Catching Up

I am SO grateful to have two weeks holiday for Easter this year instead of the usual long weekend followed by 4 days of frantically trying to get things done.  I pretty much slept through Easter which was much needed then took it easy last week so this week is more of a week for getting things done.  I have spring cleaned most of the kitchen including the exhaust fan and the cupboard fronts and started a few other projects.

But the thing I’ve enjoyed most is having time to catch up with people. Time to have a chat with my elderly neighbour who moved away to an assisted living place in Toowoomba today, time to sit with one of my Avon customers and drink liqueur and coffee and laugh at Bronco snuffling in her mondo grass, time to sit with one of my BFFs down at Pallara and drink coffee fairly peacefully until a certain blue cattle dog decided to terrorise one of her roosters and especially time with my boys to hang out, chat, learn new things and work on some projects together.

A very, very special catch-up has been with another BFF up in Cairns, Fiona aka Fifikins.  Fiona took up knitting a couple of years ago after I did and has way surpassed me in skills, finished projects, stash and just about everything else knitting related.  I don’t mind this one bit because I can see how how having a high-fibre (yarn) diet has really brought her a lot of satisfaction.  What I marvel at is the fact that she has never actually been inside a “brinks and mortar” yarn shop.  Cairns in far north Queensland does not have a yarn shop and I’m pretty certain that Fiona has not left Cairns in the time she has been knitting.

So she has learned to knit by making the most of what’s out there in cyber space.  There isn’t a place for her to go and have lessons in Cairns so she has taught herself, mainly through You Tube.  There aren’t regular social knitting groups in Cairns although they do have Ravelry get togethers sometimes.  Fiona has become very much involved in the whole Ravelry scene and joined in with a myriad of groups there. And earlier this year she began her own podcast.

A few years ago Eric and I were very fortunate to have a week up in Cairns with Fiona and as you would expect Fiona and I spent many long hours on her back deck with the fairy lights talking, sharing and reminiscing.  I missed that when I came home and have missed it ever since.  We talk on the phone, communicate almost daily on Facebook and skype sometimes but it just isn’t the same.

Enter the podcast!  Once a week I get to sit at my computer and listen to Fiona and see her on the deck with the fairy lights having a yarn about knitting and lots of other things.  Who knows when I’ll get to Cairns again or when she will get down here but watching the podcast is pretty darn good.  I sit with my knitting and get caught up.  I had missed a few episodes over the past month because of everything happening so over the past 2 days I’ve watched 3 episodes as I catch up.  For two of those episodes this afternoon I set myself up with my laptop on my back deck and worked on a project for school.  What a great afternoon I had!

Fiona also hosts VKNs (Virtual Knit Nights) using Google Hangouts where you can sit at your computer with a group of others on the screen and knit and chat together.  I’ve only managed to get to one of those once so I’m definitely aiming for more.

Fiona’s podcasts can be found on her blog A Down Under Yarn,podcast on the Ravelry group with the same name and on I-tunes.

The photo is Fiona and I on my back deck this afternoon.  I’m the one with the wine boxes (explanation to come!) and she’s the one on the computer screen.


What Works For Me 40/365 Books, Books, Books

While I love my new workplace it is severely lacking in books!  I can’t remedy that immediately so I put a call out to the parents of kids in Eric’s class and they are on the job.  We picked them because as their children reach the age of 11-12 we thought there might be some younger age books that they no longer need I’ve already received one load of books and many more are promised.  I’m off to the Lifeline Book Sale in July but it good to know that there are people looking out for me and my little ones.

And the exposure to stories is working.  They have loved “Giraffes Can’t Dance” and after demanding to have it read to them on Friday, I found two of my little boys having a serious boogie on the playground equipment and declaring, “I am Dancing, Yes I’m Dancing, I am Dancing! Gerald cried.” That was definitely one of the highlights of my week!

What Works For Me 34/365 Tupperholics

It isn’t anonymous but I am a  member of this elite group. We meet once a month at a local cafe for champagne, dinner and/or cake and some Tupperware discussions.  We can place an order if we want or just socialise and it is so much fun!  It is so great to have at least one guaranteed night out each month. Pictured are my Tupperware Steamer and Tupperware Fridge container key rings.  I was recently approaching Aldi and wodnering aloud if I had $2 to get a trolley when a small voice piped up beside me, “just look in your fridge box Mum!” And sure enough the “fridge box was doing its job and keeping my emergency $2 safe!

What Works For Me 25/365 Damper

And no that does not mean it is “damper” than yesterday!  Thanks goodness because I had to chance to drive down to have morning tea with some lovely friends and then the boys and I went for a walk/scooter along the water to the boat harbour and back.

Being Australia Day, and being a bit peckish I thought I’d give damper a go.  I haven’t done this since I was a girl guide cooking mini dampers on the end of the stick held in the fire and today’s (thankfully) was much better.  I used this recipe from the site because whenever I want a recipe for anything I search there and 99% of the time I find something good.

Damper and gold syrup.

Happy Australia Day!

What Works For Me 17/365 Getting by with a little help from my friends

I’m officially doing some quick catch-ups now for the last few days that have been action-packed!

Tuesday was not a very happy day.  The grind of job-hunting was really getting me down.  I was green with envy thinking about all the people going back to school and our finances were stressing me big time.

I had coffee with a friend in the afternoon and that was good but even better was the Internet chat on Tuesday night.  I’ve had some Internet friends for a LOOOOOOONNNNGGGGG time.  So they know me pretty well.  You know the scenario when you are solving a problem as they say, “What would you tell your best friend to do?”

That is what was happening on Tuesday night. There were some tears shed and some resolutions made and I was back to full strength on Wednesday and ready to take on the world again!

What Works For Me 16/365 Letterbox Love

Now I should start by saying this is not going to turn into a blog about knitting!

However, today I was delighted to find a little parcel for me in our letter box, more delighted when I saw it was from my BFF in FNQ (Far North Queensland to the uninitiated) and then even more delighted to find that it was one of those desk calendars because I can never justify the expense of buying one for myself.  But my BFF saw this one and knew it was “me” and so sent it down.  Isn’t that wonderful?

It is of course a knitting calendar with a pattern a day! Squeeeee! If she wasn’t a FNQ resident I’d be very tempted to knit her up the cowl on today’s date.  I’m sure I will find something else. I do still owe her a tea cosy but somehow I don’t think this calendar will have the “bush turkey” tea cosy pattern in it!  It is so nice that when I’m in this season of my life where it is very hard to spend any money on myself for anything non-essential (or even for essentials at times!) to know that there is someone out there thinking of me and brightening up my day.  Thank-you BFF!

What Works For Me 15/365 Knitting Along

There’s nothing like knitting with friends to spur oneself on to start (and finish) a project so today I joined the Threads and More Summer Scarf Knit-a-long.  I cast on some scrumptious Malabrigo sock yarn to knit a light scarf with some ruffling and eyelets.  We are not all knitting the same thing but everyone is doing a scarf or something close like a cowl or shawlette.  I’m already looking forward to meeting up again next week to see everyone’s progress.