today was not a good day for public transport

So I'm eating my breakfast this morning and listening to 774. As middle aged people on their way to work do. Oh, the electricity has gone out at Southern Cross station and nothing is going through the loop and trains in the northern suburbs are running an hour behind. Oh, great. I think for a moment about whether I could have the car today and drive, but if it's as big a disaster as they are saying, well the traffic will be shit. So I decide to keep rushing for the bus and just wing it. The news seems better as I dash out the door but when I get to the station, it's deserted and there is an announcement that the next train is 40 minutes away. I ring work, hop on a bus and a tram, then another tram, and arrive only half an hour late. Some of my colleagues who drove are much later than me. It is too busy to be smug.

waiting for the train

train goes by

I get caught on a complex enquiry at closing time and although I'm rushing, it takes the time it does. So I'm late leaving.  Just in time for the tram that gets me to the train that gets me to the 6.30 bus. Not too bad. I ring Gerard. Five minutes later we are just about to go under the bridge near Newmarket station and a truck turning left takes the overhead power cables with it. The tram driver evacuates everyone off the tram and we watch in horror as the truck driver keeps driving for what seems like ages and there is sparking cable everywhere. No-one was hurt but there is live electric power line everywhere and cars drive under it without seeming to care. The tram driver and a passenger try to stop the traffic but no one pays them any attention. Once the police and fire arrive everything is cordoned off. I ring G and let him know that I probably will be late after all. It is the second time in one day that these particular power lines have been bought down by a truck. Actually, it does seem to happen quite a bit. Or the trucks run into the bridge. Anyway. So I watch at the scene for a while, unable to decide the best way home. I decide to go to Newmarket station and catch a train to North Melbourne and then out again, but that train is delayed and I decide that if I walk fast I can make it to the other station to get the train in time for the 7.00pm bus. The train, luckily is not delayed. I make the 7.00pm bus and there is a very big full moon as we turn into Bell street. Very beautiful. But not a good day for public transport. I am very pleased to arrive home.

winter blue

Most of the decidous trees are completely bare. Except for the apple in the front yard which seems to lost none and the quince which has a few quivering yellow leaves hanging from the top branches. The season seems to have turned though. Even if mornings are is still cold, it is no longer dark when I leave work at night and although it is well and truly dark when I get home, somehow the commute is less grim. Maybe it's that short extra patch of daylight boosting my mood. And watching the sunset from the train.

winter blue

I like the blue skies too. Winter blue seems to have a shimmeriness to it. Almost as though it's a little bit more transparent - less certain of itself as a colour. And the trees - we are beginning to see buds and new growth. This is from a week or so ago. And last Thursday when I was coming back from town, the outline of the elm trees in Royal Parade was quite lovely. It won't be long until we start to see blossom. Winter feels like it has gone quite quickly this year. Almost too quickly. Who knows, maybe I will decide that summer sucks, what with getting bugs in your eyes and all the other trials of the heat and start looking forward to winter instead?

tony thinks the new heating was installed just for him

A few weeks ago, I came out into the kitchen one morning and there was Tony, sitting up on the kitchen table right under the heating vent watching the sun come up. From his posture and concentration, it looked like he was enjoying it very much. The other thing he really likes is to lie on the table under the vent and let the hot air ruffle his fur. I've learnt that when it's cold, rather than turn the temperature up, it's much more effective to just turn the fan speed up. Tony approves of this greatly.

tony on the table

Oh, how I love having central heating. It has totally changed the way I feel about winter in this house. Washing dries within a day if I hang it on the shower rail or on a clothes horse. There aren't any damp corners and I don't have to wear a hat to bed. I even decided that one doona is probably enough. Tony has also discovered that there is a spot on our bed under a heating vent, so at night there is this little patch of extra warmth. Yep, the heating was a good decision.

quick school holiday wrap up

I know school has been back for nearly a week now, but this seems to be the first time I've a little patch of time to sit down and record something. And I'm in a hurry because it's "down load night" - the night when G goes wild and crazy and downloads as much music as possible, maxing out our broadband usage before it's reset overnight. We started this strategy after the week we ended up on dial up speed. How did we ever manage before broadband?


