Dinosaurs and round tuits – in underwear terms

I cannot take credit for more than about 1% of this post, it is totally inspired by the Real Women’s recent post, The Underlying Truth, absolutely worth reading. Would you believe I went out a day or two later and made my first overdue purchase!

What on earth am I talking about? Letting old, ratty, tatty, underwear become the norm. I am, or rather I was, of the always wearing, did not own anything other than matching underwear brigade. I have always thought that my initiation into bras set me on this path. Acquiring your first bra is a major milestone in any girl’s life. I can visualise this first bra almost as if it were yesterday. Purchased with my Dad, yes that is right, with my Dad. Where was my Mum? At home. To this day I have no idea why it was Dad rather than Mum. I remember clear as day his guidelines to me in the store – anything as long as it is not black! If I pause for a moment I can recall walking into the changing room to try on my intended purchase. And with all my friends getting the skin coloured trainer bras what did I come home with – a light aqua lacy number courtesy of Bendon (a fabulous NZ underwear company, which brought us Elle Macpherson Intimates, among other great brands). And as the saying goes the rest is history.

round tuit north melbourne

Now of course I have not abandoned matching underwear entirely, but certainly way more often than not since motherhood. And probably making it worse is that plenty of what I own is in the ‘it probably should not even be used as a duster‘ category! To shame myself further the last new bras I bought were all maternity bras (at least I am not wearing them anymore!). However since my child has just turned five (proof below) ‘overdue purchase’ is a slight understatement. I knew this, I have had intentions, but clearly needed a round tuit. So thank you Real Women for being my round tuit. I wandered into town last Friday and came home with a new bra and matching underwear. When I put them in my underwear drawer it was immediately obvious and really hit home how dinosaurian the rest are. I then felt totally fabulous the next day when wearing the new – there is better shape and fit in the new compared to the old. I will not be stopping this behaviour. The proverbial asteroid is wiping out my dinosaur underwear. Anything you haven’t got around to?

5 year old birthday cake rainbow north melbourne

Baked last week – proof of 5 years!

Always leave work on time

How I imagined my life would be after finishing ‘the big job’ and how it is now are not in full synchronicity. I think this is why quite a lot of ‘always leave the office on time’ resonated with me. I was really good in how I went about what I did with my time the first month, perhaps even most of the second month after concluding work. However there has been some reversion to ‘type’ – I did 12 hours in one day in my casual job last week, into the small hours of the night. What was good though is that I recognised it straight away. This Saturday just passed I was the me of old, lethargic and perhaps even a touch stroppy, and I called it out immediately. It felt just like when I had my big job – who is getting the best of me? So number 4 below is the proverbial nail on the head for me. Time to summon back that girl who went wild making jam and other crazy antics earlier in the year, before the reversion to type reasserts itself in an ongoing fashion. All encouragement welcome!

Any tips from those who have had successfully traversed this path?

north melbourne inspiration

And now there are two!

Need I say more?!

At the end of most days I ask my daughter what was her favourite thing about the day, and I do the same back. ‘Kid’s rules’ means I am never allowed to have the same favourite, even if it is my favourite. Tonight she said, “that you finished the socks and I got to try on two socks“. Damn! Finishing the second sock today was absolutely my favourite thing today. And my little girl already thinks I will be making more!

And when there was only one is here.

I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it

I’m about to lose control and I think I like it…

To steal two lines from a Pointer Sisters chorus! About what I hear you ask…

Socks! The knitting of socks. And I have my daughter and Tin Can Knits to thank.

Did I say I was excited?? I have just finished my first ever knitted sock. I am SO proud of myself. Back to the start, and heed this advice to avoid my predicament, “don’t ask an almost five year old what they want, and if you do then don’t listen”!! My daughter sees me knit, and she is starting to show some potential interest herself, and very recently she actually asked me to knit her something. I of course being a generous foolhardy mum asked her what she would like, “socks Mum” came the reply. Where the *insert swear word of choice* did that come from? Now I have had a desire to try knitting a pair of socks; indeed I bought a ball of wool and some double pointed needles at least a year ago to embark on this adventure, the afore mentioned wool and needles languishing in the cupboard hidden from sight, untouched by my hands. I half heartedly tried the, “I have never made socks” line on my little girl, to no avail. Mum clearly can do anything. What is more she wanted me to use her rainbow yarn. This girl knows what she wants.

How to get out of this dilemma? Tin Can Knits to the rescue. I had stumbled upon them quite some time back, and quite fancy more than one of their knits. Their whole seamless approach to knitting has great appeal (translation: I think I would almost rather lose a limb they have to sew up my knitting!). And in hunting for a sock pattern for a child I stumbled upon their Rye pattern (here) and the words learn how to knit socks. For some reason I took the plunge. All I can say is if you have never knitted a sock before I utterly recommend this pattern. The instructions, particularly all the additional links you can click on, are fabulous. I feel like I am being enabled to tackle other patterns and knit more socks. My poor other half, he has been subjected to me going, “look at this, look at this” more than once through the course of the sock. I was so taken by what I was doing that I actually took the knitting with me to a venue, it initiated a conversation with a lady who worked there, and I gave her the pattern.

