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Archive for March, 2007

In the last two weeks one of my friends has had her house broken into while they were sleeping upstairs (thieves got away with purse, wallet and passport, and went through their basket of folded laundry and threw it into the pool) and one of my staff members had her house broken into while she was at work.

Now, we live in a security complex with a gate. The gate, front fence and two side fences are topped with spikes, and the fence at the back of the complex (doubles as our back fence) is electrified. Also our neighbours are retired and home most of the time, so we feel pretty safe. If people want to come and visit us they must press the buzzer at the gate, our phone rings and we open the gate remotely for them to come in.

11pm Wednesday night, the phone rings and the conversation went like this.

Caller: Can you let me in?

GM: Who are you?

Caller: I was told to ring number XYZ and you’d let me in.

GM: Why would I let you in? I don’t know who you are. (They went back and forth like this for a little while) finally the caller says:

Caller: Oh, we’re doing a survey.

GM: At 11 o’clock at night? I don’t think so!

and hung up.

By this time I was awake and got up and closed the windows just in case some they tried someone else in the complex and they did let them in. We have bars on all the windows and the doors (if ever there’s a fire we’re in trouble) so people can’t get in anyway, but it made me feel better.

I’ve been knitting, but haven’t taken any photos. I went to the LYS – which is now billing itself as a “Real Wool Store” I didn’t laugh too hard, but 90% of their stock is fake fur and the rest is mostly acryllic. They do stock sock yarn, but only in manly colours, because don’t you know women only knit socks for their men, never for themselves :). There are about 5 shelves that have stuff I like to knit with, but it’s a little on the expensive side. Anyway, found some soft baby acryllic in lilac and white. I’m doubling the yarn, one strand lilac and one white for the sweater I’m trying to get finished by Sunday. It’s coming up well.

Fat Boy is home from hospital. He hasn’t broken his knee, but has torn the ligaments. The vet decided not to operate for now, but to rest it for two weeks and see if it repairs itself. The vet has also said that for his knee to heal he needs to go on a diet. This is easier said than done. He really is a comfort eater – the first thing he did when we opened his carry-cage yesterday was hobble to his food bowl.

No pictures today, flickr isn’t playing nice.

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 Fat Boy is working at cementing his place as the World’s Most Expensive cat.

10.30 last night he somehow managed to get his leg stuck between our mattress and the end of the bed. He hung upside-down for a second before limping off into the corner of the living room. Poor thing couldn’t put any weight on it and it was his dodgy leg (from when he was hit by a car and shattered his pelvis in 1999), so we rang the vet. Yes, at 10.30pm.

A short car ride later, which Fat Boy hates so much that he loses all dignity and we ride with the car windows down… and the diagnosis was either a broken knee or torn ligaments. Some pain-killers were injected and Fat Boy was admitted. I’m waiting for the vet to call with the results of the x-rays, but either way he is going to need an operation. We’re not going to think about how much this is going to cost. Actually, vet bills are cheaper here than at home in Australia, but it’s an extra expense that we don’t need, not to mention that poor Fat Boy is in a whole heap of pain.

On to knitting content (there’s going to be a lack of quilting for a while because I just got asked to a baby shower on Sunday and need to knit something for that. It also means that I need to go yarn shopping today, yes, I really do need to, there’s nothing in my stash suitable that isn’t earmarked for something else). Gorgeous Man asked me if I had anything already knitted – I usually try to have a few things up my sleeve for gifts, so it wasn’t an unreasonable question. But my response was “Well yes, but nothing I want to give away!” The parents don’t know the sex of the baby so I’m thinking a hat and some booties, in a white flecked with colour if I can find something, also  maybe a jumper (sweater for all my American friends) if I get really enthusiastic.

Here is the scarf I’m making for Gorgeous Man

It’s a moss rib in a South African yarn – Elle Naturals – Barley. I am loving this yarn and this pattern Here’s another shot

This is the first scarf that I have knitted that someone would actually want to wear. Most of my previous attempts have been pretty awful. This time, Gorgeous Man picked the yarn and the stitch pattern. Hmm, maybe I should listen to his knitting advice more often…

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When we found out I was pregnant, the first things we bought werebooks. Hardly surprising for two historians (yes, I’m currently working as an English teacher, but history is my passion) who shipped more books to South Africa than anything else.

In other news, I received a wee tiny sock in the mail

it’s very cute. The colours are much brighter in real life, and it is my first chance to see Koigu. My partner was Stitch ‘n Sue. I’ve been reading her blog for a while, so it was nice to be matched with her. The wee tiny sock swap was fun. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of my second sock (yes, I’m a newbie sock knitter and had to do it twice) before I sent it off. Hopefully the person who receives it will post it to the flickr group. Now I’m going to have to think of what to do with my mini-sock…

No quilting this weekend. I’ve been busy knitting Gorgeous Man a scarf. He is heading off to Washington DC and Alabama in two weeks and I can’t send him off without a hand knit. He picked the yarn and the pattern and it’s coming up very well. I’ll take a picture later today and post tomorrow.

