Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Families

Often, when I look in the mirror these days, I see my mother looking back at me. Maybe it's because I've lost a little weight and wear my hair short and straight. Maybe it's the glasses. Maybe it's just genetics.

Sometimes, I catch myself wearing an apron and leaving it on after I've finished cooking.

Recently, I found myself buying a pair of loafers from Lands' End.

Sometimes, I find myself worrying about having developed attitudes and opinions, as well as physical attributes.

I'm turning into her.

She died in 1995, so I don't think anyone else has noticed yet. However, I'm meeting up with my brother this week so I wonder if he'll spot it. If he mentions it, I shall brandish a photo of our father from the early 1970's and show him how much he has turned into Dad.

J's Dad came to visit on Boxing Day. (Read, J had to drive over, pick him up and take hime back.)
He wouldn't have anything to eat while he was here and complained about the temperature of our house. We had turned the thermostat down as soon as we knew he was coming and were wearing polo necks indoors.

J's Dad has an internal, unspoken rota for playing his children off against each other. This week, he is raving about one of his daughters' new bungalow, accompanying it with such comments as 'I expect you lot will be stuck here for the rest of your life.' Nice.

We talked about our forthcoming trip to California. It is, apparently, 'a shithole'. Nice.

He laughed at his grandson's height as he left the house. Nice.

Nevermind. There are 364 days until next Boxing Day. Nice :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

All I could wish for:
a quiet day with the men in my life;

enough warmth, food, drink and comfort;

relaxation and some good movies while I worked on my cardigan.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ooohhh nooo Knit Fail!

I should be glad that this doesn't happen to me often.
I bought some yarn - a greeny/turquoise aran weight - safe in the knowledge that there would be enough to make a sweater for me.
I started to make a cardigan, but didn't like it when I'd finished the yoke and frogged it. I left it in a bag to mature while I waited for inspiration. This eventually came in the form of Anhinga.

I love Nora Gaughan's designs.

Anyhow, I cast on and knitted the back and left it to mature again. I think it was the colour that wasn't really doing it for me. This holiday that guilt got to me so I picked it up and knitted the front. And ran out of yarn! I went to the yarn shop to buy some more for the sleeves and neck but the colour isn't the same. The dyelots match, but the new stock is definitely more green!

I admit defeat.

I'm frogging it and giving the yarn away.

(Anyway. I bought 1600 yards of purple aran to restart the original cardi.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Minus 3

We cleared the snow off the car and headed out through Seal Sands to the beach this afternoon.
The light was lovely.
It was minus 3 degrees and the snow is still lying on the sand. Doesn't happen very often here.

Ewe boots and Wollmeise socks, how I love thee:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The north wind doth blow

and we certainly do have snow. It's a rarity to get this much, these days.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The first Noel

So, what have I been up to lately, while I haven't been blogging?

Work, mostly. After half-term, it is only a short descent towards Christmas. This is a very busy season in a primary school, what with the Nativity, school disco, pantomime, party, church services and squeezing a bit of teaching in for my Year 6 class!

Add to this - on Friday, I discovered it is only a week and a half until my choir's first Carol performance. Alas, I have not yet formed my choir.

Time to get a move on!

I've also had a selection of investigations of my gastro-intestinal system. Mmmm, nice.
These included a gastroscopy, without sedation. I had intended to have the sedation, but the hospital is an hour's drive from home so J had tocome with me and we would have had to hang around about 3 hours in the department so I decided to go for it. 'Brave girl!' said my surgeon. I should have suspected something then.
Suffice to say, it was the most frightening experience of my life. And I've had a baby!

I've also been knitting, but some of it is secret and the rest isn't at a very photogenic stage, so no pictures yet.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


The Ankh-Morpork Knitters' Guild, on Ravelry,had a small swap, themed around Detritus the troll.

We packaged up some 'detritus' of our own, from our stashes, and posted it off to our swap partner.
This is what I got:

Wonderful! One woman's detritus is another woman's diamond mine.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Buttoned up

It's finished. How I agonised in Boyes about the buttons. I never really liked the duck and gingerbread man shaped buttons when j was small. I found they never worked well as buttons and was always worried he'd get hurt on them. So, plain wooden it is.

Woke up early with clicking sinuses and a runny nose this morning so I got up after an unsuccessful wrestle with my book light. Decided to make some porridge, but remembered that I'm due to go for fasting bloods this morning so sewed the buttons on instead. It's not the same, really, it's not.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Can you tell what it is yet?

This looks rather like the very first scarf I made when I was about 7. It won't lie straight and the width varies in places.

