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Cinnamon patrol

Mr and Mrs Lili Wedding


Only knitting here, nothing else

So it's been awhile since I last posted. I've been busy at work, as usual, but also with knitting.

(Work, for the record, is fine. No one really asks anymore, except Brent, but it is ok. If anything dramatic happens, you'll hear about it, albeit in cloaked terms.)

As a reward for completing the world's loveliest (yet still-unblocked) lace scarf, I've cast on two projects, both shrugs.

The first is for the world's cutest girl-toddler (hi Emma!):

It's a Debbie Bliss pattern, and was a fairly easy, mindless knit. (Not that the pattern couldn't have been written more clearly, because it could have, but you get that some days.) It called for Debbie Bliss' own brand of yarn - the Cashmerino Aran, to be exact. Which is lovely, I am sure - ut probably not child-friendly.

So to save Katie some hand-washing, I opted for Lion Brand's Cotton Ease - 50% cotton & 50% acrylic, and washer- and dryer-friendly. The colour is Berry, #112, and it is lovely.

The photo doesn't really do the shrug justice. Hopefully I'll get emailed a happy-snap where it's modelled (hint, HINT!).

The shrug I'm knitting for myself is the Two-tone ribbed srug from Fitted Knits. It's on the 5mm needles agan, and with a DK-weigh wool, so it's been quite quick and satisfying, compared to my usual 4-ply and 3mm needle stuff.

However, there are 2 problems:

1. The yarn (Cascade 220 in #9420) bleeds on my hands & nails so I have green-y blue-y nails after knitting it. My nails are already in dire need of a manicure, and even more so after kniting this. I plan to try to machine through the rest of it so I can have a manicure this weekend and not risk getting dye all over my nice nails.

2. I'm not sure if I like the contrast colour I chose.

Again, the wonders of photography make the yarn look much better than it actually is in real life. Perhaps I have unwittingly specialised in purchasing yarn in colours that only look decent in photos? If so, I'd better stop wearing anything I knit, except for all those photo shoots that us glamorous modern women star in every day...

My next knitting project is in limbo. I bought some lovely Fleece Artist sock yarn in "Blue Lagoon", which is a most attractive skein. However, once it was wound up into a ball, things looked different. It looks...garish. Overly bright. A bit ugly, even. (It looks much more vivid in real life than in the photo.)

To be fair, I'm not really a variegated yarn kind of gal. But I figured I should try it before I completely wrote it off, ad how better to try something than with a top-grade product?

I'm waiting for some needles to start socks on this... but I'm not sure anymore. Any words of wisdom? Any recommendations for a sock pattern that will look good with the variegation and all the colour stuff going on?

I'm also on the hunt for great baby patterns. David and I each have a colleague with a pregnant wife, and we know another expectant couple too (it's not my news to share, so you'll just have to wait). I see many happy evenings with booties and blankets in my future... Albeit all in neutral colours, since no one knows what flavour they're having.

(Just to be clear here, I am not amongst the pregnant ones. And we are all quite happy about that, thankyouverymuch!)

Meanwhile, I'm slowly coming out of my greens-and-blues period. It seems like almost all the yarn I've bought this year has been green or blue, so I'm forcing myself to move into my greys-and-purples phase. I'm not sure if it will last, but these suckers will probably help me.

Zephyr wool-silk, 630 yards a ball. If a soft silk & wool combo in a lovely lilac laceweight doesn't do it, nothing will...

(That said, feel free to send me beautiful yarn to tempt me and prove me wrong. I have absolutely no problems with that sort of behaviour!)

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Oh dear


Baile Atha Cliath


Unexpected downsizing, or why I really need to go shopping

I've never been one of those people who can eat and eat and EAT and never gain weight. (Hello, immediate family, how are those crazy-fast metabolisms of yours?)

I didn't really make an effort to slim down for our wedding. It seemed a shame to miss out on those yummy cocktails/that nice chocolate/those delicious chips... you get the idea. I got a little skinnier, but not much. I figured I'd probably stay that size for awhile if I worked at it. So I bought work clothes in anticipation of our move to Dublin, and prepared myself to make an effort with food.

Fast forward five months. (Can you believe it's been five months already??) I'm a size or two smaller, because none - NONE - of the clothes that used to fit me, fit me anymore.

Okay, my t-shirts are all right. And the more fitted dresses still look ok as less-fitted dresses.

But none of my pants and skirts fit right. My beloved Workshop jeans - too "firm" to wear on my hen's night (I had a lot of fun planned), are loose. LOOSE, people!

And the most annoying thing - aside from an ever-shrinking wardrobe - is that I don't know how I did it. Okay, I don't pig out all the time, but i eat what I want, when I want, pretty much. I don't exercise much, and I don't have a medical problem or drug addiction to burn the extra calories. (I know you that when you think "Laura", you think "drugs". Obviously.)

It's like the fat fairy decided to be kind to me, now that I'm married and can let myself go. Which I'm not complaining about.

