Friday, February 29, 2008

me me meme

why are memes so much fun? i love reading other peoples. i have been tagged by georgie to do the "seven random/weird things about yourself" meme. where does one start?

first the rules:

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

the weird or random things:

1. i used to be a barefoot feral crusty roaming the streets of newtown wearing flannel shirts with bright pink hair and a nose ring. my favourite bands at the time were sonic youth and british indi bands like ride or lush. these years pass in a blur for reasons i do not need to mention here.

2. i went to aftrs for a few years. i was chosen to do the BA in scriptwriting. i wrote three short films and directed two. one of the ones i wrote was selected for competition at the st kilda film festival and a french womens film festival. i hate the film industry. it is full of wankers.

3. i also worked for a major state health service as a project officer for a multicultural hiv/aids service. apart from my complete arse of a boss, i loved working there and met so many great people from all over the world. i miss doing real work like that.

4. like george, i love to sing. i am pretty good at it. i was in all those primary school choirs that performed at the opera house. i was in a choir a few years back called the sapphire lounge singers. our director was a good singer but not a great teacher but we had heaps of fun anyway. i miss the divas!

5. i did physical culture when i was young. i was also quite good at this, i came second in the state once. katherine ross was my nemesis, she always beat me. my leotard was always white, and i had too much hair for one bun so had to wear two side buns like princess leia with silver thread through them. i quit because i am so anti-competitive. but i can still touch my toes and can sit in the lotus position no worries.

6. i am estranged from most of my family. my mum and dad divorced when i was about 9 and it was very messy and i didnt see him for the longest time. we reconnected a few years ago. i am just like him. i am so like him its scary. because i am so like him i dont get on with my mother or sister who refuse to speak to me because i spoke to him. ah families, great arent they?

7. i like puppy dog kisses and brown paper packages tied up with string. haha. that was a joke. i like lots of things. none of them particularly surprising. chocolate. knitting. the feel of new wool. i would once have said reading was my favourite pastime but since i started my phd i havent picked up a novel. still, my favourite book of all time is middlemarch. i love the classics more than anything, particularly the victorians. george eliot, dickens, gaskell, and austen of course. but i like the darkness of eliot most. when i was in florence i ran along the wall above the arno and pretended i was romola. for a second. you cant run for more than 5 feet along there without banging into another tourist or someone selling cheap ceramics, or rip offs of the masterpieces in the uffizi. it is my hearts desire to go back there with trent in the next 12 months or so.

thats too many things all wrapped up in point number 7. if there was point number 8 i would say i am completely incapable of thinking logically and rationally. but you probably already guessed that.

ok, now i have to tag people that havent already been tagged? who the hell hasnt been tagged? um, lets try these. jejune, amy, taphophile, rose red, quiltingmick, donna and caffeine fairie.

i have tried to avoid people who i think have been done before, but if youve been done feel free to ignore this tag. unless you want to tell us ANOTHER 7 things?!

k xx

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

the dawgs are back in da house

the dogs and their humans have returned home after an exhausting weekend at the national flyball championships at the canberra royal show. the humans stupidly decided camping would be a good idea. camp beds and running round after dogs for three days dont really go together. ive never been so tired in my life.

the good news. the st george phoenix ran their little doggie legs off and the team of poppi, ned, kobe and possum won 8 races out of 12 over the two days (there are five heats within each race). they were in division one and the racing was fast. the team broke its own personal best time of 19.05 seconds (official) many times over and ran a new best time of 18.236 seconds. we beat everyone. we even beat the defending champions - the roger federer team. (i wont name them. you can find out if you really want). they were our last race of the comp and we beat them. we were pretty sure this meant that we won the whole thing. the judge thought so too.

