Showing posts from July, 2014

Day 92: Daffodils

I'm grateful for the early signs that spring is on its way and for the one brave daffodil that has decided to flower in my garden. Brave, because it could turn frosty again before we can officially claim that winter is over, and because while the painters have finished the roofers might be moving in soon with all their scaffolding to rip up my garden.

From temperatures barely above zero last week to almost in the twenties this week, methinks we might be able to celebrate an early spring. And I will definitely be grateful for that!

Day 91: Stable

I know I got it wrong so many times. I know I was not the perfect mother (even though I desired to be from that first precious moment when our firstborn was laid in my arms) and I was far from being the perfect wife, but I am grateful that DH and I were able to offer our children a stable and [mostly (talking about my failings here)] loving upbringing.
I'm grateful that when our sons come home from university or come to visit that they don't have to divide their time between Mum's and Dad's homes. I'm grateful that they don't have to worry about upsetting one or both parents on special occasions such as Christmas. I'm grateful that the only drama at their weddings is about what to wear or serve the guests and not how to keep the parents from killing each other. I'm grateful that we can all be present at the same time when a new life is celebrated and that there are no truly hurt feelings over who gets to hold the baby first or for the longest. 
I'm …

Day 90: Honesty

I am grateful that when I messed up today - and knew it - no one told me otherwise. I felt pretty bad about it as it was and if I'd been told 'it wasn't that bad' I would have felt even worse. Why I messed up on that particular piece of music in that particular way, I'll probably never know. I had it in my mind 'not too rush' which I've been prone to doing, but to end up being a bar or two ahead of the others in the group before I even reached the [my] problematic areas, that was bad, bad, bad.

What is even more humiliating, I couldn't work out where I needed to be to be in time with the others (nothing sounded familiar) and kept on playing while thinking 'This is just sounding worse and worse and they must all know it's me at fault'. Eventually I finished several notes ahead of the others, holding my last note much longer than it should have been held. At least when we then repeated the final section, we were all together again but the…

Day 89: Clean Up

I am so grateful to DH who cleaned up all the flakes of paint lying around our backyard and scrubbed our back veranda until it looked brand new.

I'm not sure if all these flakes are responsible for my recent sinus infections, but I'm sure they've not helped. After all, the paint is in all probability lead-based.

I can't say that I'll be sorry when it's finished.

Day 88: Publishing

I'm grateful - and excited - to have not one,  but TWO books currently with the publishers. To Await the Dream is with Castle Publishing and The Scent of Rain is with Ark House Press.

Perhaps it's a little ironic that the novel with an Australian flavour is with a New Zealand publisher and the one with a New Zealand influence is with an Australian publisher. But (and New Zealanders will hate me for saying this) to a large proportion of the world's population, they are one and the same country. (Not true, though. Different cultures, different slang, some would even say, different English language - although our spelling is the same.)

Since the next novel that I'm planning is set in both Australia and New Zealand I wonder how I will go about choosing a publisher when the time comes?

Day 87: Cuddles

I'm grateful for cuddles from The Most Adorable Granddaughters in the World ... and that next year there will be another Adorable Granddaughter or perhaps even a Charming Grandson ... and that the sock that looked good now also fits ... and that I only had to walk half way home from my music lesson (thanks Son#4 for rescuing me) ... and that the daytime temperatures are now back into double digits ... and that DIL#2 RSVP'D for me because I'm hopeless and had forgotten all about the Ladies Get-together tomorrow night and would most likely have missed out ... and for my little helpers with getting dinner tonight (which reminds me, I should probably go and sweep up all the flour they managed to spill).

Day 86: Laughter

I'm grateful for the gift of laughter. The Bible says that a joyful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 17:22) and modern medicine is not ignorant of its benefits.

It can bring people together, smooth over tensions, dispel gloom, put things into perspective, make a bad situation better ... etc, etc.

Take tonight for instance.

