Thursday, 20 December 2007

Knitted Noahs Ark

The Crocodile won.
Finally managed to get a bit of info about what on earth has been happening with the competition- apparently next month they will be publishing an article about it (finally!). I'm not holding out much hope for my dragonfly being anything more than a curio but I would like to see what other people made. I did discover who the overall winner was though- if its the crocodile that I have spotted in couple of pictures then its a pretty handsome beast and deserves a rosette. Well, the article comes out in January so not much longer to wait and then I can let you all know the juicy details. Huzzah!

The Christmas Slowdown

It's my last day of work before Christmas today! Yay!! And to make it even better I only have to be in the office until 1pm! Yay!!!
This does mean however that it is highly unlikely that I am going to get a large scale productive groove on the go. I shall have to try and concentrate on sorting out paperwork and tying up the last of this years affairs. For the first time in forever I really looking forward to the new year. It feels like there is a new beginning on the horizon- something fresh and untarnished. Haven't had this feeling for a while now and I hadn't realised how much I missed it. It might have been bought about by all the horrible icy cold weather that we have been having recently. It's almost as though we are having a proper winter after a year of nondescript seasons and months. It's cold outside but the ice is pretty and come spring, and we may actually get a proper spring, the flowers will start poking through and the world will start waking up again. Last year things just seemed to go right on through. Massively confusing for the bumblebees who seem to have been buzzing around non-stop.
But in the meantime I shall just go back into hibernation. I think that this is what has kept me away from writing for the last few days. All I want to do is curl up in a big pile of blankets and cushion and doze the days away. And after 1pm today that is exactly what I intend to do!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Long distance phone call

Have just heard from my friend in China! She is such a star- it must have been about 1 in the morning when she called which is an amazing amount of effort just so that she can speak to l'il old me. But the best news out of this is that she will be visiting the UK for a few weeks in January so we will be able to catch up properly then and drink loads of tea whilst we do it.
I am always impressed when I hear from people on other continents. I guess its not such a big deal now what with the internet having shrunk the globe for us but even so it still makes my heart flutter that bit more. I mean, the people who are, figuratively speaking, just up the road actually make less effort in some ways, to stay in touch. I think its a complacency thing. Or maybe familiarity? If it's 'easy' to see someone then I guess you just don't think about it as much. You manage to push it from your mind thinking 'I'll do that tomorrow...' but being in a different country highlights the fact that you are apart from people. If you feel a bit more out of place yourself you spend more time thinking about what you had or maybe you just feel times passage that bit more. It is easy to lose yourself in the new things however. I guess it's just a bit different for everyone depending on the sort of personality that you have. Well, being abroad always make me think of friends back home anyway!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A-ha!

Finally got the blasted slide show thing to work. Oh-yeah, oh-yeah.
So now you can see several almost identical photos of each of my knitting projects flashing by very very fast. I shall have to try and do something about the speed at which the thing travels but I can't be bothered right now after the fight I had to get it on here in the first place.
So, enjoy. I'm going to keep updating as I go along. I have a bunch of photos that I can't put on yet as they are are pictures of peoples xmas presents and as I've said already I'm keeping them as a surprise for the people involved as they are so wonderful. As soon as it is the 25th however I'm declaring them fair game.

Pipe dreams

Have just been having a big discussion with a friend of mine about travels abroad. It all came about through being offered a place on a trip to China which I would love to go on where it not for the fact that I have no money. As I was stood next to big world map that we have on the wall in our office the conversation then inevitably tumbled into stories and plans for where we have been and where we want to go next. If only I could afford to travel more! If it wasn't for the fact that we have to pay the mortgage every month then we might well be able to go away more but paying for a trip on top of everything else you have to pay for on a monthly basis is just too much. What we need is a big lottery win so that we can just pack up a car and go. We could spend a few months buzzing around Europe and then hop across the Atlantic and go for a buzz around America over a few more months and then on down to South America. We might come back in a few years time to let you all know how it went and share the photographs though of course we would want as many people as possible with us for as much of the journey as we could manage so we would need either an enormous lottery win or for our friends to win on a following week. Then we could all fly south for the winter and hang our hammocks on the porch of a beach house in Australia.

Monday, 10 December 2007

A great weekend

I am happy to report that I am feeling relaxed and sleepy after a wonderful weekend spent celebrating the husbands birthday. We had friends come to stay over and a few others round just for the evening on Saturday and come the next morning we had a recycling bin full of bottles. The only reason I am manging to remain cheerful about it is that I managed to avoid the dreaded hangover! Yay! This was mostly precipitated by our stay over friends having to bust a groove at an early hour. The husband and I made the effort to get up and make bacon and egg sandwiches because we are courteous hosts and it proved to be well worth it as we where both still drunk upon awaking and so had time to fill up on juice, tea, fried food and preemptive paracetamol before we started to feel bad. Awesome. I then got to sit on the sofa for the rest of the day on Sunday, eat chocolate and watch Futurama. This was all most welcome as I have to say, that we where both very deserving candidates for a hangover after having played drinking games the night before and ploughed our way through two bottles of spirits between 8 of us. My major triumph for the night however was not being the first person to bed. Having said this is it is a close run thing as the first ones to leave spent some time riding a lift up and down and up and down and up and down.....
and up and down.....
after leaving us. This fact shall keep me chuckling for a few days as least :)

Friday, 7 December 2007

Yippee!!

I have just finished the Wollaston Collection. I rock. To put this into some sort of context (and because its wonderfully geeky) I have produced the following stats:

Within the collection there are 500 seperate genera
The total number of species within these genera is 1799
Each species has an average of 8 specimens (7.81 rounded up)
Which gives an overall total number of specimens of 14034

Each of these specimens has been cleaned, re-pinned if needed, re-staged and had two labels added to it, one of which is specific to the color coding of the specimen. Everything has been databased. All labels where produced by me and have the name of the species, the author, date of publication and reference if it was a species described by Wollaston. It has taken me about 15 months to complete this project.

And now I'm going out for milkshake.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Eugh

Have just had a close look at my keyboard for the first time in forever and, frankly, am just disgusted with how grubby it is. If you pick it up and shake all these bits fall out and the keys have little greasy spots on them from my fingers. Yuk yuk yuk. Am going to have to tackle this tomorrow. Do you think it counts as work if I prise all the buttons off my keyboard and clean them with a toothbrush in the sink? I'm hoping it does. There is an inordinate amount of glitter in there though so it's not all bad. Can spot some miscellaneous fluff, some of those little bits of paper you get out of hole punches, what appears to be some grass seed and the inevitable bit of insect. Had better make sure that I don't take all the keys off at once however otherwise I might not get them back in the right order. Hmmm, which gives me a great idea for a April fools day prank though I'm not sure how quickly most people would pick up on it if you swapped the keys around. Most people touch type nowadays don't they? Well, guess there's only way to find out isn't there? ;)

Monday, 3 December 2007

Am feeling very smug


Have come up with a brilliant xmas present. I managed to work out the final part of my plan that I have been pondering all weekend and have now cracked it. Unfortunately I have to remain secretive until the recipient has received said present as I really don't want to spoil the surprise. Which makes for quite a boring entry in my blog really so have a weasel to make up for it.
I would also suggest that you check out the link below. This had the picture that I really wanted to use because it is soooooo cute but the buggers have copyright on it. Probably for good reason I guess!
http://www.gowerbirdhospital.org.uk/gallery_2.asp
and then look for the weasels (2nd row, 2 in)

Fenway's not all there- but he's okay

I am pleased to say that the vet gave Fenway the all clear at the weekend. He is now officially a nutless cat. Poor dear. He was getting a bit inappropriately bitey with his sister though and there is only so much incestuous dry humping that can be allowed before drastic measures need to be taken. So we took him to the vets just over a week ago to see whether he was big enough to have the operation (both in general body weight and nut size) and unluckily for him the vet said yes. So we dropped him off two days later and that was the end of Fenways' little furry balls. I've been keeping close eye on him over the last week to make sure that nothing was going green and runny, or that he was having any horrid side effects from the anesthetic but he has been perfectly fine and was back to his usual self within minutes. The biting has thankfully stopped but his appetite has increased. We've been warned to be careful about his diet now as its very easy for neutered cats to start piling on the pounds and as much as I love a fat cat it is cruel to let them turn into furry footballs with stabilisers at each corner. Funny, but cruel.
Hoshi will be making her way to the vets in a couple of months. We've decided to let her get a bit bigger as the surgery for a female cat is a bit more invasive and takes longer. Plus we'd like to time it with a holiday so that one of us can sit with her at home for a day or two to make sure Fenway doesn't jump on her head too much. Hopefully by then they will have grown enough that we'll be able to let them out a bit more, although given their performance this weekend I'm not sure that the husband will ever be letting them out again!
They had wanted to go out and play in the garden all weekend but it was raining most of the time so we kept them in. By sunday afternoon their pitiful mews had broken me however and I let them out. They were soon hunting through the grass and climbing the fence posts. Of course they were a bit soggy when they came in so we shut them in the kitchen to dry off whilst we watched a movie. About half way through we got distracted and the husband headed into the kitchen for some tea. He was not amused. There was a little trail of paw prints across all the surfaces in the kitchen from one end to the other. They'd been back and forth across the table about 20 times and one of them had had a fight with the front of the freezer. The floor does not bear mentioning.
Teehee