the bad news. apparently someone from their team found out the result before it was official (you can keep track yourself but sometimes when its that close it can come down to head to head heats and best times) and they put in a protest. we didnt know about this until after we were presented with our second place (on a countback, which is really equal first). this is a very tightly regulated sport. there are processes in place. in this instance the protest did not follow correct procedures. persons were made privy to information they shouldnt have been. persons used their influence as committee members to have a recount done which someone did until a more satisfactory result was obtained. we have of course launched a counter-protest and probably not much will come of it, but i hope the other persons involved enjoy their ill-gotten trophy and think that its ok to cheat and use power corruptly all for the sake of a piece of a silverwear. i hope they sleep well at night.

so elation, disappointment, anger and joy, all mixed together. we came out of nowhere (this team has only come together over the last few months) and took on the top teams and they couldnt beat us fair and square. everyone else there wanted us to win. people were screaming for us to win. people cried when we did win. you had better believe a certain black and yellow team are watching their backs cos we're comin' to get ya!

here is my possum in action:

so really we had a great time at the canberra show. i saw michelle's prize winning crochet and thought it lovely. the canary yellow thing was vile. i met michelle. how lovely was that! george, bertie and pj came to visit. i bought a noosa hat but steered clear of the opal lady. i ate gozleme. i love gozleme. trent and i had a fight about walking to the shower together. we made up. we ate huge chunks of steak on the stone grill at eagle hawk pub. we ate dark chocolate m and ms and dark chocolate maltesers and amandas amazing currant and whisky cake, and we got up before dawn for three days in a row.

as the box loader for the team (the person who puts the balls in the spring loaded box for the dogs to catch) i was presented with a gift from my team. it was the best box loader gift i ever got:

joanne and donni conspiring together again. donni is a wicked enabler :) thank goodness.

when we got home late yesterday arvo there was an email from the dynamic duo saying they had managed to fnd time to meet me at 630 that evening. i had to go to the first lecture for the third year cultural history course im teaching this session at 530 so after that i ran up to his nibs' office and we chatted. some nice things were said about the transformation of the pensky since the last time they read it. it was nice to have acknowledgement of how much work i had done, and there were comments about style and punctuation, comments about stuff i can cut from the conclusion. comments about things still not agreed with, differences of interpretation, theoretical slippages, some awkward phrases. there was discussion about examiners. they had looked into the one i suggested that they didnt know and agreed he was a good choice. we made a list of four we all agreed upon. they think its not quite ready but they are willing to take the risk. i think they realised there was no point fighting anymore. they said i can submit. next wednesday march 5.

champagne anyone?

i didnt get much knitting done while away so the second patonyle contrast sock for trent comes along slowly, and i really want to retry that fancy silk sock with my new harmonys, and i really want to cast on some poms with my ranco, but i will wait. before i left some progress was made on the lace leaf scarf:

i am teaching six contact hours this session while i get some articles and a book proposal and some job applications happening. hopefully i will get some serious knitting done too.

maybe i might even get some sleep.

k xx

Thursday, February 21, 2008

who let the dogs out.....

i am off in about 30 minutes to the nations capital for the 10th national flyball championships being held at the canberra royal show. we have singles and pairs racing tomorrow and then team racing on saturday and sunday. our team, the st george phoenix, are the number two seeds. it will be hard work for us to beat the number one seeds who are like the roger federas of flyball with a best time of 17.33 (national record) when our best time is around 18.4 seconds (unofficial). but we will have fun trying. i will be thinking of nothing else, oh except maybe some sock knitting, and how gross that canary yellow acrylic crochet poncho is. i definitely wont be thinking about how some people still refuse to bite the bullet and sign off on the pensky and are now insisting that i wait another week so we can all meet together because for some reason there just isnt time to meet before the 29th. like, whatever.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

a good fairie

yesterday a little fairie made my day, with this box that arrived in the mail:

yes, chocolate, but also the most beautiful piece of hand made thoughtfulness:

thats right, a clapotis!:

hand made, blocked, washed in something that smells divine, all for me! i have never received a hand knitted gift before and i think being a knitter makes you appreciate it more, knowing the time and effort that goes into these things. also when you read peoples blogs and you know they are not always having an easy time themselves but they still find time to think of you. thank you so much caffeine fairie, you made my week!

