Saturday, January 24, 2015

Winding up and letting go.

It's the last week of the holidays and we don't want to believe it do we; the end of all those lovely long rambling days with or without a plan, heading towards timetables, uniforms, squeezing down time in where possible. 

I am trying to create a working life that has space around the edges. Last year I found myself running from one student to another, from class to home to school, to shopping, to rehearsals, to pickups and home again with tired children, late dinners and late bedtime. Batty. 

Time to be still and think about what to eat, having a wholesome meal on the table for a hungry, busy man and kids, getting some dishes done, welcoming the children home with a snack, knitting in bed with a warm drink, a potter in the garden, an evening walk, a chapter of a good book, a glass of wine over backgammon in the garden, ball games on the trampoline, an hour with guinea pigs oinking on our laps, a visit with friends or family, a family walk on the beach or in the bush, a drawing/craft session around the kitchen table after school, a cup of tea with a girlfriend, a long cuddle on the couch (with a big or small person, or all three), a bit of considered blogging, piano playing that is for naught but pleasure; these are some of the thing that make our life feel a bit more elastic. 

Still working on the ladies. I started them year ago for a Jewish friend who I lost contact with. Perhaps the painting of her dolls will call her. I love painting Maytroshka's. They are such little treasures. 

Abuelo is kneading pizza dough. The children have gone to the Other Families. The house is quiet. Too quiet for me. I need a bit of their giggling, their footstep down the hall, even a some mess to negotiate. Our parent friends' eyes glaze over when they ask about our weekends without the children. Mine would. There are so many blended families out there now, all experiencing some kind of toing and froing, with varying degrees of success. Time alone is precious for everyone. But a couple of days would be enough. I still haven't gotten used to the week on week off swing. It even feels a little harder than when it started. I find we get into such a lovely rhythm by the end of our weeks and then blip! A 360 degree turn. How is it for the children really? Are they as happy as they report? Could this way of life possibly function on some positive level like the village? When all is well between carers there is much love and support. I suppose we will find out as they become more autonomous, and begin to reflect and ask more questions. It's not the family life I imagined for us but it's working. All we can do is keep on loving and taking one wee step at a time, keep our eyes and ears and heart open, and take a giant daily leap into the unknown!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Yarn Along

I've been meaning to join Ginny's Yarn Along, for ages! I know it's not Wednesday, but I thought I'd get a first one in early, or maybe I'll be one of the renegade few who post whenever..

Reading -Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (for the second time)
Knitting - Maeve Shrug from Madder

Plenty Gorgeous

Plenty River

Plenty Charcoal

Red Hot Pokers (apparently...)
Reclining Male with Ale
 Home made mango and strawberry ice cream.

That was our weekend.
How was yours? 

Monday, January 12, 2015


 I did a stock take this afternoon to see on paper, what is coming out of our garden, and the list is excitingly long for our suburban backyard.. I then made another list of what more we could add to our food supply. Oh that we had the space for a goat, a cow, or one or two sheep, for milk, wool...maybe one day!

Every day we come into the house with even just the smallest handful of food from the garden, some of it coming from our Greek neighbour up the road with whom we spend many hours gardening, talking, swapping veges and learning tips of the old farming trade.
And then dinner like tonight's affair can be made up of 80% garden produce. This is a salmon and quinoa salad (they are the only two things I didn't get from the garden, oh and the avocado - that's on the new list!)) that Abuelo and I eat religiously very summer. An egg on top is the piece de la resistance, very softly boiled...and you can put just about anything in it. Goat's cheese is a bit spectacular I must say. 

Say, I need a good book to read. What do you recommend?


I just bought Anthology 2 from Carrie at Madder - pages of beautiful patterns - I love all of them. Can't wait to start knitting!! 

Here's my Maeve shrug, I'm up to the band and looking forward to wearing it.

And this little lady needs finishing...

The rain is coming down sporadically. A multifaceted January here in Melbourne. This time last year we were in a heatwave. I would love a few more beach days yet but there's something nice about being inside making things, without sweating!


Fruits of January....

 ...are numerous! Plums, apricots to be picked, poached, preserved and jammed in between heat spells. So delicious. All that sun-ripened goodness.

Further Fruits of January - We just spent three days at the beach, glorious lazy days of swimming, castle building, treasure collecting, reading, puzzles, knitting, good wine and food, no phones, no computer, no cars, walking everywhere....The Great Slowing Down. Get up slowly, move through breakfast and getting dressed, slowly. Slowly slowly make our way to the pool, eat ice cream, peruse the library, let the afternoon unfold. 
I'm very well suited to such a pace, being somewhat bovine in nature.....

What is your nature? What kind of jam are you making?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Slow days

Hanging out with the Wee Ones and the animals. I love going out of a morning, alone or with the kids, to feed and check on the animals; the chooks, the guinea pigs, cat, dog and bees. I feel at least the teeniest bit like a farmer's wife and that makes me very happy.

Sorting out our home and planning some painting and general beautification - as much as one ought be bothered in a rental!
I came home on Friday to see Abuelo mounting this gorgeous coat rack on the wall. He made it and put it up and now we have a Proper Entry Hall befitting of an old rambling Californian Bungalow. 

Like so many renters I have regular day dreams about what I would do to this place were it ours. I imagine it painted white, with honey coloured floor boards replacing the manky blue carpet, and a kitchen at the back of the house flooded with light and a view of the garden....It's very charming as it is, in its progressively dilapidated state. It's like a big ol' country house in the suburbs. We pay minimal rent for these times and we have great neighbours in an area that hasn't been over- gentrified (yet..). 

So whilst I also dream about a home in the country, living vicariously through the blogs of others (here, and here!), I am very grateful for custodianship of this plot and the likelihood that we will be here for a long time yet.

Marvelling at the sunset and the amount of water falling from the sky..

Knitting my Maeve Shrug, which is a long, patient journey on the knitter's Super Highway but fun never-the-less and the best bit is yet to come. Currently it resembles a Thneed, but as you can see by the pattern photo, it will soon be very clearly a gorgeous shrug. Carrie creates the most beautiful patterns; great for a relatively new knitter who loves a bit of a challenge. 

I have business to attend to. Ah yes. And so I shall. But not today. I want a couple more slow days yet. I also want to spend a little time thinking abut this new year. I will be making changes to the way I have been working. Last year I went out to all but two of my students which really took its toll on my family life. Too many late dinners, rushed evenings, missed time spent with children who are away from us far too much as it is. This year I have a lovely studio to share with a lovely friend, and from there I will conduct my private teaching. My choir is growing so we  need a new venue to rehearse, and my two bands though currently inactive, are so much fun and I'm looking forward to seeing my musical buddies soon. 

I volunteer a day a week at Abuelo's place of work and I am planning to spend some time painting Maytroshkas to put on my Etsy store, that has laid dormant for a couple of years. I think perhaps that is all quite enough for one lady.

 What are you slowly working your way through? 

What new plans do you have for this year?