Archive for October, 2006

The weekend

I’m going to be taking a break from the blog for a week or so. I need to hibernate from the world for a while and get myself together both physically and emotionally; I had a miscarriage on Sunday.

I was about 7 weeks pregnant and we were just waiting on the second ultra-sound before we told people. Gorgeous Man called our Ob/gyn at home when it became obvious what was happening. He met us at the hospital and within 2 and 1/2 hours from first signs that the pregnancy was going wrong I was in surgery.

I’m told that our chances of having a successful pregnancy next time are good and that we should wait a few months before trying again. Right now though, I’m grieving for this child that didn’t make it.

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We ate out last night. Gorgeous Man had a faculty meeting and it ran late. I finally got to try the Thai place that we wanted to go to on my birthday. It was gooood!! Gorgeous Man had beef with ginger and noodles and some other stuff (his had a slow burn to it) I had (mild) chicken with cashews, noodles, some vegetables and roasted chilli paste. It had an initial kick, but wasn’t too hot. No photos. I was too hungry to mess ’round with the camera.

It’s a little bit on the pricey side, so it won’t become a regular dining experience, but very good for special occasions.

Still working on the red knitting. This project is moving really quickly, more pictures tomorrow.

I’m starting to feel a little less fatigued, so who knows the applique may even make an appearance over the next day or two. Probably not tonight though since it is the end of the month and we need to go grocery shopping.

One key difference here, from Australia, is that we are now paid at the end of the month instead of fortnightly. It’s taken some getting used to shopping only once a month. but I think we’ve got it down now. We shop for staples monthly and top up on fresh produce (milk, bread, vegetables) as needed.

Some more differences between the two nations: Buying fuel for your car.
Here, in South Africa the petrol (gas) price is fixed each month and each petrol station in an area will charge the same price (the coast is marginally cheaper than inland). We’ve had a good run lately in that the price has come down for the last three months – it sky rocketed for a while there though.

All service stations here have full driveway service, in Australia you’ll only find driveway service in a very, very small town and even then that’s rare. Someone will fill your car with petrol and while the petrol is pumping either wash your windscreen and rear window, or check your oil and water. It depends on the service station whether you tip the attendant or not. Some guys will wait for a tip and others wil move off before you can. Tipping is something I’ll come back to in a later post – we don’t tip in Australia because we have strong minimum wage laws…

It must be really hard for South Africans who move to countries where petrol stations are all self-service as it would be a very new experience to pump their own petrol.

I’ve been enjoying reading your feedback on language variations in the comments from yesterdays post. Keep them coming.

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There’s been some knitting going on, but quilting is on hiatus until I recover enough energy to turn my mind to learning something new like needle turn applique.

Not really much to post about. Somebody stole Spring and we are back to cold, wet, grey weather. Great knitting weather though. If only I didn’t need to go to work…

Here is a picture of the microfibre yarn from Turkey (made in Turkey and bought here) that I bought. I am loving this yarn. It’s a little bit slippery on the metal needles, but I’m a very tight knitter so this is probably good for me. I love the way the colour is forming a pattern too. I’m not saying what this is going to be. You’re just going to have to wait to find out.

Ok, knitting content over. Let’s talk about South Africa.

South Africa and Australia are very similar in many ways. For instance: the wide open spaces, the love of sport (not me, but most Australians), the love of the BBQ (or Braai as they say here) and (at least where we are) an outdoor lifestyle. But there are also many differences. Today I’m going to talk about language. Now, I know that there are many words that Australians use that are unique. The Calico Cat has talked about this on her blog after her trip to Australia earlier this year. I’m going to confine myself to a few ‘South Africanisms’.

1. Robots – we have robots at street corners and intersections. Also known to the rest of us as traffic lights and street lights.

2. Circles – I would call this a roundabout.

3. Shame – When I first arrived people would often ask me about how we were going finding a house, organising a visa for the cat etc and when I’d tell them they’d pat me on the arm and say “Shame”. For the life of me I couldn’t work out why they were telling me to be embarrassed. Then I learnt that Shame is an expression of sympathy, as in ‘that’s a shame’.