My lazy weekend

Ah, hmm, had meant to be a good girl this weekend and get lots of things done on the computer. Of course, I completely failed to do this as the last thing I want to do at the weekend is stare at a computer screen. What I would rather do is knit and stare at a TV screen.
Hmm, strange. Hadn't really thought of it that way. Anyways, I did get 75% of another xmas present finished off and do all my on-line xmas shopping. I also stroked the kittens lots and lots and lots so that their fur is all shiny and sleek. What I didn't do was fill in the important paperwork that I need for work or sort any of our banking stuff out, or even file anything away. I ate bacon sandwiches instead and watched the Tenacious D movie (utterly cool). Sometimes hiding away in the house is just the perfect thing for a weekend.

Friday, 30 November 2007

After a little tidying

I feel much better. Have now updated my blog and whilst I am doomed never to have a slide show on here I have just worked out how to add pictures in to a blog message so I can now pepper the entire site with knitting and kittens. Yay! (Eek, goes the one person who reads this).
I am hoping that this will all spur me on to being a good girl and writing my blog updates much more frequently. I have been a little slack over the last couple of weeks which is a bit silly of me and I intend to atone for this. Unfortunately right now I have a piece of knitting in front of me that I am dying to get on with and have already ignored for half an hour and I'm going to have to cave and get back to it before I run out of time before work to get any knitting done. I find that if I sit and knit for a bit before starting the every day routine at work it helps settle me into my day and I feel as though I have had some time to myself to do something for me. I often knit in the evenings as well but I invariably have at least one kitten and a husband near me. It's not thinking time like I get in the mornings.
Speaking of which I'm going to go! But I shall be good and write more today in penance for my recent slackness.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Still can't make it work

Okay, so I'd really like to know how I'm supposed to make the slideshow work on this thing- it's been driving me completely nuts. As a second place solution I have added a link to my flickr photo album at the bottom of the page in the links section. I hope to god that that works properly.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Marmite is the food of the gods

Have I ranted about this before? If not then I jolly well should have done- marmite is so good! Hmmm, makes my lunchtime. The only thing that can top a marmite sandwich is a cheese and marmite sandwich and the only way to get better than that is a toasted cheese and marmite sandwich. Makes me dribble just thinking about it.
Marmite even works with slightly odd things. Another of my favourites is marmite with cream cheese and cucumber, toasted or not, however it comes.
In fact the perfect lunch for me would be a toasted cheese and marmite sandwich, a greek sesame bar, yogurt (either the thick ski type ones with strawberries in or natural greek yogurt with cucumber and raisins in) and a plump ripe kiwi. Other fruit may also be added in such as raspberries, pomegranate, plums (though I haven't had a good one of these for ages), peaches, nectarines or blackberries. A small handful of nuts excluding peanuts, pecans, pistachios and hazelnuts (so brazil, walnuts or cashews really) would not go amiss either.
Hmmm, have just had my lunch and have now gone and made myself hungry again. Of course the best way to combat this is to have a nice bowl of porridge (with brown sugar) in the morning. That will fill you up for the entire day. As it is however, I'm not much of one for mornings and very rarely feel like eating which probably accounts for the rumble in my tummy at lunchtime.

Hah! very one track mind at the moment it seems. I didn't really have any intention of dissecting my lunch box for you all but I guess it's as good a subject as any. It stops me ranting about the bloody stupid slide show function THAT DOES NOT WORK after all.
Ahem.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Hmmm, not working for me

Er.. never mind. It seems that I have wasted a great deal of time on producing nothing. The slide show doesn't want to display on my version of the blog and I have finally run out of ideas as to why that might be.
I shall try again once I have summoned the will to live.

So slow....

I realise that I have been a bad girl and not added a post for ages. This is due to two things.
The first is that I have been working hard on my Wollaston project and have been having much fun trawling through archives for birth records etc. Whilst this is not strictly necessary for work it will all ultimately end up in a paper and/or on-line once we have hosted the database on the university website. So it is therefore both useful and interesting and I can justify the time spent.
The second thing is that I have been trying to upload some more photos onto my blog account. I realised about half way through last week that I hadn't posted in a while so I thought I'd do something spectacular in the way of new photos of my knitting over the past month or so as I have finally finished a bunch of projects and want to show off. Unfortunately this proved to be much more difficult than I had first anticipated and I have had to spend a couple of evenings and a lunchtime swearing at my computer, creating various e-mail accounts which I will now undoubtedly forget the passwords to and all other manner of annoying things.
However, I think that I have finally managed to get it to work so expect service to return as normal!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Kafka sucked

I have always meant to read some Kafka- mostly because I have heard many other people rant about his work and feel it is regarded as a collection of modern classics. As I came across one of his novels in audio book format I decided to listen to it today whilst at work. I was particularly drawn to the book that I found as it involves a man waking up one day to find that he has turned into a beetle overnight. It is aptly titled 'Metamorphosis' and I was hoping for some sort of insightful social commentary or human character exploration. What I got was a surreal, tedious and morphologically inaccurate story. The style of writing was interesting at first for its unusual approach but quickly became dull and repetitive. The storyline had very little development and I came away with the feeling that it was just all a bit pointless. It could have worked so well and I felt it a complete let down.
So now I am angry that another good idea has been wasted. It's just another story that will never realise its potential and so will never come to be. I mourn for lost stories.

Cycling incident

Am feeling a trifle shamed today. This would be because I earnt my badge for frightening little old ladies yesterday. I didn't mean to frighten her and I promise that I had the best of intentions but I'm not sure that I thought it out all that well.
What happened was this: I was peddling my way down the road at about 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon when I noticed that as the lady in front of me (who was also riding a bicycle) rode over a cobbled bit of road on the high street, the plastic bag in her back basket slipped open and four plump cherry tomatoes came bouncing out and pinwheeled off across the road and pavement. Firstly this struck me as completely bizarre until the brain had time to process what the bouncing red blobs where and then, I admit, as funny. I also noticed however that there where several more tomatoes looking like they too might make a bid for freedom, along with some grumpy kiwis. So I thought I'd do my good Samaritan bit and tell said lady so that she didn't loose them all.
This proved more difficult than first anticipated as as I sped up behind with a view to pull alongside her she also sped up. I put on a burst of speed, pulled out after checking I wasn't going to get squished and came alongside. She then moved over so I had to shout in her ear which made her jump and she consequently slowed down so that as I was trying to explain the situation I ended up over shooting completely and shouting over my shoulder as I sped off into the distance. I was so embarrassed that I deliberately peddled harder so as to extract myself from the situation. I realised afterwards that all this meant that all I had done was to leave a confused and slightly stunned pensioner by the side of the road behind me.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

IKEA is magic

I hate to say it, but really I have to- I'm an IKEA lover. It's not the actual products that I love (though I have to say, there are some clever ideas packed into the catalogue), but rather the ingenuity that goes into the design. The actual objects may well be hideously ugly once they have been constructed but the construction of said objects is to my mind, very pleasing.
As a new home owner I have found the very existence of IKEA to be a great boon. Doubtless without it we would still be living in a house of cardboard box furniture (though in honesty I'm not sure how far off of that we actually are). As it is we have managed to afford things that we otherwise wouldn't have- such as a king size bed which is frankly just terrific. We've kitted out our lounge and just the other day, bought a massive desk to fit into the back room so we can do work at home. Or cut cloth for dress patterns, which ever you think most important :)
The design of many of the products is just wonderful though. I know most of it is driven by the business. Of course it is the company which benefits most from making stack-able watering cans, not the customer. The profit margin on that product must be huge once you have factored in the reduced costs of transport and storage. Plus they sell so well as everyone looks at them and thinks 'that's clever, and green. I shall buy one to show that I am a considerate person who thinks of these things'. EVEN IF THEY DIDN'T REALLY WANT ONE TO BEGIN WITH.
And that's the magic of IKEA right there folks. They could sell ballet shoes to a pig if they wanted.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Unfortunate postal inccident