The last few evenings I have been knitting for my DH, despite increasing pain in one hand. I wanted to get it done for him, but when I cast off that final stitch, sewed in all the ends, and gave it to him to try on, it didn't fit. Son #4 arrived home soon after and I gave it to him to try on. It didn't fit him either but, according to him, it looked good.

Right. We'll frame it and hang it on the wall if it looks so good.

If you come into my home and see a solitary sock framed and hanging on the wall, you are allowed to laugh but please keep all other thoughts to yourself. Because the sting of it not fitting (I still can't work out why) has been …

Day 85: Courage

I'm grateful for the incredible women I meet who are facing adversity (whether health or relationship ills) with incredible strength and courage. I am constantly amazed by these awesome women that I am so privileged to know. (Yes, beautiful lady who talked to me today about socks and my blog, you are way up there at the top of this list.)

It makes all my moans and complaints seem so ... trivial.

And while I'm discussing my petty complaints, all those who think it is cool, exciting, awesome, etc that snow is predicted for our area, I will have you know, it is not. We want the forecast to be very, very, very wrong.

Day 84: Date

I'm grateful for the opportunity to go out for dinner with DH this evening

... because it's always good not to have to cook dinner

... and spend time together of course!

Day 83: Close Call

I'm grateful that I was able to get out of the way and remain unhurt when a whole pile of firewood that was stacked higher than I am tall, fell down onto the floor of the wood shed. Yesterday I thought a particular row was looking unstable ... today I was proved correct.

As to DH's reaction: apparently I collect firewood 'incorrectly'. O-kay. Not to be a helpless female or anything, but perhaps next time I'll leave it to the men in the house. Only problem is, I'm likely to freeze first. (Which is not an exaggeration given that our temperature actually dropped below freezing last night - okay, it was only -1°C but where I live, that is a BIG deal!)

Day 82: Submission

I'm grateful that I finished editing (the easy part) my fourth manuscript and submitted it (the hard part) to my publisher. (Perhaps I should also be grateful that I've been sick these school holidays which has translated into lots of writing/editing time because I haven't felt like doing anything else - apart from knitting, of course.)

I'm also grateful that we're moving ahead on Book Three in the Distant Land series. I'll update when I know more.

Day 81: Painters

I'm grateful that the painters have turned up and, despite a curtain of water on the inside of our window box when they were water blasting (one of the joys of old houses), they've made progress. Best of all, it means that our new roof isn't too far off (this side of Christmas, hopefully) and that those pipes that are such a temptation to little ones (DH has had to cover the ends) will soon be put to their rightful purpose.

More on Heels (The Sock Variety)

Yes, it's winter, and I'm on holidays and I have a cold (again) and I'm dividing my time between knitting and editing and knitting and chores and knitting and ... you get the picture.

I'm still on the lookout for the perfect knitted sock. So far I love short row heels but only because the more traditional gusset and heel flap DO NOT FIT me. Take for example, my striped socks (no I'm not giving them to you, even if they don't fit). A lovely yarn and a lovely pattern BUT the heel continually ends up on TOP of my foot. Some call it swimming heel syndrome, and these socks have it with a vengeance. Why? It was one of the few pairs when I actually followed the pattern.

When I closely examine the sock, the problem is easy to see. There is too much fabric around the top of my ankle. Now, I thought my lack of a high instep was the problem (to be truthful, I have no idea whether I have a high instep or not) but now I'm thinking my ankles are either too narrow or my h…

Day 80: A Better Day

I'm grateful for a better day.

A day when I didn't determine my worth by what I saw in the mirror.

A day when I was kind to myself.

A day when I accomplished some things and didn't beat myself up for the things I didn't get done.

A day when I didn't compare myself to others.

A day when I could laugh at myself and not worry about what others thought.

A day when I could find joy in the little things.

A day when I was grateful to be alive.