What I *am* complaining about is that I'm now down to 2 pairs of pants, a pair of jeans, and a couple skirts that actually kind of fit me, and are appropriate for activities other than mooching around the house. (My new trackpants also fit, and are nice, but are not work-appropriate, no matter how I accessorise them.)

So I need new clothes. Only, I don't want to go shopping. I can't be arsed. But if I don't, I will start to look like a sad, uniform-wearing loser. Or risk flashing everyone when my pants droop too low.

While these are both options, they are not very attractive. And there are enough unattractively-dressed people in the world. I know this because I see them every day: the white pants, overly tight skirts, barely-covered bosoms, thick makeup - and that's just the men!

(Seriously, there are some really good dressers here, and some really appalling ones. We seem to live near the appalling dressers, which makes it ok to shop in your pjs, but is less than inspirational.)

So. Shopping this weekend. Even though I don't want to. And when I'm magically a size or two bigger in 6 months' time, you can laugh at me for not just buying a big belt. But I won't need to go shopping.

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Anticipation, and a question

Tonight we met up with Isobel, who has very kindly lent me her copy of the latest Harry Potter. It wouldn't do not to keep up with one of the subjects of my Masters research - but I'm waiting until the paperback comes out so I can buy a copy for my matching set.

At any rate, Isobel is a rockstar, and I can't wait to start in on Harry. Yet wait I must, because I need a decent chunk of reading time to get myself started. After all, it's the final book in the series, so it needs to be savoured. I think I'll get up early tomorrow and rush into work, savour the last bits of anticipation all day, then come home early (because of the early start) to read.

So that's the anticipation. My question is this:

Which would you find more disturbing to see at a petrol station:

A. People smoking and carelessly flicking their ash everywhere, with a staff member joining in for a quick puff?

B. Bottles of wine on special?

I can't quite decide for myself...

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Blissful birthday weekend (the extended version)

Ah, what a weekend!

What a lovely, long weekend (hence the "extended" in title) - a 3-day bank holiday weekend, to be precise.

On Friday night we made the acquaintance of a Moldovan security guard at our building complex. He was tall, blonde and handsome (if you go for boys with hair, that is), spoke beautiful English, and a number of other languages besides. Then we went to our local supermarket and tried some vegetarian Linda McCartney prepared meals. Interesting, and the only vegetarian prepared meals - apart from a cheese pizza. I wouldn't go out of my way to have them again, but apparently it's better than a toasted cheese sandwich.

Saturday dawned bright and clear... and stayed that way for a long time. I had some of the local Dublin Stitch n Bitchers over, since the cafe we go to was closed for the weekend. We sat on the roof terrace admiring the view and stuffing ourselves with delicious food. My simple - but successful - contribution was scones made with cream and 7-Up. Sounds gross, I know, but they were pronounced lovely and light by all who ate them. Here's the recipe - it's dead easy, no rubbing in butter (yuck).

I loved having people over, and the SnBers were - as usual - loads of fun and no trouble at all. I'm definitely going to invite them back if we're venueless again.

On Sunday - aka my actual birthday - I managed to sleep in a bit later than our usual 8am (the sun is very bright at the moment - roll on winter and darker mornings!). We Skyped with my parents, which was **very** entertaining. If you know my mum (Hi Mum!), ask her about her "lap dance without a lap". Then ask for a demo. (It's ok, it's G-rated, but it's still very, very funny.)

I also opened my presents from David. As usual, he bought me lots of lovely, thoughtful and useful gifts, including (but not limited to) some very fancy hair straighteners I'd been coveting.

(I know, I seldom look like I do my hair, but I do actually do it! And once my hair dryer from NZ arrives, I will be able to dry my hair in under half an hour, and possibly use the straighteners before work even. Really!)

We decided we should roll on out to Malahide for a pub lunch. So out we rolled, via Swords (nice enough I guess, but nothing made me feel compelled to move there). There were no pubs on the main road through Malahide (I think we were supposed to go into the town further, but it was comfy in the car) so we kept going to Howth. At Howth we did find a pub - again, once we moved inland. Seems the main road is for non-Irish eateries.

Mmm, Guinness and a pub lunch. We were very full, and I had a very small nap afterwards, before we headed slowly home, where we chilled out with some quality downloaded tv.

Incidentally, that was my first Guinness in Ireland, albeit only a small one. (Guinness is a serious drink and it requires time and stomach-space to drink. I had fried-food plans, so I knew I had to limit myself to a small one.) It tasted chocolate-y-er and bitterer than I remembered - perhaps because it apparently tastes different in Ireland than everywhere else in the world. Anyhow, it was good. I look forward to rainy weekend afternoons in pubs with David, Guinness, and my knitting.

