Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The job in Canberra crashed and burned. The company decided they’d go with what they’ve already got. The recruitment agency guy got a TEXT message from Aussie to say it was cancelled. He was horribly embarrassed when he rang David to tell him.

We were all gutted. Surprisingly, Becca was the one that has grieved the most. Initially she wasn’t at all keen. But then she realised that going to a different school in a different country could actually be a good thing. She could start again. She might no longer be the weird outsider who couldn’t crack the Year 9 cliques. She could try to make some new friends. This news unfortunately hit at the same time as hormones struck, resulting in her hiding in her room under a blanket, in a pile of soft toys, crying her eyes out.

We’ve grieved, separately and together. Obviously, whatever G-d’s plan for us is, it’s not to go to Australia to work at the moment.

So after the emotional roller-coaster of the last few weeks, life has sort of returned to normal, with bills to pay, car services due, and places to be.

With this new insight into Becca’s level of unhappiness, she and I have discussed being more intentional. Making friends at school is probably too hard. But if she sits on her bum at home, she’s definitely not going to meet new people ‘in the flesh’. So intentionality for her means going to an Art Class run by Debbi Ironside today, which will become a weekly after-school happening; going to Lincoln Road Bible Chapel Youth Group on Saturday night’s from the beginning of term; Fencing on Saturday mornings.

Intentionality for me means doing art. Just a little bit, every day. In the form of an Art Journal. There’s a couple of ladies I follow – Kristal Norton and Julie Balzar being two of them – but they’re NOT CHRISTIAN, so a lot of pagan/eastern spirituality slips into their work and thinking.

Awwww – pretty – there’s rainbow bubbles on the top of the coffee in my plunger!

So I googled Christian Art Journalers, and came across Antoinette at God Bless Your Art where she has a 31 day Christian Art Journaling Workshop. I’ve dug out a pre-loved visual diary, torn out the used pages, and done the first two days of exercises.
The front page has the Sh'ma:
In the front I’ve written:

This journal is my JOURNEY through Scripture and Worship of how Adonai’s word reaches out to me, speaking, touching and changing me from the inside out. It is my goal to be more intentional in my connecting to and spending time with Him. I will celebrate the messiness of life, love and art in union with G-d. I give myself permission to speak my mind, and not correct myself. I will read the text in context.

I intend to take each ‘lesson’ a little bit further. Lesson 2 used 2 Timothy 1:7. The wording of her version and NIV is different, and I’ve also used another sentence Paul wrote to Timothy. Reading each passage in context is also important to find out where it sits in scripture.
These pages are all a work in progress - they'll get stamps, embellishments and bits and bobs on them.

I want to try and be less flighty this year, to learn to say NO, and not put so much pressure on myself.

It’s my birthday on the 27th – I’ll be 54. I don’t feel that old – whatever ‘that old’ feels like.

School starts for Becca that same week, and for me a few weeks after. Beth Malekh is back at the end of the month. Life will be getting busier.

We will cope.

 Oh, and I really do need to change my banner picture - I'm sick of rusted gum trees!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

And so the first fortnight of 2014 has raced past fast.

It was much easier to do daily (or at least regular) posts when I wasn't spending all day at work, and coming home brain-dead.

The first week I was still on holiday – playing with my loom, trying to sleep in, and generally do very little.

Then it was back to work, and a wall of 36+ faulty VAC units to fix. While the cleaning lady had been able to QA the rest, these were the ones that needed a ‘little extra’. Most of them had been dropped, springing the tubing and pcb’s inside loose. The rest were stinky, or contaminated with lipids. Yuck. It took most of the week to catch up.

Thursday night we discovered that Smudge was sick. Friday morning we could see that he’d been in a fight and got bitten, and the right side of his face was one huge abscess. His eye was bulging out of its socket, and weepy and horrid. That necessitated a trip to the vet (which was originally scheduled last Saturday, but he disappeared! The cat that NEVER leaves home went awol.). I/V fluids, an injection of antibiotics, 1½ antibiotic tablets and $130 later, we left. We have a fortnight of 1 1/2 pills TWICE daily, and another trip to the vet on Monday for a checkup. At 1030 I realised I was due at the airport in 30 minutes to collect Alex!

Becca and I made it to the airport by 1130 – not bad! But didn’t recognise Alex! He caught up to us just as we were exiting the pick-up/drop-off area, and vaulted over the fence!

Friday night David went off to play games, so Becca, Alex and I went to see 'Frozen' at the movies, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s story, ‘The Ice Queen’. Saturday was a stay-at-home day, except for taking the dogs for a walk in the evening. David mowed the lawns, and the kids and I gardened. I got Alex to do the edges of the concrete - the kikuyu had been making a run for the house - and to empty and refill the pond. 

Here's Smudgy curled up in the nest he's made under the giant Hebe:

And here's the tidy back garden:

with Kama helping!