i also got some good news from the knife wielding skin doctor in sydney yesterday. he said i definitely had a basel cell carcinoma but he thinks he got it all and if youre going to have skin cancer you should have one of those rather than other types. he tookout the stitches and there is going to be scar because of where it is and how big it was, but he did a very good job and was pretty chuffed with his own handiwork, so i felt a great deal of relief after that. you dont realise how exhausting it is being worried about stuff until you stop worrying. i even had a nap when i got home.

because we are going away this weekend coming (the flyball national championships at the canberra royal, our team wears red shirts and has two kelpies in it if you want to pop by the main arena and check it out) i am saving my sock knitting for car/camping etc.

so i have finally cast on something with the polwarth silk, a lace leaf scarf:

the wool is quite fine, might even only be 3ply, so the recommended 3.75 needles were too big. i am on 3.25s which still feels weird and is making a slightly thinner scarf but i like thin and long in a scarf. so far its a lovely pattern, but now that ive seen one i reckon i couldve made a clappy out of this yarn!

k xx

Sunday, February 17, 2008


the lesson i learnt today is that no, i can not get a pair of ankle socks for my largish hoofers out of one 50 gram ball of patonyle.

almost! i think it took about 52 grams to make these:

i would make them larger again but they are still lovely on.

somewhat gratified. now i can finish trents contrast patonyles and maybe cast on the lace leaf scarf.

k xx

Friday, February 15, 2008

weird things

firstly it is weird to not be working on the pensky. i havent sealed up the box because its not really over yet and the fact that i have not had an acknowledgement of my email with the final thing attached, from one of the DD, suggests to me that there is still a bit of fighting to do. but i have been reassured by those who support me that i have acted correctly and i can hand that fight over to others if need be. i wont be at ease until its printed and submitted, so until them i am at a bit of a loose end.

not that i dont have anything to do. while i was working on the pensky it appears as though a whole warren of dust bunnies have taken over the house. thank god for the dyson. there is a small mountain of washing that requires moving. who says you have to wear clean clothes every day?

there is research work to do that i got paid for before xmas. the index for the volume. dogs to walk. cars to wash (oh wait, i never do that last one...)

but you get my drift.

in other weirdness, yesterday was some sort of hallmark holiday that we generally dont celebrate around here. however, someone gave me these:

hand made liqueur ones from electric bean near trents work (they have this great barista there called george apparently who makes a great naked ristretto so we are going up there tomorrow with jo and dave for a 4k adventure). someone got these in return:

not bad for a not-valentines-day.

also my stitched up face is feeling very weird. the swelling and bruise has subsided but it sure is pulled nice and tight. apparently this is stitched in such a way that scarring should be minimal. i thought you might like a look at it:

but then again, maybe not!



Thursday, February 14, 2008

another apology

a few weeks ago i sent an email blanket apology to all my friends apologising in advance for what i thought would be my erratic behaviour as the pensky drew to a close. what i didnt realise was how i would feel when it finished. i finished it all up yesterday and sent the final version off the duo just before lunch time. i had a bit of a cry about it, which surprised me really. i thought i would be happy. but i am not really.

firstly i was angry. this thing has given me so much grief and put so much pressure on my relationship and other friendships, let alone my own mental health, i have grown to hate it. so i threw all the files i hope i wont need again in a box:

literally threw them. bad files. then i cleaned off the desk. its quite a big one when it isnt covered in bad files.

then i had arguments with various people about the wording of the acknowledgments. i dont want to be bitter and twisted and i need to be political about this end of things, so i tried to write honest ones that rose above all the crap we've had. i got some good advice and some bad advice and i am quite upset to see particular agendas being played out still and some people thinking that my thesis acknowledgments should be an act of revenge, when that doesnt help anyone, especially not myself. i am quite sick of all the game playing that goes on in academia and am really angry that i have been used at times as a pawn in other peoples power games.

