Saturday, 24 September 2011

red shoes again

Last year I bought some beach sandals by Teva.  They are extremely comfortable and I enjoy wearing them, but as they can be worn in the surf and sand, they are definitely very casual.  I found a pair like this in Kathmandu at Birkenhead Point when I was buying wool at Spitlite's still ongoing sale. ( Does anyone else have the impression this is a fire sale?  It's really been going and advertised now for five or six weeks but every few days it changes its name in the TV ads.)

Anyhow, back to sandals.  These come in burgundy, stone or black but my size wasn't in stock.  My feet are hard to fit properly.  The left foot is well over a size different to the right and the arch is fallen.  Birkenstocks are heavenly comfortable on the right foot but abysmally uncomfortable on the left as the side presses into the arch bones.  Tevas suit my feet and the support they give is great as my feet are very flat.  Doctors at school used to ask if they ached, even when I was quite young.

I've been tracking these down all week in shoes stores all over Sydney and on the internet too.  A couple of days ago I was in Burwood and walked past the Athlete's Foot shop where I bought the casual pair last summer.  On an impulse I entered although I could not see the style in their display.  A very competent, young assistant took my order.  He knew exactly what I wanted and knew they had my size.  A quick try on and walk around the shop and I bought them.  They are leather and have a leather lining on top of sole which is cork.  They are light as a feather and very comfortable.    They had just arrived in the shop and not yet been entered in their stock so he had a bit of fiddling to do to get computer to sell them to me.
To prove I have been doing some knitting, here is the almost completed  first section of Catkin.  available on Ravelry and elsewhere.  Next section is  the white and the last is a mix, creating a catkin effect with slipped stitches.  The pattern is for finer wool but this is Cleckheaton Country 8 ply as I thought something warmer would be good.  It's strange but the green is quite splitty, both balls so far, while the white is fine.  The colour is less blue and rather more a gum leaf grey/green mix which is very calming to look at.

I have one more garter stitch strip to do before the second section.  It's been  slow going.  I felt terrible for several days after the stress of MIL's funeral a week ago.  However, each son has thanked me for attending and that was really the reason I forced myself to go. I could not concentrate at first on what I was doing and had to rip back a couple of times because I had more stitches one side of centre than the other.  More than once, unfortunately.

As I've mentioned several times, I am gradually becoming more familiar with my new camera, a Nikon D3100.  I'm even contemplating buying another lens for it.  There was a fire up the road a couple of days ago, a truck actually on Parramatta Road.  I could get the billowing smoke, but a zoom of some sort would have made a much better photo than I could take with my current 18-55 mm lens.  I've been in that situation before.  So I intend to ask Santa for such a lens.

The camera has in-camera editing functions.  Now many of these I've done with an editing program.  However I hadn't used it in-camera itself.

The subject in itself is scarcely inspiring, but it was suitable to fiddle with.  The effect is called colour outline and I could also turn the photo into something which looked like miniature furniture for a dolls' house.  I can add star bursts to light sources and crop within the camera.  Multiple photos can be layered on each other and more.

Monday, 19 September 2011

moving on

MIL's funeral is over and could have been both better and worse.  It was a very long day for me.  I left here just after 7:00 am to get to Strathfield Station where I was to meet son from Central Coast. His train left his home station before 7:00 and he's definitely not a morning person.  Buses on the route to the station are very unreliable.  There are two routes, each supposedly coming twenty minutes apart, so there should be a bus every ten minutes.  I have waited 35 minutes and then caught one of three arriving together, all the same route number.  Most unreliable and I could not afford to be late. Another son picked us up at Westmead and we went to cemetery where burial was at 9:30 am.

This son was very tired.  He had found where his father lived just by accident and had offered help.  He'd been busy making a slideshow to show after ceremony and scanning dozens of old photos.  He'd hosed down  lot of brushfires with his dad, done  an order of service and diplomatically managed  to persuade his father that the funeral was not about him but his mother.  This influenced music,  what happened and other things.

There were about 40 people there which surprised me.  I had thought there may have been twenty.  Some were those I would have called friends, one I had known for over forty years.  I was soundly snubbed by them.  I knew it was likely to happen but had hoped they would rise above such pettiness.  A local pastor spoke for quite a while and the coffin was lowered.  The winding mechanism to lower it needed attention and as the coffin went lower, it squeaked ever more loudly.  People looked this way and that and up in the air.  We all tried to pay no attention to the noise but it really was unavoidable.  She was not a big woman, so it was not as if there was extra stress on the mechanism.