I got very excited yesterday when Gorgeous Man came home and tossed this into my lap. In fact, I got tears in my eyes.

Crumpets! The first crumpets we’ve seen in 14 months. Two immediately went into the toaster. They are not quite the same as the Aussie ones, but close enough. I’m a happy lady. It doesn’t take much to please me.

I have been reading, so it’s time to update the list for 2007.

15. A Chance at Love – by Beverly Jenkins. We won’t discuss my need to occasionally read trashy romance novels…

16. A Change of Tongue – by Antjie Krog. This book looked at race, identity and language in South Africa. Considering what happened last time I commented on those issues, let me just say that this book was interesting and thought provoking.

17. Special Topics in Calamity Physics – by Marisha Pessl, an interesting but strange novel. This was one of the books that Gorgeous Man won last year.

18. wild grass – China’s Revolution from Below – by Ian Johnson. This was a Christmas present from Gorgeous Man. Very interesting, it looks at three people who have taken on the Chinese government over various issues: illegal taxes, the destruction of Beijing’s hutongs (old residential areas) and a daughter of a Falun Gong convert seeking answers about her mother’s death in custody.

After that entry my URL really is going to be banned in the PRC.

It’s sale time here at the moment. The stores are getting rid of their summer stock to make way for winter, so we have been buying baby clothes. We will be having a summer baby so the sales work well for us. We don’t know what we’re having, and we don’t want to find out, so it’s been a bit of a challenge finding uni-sex clothes.

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Thank you everyone for you congratulations and kind words. My most comments on a post ever! Must have been the announcement of a life changing event.

I got a package in the mail a few days ago, a box weighing 2.9 kilos from Australia. When I opened it up this fell out:

A friend of mine organised some members of a retirement community to make some items for the charity that I support here in South Africa – she’s a South African now residing in Australia. Some of the items are simply stunning, while others are inexpertly made, but they are all made with love, so I’ll pass them on. It was fun unpacking the box.

In other knitting news, I made a hat to match a baby jumper I knitted. The yarn came from Starfish in favourite colour swap 1 and she dyed it herself.

Speaking of Starfish, she’s hosting a Dyeing-to-dye socks swap. You should go sign up. While I won’t be participating, due to the impossibility of finding naked sock yarn here, and time factors (still dealing with first trimester exhaustion), it looks like great fun and I can’t wait to see all of the sock yarn that is produced.

I’m still plugging away at the African animal blocks. Here are the latest 2

We will not discuss the fact that the bird is walking up hill… It does have legs, but they didn’t show up in the photo. I’ve just got the hard blocks to do now, mutiple pieces of fabric and really small pieces. Good thing the cricket is on telly and I can just stitch away. The South Africans play Australia on Saturday. Australia is the defending champion, but South Africa is currently the world number one team, so it should be a very good match.

Finally, would anyone like to guess what our first joint purchase for this baby was? Yarn doesn’t count…

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Sometimes I’m too subtle for my own good. As some of you surmised from yesterday’s post there is going to be offspring arriving in early October.

The official due date is the 9th (I think it’s the 4th) since my birthday is the 11th Gorgeous Man keeps saying that I’m going to get a birthday present…

We had a braai (bbq) on Sunday to tell our friends.

Being masters of understatement that we are, and not really liking to be the centre of attention,  our conversation before the braai went like this:

Gorgeous Man: So how are we going to tell everybody?

Ruth: I thought you could.

Gorgeous Man: Nah, (pause) why don’t we put the scan in a picture frame on the TV and see how long it takes them.

(What we didn’t take into account is that South Africans are much politer than Australians)

So we put the scan on top of the TV, everyone arrives and an hour passes, nobody says anything. Gradually everyone moves out of the lounge to the patio where the braai is.

Finally, my friend from Canada turns up and I couldn’t help myself. I said “L, I was going to wait and see if anyone noticed, but they seem to be blind, look at the picture on the TV.” There was great elation, and she would have jumped for joy except her baby is due in 6 weeks time.

I ended up having to make a formal announcement despite our attempt at being subtle.

Apparently some of my South African friends had noticed, but weren’t sure if they should say anything.

Other than our failed attempt at a subtle announcement the braai was lots of fun, too much food as always.

Tomorrow is Human Rights Day. I get a day off work!

There’ll be some crafting content next post I promise.

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Poetry

Gorgeous Man wrote a haiku:

Tiny fluttering

heart beats fast in black and white

Miracle of life.

