Monday, June 28, 2010

Unproductive crafting

Had a great day yesterday at the Craft Room Sunday gathering. Plenty of good company and food (and noise! Put 20-ish women together in one room and it sure does get loud) but not so much crafting from this sorry sod.

At first I was just happy to chat and meet new people, thinking that I had six hours of pure crafting time - there was no rush! But as you know, time flies when you're having fun (and eating delicious brownies and caramel slice and cupcakes and cookies and salad and sandwiches and quiche and muffins and drinking a bucket load of tea)... I didn't feel like working on WIPs (Works in Progress) so started a new project. 'Cause I do that.

Decided to start crocheting a soft ripple blanket for Elora's bed. No pattern. Just winging it. Made about a billion chains to begin with and started my rows. By this time it was well after lunch! I got three rows in before I realised that I'd made a mistake. Two zags when there should have been a zig and a zag. Ack! So I ripped it back to the starting row of chains and that was my day's work done. One row of chains. And lots of eating.

But still, I had fun. And the blankie bug is still biting. I continued it when I got home (continued? More like "started properly"!) and used up an entire ball of wool. This blanket's gonna be big. It will take me a long time. But I knew that when I started it.

Pics to come.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What she said

Man, sooz can write. Everything she says rings so true, not just in her latest post either.

Eloquent and articulate, you are, sooz. Thanks!


My brother wrote this to me today.

I can now say that I have a female:
  • Monarch

  • Governor General

  • Prime Minister

  • State Governor

  • Federal parliamentarian

  • State parliamentarian

  • Lord Mayor

  • CEO

  • Division Manager

  • Department Manager

  • State Manager

To add to that, the rest of the staff comprises 21 females in various roles, and of course 5 females at home!

And I was thinking of getting egg-laying hens!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welcome to the 21st century

This morning we got a new PM. Australia's first female Prime Minister. Thank goodness. At last. Too bad it didn't happen in an election though. I hope this change is enough to give the government the boost it needs to stay in power at the next election. I just can't bear to think what will happen if the Liberals get in again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

35 years + 6 days

That's how old I am today. It was my birthday last week. On Thursday, my day off! I don't think I've ever had so many "Happy Birthday"s via Facebook and email and SMS. Thanks everyone.

But it is tinged with a little sadness, I have to say. Besides the usual "Oh gawd, I'm getting old" grumpiness that accompanies the passing years, of course. (I mean, wow! 35! I've had this blog for five and a half years! This morning on the train I saw a lady attempt to stand up for another lady who honestly didn't look that old... How long will it be before people are standing up for me? Except for those very chivalrous few.)

Today I am as old as my eldest brother ever was.

He got to 35 years + 6 days before he was killed in a car accident on his way home from work one Friday evening. "Accident" is used lightly - the driver of the semi-trailer was off his nut on methamphetamines and drove along on the wrong side of the road for a good couple of hundred metres before squashing two cars and killing their drivers instantly. In a way it was lucky that both cars only contained one person - there was ample opportunity for him to kill many more people, as I found out during the court case a couple of years later (they charged him for murder, eventually settling for manslaughter), listening to the testimonies of the 60+ witnesses.

I went through this blog and realised that even though I'd mentioned him a couple of times I'd never really talked about the tragedy which devastated our family while at the same time brought us closer together. There was only one grandchild then. Only two of us were married. I was 23.

Of course my parents still feel his loss keenly. I don't think it's something a parent would ever get over. The rest of us keep busy (there have been 9 children added to the brood since then!) but I think he is always there in the back of our minds.

I think of him when I hear/read T.S. Eliot, reminded of his patience helping me study for my final high school English exams. I thought of him the other day at work when there was talk about the "Hall effect" - some electronics/physics thing which I know he would have had no trouble explaining to me. He would be absolutely amazed at the incredible technological advances over the past twelve years. He would be horrified at my love of Apple computers and products (but possibly would have been swayed - he loved his gadgets). It's so hard to imagine what things would be like now if he was still around.