After a few moments of origami (I struggled with this, I have terrible spatial awareness:

I'll put up another picture when I've seamed and blocked it and sewn on some buttons.

Monday, October 19, 2009

WLS update

I don't intend this to become a weight loss surgery blog, but it's what going on in my life at the moment so bear with me even if it's a bit boring or the idea disturbs you.

I had an appointment with Mr Small at Sunderland today. It's the third step towards NHS funded weight-loss surgery in this region:

Step 1 - GP referral
Step 2 - Attend information seminar
Step 3 - Appointment in clinic - see surgeon, dietician and set weight-loss target
Step 4 - Review in clinic
Step 5 - If weight loss target met, join waiting list for surgery
Step 6 - Gastroscopy and blood test
Step 7 - Weight loss surgery

Mr Small and the dietician were satisfied that I have made a sufficient commitment to losing weight to go to step 6. I feel ridiculously rewarded, like one of my pupils getting the 'Attitude of the week' award.

So, next step, gastroscopy. Not really looking forward to that, but it will help make a decision about whether I'm a good candidate for a band or whether a Roux en y would be more appropriate. I've got my fingers crossed for band.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

BSJ redux

We were woken up by the Police helicopter this morning. It was low and around for a long time. We have quite long, mature gardens here and I imagine they would be good hiding places for anyone trying to avoid the road-based police.

After checking that there weren't any fugitives from the law in our garden we went for a crisp walk along the beach this morning. It's so good to see some daylight and get some fresh air after a long, exhausting week at work.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera, so here are some pictures of early Autumn from the garden.

I've restarted the Baby Surprise Jacket after frogging the Sunshine Yarns version, which was too scratchy.
This time I'm using an unknown stash yarn, which looks a lot like an Opal or Regia self-patterning sock yarn.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This morning's post

This morning's post brought me an appointment to see Mr Small, the bariatric surgeon at Sunderland. I didn't think it would ever come around. I feel like I have been doing quite well on the weight loss front, but I seem to have been battling the same pound for weeks. It comes off, it goes back on, it comes off again and so on.

The post also brought me this:

I'm looking for a lacey sock pattern to do it justice. Perfect for work, but hard on the eyes during the knitting process.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Poke 'em in the eye Put their fingers in the socket and watch them fry

My car is having some work done this week so I've been at the mercy of family and friends. As a sensible teacher, who does believe in some degree of personal life, I don't live and work in the same town. It's been mostly manageable, but I've been on a course and always seem to have meetings, after work, at other venues.

Had to get a taxi from work to the Teachers' Centre this evening. When the driver realised he had a cative teacher audience, he launched into a journey-long diatribe against the education system, which had failed his children, and teachers in particular.

- we can't manage behaviour
- we only work 9-3
- we only teach the kids two hours a day
- we waste our time deciding what to teach and planning lessons because you can just go on the website and find work to do. His wife did and is now homeschooling his kids in the morning and they play on the X Box in the afternoon. It's ok, because they don't have to do exams anyway. Why didn't I think about that?
- we pick on the kids
- we back each other up against complaints and lie about the kids
-we're paid too much

Well, mate. I hope you appreciated the way I listened to you without poking you in the eye. I hope you appreciate the fact that, tomorrow morning, I will be changing our school taxi contract to your company's competitor.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Lazy Sunday

A lazy day.

Cast on a new pair of socks to offset the unpleasant Baby Surprise Jacket experience.
This is a nice, simple pattern: Socks of Kindness.

J and I had our first Autumn drive across the moors this morning. Lovely light and colours.
We ended up in Whitby, as usual.

Bobbins is now selling Araucania sock yarns. The dye jobs are beautiful and I love the colour combinations, but I can't say I love the base yarns. I've come to realise that I like a sock yarn with a heavier twist best.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Not loving it.

My brother and his wife have had their 20 week scan and we now know that they're having a boy. He's due in February. I had held off knitting as they had a miscarriage earlier in the year and I didn't want to tempt fate.

So, last week week I started a Baby Surprise Jacket in this yarn:

I hunted high and low for this pattern and was looking forward to making this, but I'm really not loving the sweater so far. It's the yarn. It feels beyond crunchy and I don't like the colour repeats. This jacket should be soft and squishy, in my humble opinion. Who wants crunch baby clothes? So, it's back to the drawing board. I'm disappointed with my first attempt.


Ah well, on the up side, I do seem to be getting a grip on my work-related screamingly high stress levels this week. I've sorted out the things I need to do and things will get done as I can fit things into each day. I refuse to drive myself to illness over my job again.