Of course it goes the other way too. I went into a chemist (pharmacy) the other day to ask for cough lollies – the girl had no idea what I was talking about and what I bought had no relation to what I was looking for – I discovered that when I got home and opened the packet…

I’m not making fun, I’m merely pointing out differences in vocabulary. Being an English teacher (though my true love is history) I find language fascinating. It’s been interesting to see how quickly our own language has changed. We now comfortably speak of cell phones (mobiles) and vacations (holidays) and Braais (bbqs). I’ve even started saying “Shame”, much to Gorgeous Man’s disgust.

I’m getting a bit worried about my accent though. When I took the students to The Waterfront last week – a big tourist area. I was asked, in the space of 45 minutes if I was from Canada and what part of the UK I was from. I’m telling myself it’s just because the vendors were unfamiliar with the Aussie accents.

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The big news is that I have finally finished the baby blanket that I knitted as a gift for a co-worker. The colours aren’t quite this dull in real life.
Now I just need to wash, block and weave in the ends.

Speaking of blocking, I have a question: when you knit lace does it need to be blocked each time it’s washed? What about socks?

We got the recordings done ahead of schedule on Sunday. It was a lot of fun. I’m really pleased with the song by myself and the song I did with a group(7), but not too pleased with the duet, I just don’t like the song. Anyway, now we need to wait and see what magic they work in the studio.

My step-mother-in-law (yes, I have two mother-in-laws) sent us another update of how our cacti collection that we left with them is doing. This was one of my favourites.

I started knitting the latest yarn acquisition last night. The microfibre feels lovely and I’m really liking the way that the colours are coming together, I need to knit a little more before taking a picture though.

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Weekend plans

Gorgeous Man is going away for work this weekend and I was planning to spend a lovely quite time at home catching up on sleep and quilting and knitting and my journal, which has been sadly neglected since I started blogging…

But, I forgot that this weekend is the recording date for the CD. We are having a rehearsal on Friday night and then recording Sunday. I guess that still leaves me Saturday. I’m fine about the song I’m doing on my own. That won’t be a problem. I am kind of concerned about the quartet though as I’ve never sung it with the other three members and the version I know is different to the version being recorded. As for the proposeds duet, well let’s just say I’m yet to learn the song. Guess the Friday night practice will iron out all the kinks. I hope…

Here is the picture I tried to load yesterday. This is taken from my back door.

The sky was actually pinker than this, but you get the general idea. This is probably the best sunset we’ve seen so far.

Today it feels like someone has stolen all the mountains. They are completely obscured by cloud. Well I’m off to visit some blogs, hope you have a great weekend.

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Just enough time for a quick post today.

I started the final ball of yarn on the dreaded baby blanket last night – note to self, don’t make large projects for co-workers or acquaintences. So it should be finished soon and I can get back to the quilt and finishing the charity sweaters.

I had a great picture of last night’s sunset from my kitchen window, but flickr is being very slow, so it’ll have to wait for a later post.

I noticed today that I’ve had over 2000 visits since I started blogging. I never expected that so many people would be interested enough to stop by and visit. Thanks to all of you who comment, it’s been great getting to know you.

If you are a regular reader, but haven’t commented yet, feel free to make yourself known. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a blog.

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Life is pretty hectic here at the moment, and apart from plugging away at the blanket I haven’t had much time to be crafty. I’m feeling a bit frustrated, because I really want to be working on the applique quilt, but am too tired in the evenings to concentrate on learning something new.

I went out last night to a 31st birthday party which was nice, very low key, just junk decadent food and a chick flick. Only the girls and kids were invited. Gorgeous Man spent the evening writing exams.

So, what to talk about today? Let’s talk about some of my new experiences: Anything to do with labour is very cheap here, as a result nearly every one I know (except me) has a maid or a maid/nanny. One thing we do quite regularly here that we would never did in Australia, is send the laundry out to be done. We usually only do this if the weather over the weekend has been inclement, because I love the feel and smell of sun-dried clothes over those tumble-dried. But the cost of getting a few loads of laundry done is much cheaper here.

Doctors and vets are also less expensive – and yes I have finally stopped converting everything to Australian dollars and am thinking in rands, but proportionally, in terms of salary, those services are less. Makes me realise why Australia has so many South African doctors…

Hopefully I’ll get some crafting done tonight.

This is the latest picture of the Gorgeous Man and myself.

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We went out to Hermanus this Saturday and had a picnic lunch on the foreshore which was very lovely. Hermanus is a whale watching centre and during winter the whales come very close to shore as they migrate through the bay.