See you tomorrow. :)

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As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Gorgeous Man is heading to the USA shortly to attend a conference in Alabama. He is also going to be stopping in DC to do some research at the Library of Congress and has consented to go yarn shopping for me while he is there. :)

Can anyone recommend some good yarn stores that are accessible by public transport in the Washington DC area?

Also is there a Joanne’s accessible by public transport in DC? I could do with some inexpensive yarn to make some baby blankets, etc.

Please don’t send him to yarn stores where you have to mortage your house to buy yarn, remember that we are dealing with a 7.44 Rand  to $1 exchange ratio…

Thank you in advance for all of your suggestions.

We’ve had some problems with email at this end so if you have emailed me and I haven’t replied it’s because I haven’t received it.

A few days ago one of my commenters asked about yarn stores in Cape Town. Given our recent email difficulties I’m not sure if she got my email, so I’m going to post the information here and maybe other people coming to Cape Town will also find it useful.

The best yarn store is Kleen Ezzy on Northumberland Rd in Belville. They sell cleaning products in the front but (bizarrely) have a huge selection of yarn in the back room and the prices are the best I’ve seen so far.

Wool World on Voortrekker Rd in Parow 021 930 1270 (only 5 – 10 minutes from Kleen Ezzy) is a dusty old shop that sells beautiful Regia sock yarn (at R35 a ball) and a variety of other stuff.

There’s a quite good yarn store in Canal Walk Mall (called the indoor arts and craft market – the yarn is at the back) but it’s quite expensive though.I haven’t been to this one yet, but Durbanville Needlecraft 021 975 7361 is on Oxfort Street Durbanville, but it comes recommended.

If you want to take a trip out to Somerset West about 30 minutes out of Cape Town along the N2 then I recommend the yarn store in Lion’s Head Square (situated on Main Rd) a lot of fun unfun fur, but a few gems hidden in amongst it and Crafter’s Inn which is situated in one of the arcades that run off Main Rd, these folk are interesting, I’ve asked them repeatedly if they would stock self-striping sock yarn, even taken in stuff that I’ve bought here in South Africa, but they refuse to consider it.

Mind you the other day I went shopping for cotton in Somerset West and couldn’t find anything in either store that would be suitable for the pattern I had in mind. I need to take another trip down to Belville.

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Yesterday we took the students to the South African Museum after that we had lunch in The Company Gardens. We had wonderful weather and this was the view:

That’s Table Mountain. After lunch we took a walk up to Long Street (and yes, it is very long). Long Street is a quite tourist focused and they have some very good stores selling African arts and crafts. These followed me home

Then we visited the Planetarium. It was very cool. The reclining seats, darkness, soft music… guess who slept through half the show. At least I woke up before the show ended.

In knitting news, I finished my Wee Tiny Sock for the Wee Tiny Sock Swap

but tragedy struck! When I went to put it in its envelope I noticed that I had missed a stitch while drawing the yarn through and there was a HOLE!. Guess who is knitting another wee tiny sock tonight…

Book 14: Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventists and the American Dream – by Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart.

An interesting sociological study.

I got an email today telling me that my Favourite Colour Swap package had arrived at its destination. I had to be really sneaky this time since I got partnered with a girl I went to high school with. What are the odds? I’m over here, and she’s in Australia and we were randomly matched by a third party. She hasn’t posted pictures yet, but she tells me she loves the stuff. I had fun shopping for her.

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My swap package arrived yesterday. I started smiling as soon as I picked up the parcel from the mail room. I recognised the address as coming from Starfish, who also posted to me in Favourite Colour Swap 1. True to form, I didn’t make it out of the building before unwrapping the package (very low impulse control when it comes to packages from overseas).

Beautiful sock yarn, I’m going to have the swankiest feet in South Africa as soon as I get all my ‘socks-in-waiting’ knitted, some applique needles (which were most gratefully received since I haven’t seen them here) some quilting templates and just look at the lovely material. We can’t forget the chocolate, I love dark chocolate and I love cranberries, so it is divine. Thank you so much.

I was beginning to suspect that my partner was a regular reader of my blog, but I had no idea it was Starfish, she is one sneaky lady!

A while back I bought some fish blocks, they have been playing on my mind lately and I’ve decided to make them the centre of a star. When I got home from work I dug them out of the stash (despite my best intentions I seem to be acquiring a stash) and lo and behold they match my swap fabrics.

I need to finish my current quilt so I can get started on this one!

To top off my day this was out when I got home:

Perfection in a pot.

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A Book meme

I am formulating a response to the comments left in the last post, but I want to think about that for a bit longer. In the meantime here’s a book meme.

Look at the list of (100) books below.
Bold the ones you’ve read.
Italicize the ones you want to read.
Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.
Movies don’t count.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)

12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)

17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25 . Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)

38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) (started reading this in the bookshop)

43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)

54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)

96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Only 50 for me.

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