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Guess where I am?

Guess where I am?

Hint: It’s raining outside. And very green. And very freindly.

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Get some colour on…

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After months in harsh weather the tree gets its first bright colour injection.

Lots of conversations with passers-by, one pleased to have actually found the knitter, and took my pic by the tree. Aaah.

Lovely evening in Dublin, pic taken at 9pm 🙂
 

Meme of the Week

Guerilla Knitter

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Last year I got the notion to do some guerilla knitting.

Also known as craft-bombing, if you don’t know, it’s the art of adorning public ‘things’ with knitted or croched ‘covers’: trees, lamposts, fences, statues etc etc. I am a bit of a crafter, and like to knit odd little things – teacosies with dreadlocks in hand-dyed aran wool; a portable DVD case soft as a cushion (days before iPads) etc etc, among other little creations.

It wasn’t long after we scattered my Dad’s ashes at his favourite spot. Next to the sculpture of Patrick Kavanagh on his park bench, along the grand canal in Dublin. I had planted some wild flower seeds under the nearest tree. A few months later I was home again, and thought: Aha. That is exactly what it sounded like in my head. I like this idea of craft bombing, guerilla knitting etc, and here’s a reason to do some. So went wool shopping, sat down and started knitting.

This went on for some time – actually I started while attending a conference on Tolkein at Trinity College Dublin (awesome). So it seemed fitting to be hearing discussions about middle earth, Ents etc etc while I was knitting a lovely tree its very own scarf.

So more knitting, more wools, different wools, stripes even. When I wasn’t clicking away I was buying plants, bulbs and soil, digging the hard clay around another tree, and planting. Known as guerilla gardening, they tell me. Tree on one side gets a wooly scarf, the other (which is a bit wide and knobbly for wool) gets planted around its feet. It seemed a fitting way to remember my Dad.

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An aside: this part of the canal is very popular with walkers, office workers, tourists and joggers. Just after we lost my Dad I was digging away and planting bulbs, and a woman about my own age stopped in surprise when she saw me and commented. I told her I was planting the flowers to remember my Dad, and told her a little about him – my eyes brimming. I told her I lived overseas, and was going back the following day. She asked me my Dad’s name again – Des – and said she would look after the tree for me, and we ended up hugging. It was such a tender moment. And between planting, tending and sewing scarves on the trees, I’ve had quite a few more quiet meaningful  moments.

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Nine months after I sewed on the initial scarf, I’m back home and went over to see how the guerilla knitting has fared. It has been a very harsh Winter and hardly any Spring I’m told, but the scarf is intact, if not a little faded. Indeed it has grown. I was hoping some other crafty person might add their own touch, and someone did. Yay.

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However the harsh weather and exposed position has left the hand-dyed Aran wool faded and one or two dogs may have used it as a stratching post. I’m pretty sure this tree may have got a few extra hugs too. The scarf is very mendable, and could do with an injection of colour. Already the knitting needles have been flurrying, and I have been doing some felting with the excellent Niki Collier. http://www.nikicollierdesign.com  Leaves are on the horizon.

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Crafters, guerilla knitters and Grand Canal walkers: watch this space.

janet leigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s generally kept under wraps, but many medical studies support my hypothesis. Jet lag Will KILL you. It will also cause you to feel like the inside of a carnival horse’s mouth, to confine you to a marshmallowy mental haze, to make outrageously nonsensical decisions, to use capital letters with abandon, and to exaggerate past the point of human decency.

Did the trip with the little ones, 5 or so days ago. Airport to airport, Sydney to Dublin, 27 hours. Or was it 29? This time they decided to hardly sleep AT ALL. Thanks dears. Super. Nooo Mum doesn’t need to sleep, would love to play more cards/ produce more playdough, more markers, green paper and a set of Rob the Robot programs I downloaded for you, on the down low. (Have always wanted to say that.) Sure lets get up again, and go talk to the crew. It’s fine that NEITHER of you eat ANY airplane food. That there’s another 12 hours to go on this flight. That the posh expensive muesli in the little takeaway bowls, even with extra cranberries from our stash, now tastes yucky. Apparently. Fantastic that a 1.5 hour movie  actually takes 6.25 hours to watch when the combined ages of your travelling companions equals 10.

Delightful that while waiting for flight #2, contents of our hand luggage  spread about departure gate, ready for repacking and disgarding (bye bye pricey uneaten muesli bowls); I desperately need to pee. Fine that my knowledge of this airport means that I know moving the carnival to the far away toilets is a logistical impossibility.  So legs crossed tighter til flight called, we board, take off, level out and I tear out of airplane seat to a toilet the size of a tissue box.

Super indeed, that my prized little bottle of  JETLAG CURE (Yes it works):  homeopathic remedy Cocculus 30C, has sprouted tiny white legs and slinked away from designated spot in hand luggage.

Marvelous that when we arrive Ireland is experiencing its first run of five consecutive sunny days since 1973 (Tric was right), and I’m too foggy to take it in. When I start to become slightly conscious again, the rain and wind has returned. Thanks. Lovely. As well as bright idea of mine to bring the children to a play centre. On a weekend. Seriously? Hundreds of rugrats, birthday parties, screaming, jumping, crying, dodging person dressed in oversized and bedraggled dinosaur costume. Great choice there. 

Enchanting that little dears share with me the joyful news that they are mildly peckish, or may require some slight stimulation. At 4:30am. Every morning.

Crankypants here actually had great crews on both flights, hardly any queueing through 3 airports,  can do the journey in 2 flights now instead of 3, and not one of our party wet herself. So it wasn’t all bad.

Until the play centre.

