Things aren’t always what they seem

I thought I was on the mend but the day before yesterday whatever it is that is wrong with me took a massive slug just as I was out with Lizzie and I had to come home and sleep straight away. I alternate between feeling hot and cold and there are certain points of the day where I have to stand where it is coldest outside in the garden in my PJs to try and cool down because I am so hot that I can’t bear it any more. Regular doses of paracetamol aren’t doing anything anymore for the pain that comes and goes so I bit the bullet and went to see the doctor today. He wasn’t my usual doctor and has taken some samples for testing. He was able to rule out kidney problems and said the location of the pain isn’t consistent with gall stones so it may just be a bacterial infection. I’ve got to wait until Monday and call him to find out about my blood results so fingers crossed they can work out what is wrong.

I’m having a good day today so I’m going to go back to thinking about my essay for a little while until I get weary. I feel almost relieved that I’ve told someone as it has been three weeks since I initially got ill and I’ve not felt completely right for quite some time. I’m not going to let myself feel fooled into thinking I’m all better again because I was so knocked out that I had to stay in bed all yesterday and missed out on meeting the new nephew. At least pao was able to take some photos of the new boy and I could admire him from afar.

I have managed a bit of knitting since Christmas day. pao noticed that I’m not doing anything complicated and that is because I’m so tired that anything more difficult than a ribbed sock does my brain in. The two outermost socks are done in Claudia Handpaint – Country Kitchen colourway. I’m rather fond of Claudia and there may or may not be a huge amount in the stash. The middle sock is a Trekking 100 sock. I’ve decided not to knit the second one straight away because the colour reminds me of a geeky 80s jumper but it doesn’t look too bad in a photo.

I’ve been working on these berry coloured socks in Fyberspates Blue Faced Leicester since yesterday and they are a quick knit due to the thickness of the yarn.

Going deep ..

… deep into essay mode. I am about four days behind schedule as I had what could only described as so near the flu that I am still debilitated. That started on Thursday the day before we finished work so I slugged it out til the bitter end. So in the style of Trek here are some quick fire bullets:

  • Christmas was awesome. I got some wonderful gifts from Sarah and a super package from Chris and Jeanne.
  • pao outdid himself with a ball winder and swift and some incredibly lovely knee high sock blockers and other assorted random lovelies.
  • These will all be photographed and blogged about when I’m less spaced out and panicked about the four whole days I lost.
  • I think I’m just going to have to dip into my annual leave for this year. Thank goodness the leave year starts again in January.
  • I was too sick to stay for the whole of the Midnight service at church this year. This is the first time in over ten years that I wasn’t able to attend the whole thing. Over half way through, I realised that taking communion was not a good plan even if I waited til the end because I could have infected most of the church with my horrid lurgy. We slipped out during the peace and I watched the end of a midnight service on TV as pao made our bed.
  • I have taken more books out of the library than could possibly be imagined. Once I’ve finished with them, I’ll have to take a photo because pao was a little shocked to see I’d surrounded myself with a wall of books
  • We are having dinner with pao’s family on Sunday and I’m going to meet the new nephew. They have had plenty of warning that I’m going to look a bit nuts because I’m worried about working on my essay.
  • The Post-it wall has been resurrected. pao commented that he used to be able to see my thesis plan from outside the library.
  • I have been drinking lots of tea and coffee. Sarah’s gifts included tea so I’ve been drinking those with abandon. I am also drinking some Chai that Chris and Jeanne sent which is rather yummy.
  • I also have had a miracle arrive in the mail from Chris and Jeanne. Sadly, it is not a tiny black kitten but it is a really good essay writing incentive
  • Talking of miracles, I won a prize in Rebecca‘s Christmas ornament competition. I’ve won some beautiful purple and black Lang Jawoll – just my colours 🙂 Thanks, Rebecca!
  • I have knit two pairs of socks in the last week and watched the whole of series 3 of 24. pao thinks he is Jack Bauer so we won’t be watching series 4 for quite a while yet. 24 is good for watching when you are sick because you can drift off when Jack is beating the crap out of someone and the recaps at the beginning of the show can fill you in when you are a bit lost.
  • Now we’re watching House as a study treat. At least House is quite self-contained and not as addictive as 24 or I’d never start writing.

Ok, even though I’m tired, I’ve got to get to it as I have another fun lunch with Lizzie all arranged for tomorrow and I must must do some work before I go or I’ll be all worried.
These are the sock blockers pao got me. I asked for knee high ones because I would have liked them when I was knitting the Anna socks. They are so cute and the cats have tiny whiskers – click for a bigger view 🙂 The socks are the ones I finished on Christmas Eve.

