How far we’ve come

wow!  It’s been a little while since I actually sat down to write a new post, but here we are again, you and I.

Life over the past two weeks has been pretty hectic; filled with essays, PhD’s, sisters, childcare placements, herding toddlers, entertaining toddlers, trying to understand toddlers, good food (and some bad), knitting, drawing, selling, writing, driving, galleries with big open fire places and wine, overcast beaches and lovely moments.

The day I handed in my last essay for the semester was also the day of L’s PhD completion talk. So after dropping off the essay, (with a little wish on the side) I raced into the city to take on my role of Proud Family Member. Needless to say, I did not understand one teeny tiny bit of it, what with happily leaving physics back in grade 10 with all those darn pulley systems, so it was pretty obvious that physics of the quantum, PhD inducing variety was always going to be beyond me. As the night wore on another thing became obvious: although I am a friendly person and very willing to chat to just about anyone, I cannot talk to physicists. Nope, nuh uh, not a chance. We don’t understand each other, those physicists and I and the whole experience was so foreign to me that I may as well have been accidentally dropped in another (graph loving) universe. I had never really realised the full extent of how different L’s and my worlds are until then.  Have you ever had the sudden realisation that someone you are close to lives in a totally different world to you? One you can’t even relate to?

Last week  I started my first childcare placement.  With some trepidation I introduced myself to a room full of toddlers and silently prayed that they be nice to me. Some were, some werent, mostly they just fought. I have now entered a world where toilet training is paramount, where your friends will always be holding the toy you want and where groups of women spontaneously burst into song and dance. I have played with copious amounts of play dough, changed nappies, convinced a little girl not to be afraid of a guinea pig, exhausted my repertoire of children’s songs, provided conflict resolution through distraction, and absolutely loved nap time.I find there is something very special about being in a darkened room with relaxing music playing, sitting beside a child and helping them settle into sleep by gently rubbing their backs and singing/talking to them. It seems to provide a quiet moment when you can connect with a child without distraction and you become very aware of the energy that you are sending to them. No matter how frustrated or exhausted you might feel, as soon as you sit with that child its necessary to release all that tension and just relax in order to send them off to sleep. It is now my firm belief that nap time is good for the soul, and I have to say that sometimes I wish it was acceptable for me to have a big nap in the middle of the day and have someone help me put my shoes on when I wake up.  Sometimes don’t we all wish that?

In amongst all this I have found some time to draw.  I decided on some of my friend J’s happy snaps which she had given me permission to draw. I chose one which I thought best demonstrated my view of her and thoroughly enjoyed drawing it. I used white A2 cartridge paper, black ink pens and colour pencils which ended up creating a rather illustrative style I think, which I am quite happy with.  Another thing I am happy with is the fact that I have sold it!  That’s right- my first ever sold artwork. It turns out that J’s mum loved it so much she wanted it for her own which I am more than happy to facilitate. Does anyone else want to buy a drawing?

Last weekend I met up with a friend from my course (that’s right- I have a friend now.) As she is another art loving kindred soul we decided to meet up at a gallery she knew of. The Manyung Gallery is in Mt Eliza along the Nepean Highway, and has made me so happy to have a place like it close to where I live. It’s a contemporary art space filled with bright paintings, warm lighting and open wood fire places. Outside is a little court-yard where paintings and sculptures are shown, all naturally sheltered by a huge old oak tree. Once you’ve wandered through the gallery you end up in the cafe/bar with more wonderful fire places. This is where K and I decided to nestle down in the couch by the fire and sip wine and chai. As it was one of those gusty, rainy, dark days outside this seemed to be the perfect place to spend the afternoon. And so we sat and chatted and sat some more until we realised that everyone else had left and it was just us there.  At this point we had sat there so long the owner came out to talk with us, bringing his enormous wet dog along so it could warm up and dry by the fire.  I’m sure there must be some regulations about dogs in cafes, but I don’t care.  Sitting there, warmed through, chatting to the owner about life with an enormous, ungainly but friendly dog and art everywhere felt exactly right to me.

More lovely weekend moments: P and I decided to take advantage of having time off at the same time to go for a drive down the Mornington Peninsula.  It was an overcast, wintery day (which I think are the best kind of days to go exploring) which saw us end up acquainted with Portsea and Sorrento. After lunch in Sorrento we drove to Shelly Beach where we stopped to get some fresh air and walk along the water front. Here are some photos from the day:

Somehow I have also found the time to start knitting a new pair of socks. I had some powder blue baby wool which I decided to test out as socks, and so found a pretty lace pattern which I thought would best suit the soft, delicate quality of the wool.  The pattern is Melanie Berney’s Snowflake Lace Socks found on Ravelry. The pattern calls for 2.75mm needles, which I do not have so I decided to try 2.25mm and just see what would happen.  As it turns out, the socks have knitted up quite large despite the smaller needle size and the lace pattern does not really stretch out completely over my foot.  Perhaps my foot is too small? Anyway, I am up to the gusset after a very satisfying heel turn (I’m sure there is nothing more satisfying than turning a sock heel. Just the thought of being able to ‘knit around a corner’ makes me smile. Just try it) and will continue so I can see how the sock really fits me.  If it needs to be undone it is no big deal because it has only taken me 2 evenings to get this far. If you want some socks that knit up really quickly and look pretty, I suggest trying this pattern.

socks by Redstitch via Ravelry

Lastly, my latest achievement was dying my hair all by myself.  That’s right- I’ve been dying my hair for about 9 years now and have never once had to do it all by myself. This time my desire for glossy tresses overrode my lack of willing female helpers and P’s general disinterest, so I donned the disposable gloves and painted my hair (and my neck and the bathroom sink in the process).  Now I look like this…


phew! This has been an enormous post and there is still more to tell, but I think I will save the rest for later, so dear readers I shall leave you here. x