Out of the cocoon

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Most, or at least a lot of, single mums have a break every second weekend while kiddiwinks disappear off with Daddy. Myself and DrJ+MrH (ex = Dr Jekyll + Mr Hyde) found that moving faster than glacial speed upset the little ones. So we soon arrived at – Sat am to Sun am, every weekend with Dad – and have stayed there for more than a year. It will change to alternate weekends soon, as does not work so well for me, and the kids will enjoy the extended time with their Dad better.  

To whit: Sat 10.05am – house suddenly and miraculously silent. Mommy collapses on couch. Stares into space for a while. Sometimes a long while, but nobody’s around, so doesn’t matter. Turns on TV. Sometimes crazy reality TV appears. Dance Moms. Don’t judge me. My kids don’t go to dance. And now they never will.

I digress. An old friend who hadn’t seen me in forever, told me I had gone into my cocoon since the breakup (and another disturbing life event;) and laughed as we said goodbye, muttering I’ll go back into my cocoon, and she’ll see me again in another year or two.

She has a point. I’ve met a few great single mums. Who go OUT on Saturday nights. Well most alternate Saturday nights. I’ve been invited lots of times. Some of these times I’ve gone. Errm, more of these times I’ve stayed home on my couch. Exhausted. Or it’s too cold. Stop. It does get cold in Sydney in the winter. Or rainy. Torrential, yeah.

Or I can’t be bothered. BUT it’s not just at night. Sometimes I just stay in all day as well. That’s recovery though. Or licking my wounds. I lost my gorgeous Dad last year. Moments before Dr Jekyll + Mr Hyde was due to move out, in fact. Got the call. Within 24 hours myself and kids (one with a brand-spanking new passport) were at the airport – ready fly to Ireland. Thank God we got there in time. Got to say goodbye. Very Lucky there. Good God, I’m digressing.

Let’s wrap this up. You have other blogs to skim.

So many Saturdays – for that is my child-free day and night – I have not left the house. It makes me very very sad to say the time has not been spent scrubbing and polishing the place to make it a pristine palace either. Although it makes me very happy to say one Saturday I waved the kiddiwinks off, went back to bed, and watched 10 or so hours straight of Downton Abbey, series one and two, propped up in my comfy bed, pausing only for food, drinks and bathroom breaks. Thanks to my very thoughtful brother for mailing me the first THREE series on DVD. Watched the rest the following Saturday.

I heartily apologise for all this digression. If you have skipped ahead til this paragraph, I am about to get to the point. Please enjoy nice picture below.

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One of the great single mum friends, politely told me to get out of the house when the kids are gone. Even if it’s to walk along the coast or take a swim. We are Very Lucky to live near the beach. I didn’t take her advice too often. Errands, life & comfy couch all got in the way.

So last weekend I did. 5 Kms brisk walk along the coast. Yesterday the same. Blustery windy weather. Freak’n amazing. I usually only do that beautiful walk when its sunny. A powerful ocean makes you happy to be here to see it. Putting it mildly.

God, but we’re lucky to live in Sydney.

Moral of the story: listen to your good friends. You know who they are. They speak the truth. Thanks Mich xxx

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My house is clean. I mean spotless. Frypan sitting smugly upturned on the bench. Covered in gumption, (kitchen cleaner) waiting to be reborn as pristine. So what am I avoiding? Enrolling in University apparently. With the two kids. Little one in day care just two days a week. Mmmm. No wonder the house is clean.

1. Check more course info online. 2. Get paperwork ready. 3. Go to campus and register. 4. Buy a chicken. (We still have to eat.)

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Am left with sad, but repetitive realisation, that the house will not clean itself. Bugger.

Leaving and coming back has no effect whatsoever.

Mama goes back to school

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So a friend of mine asked for some help with dropbox the other day. Easy. After sorting out the mildly techy stuff, we got chatting. Life/ life changes/ whatchya gonna do, kind of stuff. This guy is the best guy at finding what’s available and making it work for you. A large cup of tea later, laptop out, I was scrolling through courses at my local university. Drove home with a seed germinating in my little head. Next day called the uni, spoke to the course director. Next day applied online for a Certifcate in Digital Media + Animation.

With fingers crossed that the timetable will work with little one’s daycare and big one’s school hours, I’ll be a full-time student again in one month. Holy Cow.

Men are simple

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When they do it right, they do it soo right. I have a friend who wants refreshingly few things from life, and is prepared to organise himself to have them. He wants a great mattress, a biggish flat screen tv, to eat good food, a bike to ride, and time to do yoga and paint. That’s it thanks. 

He found a great smallish apartment in the city years ago. He’s good – no fantastic – at finding the best of what’s available. His apartment is full of amazing art (very talented) a fertile garden, and a teeny tiny kitchen. No convenience food, big nights out, latest gadgets, wild women or extensive wardrobe needed. He’s gone back to university and is happy to live on a small income – he has the mattress, tv and bike already. If I didn’t like him so much I’d think him a walking zen cliche. 

I love spending time with male friends in their natural habitat.  A mutual friend has a ramshackle house on the side of a beautiful river outside Sydney. He builds a bit on to it every now and then, lately it’s been the wharf to make it easier to get there. It’s remote, not flash, very beautiful and unpretentious. Simple.

For years I worked on and off as a freelance magazine subeditor. I’d work on a magazine here and there, usually they kept me on as a regular pretty quickly. I worked on women’s mags, glossies, home and garden mags etc. Twice I worked on male enthusiast magazines – one sport, one cars. My hands down favourites. The glossies were THE worst. Dismissive,  judgmental – as a freelancer you’re rarely in the ‘in group’. The mens mags – fantastic. Simple, easy, no office politics, just good journalists working on subjects they loved. 

Long live simple.

 

pic: Simple Man by Khlovez, at deviantart.net