So anyway. That's the story of my eldest brother Arthur. Just thought I'd share.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Warm ankles at last

For the last few years I have been on the hunt for boots. Knee-high black flat leather boots to wear with skirts to work. Madness, I tell you! I just have NOT liked anything that I've seen (within a reasonable price range, that is... LOVE my sister-in-law's Prada boots (although they have a heel) but CANNOT afford/justify spending that much on shoes!).

But behold! I finally found a pair that I liked! And they were half price too! (From Betts.)

Yay. I am a happy Jen. A happy Jen with warm ankles in Wintery cold and wet Sydney.

Apologies for the poor quality snapped-with-an-iphone picture.

Atti's school project

The weekend before last was a long weekend for us - the Queen's birthday weekend. Atti amused me by asking if we could make her a cake. We settled for a birthday card (which he never made in the end - got distracted by the 'puter as usual).

Both boys had school projects due the following week so it was full steam ahead in the Burn household.

Dan helped Atti with his. The kindergarten kids had to choose a "weather" topic and do something about it. Anything. Draw a picture, make a model, create a powerpoint presentation. Dan and Atti decided to make a movie about tornados. And in fine geek-form we put it up on youtube.

And being the proud mother (and knowing everyone likes a good laugh) I'm sharing it with you. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Can't shake this feeling

Thursdays I don't work. It's my day off with Elora. Our "just you and me" day. It's nice to have that day off work but having the extra time at home means that I have more time to look around and see the horrendous MESS that has accumulated during the week. Argh!

This morning it struck a nerve and I just lost it. The toys and paper and pencils and textas all over the dining room floor drove me nuts. I yelled at the boys to pick up and got out the broom to sweep up all the bits and mandarin seeds (Argh! I don't know why they just decided to put them onto the floor lately!) and now it looks a lot better.

I can almost sigh with relief, except I still have that anxious, panicky feeling and I can't shake it. Sitting down with the iPad/iPod doesn't help. Having a cup of tea hasn't helped. I'm thinking the only way I'll feel better is to make good use of this nervous energy and get to more cleaning. Even though what I WANT to do is something crafty. Perhaps I'm just feeling guilty because I just want to knit/crochet/sew when really I should be doing domestic chores.


I think soozs put it best in her recent series of posts. Everything she wrote struck a chord with me. Working part time, trying to keep the house in order (although she cooks a lot more than me and doesn't have the incredible support that I get from my parents, and is an incredible seamstress and general crafter... But I digress), she got frustrated with her situation. Her eloquence and clarity of thoughts had me nodding my head as I read. She has come upon a solution and it seems to be working for her - more than I can say for myself.

BUT we must keep trying. One day we'll get there. Maybe?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Two becomes one

A sad loss today at work. One of my fishies died. Now there is only one, from a start of five. (Read about my fishtank here).

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

When tired will complain

Yesterday evening on the way home from school/work I tortured my eldest son by playing The Specials in the car.

"What is this song meant to be?"
"Do you call this music?"
"Who is this, again?"
"Why are we listening to this?"
"PLEASE turn it off. It's annoying me!"

Now I'm trying to think what else I can put on. Indigo Girls, Nick Cave, Ride, Billy Bragg. I'll edu-ma-cate those kids if it kills me.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Winter: Day x

So I've lost count already with this winter days thing. Shrug.

I read somewhere that during the cold, dark days of Winter people tend to be less cheery and motivated and happy. I would have to agree with that - there's been a bit of talk of it on some of the blogs I read too.

The weekend proved to be a little bit drier than the few weeks preceeding it. I even managed to get some washing dry. Some, not all of the four loads I did!

Yesterday started out very promising, as Mel wrote, but turned a little by the afternoon. We spent it at the wonderful Sydney Park celebrating my niece's 3rd birthday (as Elora says, "My best friend Charlotte").

Plenty of food, good company and excellent music provided by the "Sunday Dub Club" (sorry, couldn't find a link)... Love me some ska. It stayed mostly dry, right up until the cake time, after which the skies opened up. As good as any signal that it was time to leave, I guess.