After a cup of coffee at McDs we made our way back to the church which was in an industrial area at Glendenning, one of many newish suburbs around there.  Thankfully it was air conditioned s it was very hot.

Son who had picked us up played the keyboard.  Each son spoke briefly and well and eldest grandson read the 23rd Psalm.  Also well.  Then ex-husband gave the eulogy, really not much more than a chronological account of her life.  He made many mistakes as to dates even putting our wedding date some years out.  He dropped a big bombshell at the end, which I can't really say anything about here.  It won't affect me but will definitely affect the boys.   He says it's legal, but my solicitor brother doubts it vey much.  Pastor spoke again and said much as he had already done but took three times longer to say it.  Either there were aspects of her life he didn't know about or he was gilding the lily.  Her life was really nothing at all like he made out.  Just nothing like it. Everybody from the family who was  there recognised it and mentioned it, so it wasn't just me.

There was a light luncheon and more snubbing, this time from my husband's former pastor.  We finally got away and went to the club near son's place.  They thought this was fitting as MIL spent probably 90% of her time at the club.  We actually sat in the cool and watched the lawn bowls and talked more than anything.  I arrived home twelve hours after leaving.

I bought the bag shown above to match the new shoes bought earlier.  It came from the Strand Arcade in the city and is a deep burgundy.  It feels and smells wonderful and will probably last just about forever.  The leather is good and the craftsmanship is superb.  I was  surprised at my reaction to the funeral.  I was knocked for six at the weekend.  Didn't sleep and felt really bad.  I'm sure this was due to the bombshell I mentioned, the snubbing and the emotional situation all day which had nothing really to do with MIL's death.  I'm beginning to feel a bit better  now.

I went to Spitlite at Birkenhead Point on Saturday to their latest sale.  I've noticed  that they have had probably four big sales in the last couple of months.  I'm almost expecting to see a  final sale.  I bought some Cleckheaton Country to make a Catkin shawl (Ravelry link).  I've done just on forty rows of it.  Also bought, against my better judgment, some Moda Noir sock wool.  The green yarn is less olive green and more grass green than shows here.  I was not happy with the dyeing of the ball I used earlier for a shawl.  There were lengthy sections of white yarn with no dye in them.  I hope this lot is better.  All the wool shown in the picture came to just over $35.  The Cleckheaton Country is 8 ply and I think I'll return this morning and get a bit more.

Monday, 12 September 2011

one shoe, two shoe, red shoe, new shoe*

I really have no need for dressy shoes at all.  Smart shoes, a bit.  However, the one pair of dress shoes that I do have won't go with clothes  suitable for this time of year so I went shopping today. These are deep burgundy with a burnishing of dark blue which is hard to see in the photo.  The wedge is a bit bigger than it seems from the photo but not high. I no longer do high heels and live in boots or flats.   And even better, they were $40 cheaper than the price marked on them, although there was no notice of a sale in DJs.

So why the need?  My ex- MIL died just on 24 hours ago.  It was not unexpected.  She had diabetes related gangrene in both feet and an operation for amputation would not have been survived.  She has had dementia for some years and has never looked after herself.  Poor diet, no attention paid to health even after the diabetes was diagnosed.  A heavy smoker and drinker most of her life till the last few years and absolutely no exercise at all.

The funeral will probably be on Friday.  I don't want to  go at all and hadn't planned on going.  However, each son has separately said they would appreciate my being there.  I think they are not sure how their father will act.  He can be very strange at times and we all suspect he's bipolar.  So I think that while not definitely asking me, that's what they really are doing.

She has never liked me and has always been rude to me.  One birthday present was a club bingo prize she had won - a packet of flour, a bottle of sauce and some laundry detergent.  To this she added a washed but stained teatowel with lots of holes.  She had a nasty, vindictive personality.  You may think I am exaggerating.  Several times in the last few years she has been in hospital.  She caused chaos every time as people in beds near hers insisted on being  moved elsewhere.

So I'm going to the funeral wherever that may be.  I'm going to dress up, put some jewellery on and show that I have moved on.  My ex-husband won't notice, he never paid attention to things like that.  But, as one son said, others there will see and get the message.  He's not popular with some of his family either and some have told me quite startling things he had said or done before I left, which I had no idea of.  I know this is a fairly shallow thought but right at the moment I feel flat and unenthusiastic about anything.  Right now, it's a coping mechanism.