The other reason I may become hooked on knitting socks is this will be the fastest I have ever completed a knitted item…socks are small…I sense more socks in my future…I am about to lose control…

Finally the verdict of the small person who triggered such dilemma followed by such joy. Let’s just say the one sock is already being worn. I am happy.

And to really show I am approaching my dotage… I recorded the song this blog post references on a cassette tape off the radio!

How do you tell small children about death?

This is not meant to be a sombre post at all, rather I am sharing how I have tackled what I think is one of the more difficult concepts for young children, that of people dying.

I am a scientist by training, a fact is a fact. So I always like to tell the truth. On the flip side I love to indulge the imaginary – Father Christmas/Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy (not yet required and apparently I will have to take out a mortgage for how much you get a tooth these days!) are alive and well in our house. And I will be endeavouring to keep them believed for as long as possible. However the opportunity to broach death for the first time presented itself.

I have just been away from my daughter for the longest time in her life to date (four nights), having gone home to support my sister after the death of my brother-in-law. I may have mentioned before, we are a small family, albeit one stretched in age range – 15 years between my sister and I (12 and 1/2 years between my brother and I), and there was 17 years between my sister and her husband. While his death was anticipated it perhaps happened a little earlier than we all thought, and knowing it was going to happen certainly did not make it any easier for my sister.

When I returned my almost but not quite yet 5 year old asked why I had gone (she also told me she had missed me), to which I replied that I had been supporting my sister, which was swiftly followed by why? Having thought I would not say anything yet about death, in that moment it just seemed like the right thing to say. And so I explained, remember Uncle C, the man with the funny glasses (on Skype he would always put on fake glasses with a false nose to talk to her) well he has died, he has gone to sleep for ever; and I went home to support Aunty C. Supporting my sister seemed to make sense to her. However she did double check – “he isn’t going to wake up?

Sitting on the stairs was a copy of the funeral service with his photo, and when we walked up I asked her who that was. She said “that’s Uncle C but he’s dead“, in that kind of dismissive, I am not interested in him anymore tone. Not long after, “where is he if he has gone to sleep for ever?” For now I have suggested he is a cloud in sky, to which she asked, “which one, how do we know which one is his?” Great question, fortunately I got away with we will have to look. There has been a few ‘dead’ comments, lots of her toys have died, but nothing too serious, and the topic has now faded away.

So for anyone about to broach this topic, I do not think there is a right or a wrong time, nor a better or a worse time, simply opportunities will present themselves and you take the one that feels right for you. And if you have some tips for what to say when “the cloud” notion no longer cuts it, I would be glad to hear them.

telling children about death

Current definition of a petrol head…

…me!

Deep dark confession time. On occasion I am a fan of fast cars. Perhaps even worse I have liked cars since I was quite young.

I am at the F1 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park this weekend. I have always wanted to go in the grandstand, so this year have grand stand tickets at silly dollars – yay something ticked off my “do before I die” list. And for me worth the price.

And what I am really enjoying…for once it is the male persuasion queuing for the toilets rather than me! Yippee!! How often can a girl say that?

F1 Melbourne

Image courtesy of http://www.grandprix.com.au/

From hank to ball and a new stitch

Over Christmas I visited Hokitika for the first time – the joy of family who relocate enabling you to see new places. For some unknown reason I did a bit of advance preparation, as in I found out there was the world famous, or “perhaps world famous in NZ” Sock World Hokitika – here is their website and facebook page. Small town NZ is a large part of my childhood so I love to support local endeavours. And while I am absolutely not the world’s best sock knitter – I have yet to even try knitting a pair of socks – I am of course craft curious, and my before I went search had alerted me to the fact that they may have also sold yarn… And of course it was the yarn that I was after, I wanted to buy something that I would associate with the place.

For my little girl, with her input (have to have that these days unless you are keen to start WW3!) I have three hanks of beautiful 10 ply Waterspout Felted Yarn (75% superfine merino 25% possum). It is so light and soft. No idea what I will make for her yet, but that is part of the adventure. There is a beautiful hint of black in the yarn.

Anyway last night for the very first time I took a hank of yarn and created a ball of yarn. I am so proud of myself! It is a huge ball – I put the tape measure in the photo for a sense of scale, it is about 12 cm in diameter. I followed the sage advice from Craftsy here, and in reading the comments there was a great tip about continuing to wrap the yarn around your finger as you create the ball; it worked a treat.

Sock World HokitikaSo what am I going to make with the beautiful sea green teal that I bought for myself? What I initially wanted to make is the utterly gorgeous pleated scarf by Jen Geizen on the left below, but alas I do not have enough yarn. I suspect I may go out and buy enough of some other yarn to make that scarf – I love it! Instead I am going to try a new stitch – the garter drop stitch – the effect looks amazing, yet the technique appears rather easy; a combination I am fond of. There is a pattern for the scarf on the right below, but you almost do not need it. Hoping to finish the scarf for this winter. And here’s to the family staying put in Hokitika for a while, I want to go back to Sock World Hokitika and buy more!

Image on left courtesy of Craftsy.com and image on right courtesy of Redheart.com