Got to go, New York history is calling….

Guest photos :)

Susan kindly sent me these wonderful photos of Alewife station in Boston because she remembered that we were really bemused by the name and wanted to take some photos there. I love the signs, don’t you?





Thank you so much, Susan! They are a lovely reminder of our holiday 🙂

Taking tea with HP6 and Lizzie

Some low life stole the thesis I’d reserved to read on Monday and Tuesday afternoons so I had to hunt out some other sources to look at instead! I decided that it was about time I had an afternoon off as I’ve been feeling a bit grotty so I went to Tiny Tim’s with Lizzie for a complete switch off and bit of fun for a change! Of course, we had to take HP6 since he’d not been out for high tea before.

Even though we went for lunch time, I had a traditional English tea. When I’d been in there previously with pao, I could not take my eyes off the magnificent tea tray that our neighbouring table had. It was rather magnificent with a selection of sandwiches, scones and tiny cakes.

HP6 was keen to see if he could suck tea out of the pot from the spout.

They had just the spot for a monkee to relax. Especially after all that tea!

Besides he needed his energy for posing on a sleigh with a fireman! (click to embiggen)

Swinging from the light fantastic

pao put up our lounge and dining room lights this weekend. HP6 was quite taken with the ones in the lounge and had to be talked down.

The cats, particularly Perdita and Phoebe, are really enjoying the Christmas tree. I took this just after I caught her wrestle a chocolate bauble in the hallway. I confiscated and gave it to pao to eat so it was safe.

I scored a nice set of sewing thread from the German supermarket at the weekend. I just liked the range of colours 🙂

I am deep in essay research mode at the moment so apologies for the randomness of this post. I did a lot more reading yesterday and I even managed to finish off my unloved socks. I woke up with a monster headache this morning which paracetamol couldn’t shift. Luckily, my friend had some ibuprofen in his office which he gave me and really stopped the pain. I’m usually reluctant to take ibuprofen as it makes me wheezy but I figured that anything was better than feeling like I had an axe in my head and I did have a shiny new inhaler if I did end up with breathing problems.

I was a little sad as I’d ordered a PhD thesis to look at and it seems like it is lost. The thesis lady went to have a second look but couldn’t find it at all. Perhaps it is waiting to be shelved (from 1979). I asked the library staff about the books in the reading room and they told me that all those books are returns from just two days! As our library catalogue is down at the moment, most of the staff who are normally doing other cataloguey-type things have all be sent to do some shelving. The only advantage to the catalogue being down is the library staff have absolutely no idea how many books you have out already …. I may be in trouble when it comes back up again – lucky I have two library cards, hmm?

Where all those missing library books end up

Ever wondered what happens to those books that you can’t find on the library shelves? It isn’t the case that students are hiding them behind those horribly large physics manuals – they are invading large areas of the reading room! I was looking for a desk to sit at today and found that they were already occupied. Perhaps it is time that the library thought about getting more shelvers!

I did find a desk in the end but I was so shocked at the backlog of shelving!

Thankfully, I managed to reading the thesis I’d ordered in just under 5 hours so I could go home. I had a slight plan of working for an hour or so then knitting five rows. It was so cold in the library that my hands were so cold that I could only manage to knit 3 rows before I had to get back to the keyboard to stop my fingers from freezing up.

I’m working on my unloved socks. I finished one as we travelled around the US but put the other down in a fit of pique and disinterest when I got home. As I’m in the mood for finishing things off at the moment, I picked them up again with a view to finishing them before the end of the year.

Here is the first one. I’m starting to like them again. Maybe.

Well, I’m finally feeling the Christmas spirit. I’ve been a bit annoyed recently because there are people around who are simply humbugs – they simply cannot allow other people to celebrate Christmas! We went to see Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band last night. They were awesome and there were even sheep sounds 🙂 We got to sing some of the choruses of some of the Christmas carols. It was brilliant and Maddy Prior got up and started drizzling tinsel on the instruments and they switched on some Christmas lights and a little tree. The instruments they played were fascinating: bagpipes, curtels, shawm, cittern and something that looked like a Fisher Price keyboard that they blew into!

Help! I’ve got an essay hand in in just a month

Dear pao,
If I am not particularly responsive over the Christmas break it will be because I’m reading. And reading and reading some more. Then writing and writing and writing and writing. Then chopping and writing and refining – rinse and repeat.