Have had the funniest enquiry ever today.
An old lady called me in much distress because she had posted a woodlouse to the boss to be identified and upon phoning to see whether he has received said parcel, she discovered that he is away at the moment. I then had to field a phone call from said lady, who was desperate about her poor woodlouse, as it might have been suffocating in the envelope. In order to placate the lady I got her to describe the parcel and promised very faithfully to rescue the woodlouse from said package if it had arrived. I decided against doing the whole 'its a tiny thing, how much air do you think it needs?' conversation. It was all just too much effort.
Anyway, I had to sit through a lengthy discourse on said woodlouse, about how fond the lady is of it, how she thought it was a peculiar albino one, how she had been ill and thus been keeping it at home for the last 11 days until she could post it off. I gave many reassurances on keeping it alive and not murdering it wantonly as entomologists are wont to do.
After managing to extract myself from the conversation, I gently replaced the receiver, wiped the sweat from my brow and pottered through to find the parcel. I opened it up and gently extracted the contents.
One letter - check
One pill box - check
contents of pill box, one dead woodlouse - check
I don't know what it was that made me think that said woodlouse would be dead but dead it was. I think it was the way in which the lady had gone on about how fond she was of it. I just KNEW it would be dead- that's just my luck.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

And they're done!

Have now finished the socks. Yay! They are truly fantastic and I am very very much in love with them. The finishing on the final one leaves a little something to be desired but I think after they have been washed and blocked this will be a minor imperfection. Compared to my last pair they are perfect regardless of this. Just as soon as I have finished tidying up all the ends I shall take a picture of them for you all to have a good appreciate of and then you may lavish me with much praise. The only problem with the whole thing is that I think that they just might be too lovely to give away as a gift. I'm not entirely sure that they will be properly appreciated as it is anyway and the thought of sending them off to be abandoned in a drawer somewhere, unloved and uncared for is painful to think of.
Am just a big sock softie obviously

Monday, 29 October 2007

RED SOX ARE WORLD SERIES WINNERS!!!

Wohoo! The red sox have won the world series this year! Yay! Am terribly surprised at just how happy I am about this as I have never really supported a team (in anything) before now but I am. I'm really chuffed. Of course, the sox are a winning team as far as I'm concerned as they have won twice in the four years I have been supporting them. I missed out on all the heartache and pain that came before that for all those other more long term and hardcore fans. Oh well, lets just get on with the winning!

Long time no hear from me

Have been hiding out in the wilds of Devon for the last week- hope that y'all missed me ;)
It was meant as a bit of a respite cure so that I could have a proper break from work and all that is making my head spin. It has worked to certain degree you will all be pleased to hear but I have to say, it was the most exhausting break I have ever had. Up early every morning, out walking the dogs for miles in drizzle and howling winds. Out in the car every afternoon rushing around trying to get things done. Because of course, you can't go anywhere without getting into a car and driving miles, public transport in practically non-existent and wherever you do go anywhere, you have to take a dog with you. If you are wearing wellies and have your trousers held up by bailing twine then all the better. Dartmoor proved itself to be one of the wettest, coldest and windiest places I know once again. If you've been away for a while you tend to forget that it blows a whoolie every time you walk around on it and remember only the glorious sunshine and picturesque views. That you only experience this in the lee of a large chunk of granite is completely wiped from the memory. My beloved seaside beaches where all that I remembered them to be however and I bemoaned my lack of bucket and spade at every occasion. I was very restrained on this trip however, and only came away with a modest collection of pebbles and shells with which to fill my already overflowing plant pots.
I did have time to do a small amount of thinking however and one of the things that I have decided upon is that I m not ready to move down to the southwest yet. The hubby and I have been discussing the future over the last few weeks, trying to plot our escape as some may say, but really just trying to work out what the next step is in the great game of life. I think that we are city bound for some time yet but I also think that this is a good thing. Life just seems so much easier when all the stuff you need is only ten minutes away! Nothing beats modern convenience let me tell you. I figure that if I feel the need to wear my wellies then I can just hop in the car and head for the nearest muddy puddle.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

I've very little to talk about

I have been hard at work all day, transferring my precious collection into new storage. Unfortunately this has left me with very little to talk about as all I have been doing is putting tiny labels on things and moving them from one place to another. Quite tedious really.
One thing that has been keeping me entertained is audio books. So far I have ploughed my way through an Agatha Christie novel, Robinson Crusoe and some miscellaneous short stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.
At the moment I am tackling Treasure Island and it is a particularly humorous version. The site I download most of my books from is a provider of read texts for blind people (I should just point out that these where all recorded some 30 years ago and have now been made available to all on-line rather than me being some sort of opportunistic git) and relies on volunteers to do the reading. As many of the books are quite long they often just get people to do a few chapters rather than the entire thing so every now and then the reader changes. What I love is that they make no attempt to put similar sounding people together, or even categorise them by sex. Whilst everyone reading is American and usually from the south they have little else in common. The accents alone vary enormously. Treasure Island started off with a man reading it, who had a lovely baritone voice. I now have a woman from California reading the next few chapters who is a bit nasally and tends towards the higher pitches when excited.
I nearly fell off of my chair with laughter earlier when the switch over came. I love it. The books I download are all free (you won't believe how expense they can be!) but I think that I might be tempted to pay for these ones if I had to :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

That's it! I'm outta here

Have spent today struggling with the painful fact that I am really really going to have to give up entomology. There's always going to be a small part of me that is going to hold out and just hope that something comes through. That maybe someone will suddenly wake up to the fact that I am fucking brilliant at my job and that I deserve to be able to pursue it as a proper career.
As this isn't going to happen I am going to have to think of something else. Scrub 'entomologist' from occupation box and fill it in with my newly designated character of life. Time for a little reinvention...
Not much else has been happening so I have been unable to divert myself or think of anything more entertaining to write about. Other than the fact that I have been out for a cream tea at the Old Parsonage today and it was good. Really good. And this is coming from someone who considers themselves as a bit of a cream tea expert. Mmmmm, clotted cream.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Job hunting

Argh! I have been starting the long and tedious process of job seeking today. This is made particularly hard by the fact that I have no idea what it is that I want to do with myself. I'm trained in one of the most obscure careers ever and it is very unlikely that I'm going to be able to find a job in it which just leave me, well, stuck really. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...

I've already done a bit of thinking about this of course. I did suggest tattoo artist as a possibility but this was ruled out by the other half. Acupuncturist also has a certain charm but I don't have the money I would need to retrain. Knitwear designer is just not going to bring in the cash. After a while I realised that all of these potential careers involve some kind of pin or needle so I figured maybe I should go in for a job that involved pointy things. Kebab expert maybe? Fakir in a circus? One of those school nurses that gives the kids their vaccinations?
Unfortunately there just aren't that many jobs that involve sticking pins through things in a precise and steady manner. Other than torturer that is and I'm not sure I have the stomach for it.
Having said that it would of course depend entirely upon who it was that I was asked to torture. Mwhahahahaha.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Ooooooh dear...

How is it that I manage to be the unluckiest person in the world? Am on my own at work today and considering all the implications that that entails, I have to say that I have been working damn hard with minimal internet surfing or distractions of any other kind. In fact I have been trogging quite happily through the transfer of an insect collection and have really failed to be distracted by anything.
So why is it that on the rare occasion I think to take a break and say, get a cup of tea, check my e-mails or have a quick stretch, why is it, that it is on these occasions that someone comes into the department. I have had loads of visitors today coming through the department including the director, the administrator and our curator. These are people that I might see once a month normally. On top of this there have been at least four other people, all timing their visits so that it looks as though I'm not doing anything with my time. Argh. Awful lot that they are.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

PS

COME ON RED SOX!!!