and i am angry that on the day when i should feel great about finishing, i just feel like crap. i dont know how im supposed to feel but i do feel as though everything ive been bottling up just so i can get over the finish line is starting to come out, and its making me feel crazy and scattered and tried and sad and angry all at once. and its still not over because its not submitted yet and i am anxious about that part as well.

so i am apologising again because i dont know how to handle this bit, i dont know what im supposed to feel or how i should behave or even what i want, and so im sorry to everyone for the unthinking words that come out of my mouth, that im still so preoccupied, that i am just a ball of feeling. i imagine it will pass soon and then life can go on and maybe one day i'll laugh about it.

i swear, the floppy hat had better be worth all this angst.

k xx

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


at long last it is said.

if saying it makes any difference i will say it every day for as long as i live. it is the great shame of this country that we took so long to do it, and that there is even a question about whether we should. it is the great shame of this country still that there are people who think we have nothing to be sorry for. people who want to blame aboriginal people for their own situation, as though history didnt happen. people who care more about money than about love. people who think that they didnt do it, so why should they say it? to those people i would remind them that everything they have as a white person in this country has come at the expense of the aboriginal people.

i have cried a few times today, at the speech, at the response, listening to pat dodson now at the press club.

and because the pensky is done. i dont think i can talk about that yet.


k xx

Monday, February 11, 2008

under the knife.

in a rather surprising turn of events, i have just returned from having a piece of my left facial cheek removed. the specialist who i thought i was just consulting with today decided it should come off. now. probably better to not have had time to think about it. 'it' is now floating in a jar going off to pathology to make sure its nothing more serious than a surface thing. the man with the knife didnt seem to think so, tho he did note some other little spots in the vicinity that might be nothing, and informed me that its likely i will get another one of these. nice. i drove home from maroubra to wollongong and am feeling a little tired. its a bit bruised and there are stitches but otherwise its ok.

i am also tired from the weekend. it was COLD in michelago. what is it doing being cold in that part of the world in the middle of summer? we all whinged a bit and then rugged up and took shelter:

possum and i decided that moving sheep at a leisurely pace around a paddock was a lot more fun than running after them and yelling at each other:

we even had time to stop and smell the grass (no roses in this paddock):

she also did lots of 'backing':

seriously good fun, we had a great time, worked really well as a team, got lots of compliments from people, even robert (mr australian handler of the year, thanks very much):

i feel like i know what im doing now. oh, and there was wool around. did i mention that?

lovely photos courtesy of trent. aka pumpkin. i think hes a bit of an artiste.

some knitting was done as well:

i did not finish the second ankle sock, that might take me another day or two, and i havent started the lace leaf scarf, i am going to save that for post-pensky now. speaking of which, i have had comments from two other academics who both think it is ready to be examined. thats three people who think that. four if you count me. thats four against two. you lose, dynamic duo.

some minor clarifying sentences and some formatting to do now, then final draft by wednesday.

too tired to think more now. need chocolate. mmmm honeycomb crunch timtams.....

k xx

Friday, February 08, 2008


i am so tired i could cry. or just put my head down on this pile of books and sleep. for about a month. the closer i get the more exhausted i get. i think its so exhausting because i am also quite exhilarated - yesterday i finished off all the revisions and even added footnotes as per suggestions from the dd*, and then i sent the whole new draft off to some objective people for them to have a quick look, and got a phone call about 2 hours after that with some great suggestions for tightening up the more personal elements of the intro. the suggestions were quite exciting, its amazing how a couple of comments about how innovative your work is can undo years of damage. so i have a bit of tweaking to do this morning (if you care, i need to write a paragraph or two about how i am writing social ontology back into the categories of history. if your eyes just glazed over thats ok im used to it arent i pumpkin**?). but yes, its exhausting. social ontology is exhausting.

