Wanderings

The following admission will come as no surprise to my nearest and dearest.

I get lost very, very easily.

The asperger’s diagnosis at least explains why – I have discalculia which is often associated with it – and that means I don’t have a very good relationship with numbers. Or space. Or maps.

The kids don’t panic nearly so much now when I turn into a side street and grab the Melways. I think they’ve figured out that the sooner I recognise I’m geographically misplaced, the easier it usually is. A slightly longer car trip perhaps, but not an epic voyage.

Porto is not helping me. And I have the blisters to prove it.

Apparently my hotel is walking distance to the university. It was, after one and a half hours walking in new shoes, and realising the hotel staff had directed me to the wrong university. Fortunately I walked home the first day with two other attendees staying at the hotel. I carefully memorised landmarks (the birds would’ve eaten breadcrumbs) and safely navigated my own way thereafter.

Anything other than that daily walk is a bit of a problem. While I’ll readily admit I’m responsible for deciding to turn left instead of right, I’m not the one making these bloody awful tourist maps. Conference attendees have taken to comparing different tourist maps, just to see if one has more landmarks on it or street names.

The one I have conveniently leaves off some of the street names. It helpfully labels the major hospitals and tourist landmarks in the tourist district, which does leave aside the question of how tourists actually make it to the tourist district. It doesn’t indicate bus routes, other landmarks of interest (say, the other university in town), nor does it indicate scale or north.

This is combined with a road system that places road signs at the beginning and end of the relevant street regardless of how many intersections it may run through. And all the major street signs indicate the direction of all those helpful landmarks that don’t appear on any of the maps.

I want a personal GPS implant now, people.

But there are upsides. Like this picture.

Flowers

Some flowers from Mum and Dad to help cheer me up. And that was before the doozy of an aspie meltdown on Sunday morning.

Things did improve Sunday afternoon – he and a mate (also with a hamburger) – spent time at the Senior Citizen’s Centre for a Warhammer Club. This is their shared ‘special interest’, a hobby of all consuming focus. This had two benefits: he was out of the house and I wasn’t with him. We got together a few hours later and everybody felt a little bit better.

I invited L over for tea, mother of the lad’s friend for tea. Their diagnosis is only a little earlier than ours, much other life crap has happened, and the two of us figure we also have hamburgers.There’s a frankness that happens – apart from having a great deal in common – when two aspie people chat. We don’t have to feel our way around a conversation. I’m not on guard to make sure that what I say is as appropriate, tactful and indirect as might be expected outside of close family.

So between the flowers and the conversation, I did begin to feel better. And these other flowers from the lass are pretty good for looking at, too.

I’m boooooored

Not me, the lass. Early Sunday afternoon, your parents are complete hippies and say you’ve used up your screen time for the day and everyone else has something to do.

So I invited her to join me. Not that she had to, just if she felt like it, in case she couldn’t think of anything else.

Suckered!

This was my effort:

I’ve signed up for an ink and pencil workshop at Lauriston Press at the end of the month. I’m quite looking forward to it and I enjoyed getting my fist around some pencils and paints again. The lass is getting more confident with her colour mixing and attempted a shade of purplish brown for a dried gum leaf.

From left to right: botanical study of a gum leaf, dried gum leaf, and tracing around the bottle brush before watercolouring.

The Bloke and I have spoken about how it’s important for each parent to have a particular activity that only they do with that child. It’s a way to build up a one-to-one conversation, for the child to build up their special knowledge, and  to feel that there’s one particular thing that’s special with each parent. I think the lass and I have found ours.

And just to demonstrate that her skills aren’t limited to drawing, here’s a completely untouched photo she took of Lake Mulwala (Yarrawonga on the Murray):

Looking out

 

There’s something so serene about eucalyptus buds. I love that these appear just outside our front door.

Adelaide photos

I particularly enjoyed the jacaranda up and down the streets of Adelaide.

Glenelg was such a relief with its cooling breeze and jetty.

But I did wonder where all the people were….until I looked underneath.

Cameras, cookers and craft

I had hoped to include a few photos today but in an aimless kind of way, I can’t quite locate the memory stick with them on it. There will be pictures again, soon.

This week has been quieter and a little easier for those smaller moments of joy to sneak in. I have tried new recipes or ones that we haven’t had in a long time. Some were successful, others less so, and pleasantly surprised by the ones which were eaten by the (slightly) smaller folk without fuss. I may have lied once when I robustly told them that they had eaten this meal before. Prior experience seems to make a difference if they face a plate with some suspicion.

I’ve decided to purchase a pressure cooker after hearing this interview with Suzanne Gibbs. She’s just published a book for pressure cookers – good, contemporary recipes by the sound of it. I was pretty much convinced when the host described the chicken tagine with a 15 minute prep time and 15 cooking time and I was sold when she said it cooked risotto in 6 minutes. I don’t care if that’s blasphemy but I love risotto and if a pressure cooker means I can have homemade risotto with homemade stock in the middle of the week, then a pressure cooker I shall have.

Plus it means its less disheartening when kids get fussy over a meal that took a great deal of preparation; or that it’s easier to put together an extra casserole so we can fill up the black hole that is the lad’s nearly ten year old stomach.