Day 79: Dogs and Fervent Prayer

Our border collie, Kielsie, has been a part of our family for nearly eleven years but in recent years we have noticed that she is getting slower and that she sometimes seems to be a little stiff - especially at this time of year. I'm in denial, though. I don't want to accept that she will ever get old and I struggle to imagine a time without her.
Those who have pets know exactly what I'm talking about.
In New Zealand we don't have to worry about rabies. Something for which I am extremely grateful. Who wouldn't be? Not only are our beloved pets safe from this shocking and fatal disease (unless treatment is begun soon enough and is successful), but so are our nearest and dearest.

But there are other countries where rabies is a frightening concern. When DH and I visited South East Asia at the beginning of the year we seriously considered being vaccinated for rabies, but decided against it. Our friends where we would be staying had never had rabies on their property a…

Day 78: When Things Work Out

I'm not sure what madness led me to sit down at my sewing machine today, especially when sewing is not my most favourite activity. It's not as if I didn't have anything else to do. There was plenty I could have been doing - in fact, should have been doing - and sewing without a pattern wasn't on that list. Perhaps because so many other things had gone wrong already today, my subconscious may have wondered what would be the harm in adding one more.

Firstly, some history. I've knitted since I was a little girl: five or six years of age, I suspect. In the early days I borrowed knitting needles from my mother or maternal grandmother, but as an adult I slowly built up my own collection (with a few generous donations from my mother and grandmother, especially those tortoiseshell needles which were so lovely to knit with but so unpopular today - yes, I'm admitting to owning a few pairs). For many, many years I kept the needles in the cardboard tubes that are used for …

Day 77: That Moment

I will be ever so grateful for that moment when The Most Adorable Granddaughters in the World are all sound asleep. (One down, three still to go.)

Day 76: For Asking

Feeling nostalgia last night, I asked DH if he remembered when we first met. Not the 'official' first time (which happened to be at Kiwi Ranch - perhaps a sign of what was to come years later down the track?) when we introduced ourselves and talked until interrupted by others, but the 'real' first time. If he did, his memory is different to mine, and that's okay.

I then asked him if he'd like to go back to that first time ... and other firsts in our relationship. First date. First time we knew we were in love. First phone call (did we really talk that long?). First time we knew we were loved. First time we held hands. First time we felt cherished. First kiss.

His reply? No. Apparently he's afraid that given what I know now, I wouldn't say yes again! I reminded him that I said yes the first time and would do so again. Afterwards I wondered if I should have been the one afraid: perhaps knowing what he knows now - i.e. how difficult I am to live with - he …

Day 75: Crochet Hook

I am grateful for crochet hooks that allow me to easily pick up dropped stitches when I'm knitting or, as more often happens, gives me the freedom to change purl stitches to knit stitches or vice versa when I change my mind about patterns.

Rather than undoing this sock, I grabbed my crochet hook and made the necessary changes to the stitches at the back of the leg. It saves undoing lots and lots of rows, and most times it's successful. Note I said, most times.

From boring heel to one a little more interesting (and a little more work - but worth it). Note: the picture below includes several rounds of knitting after the trick with the crochet hook (which simply made some of the knit ribs purl and placed a knit rib at centre back to start the 'stem').

Adapting Short Row Heels (A Knitting Post)

(Please note: if you are not a knitter or have put down your needles for the Northern summer, you probably won't be interested in this post. Its purpose is to share my experiments and failures and to give me access to my notes in the future when I've forgotten what I've done and how I felt about the various steps. It's also likely to be picture heavy, although pictures will probably be poor quality because it's hard to photograph your feet in socks, especially at this time of the year when legs are not usually on display and therefore not at their [ahem] best.)

