLY on time, I should be maybe only 15 minutes late for my specialist's appointment.

I am seething, barely controlled. I want to scream, throw dishes, unspeakable vituperation and sharp things at the bureaucrats who have obviously not read anything I have written - if they had, there wouldn't be this crazy scheduling for an out of town location. The letter says, if I cannot attend, they will consider my already submitted written case. Yeah, right. I'm full of confidence about that one.

Bearing in mind also, that the school Destructo Boy is in is our catchment school and Mini- Diva should have gone there when we moved; this school still has no space for her. And hers has no space for him. No-one seems to care about the children - Mini-Diva has been walking to school with a friend and his Mum, and has had to be pried away from me howling. On the occasional times where my good neighbor Su has taken Destructo Boy to school for me so I can walk Mini-Diva, he is upset. And I just feel like a crap mother. Certainly way too crap, and too worried about hanging on llike grim death to the remnants of my sanity, to homeschool.

So, is it irony, or am I paranoid ?

Thursday, 27 May 2010

I Like 'Em Round and Big

The title of this post is taken from the lyrics of a rather raunchy song by Sir Mixalot in which he discusses the finer merits of big backsides - with which someone close to me agrees, saying, ''she's like a lobster - all the meat in the tail''.

But I am talking quite innocently about knitting needles. Today I completed another scarf in Kidsilk Haze, a ZigZag Lace pattern, using 5mm needles; it wasn't a complex stitch pattern, but even so, it was quite quick to knit up.

I also completed a scarf in a Diamond Lace stitch pattern, in a fabulous color that I think is raspberry but is called Flora, using Wendy Allegra on 8mm needles: this one took me only two days (off and on) to knit.

According to the ballband, the yarn itself is a mix of 32% alpaca, 37% polyester and 31% acrylic; it feels wonderfully soft and squooshy, and had some slub type stuff going on along with the gentle variegation effect. It blocked pretty well considering the non-natural content.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


I really enjoyed Tarot Hands Across the World, celebrating what used to be World Tarot Day before it was apparently trademarked and no-one can use the term any more ....

All five readings that I offered through this blog were taken up - I'm just waiting for a question from LizzieK8 - and the feedback I've had was not only good, but helpful.

I did a few readings via Twitter, and found that the 140 character limit was just not going to work - there's just too much information to relay in such a limited message; so to deal with that issue, multiple DMs were sent .

I really must say again, thanks to Mimi, for her most helpful suggestion for how to handle the storm in a teacup - it worked.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Tarot Hands Across the World

Today, to celebrate Tarot Hands Across the World, I am offering a free 1 card tarot reading to the first 5 commenters on this post.

In addition, I'll be offering free 1 card readings on Twitter - and trying to do them in 140 characters ! Just DM me ....

You can find more people who are involved here.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Good Things Come ...

There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.
Logan Pearsall Smith, Afterthoughts, 193

I love to get things in the post. Of course, bills, circulars and red letters do not count as post. Yesterday I received my box from the Spring UK/EU Soap Swap, a little on the late side, but worth the wait. I love to see what other people do, how they package their products, and the scents, of course. I've swapped with some of the participants before, so knew to expect some high quality, luscious items to secrete away and spoil only myself with - Sarah, Rose and Jude, I'm looking at you. And they did not disappoint. It was also really lovely that the items from the people I hadn't swapped with also lived up to the standard set.

Also in the post yesterday was a very generous package from my Auntie Celeste in Texas, full of a rainbow dream of additives; I wanted my kids to be able to experience some of the reason Momma loves sugar and color like she does .....

I have sent some to a friend of mine, who I doubt will drink them, but use them in a more creative manner ....

And I finally finished the two Kidsilk scarves; I blocked them last week, and only just got round to adding a fringe on the Trellis Lace scarf today. They are going in the wardrobe with lavender to be gifted at Christmas. Yes, you read that correctly. I also can't believe not only am I thinking of the C word in May, but actually said it out loud ...

Branching Out is in the color 'Trance', and the Trellis Lace scarf in a lilac color that I don't know the name of because I lost the ballband; I can tell you, however, that the light glitter of silver throughout the Kidsilk Night is enough to satisfy one's repressed jackdaw tendencies without even a hint of Essex.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Rattling the China

World Tarot Day has been going since 2003. Various internet tarot communities and individuals usually do something to celebrate it, whether offering free readings, large readings, deals, offers and giveaways ...

This year, however, a storm has sloshed the tea from the cup into the saucer somewhat, as the person who had the original idea trademarked World Tarot Day, and then sold it to a commercial organization, without notifying any of the prior sponsors. The first most people knew about it was when the new owner started to promote their ownership of it, and forbade any other tarot people to use the phrase or promote it.