Long departed

Am finally feeling a bit better! Yay! Still have a bit of a cough when I do anything to shake the gunge around in my lungs but other than that I am feeling pretty perky. Well at least as perky as one can be when you get up at half six in the morning. I think this is because knitting group was great last night. We have a new person who I have started to teach to knit. This has inevitably led me to believe that I am a rubbish teacher but its really nice having a chance to sit down and go through the basics with someone- and to see how much I've advanced in my own knitting. I would never have believed it but just in a few months I've gone from fighting the wool with the needles to smooth automatic knitting that is frankly just a pleasure in every way possible. I've even learnt to feed with my right hand so I've sped up a bit.
And someone even asked my opinion on sock knitting. Me- have an opinion? I've always thought that I was at the bottom of the heap as far as skills and experience go but it turns out that I'm a bit further up than I thought. At least in some respects. I think that there are a lot of the ladies there who are much better at the basics than I am as they have taken the time to make sure that they have a solid foundation in it all but they are now scared to take the next step into the more difficult stuff. Whereas I have just ploughed on with reckless abandonment, hopping from one project to the next as I get bored with something and need to move on. I think that this is turning me into the bit of a jack-of-all-trades which I shall have to be careful about as I don't think I'm really learning anything along the way.
Ah well, whatever keeps me interested I suppose. Talking of knitting I'm going to get back to my socks. Am onto number two now. The last one came out very nicely indeed which has prevented me from getting 'second sock lethargy'. So- on with it!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

I think I'm dying....

Urgh. I have a horrible, horrible cold. I think that I caught it from my boss who is officially an evil man for being so free with his germs. It has kept me away from work, away from my blog and worst of all, away from my knitting! You would have thought that I'd have relished being at home for a couple of days but as it is I was so ill I could hardly do anything expect groan, huff and whinge at the kittens. Whenever I did try and knit my wool got pounced on by some over excited furballs who were enjoying having me around. Or rather, they were enjoying having someone around as it meant that they could run from kitchen to lounge, lounge to kitchen, kitchen to lounge.... up and over, through and round. It also involved destruction of the shredding and spiking variety. I am covered in scratches from were they fought over me, on me, around me or, on at least three occasions, just fought me. I think I have suspicious looking toes.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Shiny things make me happy

I've been reading too much rubbish today. By all accounts the world is not a shiny place on the whole and it seems that I have lost the ability to spot the sparkle, at least for the moment. So in attempt to to correct this I have recently discovered, or at least rediscovered, my passion for the smaller earth creatures that twinkle in the light. I am constantly amazed by the things that I find in drawers in the museum. Yesterday I saw a grasshopper nymph that was mimicking a tiger beetle and it was the most amazing metallic blue. There are some Mantids from Asia that are bright metallic green and look as though they have been covered with tinfoil. Some of my favourite beetles are a kind of Leaf beetle that look like little knobbly nuggets of metal. They are normally pink or blue but if they could manage a gold then they would look just like a chunk of raw gold. There are some Chafers that have managed this. One I saw yesterday was a shiny leaf green on top but it had a metallic turquoise tummy and blue feet. You wouldn't even have seen it unless you turned it upside down. Others come in rich gold or silver, or more usually, green with shining silver strips so that they look like very expensive humbugs.
The scientist in me looks at these things and decides whether things have developed as sexual or behavioural characters, camouflage or mimicry. There will always be that little voice though that just emits a breathless 'wow' and happily accepts the ignorance and just wants to glorify the now. It makes the world seem so magical in a way. Images of jungles filled with sparkling whirring insects fill my mind.
And then I think some more.
I can almost see why people are so happy to accept that there must be a god because it does just seem so unrealistic that something could have evolved to look like this. Its such an abstract concept for most people. In order to study evolution you have to look back not forwards because all we have is our short lifetime and we will never know what comes next. Its so much easier to accept the now and try to look forward when reality is asserting itself in your life every minute of every day. Because we must go on. We treat life as a linear progression from birth until death. Independent and individual. I think we forget that we are a part of some bigger interweaving and so we forget where we can find the shine.
The shine is in the small things in life. I realise that not everyone is going to discover this in a drawer of beetles but I hope that people can discover it for themselves in something they love. I don't want to accept the idea that the world is full of so much darkness that we can't find some light. Am sounding very negative today I realise, and quite hippyish because I can't really find the words to express this idea properly but its been filling my brain for the morning and its all that I could think to write about. If I had any talent I'd find some way of expressing this so people could understand. Instead you're limited to my muttered ramblings. Oh well, I figure that my audience is more than intelligent enough to sort it out for me. I guess I'm just pleased that in amongst all the negatives there are some pretty special positives as well.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Knit speak

I realise that I am severely limiting myself with regards to potential audience figures by talking about knitting but it is one of the main reasons that I set this thing up in the first place. I have been threatening pictures for a while now and I finally got around to doing them so be pleased. First up for your delectation is the socks that I have been working on recently. As far as I am concerned they are frankly just wonderful. I was going to wait until they where done and handed over (they are meant to be a gift after all) but I'm waiting on a measurement so that I can finish them off and it seems to be taking for eveeeerrrrrrrr to come through and frankly I'm just too darn pleased with them to hide them from public viewing anymore. They are going to be wonderfully warm as I have knitted them out of pure wool so toasty toes are on the menu this winter. I'm just worried that they are not going to fit! If only I had access to peoples feet whenever I needed it all would be fine.
The other picture is of my fluffy green monster. I have already had someone comment that it looks as though I have skinned Sully from Monsters Inc. Well ha, ha aren't you funny and can I just point out that he was blue. Anyway, its actually a shrug (short cardigan for those who need to know) and it will look fabulous over a little black dress. If I ever wear a little black dress ever again that it is but look, the point is that it took FOREVER to make and now its finally done I'm going to sit back and take the praise. So get lavishing with the praise please :)

Just lock me up....

Oh dear, the adverts for Prison Break 3 have now covered the entire world and I can't stop dribbling every time I see one. I vote they keep them all shut up in there and I'll just drop by to deliver cups of tea and cake. I can't wait for it to hit terrestrial TV because of course, Sky has completely monopolised the series so all those lucky people who can afford to pay thousands of pounds a year on an extra TV service and all Americans who have done nothing to deserve the pleasure will get to see it before me.
Boo!
I think I've missed one episode out of the last two series (due to extremely unavoidable circumstances) so am obviously deserving of special consideration for being such a die hard fan and should be shown it first. In fact, I should be on set to supervise production and check up on quality. I could have very strong opinions on such things as tightness of vest, shade of fake dirt to be applied on the biceps, number of shower scenes etc etc were anyone to bother asking.
Anyway, here's to hoping that they don't make me wait too long! Otherwise I may go mad....

Monday, 24 September 2007

Join S.A.A (Sock Addicts Anonymous)

I'm addicted to socks at the moment. I have always had a love of the old foot glove and have ferociously collected them ever since I was a little girl. I especially like socks with toes in, ones that are extra long or those with bright crazy patterns (stripes are an absolute winner in my book). Just recently however I have also begun knitting socks. My first pair weren't very spectacular despite the wonderful alpaca wool that I bought for them. The pattern was a bit difficult to work and the finished item just looked ugly as far as I was concerned which was just a bit disappointing after having put in all that effort. It took a while for me to get used to the look of hand knitted socks as they are really quite different from the shop bought type but after a while I decided that they appealed and so I have started a new pair for a friend. And I'm really enjoying it which I am quite surprised by. I got a new pattern that had a better heel to it (this was what I hated most about the last pair) and so far its been really good fun. In fact its been so much fun that I have done little else with time but knit my sock, think about socks and lust after sock wool on the internet. And I now have plans for about three more pairs of socks for other people. And I want to take the ugly socks apart and reknit the wool using the new pattern. And then I want to try some of the crazy sock patterns that you see lying around with space invaders, flying cows and snoopy on. Oh, if only there was more time!
So that's it. I'm officially addicted to socks now. Not long ago I was mumbling bitter remarks about how they are tedious and difficult and now look at me. The sock love has sneaked up and taken control of me. There's no hope now.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Furniture remover in training

Today I have mostly been humping.
Humping cabinets around the department that is.
We are having a bit of a clear out at the moment and most of them are going off to be sold at the AES show tomorrow (very excited about this as it will be full of loverly bugs). I have spent three yeas at university and walked away with a first class honours degree to be allowed to do this, which as I'm sure you can imagine, I am really appreciating to the max right now. It's not too bad really. At least I get to talk people whilst I do it and there's copious amounts of coffee just to keep us going. But I do feel as though my skills are being wasted in some small way. Having said this I will have the best guns in town by the end of it all!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

How can he write if he's dead?