erin and grace at the museum

Anyway the holidays. Grace seemed to have a lovely time. Three days at Nana's eating biscuits in front of the telly and having picnics in the park. A day with me going on the bus to the pool. The next day involved a playdate at our house with a friend from school and her mum - and I even tidied up a bit. The day after, another excursion by bus to Norfland to see Toy Story 3 which I loved more than I could have imagined. Grace was pretty impressed too. Then we had a day off and then I had to go to work. Thinking well ahead, I had booked a flex day and so had an extra day off last week. So we went to the museum with a friend from school and her mum. Next time we'll go early enough to get a park in the car park. It was chaotic but fun. For some reason I liked the rain forest bit the best this time. There was rubbish in it, which made it look very authentic in a sad way, but it smelt nice all the same. I did have a disturbing thought about the rain forest exhibit in the museum being the most nature we saw all week but then someone needed to go to the toilet and my thoughts moved on. 

grace on the way to norfland to see toy story 3

hotel for dogs, under construction

I can't remember the rest of the holidays after that but we did do some craft and built a hotel for dogs out of sticky tape and cardboard boxes. A huge success. And the hotel for dogs was carted to school for show and tell this morning. There was some playing in the park and stuff like that too. G has started playing a lot of board games with Grace - so there have been snakes and ladders, ludo and draughts on the go. Oh yeah, and a fair bit of telly watching. Including a couple of occasions where we let her watch as much as she liked. It's a relief to see that Grace is well able to turn it off herself.

Me, I found it very intense. Much of the time I wasn't working, G was and so in between washing my socks and the usual business of living, I made an effort to do fun school holiday things with Grace. I'm glad we did because it was fun - but definitely two weeks of it was enough. We'll need a less frenetic approach to the long holidays I think. Anyway, it was fun to see all the kids at assembly this morning, they all seem to have their bounce back. 

new adventures in knitting

I've had this post in my head for ages, since just after crarf camp, but I've been too busy knitting in front of youtube to you know, actually write it. I've been able to knit plain and purl for a while and have a basketful of scarves to prove it. However the goal I set myself this winter has been to knit a wearable article of clothing from a pattern. A vest seemed like a good idea and after a chance purchase of three skeins of dark green wool from savers at a very good price I joined ravelry and started cruising for patterns that were a) free to download, b) might look OK on me and c) I might actually be able to knit. So I chose this one. It's called "Very Cherry" and for those who aren't on ravelry, it's basically a tube with ribbing at the top and bottom and holes for the arms. Simple one would think. 


Well, let the lessons commence! First because I am a size bigger than the biggest size in the pattern. I did some maths and worked out how many stitches I needed. Easy enough. But wait, I'm using different yarn! My wool is 4ply and the pattern is for something much chunkier. I decide to mix the green with some black and I knit my first swatch. With circular needles, which tangle. Then another on a different sized set of circulars, which also tangle. But I get through it and measure my swatches. So now I have to adjust for gauge. Gulp. Maths is not my strong point. G helps out by giving me a formula to use and I work it out. It takes me a few goes to cast on without twisting the stitches and then success. I keep following the pattern - all through crarf camp and when I get home, I thread the work onto some wool and try it on. It sort of fits. But the arms are rather tight. And the neck sits funny. I go back to ravelry and notice that there are a few tight arms around. So I start looking for stretchy cast off methods and google leads me to youtube. At which point I fall down the rabbit hole. My desk ends up covered in tiny swatches as I try out different methods of casting on and off. A whole lot of light bulbs go off and I feel myself heading towards a dark obsession. Mum and I even spend some time watching knitting on youtube together - I'm trying to entice her into the computer age - flickr hasn't worked - maybe ravelry and youtube might. 

stretchy cast on

Anyway, I decide to start again and leave the original piece of knitting as it is for the moment. I used this method to cast on. It is easy enough to do - the hard bit is knitting the first row, you really do need keep the knitting right on the points of your needles. I use another method by the same knitter, Tillybuddy, to cast off. It took me a while and much knitting in front of the computer to get the hang of this, but it really is a beautiful cast off for rib and well worth learning. One trick I have learnt is that I need to use a non-circular needle to do this cast off. I also cast on on to normal needle and then knit it onto a circular. Although I imagine that you could cast on to the circular using a normal needle in your left hand. Less tangling. Tangling still seems to be a big issue for me.

knitting with op shop wool

I knit the vest up using the new method and the underarms were still too tight.  So I ripped it back to the safety line of threaded yarn I am now inserting at crucial points in the work and began again. Took it off and tried it on again. Armholes too big. Hopefully next time them will be just right and I can just knit and knit and knit. And finish the damn thing. Because I have some more projects in mind. But this knitting, she is a hard task mistress. A whole new world of craft.