* Dr Seuss was never one of my favourite children's authors, I avoided his books usually even with my sons, and I seem to remember the actual quote was about fish.  However, this phrase stuck in my mind.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

books, books, books

It's been a few days and I'm sick of sorting books so opened up Blogger to see their new interface.  Have seen comments but this is the first go with it.  I daresay I'll figure it out.

Knitting?  I went all  week and knitted one  row only on a sock and nothing else.  I'm using some of Ailsa's sport weight merino in Amethyst.  However,  one row was all I did.

Last weekend I was in Mittagong on our annual gathering with friends.  It was beautiful and a much needed break away. Friday was grey and chilly but the rest of the weekend was beautiful.  Very clear blue skies and lots of sun.   Saturday was very cold, ice on the windscreen at 9:00am sort of cold.  Cold all day too, although clear.  Sunday was  much milder and still  sunny.  Friend and I stayed in the motel we always go to.  It's not the most luxurious but rooms are perfectly adequate when all we really need is a bed and bathroom.  It's very clean and beds are comfortable.  There's heating, electric blankets for those that  like them and it's close to town centre.  When we first started there some years ago, rooms were $60.  They are now $85 but for once a year that's still OK and certainly cheaper than almost anywhere else down there.

The picture shows a sandstone bowl at the motel reflecting winter-bare branches of the tree above it.  It was  taken early one morning before we went out for  breakfast.

The whole area is bursting with signs of spring.  Blossom and bulbs are everywhere although the tulip beds in the parks are still securely covered to stop predators of all sorts from spoiling them before the Bowral Tulip festival.

Friend and I drove around sightseeing on Friday afternoon. We found a winery, Centennial Winery, not far out of Bowral and decided to visit.  It's also a cattle property and just oozed money and care.  Huge bulls, Limousin I think, lazed under very old trees.  The driveway was was lined with trees and each of those was surrounded by probably fifty daffodils, all blooming.  The place was well set out, there was a cafe and restaurant but we didn't go in there.  They hold functions and receptions there and it would be perfect for photos.  It's set on a rise and the gardens are terraced and hedged with low plants and everywhere  there were more bulbs blooming.  Service in the tasting are was attentive and informative without being pushy at all.  My friend bought a couple of bottles of wine and I bought some rhubarb and ginger jam, locally made.  It's very good.  I also bought some locally produced raspberry vinegar to replace what spilt into my yarn a couple of weeks ago.

This is part of St Stephen's Anglican church, built about 1880. It reminds me very much of the church I went to in my childhood, about the same age  and size.  An extension has been built to this at far end of church of stone which almost exactly matches the old stone in colour.  It's been well planned and integrated with the  church building and it's a useful addition to the facilities of the small town as it is well fitted out and has a new commercial kitchen.  There's another parking area the other side of the church at the front and two years ago we watched as the well polished prime mover of a semi manoeuvred its way in their for a  wedding.  It held the bride who had to be carefully helped down four steps from the high cab.

I have spent a lot of time this week sorting books and populating  my shelves.  It's been lovely to collect knitting stuff in one spot again and my cooking books too. I have thrown a lot out into the recycling.  They are not books that others would want, they've been packed 3 1/2 years and I've never even thought of them.  Probably hadn't thought of them for twenty years before that either.  I probably should not have packed them all up when i left.  DIL and I were in a hurry to pack a van and get away and I don't think that emotionally or psychologically I was in a place to even think about discarding some.

This was in my letterbox yesterday and I was glad to see it.  Also glad to see the needles.  They are short 2.75 which I had been trying to find for Ailsa's sport yarn.  I'd done the ribbing on a cobbled together set.  Last night I switched ribbing over to the new needles, undid  the one row I had knitted during the week and set off again.  Donyale's pattern for mismatched socks with ribs, cables etc is in this issue.

I have now done about 50 rows of simple knitting on those socks.  It was fairly mindless, what I needed last night.  I was feeling blah and flat.  The distribution of Mum's estate  was finalised yesterday and it took probably 90 seconds  to be handed my share of the estate.  We didn't even get to see the solicitor but had cheques handed to us at desk.  Both my sister and I just felt that the end did not seem fitting to us, although I suppose that really did  not concern the lawyer.  I felt quite down for the rest of the day even after banking the cheque.  Money is definitely not everything.