Have just had the horrible news that Robert Jordan has died. This is terrible! He hadn't finished writing the last of the Wheel of Time series. What are we going to do??? I am on the 4th book at the moment and completely addicted to the series. I know that there are about 15 books in total so I still have a ways to go but whats going to happen when I get to the end? No closure, no closure. Just characters left hanging in mid stream, flickering as the last pages flutter to a close and I'm left on tenterhooks for the rest of my life. With any luck someone will have the good sense to dig out all of his notes and work so far and at least make an attempt to patch the story together into something resembling an ending so that all of us will be able to put the story to bed. This is one of those series that just gets under your skin. Its certainly not the best written set of books I have ever read and they all work around the fantasy premise that you can introduce new characters, plot twists and improbable events at any point throughout a story. There's always going to be the inevitable addition of details which the characters themselves obviously knew all about throughout the previous books but have up until now, failed to mention. But that's okay because by page 50 you're so hooked on the story that you'd happily sell your granny for the next book.
Just beware though people, if you haven't started this series yet then I would have a good hard think before you do. Yes, its one of the most important and iconic series of the fantasy genre but IT WILL NEVER END!

I can't stop listening to this song

Hope there's someone
Who'll take care of me
When I die, will I go

Hope there's someone
Who'll set my heart free
Nice to hold when I'm tired

There's a ghost on the horizon
When I go to bed
How can I fall asleep at night
How will I rest my head

Oh I'm scared of the middle place
Between light and nowhere
I don't want to be the one
Left in there, left in there

There's a man on the horizon
Wish that I'd go to bed
If I fall to his feet tonight
Will allow rest my head

So here's hoping I will not drown
Or paralyze in light
And godsend I don't want to go
To the seal's watershed

Hope there's someone
Who'll take care of me
When I die, Will I go

Hope there's someone
Who'll set my heart free
Nice to hold when I'm tired

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

What are they thinking?

I feel like weeping into my coffee. I doubt that the husband is reacting much better and I can imagine that there are a few detentions being handed out as I type. I mean what exactly is going on with the Sox at the moment? Do they not want to win the division? Are they in fact, deliberately trying to blow it? Why? Why, why, why? If we win the division we get to pick when/how we play the next set of games and we would finally have a pennant to adorn the walls of Fenway with. If we bottle this and then somehow don't win the world series (stranger things have happened lets face it) then we will have nothing to show for this season and dammit we deserve something! We've managed to stay ahead of the Yankees for pretty much the entire season so why waste it now? It makes no sense!!
Bloody men, bloody useless, grr, grr, grumble, grumble.

Beetle tank madness

Urgh, have woken up with a headache. I am putting this down to the fact that I had to spend the better part of yesterday sorting out the beetle tank and this is no mean feat let me tell you. The tank in question is about five by 3 foot in volume and, you've guessed it, full of beetles. It is essentially a tank with a ton of soil at the bottom and branches on top which the beetles then handily decorate. We chucked a few cockroaches and things in there for good measure as well but 90% of everything you find is this one species of beetle in either larvae or adult form. And there are a lot of larvae in there, I mean heaps and heaps of larvae and I really do not like them at all. The big fat ones are the worst as they are about 3cm long and the thickness of my finger and they wriggle. Like horrible wriggly things. Ugh, gives me the creeps just thinking about it.
So at twenty past eight yesterday morning I was digging through this huge tank, desperately trying to avoid all beetle larvae, attempting to round up all adult and cockroaches before they flew away whilst watching the clock as there was a conference starting at nine and I had to be done, dusted and swept up by then.
Eek.
It was a mission and a half and in the end I dumped all the soil into buckets and hauled it into the department to sort out in relative peace and quiet. It took all morning to pick out all the larvae (with a handy pair of forceps) and I had someone else helping me after about ten.
Why was I doing all this? So that we can sell the little blighters at the Amateur Entomologists Show at the weekend. What are we going to do with the money? I hear you ask. Why, we're going to buy more beetles!

Friday, 14 September 2007

That Friday feeling

Bliss, pure bliss. I get to leave a little early today as I have already worked my hours this week. All these early mornings are useful for something it seems. And what do I have to do when I get in?. Nothing, absolutely nothing.
Aaaah
.
I can sit back and watch the kittens rip my sofa apart whilst sinking into some sort of stupor where I can forget everything that has ever bothered me in my entire life. NCIS is on later (many thanks to my faithful friend for pointing that one out) which can only help and there are at least three ice lollies left in the freezer- of which two of them have my name on as I can eat more of them than the husband.
Does it get better than this? Well, technically yes, but its the best I've got right now and I can't expect anything else so really that would make it a no. No, it doesn't get any better than this. Well, maybe if a few friends turned up with a couple of cases of beer and some vodka as a 'surprise! we think you are wonderful' party but again, that is highly unlikely. Maybe I should just pretend and bop round the lounge to the music by myself.
Anyway, I hope whatever all you people out there have planned for tonight is fantastically fun and groovy be it sitting on your own sofa, cruising the local pubs or sampling some of that oh so good organic produce that you can get on the market nowadays. If any of you are up to anything more exciting than that then I would appreciate it if you could enjoy it as much as possible but then lie to me about what you where doing in case I have an outbreak of the green eyed monster. My bank balance is the major limiting factor in my own plans for tonight otherwise you can bet your ass that I'd be out there with you.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

We love you Dave Ortiz

Walk off two-run home run in the ninth.
Sweet as.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Noah's Ark

Hah! Am supremely chuffed with myself. One of knitting magazines is running a competition this year where they asked you to design and knit an animal for Noah's Ark. Last year they did a knitted garden which I saw at the knitting show and it was pretty awesome- they even had a knitted deckchair. I decided I was going to enter the one this year and after much deliberation over exactly what it was that I should design I decided it had to be an insect (like, dur). I was originally going to do some kind of beetle thing but seeing as how I have knitted very few toys I wasn't sure about how you would construct such a thing. Knitting toys is a real skill and has some technicalities to it that I have yet to explore so I figured something relatively simple yet showy was in order. I also reckoned that there wouldn't be too many other insect entries so I would stand a reasonably good chance of having the pattern published. The top five entries win a knit your own bear kit from a company that supplies alpaca wool. This is a pretty lame top prize in my estimation but anyone who manages to get their pattern published- and this was an undisclosed number of entries, would get £75 which is pretty sweet. And all the glory that comes from having your name in print of course. Also all entries will be shown at this years knitting shows so at the very least I would be able to visit one and see my entry on show to thousands of other people.
Hence the dragonfly picture. I only just got it done in time (there's nothing like pushing a deadline) as the closing date is this coming Friday but its now in the post and winging its way to the people in charge of the final decisions. Am pleased with the way that it turned out though there are of course one or two things that I would like to change with it. But then I figure that the standards aren't going to be super high as the competition is open to the general knitting community as a whole and I imagine that there are going to be some real shockers. I of course tried hard to make mine as life like and morphologically accurate as possible which has to count for something. I reckon there's going to be a few deformed pandas in there along with the inevitable sea dwelling creatures who technically wouldn't be needing too much space on the ark.
So now I just have to sit back and keep all my fingers and toes crossed that it will at least get published which would make me very very happy. You never know, maybe one day I will be a world famous knitwear designer and I will be able to look back on this as my first faltering footsteps into fame. Having said that , the amount of work it took to come up with a simple dragonfly design might be an indication that I'm still in need of a bit of practice when it comes to juggling needles and wool!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Salisbury visitation

I went all the way to Salisbury yesterday to meet up with my mum and dad and check out the Cathedral and guess what I found out this morning- that the Magna Carta is there, hanging on the wall for all to see. And I missed it! What a mupppet.
We went down to see a display of churchy cloaks that a friend of my mum makes (which where AMAZING! what that woman can do with some material and a sewing machine is just mind blowing. Plus she is now getting into bronze sculpting and that was great too. So much talent in one person. It just seems unfair really) but completely failed to see one of the most important historical documents inside of Britain. Now I'm going to have to go back and that is not something that I am going to relish. Salisbury was a little underwhelming to tell you the truth though it was a Sunday so I guess it might be a bit nicer during the week. We got to hear the choir practice which was nice and check out the lunar disc (which looks like a giant white smartie). They had a nice chocolate shop which we had a quick stopover in :) The drive there though is a bit of a pain and you have to use the hideous A34 with all the really terrible drivers that have collected into the sinkhole and now have to spend eternity getting in the way of normal people. Had a minor case of road rage on a few occasions. Joy. This was all made up for when I got home by the squeaky meows who are starting to learn their names and are therefore quite fun to mess with.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Freak out city