So I apologise in advance if the following things happen:

  1. I become either extremely grumpy or horribly high on caffeine. Please realise that it is just the essay talking.
  2. I don’t notice that it is Christmas Day and am sitting at my laptop sighing.
  3. I start watching TV at strange hours because I’m overthinking my essay and can’t sleep
  4. I start hiding from you and your relatives for extended periods of time (nooo, I’d never hide under the desk upstairs, noooo, HP6 will cover for me)
  5. I get a bit panicky when I realise on Friday that the library is going to be shut for a whole ten days and I can’t look at that huge thesis any more
  6. I laugh hysterically when I realise that the two afternoons I booked off to go and work in the library are the two afternoons when the library catalogue is down (oops, already doing that)
  7. I start reading books about New York by torchlight under the duvet at night
  8. I start to hallucinate and think that Jay Gatsby is a real person (possibly due to a caffeine overdose and lack of sleep)
  9. I mix up the cat’s names/think you are one of the cats (oops, already do this too)
  10. Any other foibles not mentioned above

Lots of love,

I keep telling myself that since the web modules I’ve been taking in addition to the Masters degree are over now so I don’t have to worry about them too much although I missed quite a few of the lectures because I was working away at another site those days. I do have a bit to catch up on -eep- so I’m happy that I’m not being graded on those! This essay is the only piece of assessment that I have for the module. I think I’ve been quite worried because if I mess it up then I’m in trouble. I wrote out my essay plan tonight and have emailed it to my supervisor who is one of the most approachable people ever and pointed out that I know my third section is quite weak so hopefully he will have some suggestions for me.

Despite my apprehension, I’ve been delighted with the way the course has gone so far. I love it! I’m going to write on New York so I’m super happy about that, too! Happy and nervous! Eileen and I were chatting about this the other day and she sent me a link to a PBS broadcast about New York which has been very helpful – thank you, Eileen!

I’m off to buy a book called The Empire State which only seems to be readily available in the US but I have tracked down a British supplier who may be able to get it to me in a couple of days – fingers, toes, monkee legs crossed. I must be a bit daft because I should have got straight on and ordered it on Monday instead of coming home and sleep dozing by the TV.

HP6 is being extremely helpful by getting in touch with his literary side. Unfortunately, Dickens is a little too early for what I’m writing on 🙂

Fo fo fo!

I only decided to knit one item for a Christmas present and I finished it off today! I just need to block it and wrap it and I’m done 🙂

As you can see, Ariel really rather likes it…

quite a lot. So much so she slept on it whilst I was knitting it.

Ariel: It’s mine, all mine.

Ophelia: Not if I have anything to do with it.

Tree-ly a busy weekend!

I know it is a bit of an odd reason for wanting to live somewhere but when I stepped through the front door of our new house for the first time; my first thought was that we should get an enormous Christmas tree to go in the hallway – doesn’t it look perfect. We went and got it early on Saturday morning just before the heavens opened and the wind picked up. Luckily, we were safely ensconced decorating the tree and the house as we are due to have some friends round after the carol service on Tuesday. The hallway isn’t as tidy as it looks in these photos now as we’re still working on the tree but it’ll be all ready soon 🙂 We’ve been lucky because the cats are not remotely interested in the tree and have walked past it disdainfully. We have never had such a big tree before and it smells wonderful.

I enjoyed my conference presentation on Friday. It was going to be changed to June then suddenly I was back on the programme again a couple of days ago. I got a little lost but managed to pick up from where I left off. Not too bad considering that I hadn’t had a lot of time to rehearse beforehand and I was talking off the cuff.

I took HP6 as a lucky mascot and we headed off to Stash afterwards where we met the really lovely Diane. It is the month when they were showcasing the Shilasdair yarns which are normally only available via the internet. HP6 couldn’t resist diving in and luxuriating in the yarny goodness.

I came away with this lovely skein of Art Yarn’s Beaded Rhapsody. I would like to make a one skein scarf but can’t find any patterns which I like so far. I imagine something holey since there are only 160m of it. Any ideas?

I did stop off at iKnit on the way back but it was too dark to take photos – I hadn’t put the memory card back in the camera so could only take a maximum of three anyway! It was quite dark in the shop and I really wanted to get home at the point so I had a very quick look round before I nipped off.

I have spent quite a bit of time on the train recently so I have been able to finish my Anna socks at last. I am quite pleased with them. In the end, after careful consultation of lots of other finished pairs on Ravelry; it was the consensus that the pattern was remiss in not including any calf shaping so I switched down needles a couple of times. It only took me 2.5 balls of Rowan 4 ply soft so I have quite a bit extra to knit something else with 🙂

HP6 couldn’t resist climbing the Christmas tree especially when he saw that the sock monkey was after his banana.