Tarot is an area that many people involved with it consider spiritual, concerned with one's Higher Self, a journey of self-knowledge and personal growth, to be used for guidance and empowerment: all that Californian New Age stuff. The hypocrisy involved is particularly jarring then, when the people who make these kind of claims actually manifest behavior that seems the complete opposite - for personal or business gain, to satisfy the ego, to continue a personal grudge (not to say vendetta) ...

As a tarot professional, I am undecided what I will do, to best uphold the spiritual dignity of tarot, as I perceive it: do I ignore the foul-tasting taint with which WTD has been contaminated and tarnished, and continue with my own small plans to promote tarot to a broader community on this day (the original intention of WTD) ? Or do I cancel my plans, so as to ensure they in no way can be connected, seen or used in support of this usurpation ? The full deck may offer more possibilities - even a compromise ?

''Power consists in one's capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation.''

Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the USA(1856-1924)
letter to Mary A.Hulbert, Sept.21 1913

Monday, 17 May 2010

Achey Breaky ...

...Back. The only things I did indoors this weekend, pretty much, was to make the beds and do the ironing. The rest was spent outside sorting out the patch of front garden and overhauling all the tubs and troughs on the patio back garden.

All the daffodils have been pulled and re-planted in the front garden for next year, the wallflowers and pansies went into the brown bin; the tubs and troughs were topped up with fresh compost, and this year's summer bedding planted out - yes, I know there's always the risk of a late frost, but I have nowhere to keep them, plus, the tubs were in a terrible state, I just couldn't look at them any longer - so we have African marigolds, petunias and lobelia; two types of lettuce, two tomato plants (one cherry and one normal) four runner beans, and a jalapeno chilli.

My lemon verbena made it through the winter, but not the marjoram or thyme, so they have been replaced; I also found a white lavender on sale along with a nameless clematis, so they have found their spots in the front. A couple of lupins (DH's choice), a valerian - very sweetly-scented when in flower - a couple of other bits and bobs, most of them found in the 'reduced' section, are now planted and waiting to thrive.

Speaking of scents, I can't recall the lilac smelling as strong as it does this year. There are lots of lilacs in my area, and sometimes the scent as it wafts by you when you're walking is almost as if someone had opened the stopper on a bottle of perfume.

My style of gardening involves not being able to see any earth - if I can see earth, then that means there is room for a plant to go in it; where there is a plant, a weed cannot grow. What I will do in order to be energy-efficient.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Calm After the Storm

I haven't posted over the last few days as I got sucked into the political drama that was the aftermath of the election. I find myself in a political minority in the communities/forums that I frequent, and having grown somewhat wiser, mellower, apathetic or lazier over the years, I no longer engage in heated debate in this area unless facts are incorrect. I no longer have the energy for ad hominem attacks in general, let alone those which are aimed at me. And I don't really want my blog to contain politics unless in the most general way. I don't even feel really comfortable with expressing my optimism about this coalition in case that jinxes it.

So back to your regularly scheduled programming - by the way, it was most amusing to see quite how many people were outraged by the BBC cancelling Eastenders last night to provide further coverage of an historic event.

Destructo Boy has started at his new kindergarten, at the primary school where he will be in September, as we were unsuccessful in our application for him to attend Mini-Diva's school - he is 24th on the waiting list, otherwise known as a snowball's chance in hell, even though we have lodged an appeal. Believe me, there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth, since it means I cannot get both children to school on time, as Mini-Diva's school is 30 minutes away and also starts first. Destructo Boy's school also has no room for Mini-Diva. Mini-Diva is walking to school with a friend and his Mum, but had to be prised from me, howling, yesterday. And to add insult to injury, Destructo Boy's school is our catchment school, it's the reason DH took this house, and is so close I could drop the children off wearing my pyjamas and be back home before anyone noticed ...

And now I am off to block the Branching Out and Trellis Lace scarves ....

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Knitting Mystery #2

When does a finished object become a finished object ?

For me, it is when it is complete, washed, blocked, dried and ready to wear.

Which is why I have two scarves sitting at 95% complete, because I can't deal with the hassle of blocking them right now.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Catching Up

As regards blogging, I've been a bit aimless since the weekend when the Knit & Crochet blog week ended. I thoroughly enjoyed it, not least because of the new people and blogs it introduced me too, and the new friends I've made - you'll see some new blogs in my blogroll. I particularly appreciated those people who took the time and effort to translate their blogs into English, so I understood them. Now I shall have to seek out some new interesting tarot blogs to restore the balance between Pentacles and Cups.