I guess most people know that I suffer from panic attacks by now- for any of you out there that didn't, well, now you know.
The reason that I bring this up is that I was watching a news article this morning on the good old BBofC and they had an interesting stat about people suffering from depression (okay lets ignore the fact that stats are mostly bollocks due to a whole plethora of geeky reasons and get straight into the afterthoughts on this). Apparently, 1 in 10 men will suffer from depression at some point in the their lives. For women, that figure is 1 in 5. This does not including general every day blues or high/low cycle throughout your life (everyone is less happy in the winter period for instance due to crap weather what we do get in this country).
Anyway, this in itself is a worthy topic of discussion but I mention it as a mere sideline to the whole panic attack thing as I hear people speak of this much less often than they do about feeling depressed. My experience leads me to believe that most people do not suffer from panic attacks or high level nervousness as much as they do with depression but I'm starting to wonder if this is true. Maybe its just something that people feel much less able to talk about. Certainly one of the symptoms of having an attack is not wanting to talk about it as you then have to re-live what has essentially been a very traumatic experience.
Its a tough one. Mine tend to go in cycles. When I'm on the up- up to panic attack city that is, then I'm very jittery about the subject. I find that I'm not able to speak about it in any great detail as it tends to trigger one but I also want people around me to know that it is potentially going to happen at anytime so that they are forewarned and hopefully won't assume I'm too much of a freak. When I'm on the way back down I really don't want to talk about it- but then that's around the time the depression kicks in so it's not surprising really. For the rest of the time when things are brighter I tend not to think about them too much. So I guess that there isn't really a good time to talk about this stuff. It's not the easiest thing to drop into conversation either and if I feel this way about it all then maybe its similar for other people.
Still I would be interested to see some form of stats on the subject. Panic attacks are quite an isolating experience and maybe just knowing that I'm not alone in it all- or at least, not as alone as I think I am then it may help a bit.
Of course the other option is packing a rucksack and moving to an island where the population total comes to 1 and my monkey. That would certainly go some way to helping though it would end up a trifle lonely me thinks (there are only so many games of scrabble you can play against a monkey after all).

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Is Okajima getting tired?

A question that will be on the mind of many of you today I imagine.
For those of you who don't know, we have a Japanese reliever and starter on the team (Boston Red Sox- though if you didn't know that then you're no friend of mine) this year and both of them are starting to look as though they are running out of steam. Okajima has been performing amazingly so far this year and he is easily one of my favourite players but he does look a little tired on the mound and he's starting to give up runs (hah! if he was anyone else we'd over the moon with his era as it is at the mo). We need to be consolidating our position at this time of year to ensure that we make it to the playoffs, win the pennant and spank the yankees. But we don't want to be doing it at the cost of some of our best players who we will certainly be needing for the post season World Series section. Hmm, a tough balance to find I feel. What would certainly help is if we gave them both a little more run support. Not that we didn't try last night (Varitek was looking great- and he played some good ball) but overall our numbers have been down. Heaven forbid that we actually have to create some runs and drive people round the bases instead of trying to thump stuff over the wall for once. Not that I'd mind if we did get a bunch of home runs, its just that its not something we should be relying on.
Hopefully the fresh blood that we have just bought up to pad the roster out will be just what we need. We've already seen some good plays from them though they still have the 'fresh fish' look whilst they are running around on the field. With any luck they will have settled in and still be on a high streak when we get to the end of the season. If they can just hold off on their major league slump (something that all the newbies seem to go through at some point whilst they readjust to the new settings) until next year.... this will of course mean they are worth more to trade as well should we so desire :)

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

the BIG knit

It was so much fun last night. Our knitting group was hosting/helping out on a charity event where we had to knit lots of tiny bobble hats to go on top of innocent smoothie bottles. These will get sold in Sainsbury's and Age Concern gets 50p for each one sold. I was a bit nervous about turning up as I was worried that no one else would come along. We had tried advertising it a bit but its hard to get the message around to the right people but as it was the manager of the bar where we meet up had been contacting people left right and centre, organised free tea, coffee and biscuits and one of his friends turned up to play guitar for us. It was awesome. I even managed to persuade two of my male friends to turn up and have a go- I was expecting them to bobble make for the evening but they both tried knitting and they both completed their own hats. Totally awesome. I even have the photo to prove it (check out facebook for these. I'll put some photos of the hats on here once the camera lady has e-mailed me them).
We had a nice array of hats by the end of it as well. There must have been at least 50 which is a good start. I'm going to try and make a bunch more this week so that it ups the total a bit. Its completely distracting me from other knitting that I should really be doing instead but this only happens once a year and it is for charity after all!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Taxonomy is rock

Have just spent a rather happy half hour trying to work out the higher classification of Orthoptera (that's crickets and grasshoppers to the rest of the world). I was very pleased to find that it is just as confusing for this group as for any other- there are no good references and people seem to have a complete inability to just put things simply. It makes me feel a lot better about my scientific writing style let me tell you; they even manage to make my day to day typing look like shorthand. I also got to look at lots of pretty pictures of insects under the heading of work. Hah! What could be better? I just don't get it when someone doesn't understand the fascination.
For instance, take mole crickets. Not only do they have big splayed front legs for digging burrows, spend much of their time underground and are covered in soft velvety fur, but they also shape their burrows so that the sound is amplified when they sing. It took humans freaking ages to work that one out and there they are; tiny, preprogrammed and without any real brain, singing away through a home dug amplifier. Tell me that that's not awesome?
To cap it all off we are still trying to work out how these things are all related to each other. We argue constantly in the literature about whether something is basal, ancient, closely or distantly related, what a group is and what should be in it. So much work to do and no time to do it in! especially if you keep distracting yourself with pretty pictures like me... :)

Monday, 3 September 2007

The root of all evil

Hmmm, have been reading some terrible terrible websites today in an effort to gain more control over my overactive brain. The general hypothesis that I've been testing out is that if one is feeling emotional about something- anything in fact, then the solution to this is to apply logic to the situation, thus breaking it down to its component parts and making it easier to deal with as it removes uncertainties from the equation. So to facilitate this I have been reading around on human behaviour- an interesting topic in itself and one that I have never really explored from an academic standpoint before. I'm a people watcher by trade anyway so this is merely an extension of an ongoing daily practice for me. Thus I can figure out the reasons for specific human interactions and responses to not only other people but animals, food, inanimate objects etc. At least that's the theory.
Anyway, the point of all this waffle is that I did come across one important fact that I hadn't really appreciated before today. It's one of those things that we are all vaguely aware of but don't ever think about on a conscious level and that's the point that boys think that actions speak louder than words, whereas girls have a need to talk things through and think that words mean a lot more. Men make decisions, then act upon them and believe that this demonstrates everything that they have to say about something. Unfortunately for all us lady's this just leaves us second guessing as we like to talk our way through to a conclusion, even if we have a pretty good idea of what its going to be from the beginning.
Its no wonder that the sexes have difficulties communicating really is it? How do you take something like that into account without being consciously aware of it at all times? Hum, these things are just too difficult. Basically what it comes to is that we are all doomed from the outset. But I thought it might make a few of you feel a little better about the frustrations of communication!

Fenway, climber extraordinaire

This weekend I have mostly been sat on a bus, suffering from lack of sleep or drunk. Not bad I suppose though I do now have some rather strange bruises and a tendency to lean my head to the right. It was also the first weekend that we left the kittens on their own. I think they have forgiven us due to proffered gift of a catnip stuffed mouse but we're not really sure as they have been going scatty ever since. Fenway has been doing some awesome back-flips and pounces onto his sister- the higher he can get before starting these then the better. Hoshi has been taking the more long term view and has mostly just been looking for somewhere to have a bit of a snooze. The best new trick however is leg climbing. Fenway can now climb the entire length of my leg and get onto the work surface in the kitchen. He has established that this is where the good stuff is kept and seems to think its a land filed with biscuits and cat food with the occasional outcropping of porridge. We hate to disappoint him but he's going to find out one day I guess.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Deleted post


Damon is a chimp

Argh! Can't believe that we let the Yankees win last night! I only watched the first three innings (well, kinda- I was stitching dragonfly wings onto wire frames at the time which meant I only saw about 50% of those three innings but I saw all the important bits at least) and I really thought we had a good chance. Didn't think we'd win by much but I did think we'd win. We answered all the early hits and runs so tell me this, why do we let a traitorous hat-tipping chimp get the better of us a couple of innings later and not go out there and lay some smack down? What has happened to our arse kicking capabilities?
I'm holding out for a win tonight and I've got all my fingers and toes crossed that it will be a big one to make up for last night. It likely going to be another close match but am thinking it will be more of a hitters game than a pitchers tonight. Hope so anyway- am staying up again to watch it so they'd better make it worth my while!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

One long daymare

I had horrible dreams last night.
I can't remember them all that well other than they played on my job insecurities and the awful mess that was Indonesia. What I can remember is that it involved stress and tears and sadness and now that I've woken up none of it seems to have gone away. I've been feeling gloomy all day and even chocolate has failed to help. Does everyone get this after dreams? The husband always says that he can never remember dreams, nor do they affect him unless they wake him up for some reason whereas I have been feeling sorry for myself ever since I woke up.
But then I dream almost every night. They are generally vivid and lengthy and I seem to get a lot of dejavu from them. So I'm either mental, in touch with the spirit world or vastly more intelligent in some weird synaptic way. I always been a problem solver and I love puzzles and patterns and I'm more capable at jobs involving visual stimulation (hence I suck at music and have a bit of a tin ear) so it probably is just my brain going into overdrive and reshuffling all the pictures and memories but I mean really, am I the only one who gets it this strongly?