The camera went for a bit of a walk over the weekend – I was trying to figure out where to go and decided just to walk around our backyard. Some good shots, some not so great, but interesting and I learned that our camera has a magnification function. Just have to work it out, is all.

In craft studio news, I sorted my fabric AND put it away in the dresser cupboard. I’ve gone for two major categories: new, dress fabrics and vintage/remnant fabric. The dress fabrics are sorted by colour because that’s how I choose something for a project. Then I’ll figure out if it’s the right type of fabric and if it isn’t, damn it, I’ll have to buy some. I have large scraps sorted by colour into small boxes. I’ll do the books. patterns and notions this weekend and try and get a start on the decorative stuff. I moved my cutting table from under the house into the studio and it is bliss. It makes layout, cutting and sorting a dream.

All in all, I’m getting into a less hassled pace and enjoying it. Now to settle back for a weekend of Eurovision action.

Finding Joy

I read a post a few days ago by six and a half stitches about a group project called ‘finding joy’. After an overful April, I liked the reminder to pause long enough to find what is joyful. I’ve thought of three things to linger over and rediscover the joy and the simple pleasure they give. One was food: mindfully stepping out of the rut at least 2 or 3 times during the week to try something new. The other was photography: remembering to take my camera for a walk around different places and give myself time to stop and look. The last was my studio – a crude little hut, really – that is still ‘going to be’ organised. I was down there last weekend, picking, cutting and arranging fabric and remembered how joyful it is to touch and look and discover again. So, more organising for the delight of rediscovering the possibilities.

And already I’ve found myself pausing to enjoy what was happening right now. I took the lad to a cross country run and drove him back to school. I’d cheered, chatted and knitted while the lad ran, cheered, and chatted. We were sharing a companionable trip back when I pulled in at a wayside milk bar. It surprised the lad and I just smiled and said, you must be starving, how about something to eat? It was just couple of (yummy) hot potato cakes that we munched but it was about us sharing a little time together.

Last night was a quiet no-TV night so we pulled out books or knitting and settled ourselves around the couch and cushion. The lass was very weary after her swimming lesson and just lay on my lap, watching me knit, stroking my arm or belly, following the wool, all like a drowsy little kitten. She fell asleep curled up as she must have been in my belly – all tucked up with her thumb in her mouth (we have the ultrasound to show off at her 21st). It was quiet and still and good.

And…

Well, that was a longer break than I intended. I had marvellously good intentions during my bout of sewing last weekend. Then the camera needed it’s batteries recharged, and by the time that happened it was evening, and then…stuff happened. The Bloke wanted to know if I’d gone walkabout and I said I couldn’t blog without photos and I didn’t have any and I’d do some on the weekend and

last night I defied the styling gods of the blogosphere.

I took photos at night. Inside. With flourescent lighting.

And found out why you shouldn’t really do that.

ANYWAY.

It’s enough to see a little bit of what I’ve been up to. Some refashioning of a skirt I made a little while ago. It’s a gorgeous wool/silk tweed that I’m fairly sure I got from Tesutti’s in Sydney for a song. A simple long straight skirt that’s perfect for autmn and spring, and will do nicely in winter with stockings underneath. Sometimes, gorgeous-to-me fabric isn’t enough and the skirt doesn’t have quite enough striding along room so a godet needs to be inserted:

greengodetWell intentioned – not a bad idea – but really not working for me. And there was the small matter of not fitting it properly and covering the gap with a crocheted medallion. Note to self: next time, look up the sewing reference books first.

Then a brilliant idea. I really like the colour and feel of crochet cotton and the medallion caught the lustre of the thread beautifully. So this pattern book comes in handy again because it has a triangular medallion.

paragonmedallion

A few of those sewn together, one godet artfully inserted, and Roberta’s your transsexual avuncular figure.

This cotton blouse was for the chop since it was just too long. 12cm cut off sleeves and body, a neat little hem and I have something to replace a favourite white cotton top that’s on it’s last legs. Or arms.

choppedms

This is only phase 1 of the refashion. I’m planning to go a little steampunk on this one and attach black crocheted lace cuffs and collar. Project Gutenburg is a wonderful thing, particularly when it provides you with 19th century lace patterns.

This last sewing effort is being displayed for rather different reasons. It’s a straightforward pair of trousers from a pattern so familiar I don’t need the instructions. But look at the legs! These are for a 6 and a half year old – and I know I should get over how tall my kids are – but that is quite astonishing. These kids get out of bed and appear in the kitchen for breakfast and you look them up and down and think (or say out loud), you grew, you are taller than you were yesterday. I am reasonably absolutely confident that in another 5 months time, the lass will have outgrown these completely and I’ll be cutting them down for shorts.

longlegs

And these are the long legs in question, setting up the boat races we had the other evening.

boatraces

February

This is how Melbourne felt last week.

wilted1

It’s a challenge to photograph during such a devestating heat wave because it only seems to mean destruction (of one kind or another) or unbearable discomfort. I’ve been trying to choose a word for One Word Project for the month of February. I was going to take ‘aperture’ both in its technical and dictionary sense but I’ve discarded that – I might save it for March.

Instead, I’ve chosen February. It seems to be a challenging month all round when it comes to weather. Northern and southern hemisphere bloggers are finding it tough getting through the month and trying to come up with ‘work arounds’. This one is mine – photographing February in all its glory and trial.