I believe that over 80 people took part, and I think I managed to visit each blog at least once, and commented on most. Yes, real life did fade into the background that week. I learned that steeking and colorwork were the most popular techniques that people wanted to learn; I saw some droolingly gorgeous yarns and amazing projects; it seemed that people either learned through a family member or books and the internet. And was inspired by reading all the comments on acrylic yarn to mount my soapbox.

But now normality has returned; it is election day and I am hiding from the overwhelming coverage in the media. I was the victim of an attempted political mugging outside Mini-Diva's school yesterday - the Labor candidate plus leeches, I mean supporters, were loitering with intent right outside the school gates leafleting the unwary. I feel that this was inappropriate, as there was no clear route of escape - ALL the gates were covered, and one had to enter to retrieve one's child. I'm sure I was not the only parent asking myself whether I loved my child enough to run the gauntlet ....

I have three live projects on my needles right now - a lacy scarf made with fabulous purple Kidsilk Night; a Willow Leaf stole in 4 ply silk; and a baby hoodie - I didn't like the original stitch pattern, so am doing it in a chevron stripe; which is kind of ironic since I have no particular desire to do colorwork. It shows one can learn almost accidentally. And now I am going to go learn more - as a side-effect of media avoidance, I shall search for a WIP (Work In Progress) widget to instal here ...

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Something that has had an increasingly raised profile on my radar since my friend Mimi received an unsolicited cruel comment a while back on a beautifully crafted item she'd made, is a vicious creature known as a Yarn Snob . This is someone who sneers, despises and mocks someone who uses acrylic yarns rather than more natural - and usually far more expensive - options like wool, silk, quiviut etc., and they are a fairly common
occurrence in knitting forums.

What raised it to the point that I wanted to comment about it was reading the first day's posts from Knit & Crochet Week, which was all about how one had started either knitting or crocheting; it was interesting to me to see that the large majority of people had started knitting/crocheting using acrylic yarn, and usually the 'economy' brands.

The tone of most of these posts was a combination of apologetic and shame/embarrassment, along the lines of 'I didn't know any better', 'it was cheap and I didn't want to buy expensive because I was a beginner'. Most implied that as their knowledge and experience had increased, so their taste in yarn had improved.

Checking my projects on Ravelry, out of 44 WIPs/FOs, only 6 are natural yarns, ie. not acrylic, and I am shameless about that. (I am shameless about most things, true enough).There are several reasons one might knit with acrylic - cost, allergies, intended recipient, aftercare, availability, color, novelty. I knit mainly in acrylic because most of my knitting is done for babies and children - therefore, to be practical, it must be both hardwearing and machine-washable. I can't think of much that would be as inappropriate as giving a new mother a handwash, dry flat, shape while damp etc etc item of baby clothing. In fact, I demand the same ease of care from most of my own clothes; and so do most people I know. My MIL owns two Shetland wedding shawls, which are carefully wrapped in some wardrobe somewhere and never see the light of day, as they are 'too special' .Which is why I knitted her a lovely lacy scarf out of acrylic - such nice acrylic that she was surprised when I said she could machine wash it. I wanted her to wear it, not hide it.

And that's the thing. Maybe back in the day, acrylic was scratchy and unpleasant (a bit like the real wool I remember from my childhood) ; but today there is such a wide variety available, to suit all tastes and textures, that I can't believe people would write off the whole kit and caboodle as beneath them.

I am making forays into the realm of natural yarns, I admit it, but that is because my interest is lace knitting; acrylic can be knit into lace, but it doesn't block and has little drape, so the finer aspects are likely to be lost for an item like a shawl or stole. However, if the stitch pattern is carefully selected, it certainly works for smaller items such as children's cardigans and sweaters: I have the photos to prove it (see photo above and my Ravelry profile).

So, friends, the point of this post is: stand tall and proud - be not ashamed of thy acrylic, for it answers many of thy needs, and is soft and purty too.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Measures of Success

The topic for Day 5 of Knit & Crochet Blog week is revisiting a FO (Finished Object, for those without knitterly shorthand).

I am very lucky in that Mini-Diva thinks that my knitting is cool, and is not only happy to wear the results, but asks for specific items in specific yarns. So today I am revisiting the second (I think) sweater I made for her, which was for Christmas 2008. This is it then:

Made from Elle Lussuria, which wasn't cheap, but is fabulously soft, I mean, like amazingly soft. She loved it; she still does, although it is really on the small side for her now. She wore it at every opportunity. However. The downside to this yarn is, I feel it really needs tumble-drying after washing; all the lovely 'whispery' bits are not 'whispery' after linedrying, as you may be able to tell from this photo of the sweater taken today:

The other finished item that has that most important and necessary of approvals, ie. feline, is the Spring Scarf in Vine Stitch:

Moonheart napping on scarf