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Machine made

After two hours we have knitting- machine made knitting! The knitting machine is a sight to behold. It looks like some sort of archaic torture device with strange bits of bungee wire poking out at odd angles. Some would say that it is a torture device. Its certainly not the easiest thing in the world to use. It basically involves winding wool around many tiny hooks and swearing at great length until, with a little luck, some knitting comes out of the other end. So far we have managed to break it six times, increase and decrease stitches (sort of- one time involved me breaking it) and binding off. We can't work out how to cast on properly which means that when you remove the comb thing that weighs the knitting down (and keeps the wool tights so it pulls through the machine rather than bunching up into a big knotted mass) it all unravels.
But soon we shall have mastered this monster and everyone will be receiving either square or rectangular presents for xmas. Theoretically I should be able to knit jumpers on this thing but me thinks that I will be keeping it simple for now.
So, everyone alright for scarves at the moment? I've got some really er...stunning purple wool that's looking for a good home :)

The morning after the night before

Well the party seemed to go well- at least the small amount of it that I was there for. Can't believe that I got struck down by a migraine! Grrr. Not fair. The husband was much less well behaved than me and he managed to stay up until about 3 this morning. And there was all these wonderful people in our house who I wanted to talk to! Thank you so much to all of you who turned up- it was great to see yous all. I am going to now have to make a second trip round to see all of you again however so that I can catch up on the bits that I missed out on.
I have to say however that I was very stupid in one respect- I completely forgot that we had ice lollies in the freezer. They are my ultimate hangover cure (Rowentrees fruit pastille lollies for preference) and would probably help with head pain. My cooling beanbags seemed to do the job but not quickly enough- was hoping to get back down to the party. Ice lolly would surely have done the job! Highly recommended to anyone who is feeling less that shiny today.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Knitting-tastic

Ah! So much wool... Have been having a rummage through my stash and have discovered two things. Firstly, I have much more than I thought I had and secondly, that its still not enough. I do have a lot of bits however which I shall be attempting to offload over the next couple of weeks. We are running a charity fundraising event through our knitting group in a couple of weeks (all non-knitters welcome, needles and wool provided, tea and coffee free) so should be able to get rid of a bit of it then. I really hope that we get a good turn out for it. It involves knitting up lots of tiny bobble hats to go on top of innocent smoothies- they then sell these through Sainsburys and 47p per bottle sold goes to Age Concern. Rather a cool idea I thought. They even supply wool and bobbles so all you need to do it knit it up and its the easiest pattern in the whole world. So I'm going to be recruiting all the boys to come along and at least attempt one bobble hat- it is for charity after all! (You have been warned...)

Sunday, 19 August 2007

WE'RE GETTING OUR KITTENS TODAY!!!

La lalala la la, ala la lalala la...dum dee dum...dum dee dum. Yay! Have been a-dancin' around all morning. Am so very very excited. If it wasn't for fact that we have so much tidying to do in order to get the house ready for them then it would all be purrfect.
We also have the pleasure of attending a puli party which will involve much playing with puppy dogs, throwing sticks, making them sit for biscuits and hiding sausages in the shrubbery. (I can hear you laughing from here you sick people you).
We are also going to the wool department at John Lewis' which is pretty close to heaven for me. If only they'd let me pile it into one big heap and then dive in on top... Ikea also beckons which is less fun but it will mean that a few loose ends will get tied up around the house including me getting my work desk back so I can get the sewing machine out. Its been hidden under piles of school books for too long now. My mum has lent me a knitting machine so I will be up there creating away in my free time- everyone will now be getting blankets and throws and all things square for xmas.
Yay! again.
Tonight we get to watch the red soxs game, relax in that very special way and eat cake with Ian and Tom in celebration of Ians birthday (which was yesterday). I shall be supervising the cake eating only of course, though I had a great deal of fun making it. I tried to ice it with nice thick white icing so I could draw red sox on it but I turned my back and most of the icing ran off the cake, off the plate and all over the sideboard. So now its more sort of glazed, but I'm sure it will taste fine!

Friday, 17 August 2007

I'm so bored

Just having a quick break from work- have eaten biscuits, slurped my coffee and am now looking for further distraction. Unfortunately none of yous have seen fit to send me any e-mails this morning so I've had to resort to writing a blog post about HOW BORED I AM!
I really want to get this part of the project finished today. I have a bunch of specimens to go away in a collection but the names are either missing from the database, spelt incorrectly or don't seem to exist so its taking a very long time to do each species with much faffing around with paperwork and about a dozen books. Nothing is cross-referenced which is just ridiculous, hence all the swearing coming out of my office door. At this rate there is no way I'll get it done...boo! I really don't want to have to pick it all up again on Monday but then its that or go mad!! Mad I tell you!!!

Ahem.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Things to rant about

Okay, so to be honest I'm merely killing time whilst on my lunch break and so have nothing amusing, interesting or necessarily important to say.
Other than to exclaim over how wonderful Wikipedia is (but then everyone knows that don't they?), tell y'all how excited I am that we will be getting our kittens in FOUR DAYS!!! (eeeeeee!!!) and to say that I have now nearly finished puli handbag number 2. I am super impressed with myself for this as I have done it in double quick time. Its about 83% done- I have posted the large chunk today so that my mum can get started on the next step of handbag construction. I will be trying to finish off the last of it tonight and then I'm going to take a short break and do something for me. Have a hankering to finish the green monster so that I can flounce round with it on at my party though I'm not sure that this is a realistic goal.
Ahh, the trials of being grown up with a full time job!
Speaking of which......had better get back to it!

It's breaking my heart

How do you explain a frustration of the heart? How do you put into words how you feel when you are having one of those days where you are just filled with equal amounts of self pity and self loathing? When all you want to do is punch something, or scream, or break down in tears and sob for hours? When you have no idea why you are feeling like this and every time you try and pin down your thoughts you end up even more confused than you where when you started.
Is this just me? Is this just a girl thing? What the fuck is going on? Why can't life just be simple and easy, and happy, and full of love and joy, and friends and fun, and music and dancing, and much much laughter.
Why the self doubt, the second guessing and why oh why, did I choose to listen to Ryan Adams at a time like this. It only makes it worse when he steals my heart for the millionth time.....(sigh).

Sunday, 12 August 2007

It's the end of the world!

Argh! I can't get into my herald e-mail account! They shut it down to do maintenance yesterday but now its completely buggered and we can't get into it. It's like someone has cut off one of my limbs. Its not even like I have any particular need to get in there its just that I CAN'T! Its so annoying- incredibly annoying- superly hugely fantastically annoying.
The worst part is is the compulsion to check the damn thing every half hour. I even woke up early this morning and one of my first thoughts was 'I wonder if my e-mails working'. Ordinarily I don't really bother with checking it at weekends (I mean, its not like I actually get that many e-mails (short pause for moment of self-pity)) so all this fuss is driving me mad.

Its all over- I really have been sucked in...