With two different socks on the go, and wanting a simple heel that fits my foot, I've been looking at short row heels. Amongst sock aficionados I'm not sure that short row heels rank very highly which shouldn't bother me, but it does. I started with short row heels and love their simplicity but have ventured into other types when the pattern calls for it or when I've wanted to be seen to be d…

Day 74: Cold Sore

Yes, you read it correctly. Believe it or not, I am actually grateful for the cold sore that began to make its presence felt some time yesterday. What can I say? Between hives, a sinus infection, and a few other things, I am obviously run down. For the past fortnight I have kept going on the thought if I can only make it to the holidays. Well I managed to make it to the holidays - just.

But what has this do to with being grateful? I woke this morning with a humongous cold sore on my lower lip and decided that church would not be a part of my day after all. After DH and sons (in separate cars) had gone off to church, I pulled out my laptop and listened to this sermon.

Seriously, I'm grateful I did. And since I'm grateful for the sermon, I'm also grateful for the cold sore that required me to miss church and look elsewhere for spiritual nourishment today. I'm thinking I might be listening to a few more sermons online in the near future, but hopefully missing church won&#…


I'm basically a one-project person. Depending on my mood and the time of year (I rarely hand quilt in summer although it has been known to have been done), I might have quilt pieces to sew together, a quilt waiting for hand quilting, a knit-in-the-car project, a longer term one on needles, and a cross-stitch hidden away because my eyes just can't see to do it except in daylight between noon and two. But I rarely have several similar projects on the go at once.

So what changed? Why have I not one, but two pairs of socks on the go using same weight yarn and needles, and a shawl also cast on? And why have I worked on each of these projects in the one day? In the past, I would have finished one project before starting another. Why the change now?

I have no idea. It could be that I've fallen in love with the most delicious yarn from Spinning a Yarn but it would have made sense in my infatuation to drop everything else and concentrate on that one project. Why am I two-timing -…

Day 73: Relief

I'm grateful that DH and Sons#4 and #5 are home safely from their hunting trip. ... And that they had success. ... And enjoyed the pumpkin soup, yoghurt bread, baked apple, and triple choc brownie that I made in anticipation of three hungry men arriving home.

I'm also very, very grateful for my washing machine which is going to be doing double duty this weekend.

Day 72: Repairs, Mice and a Holiday

I am grateful that my glasses have been repaired and I do not have to do without them for any longer. I was beginning to wonder how I would survive a whole weekend without them.

I am grateful that we DO NOT have mice even though Son#4 was suspicious that we might have such unwelcome inhabitants when he saw me washing the containers from my pantry (I was just replacing my old plastic ones for new glass ones).

And I am grateful that today was the last day of term and we now have a two week break in which I hope to catch up on housework, pay some bills, do DH's tax, garden, knit, write, submit a manuscript, and spend some time with The Most Adorable Granddaughters in the world and their awesome uncles and aunts.

Day 71: Trying

I'm trying very hard to be grateful ... after all the sun did manage to shine even if a mysterious white substance was on the ground from some time last night until after lunch time today. And the children did enjoy it ... it was pretty ... and fascinating ... but it was also so cold ... and I don't do cold.

And Sons#4 and #5 didn't see the point of lighting the fire before I arrived home which meant the house was colder than Antarctica when I walked in. I have a sneaking suspicion that I hadn't properly shut the freezer door this morning before going to work (not the deep chest freezer but the little one in the bottom of the 'fridge that contains things like sourdough bread which I'll never be able to eat by myself, yoghurt and cheese cultures, egg whites that I've forgotten about and will probably quickly forget about again, and a few containers of breadcrumbs) and everything was still frozen eight hours later.

Despite the cold, I can be grateful for my e…

Day 70: Fire

Because I am soooooooooo cold.

Day 69: Success

I am grateful that DH and Son#4 had success today when out hunting. Although, if their tales can be believed, it doesn't sound as if our freezer will benefit greatly from the day's expedition. Still, success is success, and I'm happy.

I'm also grateful that Son#5 has come home for a few days or perhaps longer. I don't ask how long ... but I'll enjoy having two sons at home while it lasts.