And just because, Dan made this silly comic using a new iPad app (called Strip Designer) which he bought yesterday.

Yes, that's me crocheting at a birthday party. Had to do something to keep my hands warm. Something that wasn't eating.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Winter: Day 3

Lying in bed listening to the sound of the rain pummeling against the windows. It's been like this all day. Sunny, then dark, then bucketing down, then suddenly dry then sunny again. Instant downpour, like in the movies.

I can hardly believe that the week is almost over. As I get older the days go by in a blink and the weeks meld into one another. Highly frustrating at times and yet at other times I'm impatient to see what the future holds.

Just some random thoughts tonight. I hope this isn't turning into a weather journal!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Winter: Day 2

It seemed a little milder today, or maybe I dressed warmer. I almost got a little sweaty at one stage (in my woollen long sleeve top with a cardigan and my thick woollen overcoat carrying three bags sitting in the tropical surrounds of the swimming pool...)

Anyway, tonight I went here.

To see this boy (and his friends).

In this crowd.

(Click on the picture go to the flickr page and see the note pointing out his position.)

It was the Festival of Instrumental Music organised by the Department of Education. Over 1,000 kids from State schools performing for us. Three quarters of them on recorder in the NSW Combined Schools Recorder Ensemble but also about 200 in the Combined Schools Wind Ensemble too. 200 kids crammed on stage playing violin, viola and cello at one stage! As well as a bunch of smaller groups and some soloists.

When the note first came home about this concert, we were warned that tickets sell out fast so be quick. I didn't buy a ticket though. I'm cynical... See it just as a money-grabbing exercise by the Department and wasn't willing to fork out $40 to see my kid play for five minutes. But as the day came closer Dante kept asking if I was coming to see him and, well, I figured I'd better do the right thing and at least try.

I met up with the kids while they were having dinner at Circular Quay and was told by the teachers that if I hurry I might have luck at the Opera House Box Office. So after giving Dante a big hug and smoochy kiss in front of his friends (which surprisingly he didn't repel!) I set off in search of a ticket. The nice lady behind the counter said they were sold out but pointed me to a queue and said I could wait there in case anything comes up. Apparently some people hand their tickets in at the last minute if they can't make it. I was fourth in line. What I affectionately called the Bad Parents Line.

I waited for about twenty minutes before deciding that was enough. I tried, but I wasn't going to waste half my night lining up for a ticket. I hadn't had dinner yet or anything. So I went outside and took pictures of the incredible beauty of the Opera House lit up at night with the spiffy new camera. I managed to see the kids coming back to go inside and walked with them for a bit, until I couldn't go any further.

Eventually, after most people were seated but before the concert began, I wandered down to the info counter and asked if there was anywhere I could sit to maybe listen? I must have looked pathetic or something because the lady reached under the counter and instead handed me a ticket. "You might as well just take this," she said. "One of our VIPs didn't show up. It's a good seat."

I couldn't believe it! In fact she had to tell me twice to take it. I hurried upstairs and had an incredible seat. First row of the dress circle. Awesome!

And despite all my cynicism about these concerts, I've come to realise that I do actually enjoy them. What a big dag, huh? There's just something about seeing all these incredibly talented kids that fills me with delight. Knowing how much work the kids and the teachers put into it. What an opportunity for them! I certainly never was given a chance like this when I grew up. Plus it was FREE! The Chinese in me was happy about that. Dante was so happy when I met up with him afterwards. Glad that I saw him in action, that I was there to support him.

It felt like a great parenting moment. We celebrated with ice creams before catching the train home, tired but happy.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Winter: Day 1

The chilly season is upon us once more. Brrr. NOT my favorite time of year. Cold. Dry skin. Wet (at the moment). Short days, dark when leaving work. Bad laundry weather. How did it sneak up on us so fast? Half the year nearly gone already?

Even more disconcerting is hearing people from the Northern Hemisphere talk about Summer. Flowers blooming. Long balmy days. End of the school year. I want that!

At least I have my iPad to keep me company while I'm snuggled up under my doubled-over goose-down doona. Hmm. Cosy.