Yesterday we managed some brunch at our favourite crepe place, then popped out to my favourite yarn store in Blackrock for some needles and a gossip, then bought some plants. It has been really, really hard to find indoor plants here - or even garden centres, for that matter. I don't know why - people do actually have plants and gardens and stuff - but it's like they all either buy the plants ready-potted from M&S, or they steal each other's in the middle of the night!

Oh, and I got some knitting done - I may actually finish my first Irish knitting project sometime this month. Maybe. I accidentally popped into a shop to get some needles I need for a number of upcoming projects, and I'm dying to cast on with them. I already have 2 nearly-completed projects on the needles. And I'd like to finish them both soon - one to wear, one to finally give to the very deserving recipient (even though it'd be totally out of season). Must... be... strong...

And to round out my little round-up, today I caught the bus to work again (ugh) because I had a meeting with an M&A target this afternoon in the city.

In brief: Bus: late, slow, irritating. Location of meeting: Dublin 3, very different from anywhere else I'd been here previously, a lot like the western viaduct in Auckland. M&A stuff: really satisfying to research, prep my boss on, then meet with a potential target. It's not my call - I doubt I will get to even go to many of these - but very, very interesting.

And that's it for now. More quality tv downloads and a spot of knitting (old project, I will be strong!) await.

Except I almost forgot - thank you to all the knitters who came and kept me company on Saturday. And thank you to everyone who remembered my birthday - it really was the loveliest one yet!

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The Car & When Technology Works

See below for some photos of the car taken at a secret location Howth. (I didn't realise how authentically Irish the setting was until I reviewed the photos this morning.)

Yesterday (as well as being L's birthday) was our first drive with the sat nav. Without overstating it, I can't think of a recent technology other than the internet that has so instantaneously improved our lives!

Picture me driving furiously trying to remember that when I turn right I give way and picture Laura, a crazed look about her, with two map books and a sextant, trying to work out why the straight road on the map just forked into two - and then you'll see that our quiet Sunday drives were of the tragi-commedy/horror genre.

Compare and contrast: Yesterday I installed the unit into our suction-cup holder, selected "Malahide" (we went there first) from the list of cities, then hit the big "Go". In about 8 seconds it had plotted route, including navigating me through several large motorway interchange roundabouts. We decided to detour at Swords, so hit "Stop" and we tootled around making snarky comments about what a back water it was, then we selected "Malahide" again and our route was recalcuated, and off we went.

I had pre-saved "Home" as a special destination - so I selected this on our return journey. There were GAA games on a Croke Park, so I detoured off the suggested route to avoid the area. As you fail to make the suggested turn, it immediately recalculates the new course. Being able to see the map as you drive means you can make your own way in a relative saftey. Once I was condifent I had cleared the area, I followed the new route home. It delivered us with clinical accuracy to the drive way of our parking building, then proclaimed the job done - "You have reached your destination". Laura had remained relaxed and composed, even a little sleepy.

Other great things - it has maps for all the EU, and it's portable enough to carry with you and use as a pedestrian: hello European city-break heaven.

The car:

The new stereo and iPod dock I installed (RIP internal glove box light - oops). I'll move the cable into the glove box so the iPod is always out of site.

Something the American Military did right: God bless GPS

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Ahhh, weekend!

I've kicked off my work shoes, finished my conference call, and once I send an email or two, it's officially the weekend. Yay!

More importantly, it will be my birthday weekend 'o' fun. I plan to relax and let myself be spoiled by David as much as possible. There will be some knitting (a very small sub-group of the Dublin SnB-ers are coming over tomorrow, since our regular spot is closed for the long weekend), sleeping, eating of yummy food, and some beer-drinking in a pub. I also expect that I will open a present or two from David. (I love presents!)

We're still tv-less, which makes our neighbours' music & general noise that bit noisier. Hopefully it will be delivered on Tuesday. But ever-resourceful, David's planned to rent some DVDs to play on his laptop so I won't be entirely deprived of screen time.

In household-related matters, we now have a home phone. Which means, if you promise to be cognizant of the time zones and not try to monopolise us as we get ready for work, you will be able to call us and not need to re-mortgage your house!

So it's 6.32, David's at the pub with his workmates, and I'm about to settle down to read his book and relax. (Yes, his book - sadly, I don't have one of my own on the go.) Have a lovely weekend!

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I'm not one to blow my own horn...

... but back in the day I took it upon myself to trial very new technology at my place of work and stream a radio station - bfm - over the internet. Things took off, and my contribution was forgotten...

But now it has come full circle...

Today, a red-letter day, we had our broadband installed. And our TV, and our phone. At this building we have "triple-play": TV, phone and broadband delivered over fibre. We have fast (3MB/s) uncapped broadband that works (this is not necessarily common in Dublin, so we're lucky!).

And so this evening I am listening to bfm (using my over-complicated setup, but that is unimportant). I'm not worrying about how much traffic I'm sucking down; for once I couldn't car less.

It's 9 am in NZ and I'm listening to law line on Mickey Havoc's breakfast show. Oh the nostalgia. The halcyon days. The heady heady times.

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