I'm back on the losing side. Have been really wrestling a bit of a weight loss plateau recently. A kind of one-step-forward-one-step-back thing really. I think things are on the move again.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stepping back in time

We went back to the 1940s today on a class trip to Eden Camp.

We survived the Blitz, went shopping with our ration coupons, learned how hard wash day was and dug for victory.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Catch up post.

Heck, another break from blogging. Not intentional. Going back to work has swallowed all my time.
Work is inconvenient. It gets in the way of my knitting, reading and other enjoyments.

I have been knitting. I log most of my progress on Ravelry, but here are the edited highlights:

Camouflage stole in Malabrigo Sock Yarn, Turner shade.
This was an easy knit and will be useful. I had knitted half of it and then had to pull it back again as the second skein was much darker than the first. The result is a camouflage-coloured evening stole suitable for your everyday combat situation. Nevermind. It feels nice.

A bag for iPod Touch. To hold it safely when on the Treadmill.

Russula beret in Twilley's Freedom Spirit. I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this during the winter and may just have found a hat shape that suits me.

Ishbel in Socks That Rock, Lover's Leap. This knit up amazingly quickly.

It feels like more.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Food Focus

I've been having a good long look at my eating and I've realised that, although it's 100% better than it was, I'm eating too much.

I've signed up for a month of Weight Loss Resources so that I can use the food and exercise diary. It's going to make me think about what I have eaten and be honest.

I debated this for a while.Why don't I join Slimming World or WW? I have been asked. I've tried these in the past and I'm afraid any 'diet' or 'plan' has me so focused on food that it just feeds my sick relationship with the stuff. I find myself thinking about food - free choices, green days, treats, sins, calories etc - constantly. This just makes me worse. I'm much better thinking about food as little as possible.

I'm happy with the way things are going at the moment as I'm quite relaxed about food. I'm making (for the most) low fat, healthy choices. I'm not banning any foods as that makes them, instantly, all I want to eat.

Historically, I've had lots of issues with menu plans and diet clubs. Anything where your focus on food is intensified is bad for me. I'm not good with having to think about food all the time. It makes me hungry, deprived-feeling and prone to making poor food choices because 'a mars bar is only... calories/points'.

However, I think I need to accept that some days I eat too much or the balance between food groups is poor. So, we'll see how it goes for a month.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Over the hills and faraway

Not, technically, that far really. Only 108 miles but a two hour drive in torrential rain.

Up early this morning to drive j across the Pennines to Lancaster University for their undergraduate open day.

Lancaster is his first choice for next Autumn, but the application process begins now. The entry requirements seem fairly steep. (AAA/AAB for English)However, he is undaunted and will no doubt get the grades needed. The apect he finds most attractive is the Creative Writing element of the course.

The aspect we find least attractive (even less attractive than the cost of it all) is the prospect of this drive in the winter months:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Windswept and interesting

It's 26 degrees outside and windy. Everything is dusty and dry feeling. The garden is suffering a bit and J is manning the hosepipes as I write. It's not even particularly sunny, just overcast and hot. I went shopping with j earlier and we turned the aircon off and had all the windows open so my hair looks like a walnut whip now, having been lashed around my head.

We've been doing our 'back to school' shopping. We're both smaller than we were and there are some bargains to be had if you're lucky.

There are some lovely colours around for Autumn: plums, purples, teals, mustard and that dark lime colour I love but never know how to describe. I've just googled it and, apparently, it's lime.

I'm reminded of Victoria plums. Lovely.

It's AS results day tomorrow. j has to go to his college to see if he got the necessary grades to register for his second year A2s. We've already got two open days lined up for universities he's considering. It all seems so early. I'm sure we didn't even apply until the spring of the year we went. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is it an age thing?

Mars bars were bigger, summers were longer and hotter, football boots weren't like slippers and you could hear the words in (some of the) songs...

I'm feeling my age.

The seasons seem completely out of kilter. When I was a girl we used to squash rowan berries under our feet with our brand new Clarks shoes on our way to school in September. Now the rowan berries start to appear in July. The farmers have already harvested the hay and all the golden fields are full of round haystacks. Some fields have been reploughed.

The elderberries are starting to ripen to a dark purpley black and J and I are thinking of going brambling tomorrow.

All of this belongs to Autumn, not days when it's still 25 degrees C.

Nevermind. I'll embrace the changes and enjoy the sunshine.

We went to Danby Show today. It's a hit and miss affair - sometimes glorious sunshine and sometimes flooded out. Today was sunny with just a hint of bogginess in the car park.