the pumpkin left for work before 6 this morning and i couldnt get back to sleep so i made coffee and wound a skein into a ball for my next project. considering i dont have a ball winder, this is how winding goes at my place:

very hi-tech. it took a while, as this is 150g of 4 ply polwarth/silk. i provide coffee cup for perspective - beginning:



this ball is NOT for socks. thats right, its time to start something else. knitting lace socks is proving too difficult at the moment, but i am missing having something more complicated OTN, so i am going to make the lacy leaf scarf, like the one bells made (sorry, ravelry link). i have thought long and hard about the right project for this yarn, i wanted it lacy but not something too open as the yarn is dark and has a nice halo about it that would obscure a complicated lace. i think this pattern will be just right.

i am hoping to cast it on today but i also need to cast on the second of my patonyle ankle sock to take away this weekend. we are going to michelago for some sheep-herding practice with the dogs, its my last time going down there as its too expensive and i have achieved what i wanted with miss princess-possum, but it will be fun. possibly cold and wet too. but plenty of knitting time. can i make an ankle sock in a weekend? no lacy scarf knitting tho, that one stays home.

ok, back to the tweaking.

have a great weekend

k xx

*dd: the dynamic duo, my nickname for the official supervisors. holy post-marxism batman.....

**he hates when i call him this but i cant help it, sorry, it just slipped out.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

mildly gratified...

last night i was supposed to go to a gathering but i had worked so hard on the pensky all day i was exhausted and brain dead by about 4pm, so i stayed home instead and finished this:

and was in bed by 9! hopeless.

i am pretty happy with my first patonyle ankle sock, i would probably go another half centimetre in the foot and more than 10 rounds between rib and heel, but it did only take 4 days (about 2 hours a day i guess), and it looks good with my fancy footwear, n'est pas?

sorry, no rosered glamourpuss shoes here :) i was going to cast on the second one straight away but decided to delay that gratification until i am finished what i need to do on pensky. i will try and finish trents contrast patonyle first instead.

apart from some slight flooding issues i have been glad of the rain as it provided the perfect environment to work hard, and if i do the same today there is a chance i could be finished my revisions today. if im lucky i will get to the formatting of the bibliography as well, but im using endnote and its a pain so....

meanwhile, this is what princess possum does when its raining:

there is something that i think they call the sun out at the moment so i am going to take them both for a walk and then come back and get stuck into it.

fingers crossed.

k xx

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

the making of days....

there have been some of those blogger award things going round, and over at bellsknits some very nice things were said about yours truly, which really did make my day yesterday.

and because everyone is already nominated and i appear no longer capable of original thought, i will do as donna did, and tell everyone who reads this that you ALL make my day, just by being here. and every blog i read, i read it because it already makes my day a little bit brighter, a little bit easier.

so go on, give yourself one of these!

see, thats the anarchist in me, always trying to find ways to beat the system :)

but in all seriousness, i have had a lot of so-called friends come and go from my life, and i have been sorely disappointed by some in the last year or two, but never by a knit-blogger. is it something about knitting itself that speaks to the kind of person you are? patient, thoughtful, caring, pays attention to detail, thinks the little things count?

i was about to exempt myself from this description because i am always angry or disorganised or impatient, but when it comes to knitting, im not. i think it is what keeps me balanced at the moment, when i cant be like that in other areas of my life. perhaps when the pensky is gone (soon people soon), i can find space for knitting-compassion in the rest of my day.

i hope so!
k xx

Monday, February 04, 2008

monday already

and its raining. this is what it looked like at 7am.

i had a lovely weekend, and we did get to do some flyball training, and i got this much of the ankle sock done:

but now here it is monday and the pensky file will wait no longer. i got a response from supers last night to my 'please explain?" email and they have backed away from some of their larger criticisms and given more concrete manageable advice. there is still quibbling about the official end date and examiners but i will cross those bridges once this 'rewrite' is done.