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Mario Strikers stole my husband

The husband has now been awake for approx 2 hours. 99% of that time has been spent playing Mario Strikers on the Wii. In order to keep myself entertained I have had three cups of tea, some cereal and have littered facebook and the internet in general with messages for anyone and everyone that I know as I MISS YOU ALL RIGHT NOW!
I attempted to read funny excerpts from my messages, or even ones that other people had left for me. This worked for the first line or so but then I realised that the attention had once again snapped back to the TV screen. I've been told off twice for getting in the way of play and I still couldn't tear him away from it with pictures of someones bathroom that they had decorated with Red Soxs stuff (it is so cool; I particularly liked the baseball bat towel rail and I even offered to deck ours out like that). As a final test I saucily flashed a big of leg to see whether unexpected nudity would do the trick. The fact that I am now typing this up should tell you how well that worked.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Facebook photos are just an embarassment

At least all mine are.
Have just discovered the Spetses 07 tour photos and whilst everyone else looks great in all their photos I look terrible. Really terrible. It's either that or I have a really warped perspective on what I actually look like. Is it a bit like listening to your own voice on recordings? I'd swear that mine is nothing like me- its always much deeper which is rather worrying as I already think that my voice is a bit deep for a girl.
Oh god, can't believe that I've actually thought about this- and at length.
But its true, I'm just not the goddess that I consider myself to be when I can't see myself. Whenever I look in the mirror or see pictures of myself I'm always surprised that anyone was enough of a sucker to marry me (love you honey, but really, I still don't get what it is you see in me). On a good day I've gotta be a 6 max and that's only because I make the effort to tell all the boys just how wonderful they all are which wins me extra points via ego stroking, but on a day-to-day basis then maybe only a 4 or a 4.something, if I'm feeling generous.
I shall just have to use the husbands scale at all times which has me sitting at a ten regardless of lighting, clothes, alcoholic intake, time, day or potential for getting naked.
I realise that this is a horribly girly comment to make and NO I'm NOT fishing for compliments just before you all reach the island of conclusions, but it would be nice if someone else told me it once in a while. I've been chatted up once in the last four years and that was by a guy who was so drunk he had to hold onto a table to remain upright. Like that made me feel real special.
Hmm have spiralled off on a badly explained tangent. It's just unfair that everyone else can be so photogenic and I'm not at all. And now all the pictures have been published on the web!
I might as well just give up completely and start wearing the husbands clothes, stop shaving my legs and throw out anything I own with glitter on it. No one is ever going to consider me attractive ever again. I'm officially a wife- someone who cleans up after the boys have been out drinking, cooks the fry up in the morning, can be called upon to reliably repair clothes and ask to recommend gift ideas for other girls.
Great.
Any ideas how I get out of this one without resorting to a divorce (I do rather like the husband after all)???

House update

Our bathroom is nearly finished!!!. Can’t believe it really. It will be the first room on our house to have been completed. We only have some minor tweaking to do and then we can put the sides on the bath, slap down some flooring and walk out whistling sweet Dixie.

I’ve been painting for the last two evenings and tonight I shall go home and put the finishing touches on. It has been transformed from a dark blue swamp to a sparkly light blue pool in a mere matter of months...

Now onto the next job.

If only DIY didn’t have the capacity to get even more tedious, just when you thought that it had already reached that level. Every time I reach breaking point with it I find that it has even more to offer in the way of frustrations, boredom and downright bloody mindedness. Next time I’m damn well going to save up and just pay someone to do it all for me- I shall receive as big a warm glow of satisfaction from that as I do from doing it myself!

I’m sure others will soon be joining me on this one.

The wonderful effects of caffeine

Hmmm, am completely bouncing off the walls at the moment and have a compulsion to witter madly about something- I'm just not sure what as I can't sit still or pin my thouhts down for more than two seconds flat. This will serve me right for having two cups of heart attack coffee in a row.
(But its sooooo good!)
I shall go and attack my ham sandwich with vigour to see if it has grounding properties and then come back and write something a bit more worthwhile.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Whilst I'm here

Need some help on this one- how do you go about signing off on e-mails. I mean, what is the etiquette when you know someone but you don't know them well enough to put 'xxx' at the end but you want to convey some sort of affection? And what does 'xxx' mean anyway? I'm assuming that this changes with regards to the person your writing to. I guess it can mean anything from 'kisses' to 'much love' to 'I want to fuck your brains out' but how do you know that the other person is going to interpret this correctly?
It's a real minefield for me at times, esp. when writing to men. I both love and loathe e-mail as a primary form of communication (which, lets face it, it has become). It's quick, easy, people are more willing to respond etc BUT it's also seems impersonal (facebook is a prime example of this), is often easy to misconstrue, take out of context and its very hard to really understand any emotional meaning sometimes. I much prefer just talking to people which has it's limitations as well I realise but at least you can be equally confused by both seeing and hearing what the other person is trying to say rather than missing half of the interaction to begin with. It's like doing a jigsaw without the picture to refer to.
Maybe it's just me overthinking things again; a common problem with me I realise as I have plenty of time to think whilst knitting or doing boring jobs at work, and I would say that this is particularly true with regards to messages to men folk. I think I'm crediting you (you know who) with far too much deep of character and potential for complexity. I was sorta talking about this the other day in fact, and the only two solutions to this that came out where that men are either too dum to notice or are just hoping that it will all go away.
I think it covers most bases.

Motherfucker!

My boss has just e-mailed me from Texas to ask if I can feed his cockroaches for him. Why is this such a problem? Well, let me elaborate...
Firstly, I have sworn never to do this again. This is because it takes over three hours, is tedious, difficult, boring and above all other problems, it smells bad. This is because there are about 40 tanks full of cockroaches that try and escape when you open the lid. The previous food generally rots and fills the tank with mold, there are inevitably dead cockroaches joining in with that sticky mess and to top it off a sprinkling of Phorids (scuttle flies that you find on decomposing organic material, not necessarily disgusting in themselves but clouds of them buzzing round and crawling all over you is not fun).
Secondly, the girlfriend was supposed to be doing this for him. She is apparently too busy with her PhD write-up (which is a fair excuse) so it now comes to me. I've been asked as although I don't want to do it anymore than anyone else, my boss knows that I'm too nice to tell him to go fuck himself and his cockroaches to boot, as I will end up feeling guilty if they all die before he gets back. Which is what annoys me about it- I'm in a bind. I can't say no and I can't really say how I feel about the whole situation.
Yet another example of someone taking advantage of me because I hate confrontations and I'll do anything to avoid them. Including feeding the bloody cockroaches.

This is yet another reason why I should just avoid people altogether. Building a yurt in the welsh mountains somewhere and growing my own sheep is starting to look more and more appealing...

And it's complete!

Done, dusted, posted and outta here! All words that can be applied to the first puli handbag.
I'd thank god but I'm not sure whether anyone is listening so I'll just publish it on the web where millions are reading.
Am so pleased. All I need to do now is start the next one tonight and get it posted on Wednesday morning. Hah hah hah.
Think I might just go mad.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Okay, so I'm technically on work time...

But then again, I have just spent over three hours cleaning insect tanks. The last job involved removing maggoty cockroach corpses from the tarantula tanks where they hadn't finished eating their dinner. Eguh. Sometimes I really wonder why I do this for living...
However, I guess it beats flipping burgers, filing or dealing with the general public. I do get my own office, I can wear whatever I like, listen to music all day long with the best bit being that after about 6 I get the whole museum to myself and I can turn the volume right up and dance round the dinosaurs.
Not sure many people would take the maggoty cockroaches in exchange though so maybe I am just a bit weird after all.

One down, two to go

Have almost finished the first of three puli handbags that I have to knit for my mother. Can't believe that I got sucked into this. Guess it serves me right for being a clever dick and coming up with the design in the first place.
It wouldn't be so bad but I have to do one a week for the next couple of weeks and I'm already bored of knitting them. I have other much more exciting projects lined up that keep distracting me as well. I have finally picked my fluffy green shrug again and am now trying to get it off the needles and onto my back- only half a sleeve to go and its ready for stitching together.
So close and yet so far.... (For all those that have yet to see this fantastic monstrosity you need have no fear- there will be pictures soon enough).
There's about four other things sat around waiting for me to get back to them, including a shawl for my mother that I feel very guilty about not finishing. But pulis are apparently more important at the mo so i suppose I shouldn't waste my guilt quota for the month on that.
Also, I am still struggling with developing a method for making knitted dragonfly wings- answers on a postcard please!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

THE BEGINING OF THE END

And so we start again, once more I shall resurrect this dying blog from the ashes and I fully expect to have to burn it all over again. But it shall provide me with some minor amusement in the interrim.
Hopefully this time I can persuade y'all to leave me some messages and keep it going for a bit longer. I know the Gill will appreciate it at the very least as I intend to put up some pictures of my knitting and post links for all the cool things that can be found on the web.
The wonderful, wonderful web.
What did we do before it? How did people relieve the tedium of their lives, break the monotony of work and generally skive off of all boring jobs? I really have no idea.