We saw quite a few whales, some blowing spouts of water into the air, others just floating on the surface, one was leaping out of the water and crashing back down – like a huge dolphin, but that was really far off shore. There was also a mother and calf which was very cute.

My little digital camera has some problems with things far away, but if you look closely you can see the whale’s tail.

Hermanus also has dassies. These little creatures are kind of like guinea pigs on steroids and their closest relative is the elephant. They live in caves at the bottom of the cliffs. Gorgeous Man climbed down to get this shot.

They are quite large.

The weather wasn’t that great – a little misty and foggy so we didn’t go home along the coast, but took the short cut over the mountains however, here is a photo of the coast from the last time I was there It’s a spectacular drive, absolutely breath-taking. The mountain route isn’t bad either.

In Australia we had a very large collection of cacti. We sold most of them when we moved here, but the best ones went to Gorgeous Man’s dad and his wife. This cacti was one of the first that Gorgeous Man bought, it was quite small when we got it and it never flowered. This photo was sitting in my email box this morning. Isn’t it pretty?

Kind of matches the yarn I bought the other day.

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Thank you all very much for you kind birthday wishes. We went out for dinner – I wanted to try the Asian restuarant in the mall, but unfortunately it was closed for a private function. So we went to Spur instead. Spur is, apparently, the all South African family restuarant. Which is odd, because when I first saw a Spur I thought it was an American import. Their logo incorporates a Native American and the place is decorated with tomohawks, and cowhide seats.

I’m about to commit heresy: I don’t think that Spur is that nice, and we probably won’t eat there again. As far as I can tell the only thing it’s got going for it is the huge portions of meat that they serve. The meal wasn’t bad, just not great.

On to the important stuff. I have knitting progress to show. This is what I decided to do with the troublesome pink yarn – her baby is due December 3, but I want to get it finished as soon as possible and get back to working on other things.

I won’t buy this yarn again, the colours are too uneven even though I bought from the same dye lot.

Yesterday I took the students to the Two Oceans Aquarium. It’s very cool and worth a visit. I stayed outside (since teachers don’t get in for free) and wandered through the craft markets at the Waterfront. After the aquarium we drove to Canal Walk one of the more upmarket shopping malls, and I bought some yarn.

I’m hoping it will knit up nicely. It’s not quite that orange in real life. Gorgeous man looked at it and said “what were you thinking?” Because it’s so bright. I was hoping for the green and purple colourway that I saw last time, but they were sold out and they aren’t getting anymore in, as not enough people were buying it. It was too expensive for the South African market, according to the girl in the shop. She’s right, I bought it at half price, but I wouldn’t have paid full price for it. It feels very soft – it’s a microfibre made in Turkey, with a German label.

We’re heading to Hermanus tomorrow and taking a picnic lunch, hopefully there will still be some whales about.

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I completed the first appliqued shape for my African animals quilt last night and it was less than a success. This was my first ever attempt at needle turn applique and I, well see for yourself,

I had a bit of trouble with the points. Good thing I’ve got a whole fat quarter of this fabric to play with. Another fish will go where the vilene is.

I did some internet research today and think I’ve got the point thing sorted, so I’m going to redo it. Not tonight though since it’s my birthday and I’m hoping the Gorgeous Man will take me out for dinner. I’m very excited, I’m getting a subscription to the Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine. No more hunting round the shops for it! woo hoo!

Time for the regular update on the garden at the baby sanctuary: Some stats and background first. The sanctuary has been open for 3 years. What they do is provide care to children who are too sick to go home, but not ill enough to be in hospital or children who (for whatever reason) can’t be cared for at home. They take the children, bring them up to a healthy weight and provide medications etc. The children are all under the age of 5. The sanctuary also educates the parents on the best way to deal with their child’s special needs. This place has cared for nearly 300 children since it opened. 90% of the children have hiv/aids and 21 children have died, 70% of the children have been placed on anti-retrovirals, and this facility is one of the most successful in the area in terms of treatment. There is a memory wall with photos of the children who have passed away inside the building, which is very moving.

Our little garden helps to provide food and keep kitchen costs down enabling more money to go to other areas. A German Rotary club provides money to us to purchase supplies/plants that we cannot get donated from local business, so this is a real community partnership.

We have finally finished all of the planting and so future trips out there will just be weeding and maintenance.

The silver beet s coming along well. The capsicums are starting to ripen and some have been harvested for the kitchen already. The tomatoes have been staked (here it’s about half done) and are starting to flower.

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