and today is superbowl sunday in the US. i dont mind a bit of beefcake football, so will probably go watch it and work on the laptop. and i will be thinking of amy jumping up and down and screaming in her lounge room on the other side of the world. go patriots!

k xx

edit: dear amy. im very sorry for your loss. thinking of you at this terrible time. xx

Sunday, February 03, 2008

no country for anyone

yesterday was a lovely diversionary day, we went for a long walk (like 6kms, ouch) along the harbour front and stopped for juice and coffee at kiosk north next to diggies at north beach, and next time anyone from anywhere comes to visit the gong, we are going there for brunch, australia day or not!

then we went to see no country for old men at the movies, it finally came to wollongong, and i have been dying to see it as i read the book by cormac mccarthy (who i adore) a while ago, and trent just read it recently, and its a coen brothers movie and i do so love their films. it wasnt as good as the book, but it was still very good and very thought provoking.

i wonder though how you condemn an increasingly violent and disrespectful world by making an extremely violent movie? the book was better in that regard. but it is a worry when you find yourself agreeing with tommy lee jones when he says 'ah reckon its awl over when people starp sayin' sir and ma'am'. indeed it is.

i also am now past the gusset and headed down the foot on this little beauty:

lovely (except i do wonder who decided the baby poo yellow was a good idea?).

i am feeling much better about things, thank you every one for your kind words. i had some other meetings on friday and generally people all say the same things, its too late for them to exert any influence now, its my project, my choice of examiners, i just need to fall over the line. i do feel like my confidence in my work has taken a bit of a blow but i will spend this week tightening things up and that will help.

we are supposed to be going to sydney this arvo for flyball training but its starting to rain and knowing some people, they may chicken out, so perhaps i will get the ankle sock finished today after all.

hope you are all having lovely relaxing weekends.

k xx

Friday, February 01, 2008

instant gratification

the thing i am finding the hardest to accept about the pensky-process is that it is not a creative one. in fact, it seems designed to destroy all capacity for creative thinking.

this is why i like knitting so much. i especially like socks, because you get to do interesting things along the way, you can do plain or fancy (if you can read a pattern properly), there are so many pretty yarns, and you maybe only have to sew about 24 stitches at the end if youre lucky. and then you can wear it. straight away.

i particularly like ankle socks. few rounds of rib, few rounds of stocking stitch, then suddenly we're at the heel and nearly done. it makes me feel creative and productive.

taking everyones advice, i have ditched the fancy socks for now, and have started the second of trents contrast sock. this is the fourth sock i have made of these, two without contrast heels for dave, and trents with the contrast heel.

while knitting these, i have fallen deeply in love with patonyle. not necessarily as a brand, because the colourways can sometimes be a bit dodgy, and not really as a great sock wool, like it has no real elasticity about it. but it is about the softest yarn ive ever knitted with, and today i feel like something soft and kind flowing through my fingers. and because i really need instant gratification that isnt going to stack on the kilos, i have cast on my own pair of patonyle ankle socks:

it helped. but i am still very jittery. i feel a little as though i cant quite breathe and i suspect that may be what they call anxiety. my hands are shaking a lot. yesterday, every time the phone rang i yelled 'what do you WANT?' to no one in particular. didnt help that we had another cracker of a thunderstorm.

but they are just feelings and they will pass. yesterday i took more advice, from you my lovely kind thoughtful readers, and from trent and other academics, and wrote up a transcript of our meeting for my records, just what was said and who said it, and then i wrote a long email asking a series of questions and clarifications in the simplest non-emotive language possible. in it i stated that i want a sign off date of feb 22 and that i wont be working on it after that. i also suggested that if it wasnt working out 'between us', there are other options, and left that hanging.

i also wrote my abstract. that helped, because it made me think perhaps its not a piece of shit, perhaps it does do what i say it does. perhaps its not me thats the problem at all!

i have some follow up meetings with other people today that should help as well, and i have set myself the task of making all the changes i want to make by next friday. its really very doable. and then i really think this will be over.

please let it be over.

k xx