This afternoon we visited B&B at Selwyn. L Even tho we took Alex, Becca, Caramel Cake and Berry Cheesecake, it was seriously hard work. I think mum was very tired, she wouldn’t/couldn’t sit up straight, wouldn’t use her left hand – except to hold a cigarette - and was very snappy and snarly. Dad kept fussing, which made mum even snappier. He was also terribly vague, missed the beginning of the sentence, and had to have everything repeated. I have to wonder if Dad is trying to give mum pneumonia again, in the hope it will kill her. Dear Lord, is it a bad thing to ask that she dies in her sleep, just drifting away? Once we said goodbye and got in the car, I could finally cry. It was a totally miserable experience.

OK, onto other, more cheerful stuff ...

I’ve been doing quite a bit of weaving. This photo shows my completed projects so far.

·      A cream bookmark
·      10 Cream and Blue ‘cable’ bookmarks
·       A cotton summer shawl – made of white cotton string and a cotton yarn called ‘Spices’, which is a variegated brown/yellow/red/cream. This is 2.5m long, and only took Friday/Saturday to weave – fun and quick!

Weaving projects

Next project is some more bookmarks, this time ‘flowers’ in cream, blue and red. After that ... not sure. Maybe a shuttle hanger/holder – a pattern came with the second heddle stand kit. I could use the wire heddle for that.
Oh – the shawl was done on the 40 dent heddle, and the bookmarks on the 100 dent wire heddle – you can push the wires really close together to get a really fine weave.

A few weeks ago, I bought a couple of new shirts - one a lovely blue, the other white. I can't wear white. White + Sue = manky child. So I decided to dye it - PURPLE! Of course. And while I was at it ... I found a couple of cream silk shirts, 1 long sleeved, 1 short sleeved - so that went into the dyebath too. And a grey t-shirt, and a browny-beigy lace trimmed top I've had ... forever. I'm thrilled with the result - 4 tops with completely different colours, that all look fantastic. The instructions on the Dylon dye said it didn't do silk (or poly-cotton), but look at this:

Cotton shirt, polycotton and lace top, silk shirt, polycotton t-shirt. The dark blue shirt at the end is its original colour.

What else ...

Still waiting to hear back from the recruitment agency – they’re on holiday till the 13th of January. Still waiting to hear back about the trip to Canberra for David’s second interview – I don’t think they’re back till next week either.

Most of the rental houses in Yass that we looked at are still there. One in particular we like has rammed earth walls. 

Yass High School DOES NOT teach Japanese – it has French instead. Bah humbug. But I’m wondering if we can negotiate distance learning ...

The animals are probably going to cost around $5000 to ship to Aussie. $2000 of that is MAF paperwork! Scumbags!

I’m feeling stressed, and maybe a bit depressed – if we do shift, we’ll have 4 weeks notice, so there’s certain things that we have to start organising, but, we are still waiting to hear ...

And, just for fun, this is Alex - lounging on the couch, reading:

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year's Day - Hello 2014

I love being on holiday.

Yesterday was a very long day, with a headache that lasted all day, despite 6 Maxigesic, a nap, food, and a massage. In the evening we went to Cam and Marcia’s for a New Year’s Eve BBQ. Brown’s, and parents-in-law, Heke’s, James and the kids and us. The food and company were good, and Dan and I won a game of pool against David and Shannon. By the time we came home (and bought Azariah with us), the headache had finally gone, but I still went to bed early. Slept in till 1100 this morning.

I’ve spent most of the day working on my weaving project. Trying to figure out how to warp the wire heddle, without it and the yarn running away. I hit some nails into a piece of timber, which I then clamped to the dining table. That would hold the hanks of yarn.

But then I needed something to hold the heddle still. Sitting it in the loom wouldn’t work, because it’s much taller than the loom frame, and I had no way of fixing the loom to anything. (yes, I tried that!) Putting it on a music stand failed. Balancing it on a desk failed. Then I had the bright idea of turning the table over and, using clamps, a bracing bar and lots of masking tape, taping and bracing the heddle to the table legs:

Well, that worked. Now this took four or five hours to do. Twice – because I stuffed it up the first time round. And I used my nice new crochet hook - that certainly made it easier! Once it was threaded thru the heddle, it had to be tied onto the rear and front loom bars.

Here it is on the back loom bars:

Then it was time to start weaving. Which is the quick and easy bit. Cream double stranded cotton and Royal Blue mercerised (shiny) cotton, woven in cables. This is from the Inkle Pattern book:

It's wider than I thought it would be, but I found if I pushed the heddle wires closer together it made it a wee bit narrower. 

Oh, and the first job of the morning was to clip Kama. He’s gone from chocolate dog to black dog. I put him up on the freezer in the laundry, rather than doing it on the floor or outside as I normally do, and ending up with dreadful back pain. I half filled a bucket with hair. I think he’s finally forgiven me. I think he looks very cute now.

Tomorrow, I'm going to have a go at making something called a reed stand - I'm not sure why, but I thought it was called a 'heddle tree', and of course when I did a search for that, google came up empty. Then, when I opened one of my weaving books to see how to tie off the front loom bar, there it was:

Lol. Gotta laugh. At least I have a good selection of dowling and timber. And my Grandpa Jim's trusty old hand drill and bits!