Thursday, October 2, 2008
The very old, and the very new
My birthday has now come and gone. I did very very well, I do believe. But let me start where I left off, more or less, and take things in order.
After my last post, I had a couple of nights work, with a couple of days of trying to sort things out with my spinning. I worked on finishing the brown yarn, and have, by now, almost completed it. The more or less leftover slivers I have spun on two bobbins now, and will, likely, get about half a skein out of it, but as I plan on using it all, I figured spinning it all up would be a good idea. But we've seen the brown...on several occasions, so I won't include it here.
Last Friday, I came straight home from work so that I could be home just in case the laptop we had ordered for my birthday present from Chris turned up. Alas, it didn't, which in one respect is a good thing, since he would have had a hard time keeping me away from in. But it made me anxious. There is no Saturday or Sunday mail here in my part of South Australia, so that meant that either it showed up Monday, on my actual birthday, or (heaven forbid) it would be late. That didn't leave much room for error.
On Saturday, we met the inlaws at Dundee's Pub for a nice birthday lunch from their buffet. My mother in law gave me a tray, a boaty tea towel, and a card with $100 in it, which I expected more or less. That was already earmarked to be my "wireless router" money. Normally, they give me a gift certificate for one yarn shop or the other, but this year, Chris told them to just give me cash. It was a lovely lunch, but as I had worked the night before, and was about to work again that night, it was necessarily a short one.
Sunday we went to the Murray Bridge show, which was fun, but had only about half of the things they had there last year. I'm not sure why, but there you go. We did enjoy ourselves though. I bought a bag/purse type thing to replace my old one, which has seen better days, and some fudge, and nachos (a rarity around here) for lunch.
One amazing thing about the Murray Bridge show, from my perspective anyway, is an event that they call "sheaf tossing". It's an old Scottish game, apparently. A pitchfork type instrument is used to toss a "sheaf" over a pole that looks sort of like a goal post at a football game. The sheaf is bag of wheat..although I can't swear wheat is what's in there. I get the impression that it's the weight and balance of the sheaf that matters.
The idea is, you jab your pitchfork into the sheaf and swing it about a couple of times to warm up or get momentum or something:
And then you toss it over the crossbar pole:
Those who make it over the pole in this round, move on to the next round. The pole is raised a bit higher, and they start the process all over again.
It's really taken pretty seriously, and is surprisingly fun to watch. Apparently, there are teams who do this from all over the world. Some fellows from Ireland were at the MB show last year, but this year it appeared to just be the locals. Contestants range in age from their teens to seniors, but the main age range seems to be 30 to 50 somethings.
Whenever I want to think this sport odd, I just remind myself of how others see my Western Action Shooting, and I stop being so judgemental.
Just across the way from the sheaf tossing was the old standby, my favorite in any show, the sheep dog competition. Here's one brave working doggy going thru the paces:
I find these dogs pretty amazing, really, and their trainers as well, since I could never get a dog to do anything it didn't want to really. I admire their patience and skill.
I think though, what we had the very MOST fun watching was this thing they did this year, and I have no idea what they were calling it, that was sort of like kneeboard skiing on the grass. The teams were made up of four. One had to ride the kneeboard, while the other three pulled the ropes and drug that person on the board across the grass along a course, then turned (and could switch board riders at this point) and drug the rider back to the start.
It was an absolute hoot. I don't know who made this game up, but it was clear everyone participating was amatuers. The cursing, the falling, the tripping...it was hysterical. It was, in short, the best time I had at the show this year.
After all of this gaity, I wandered into the crafts building. I looked around a bit at all the lovely fleeces (prize winning and otherwise):
I just love to wander amongst the fleeces, and I can't keep my fingers off. I do restrain myself though, because what I'm really tempted to do is roll around in them all.
I then paid a visit to the booth set up by the Murray Bridge Spinners and Weavers Guild.
These ladies proved to have a marvelous sense of humour and no small amount of skill! I was most impressed with one ladies little bear she was making with a hot felting method. A very interesting craft, but as I later told Chris, probably not one I would be any good at. It looked as though you must have some sort of artistic talent to pull it off, as it was essentially a little felt sculpture.
I had a chat with them, told them I was a fairly new spinner, and they invited me around to visit them on Wednesday afternoons when they meet. I could go every other week at least, as that would work well with my work scedule. I can't wait to pay them a visit, but it will probably be after the school holidays now before I will get a chance to. I DO plan to go though. They were so friendly and inviting, how could I NOT want to go.
Which brings me to Monday, my actual birthday. I was off work Sunday night, so I had a good nights sleep and was up bright and early in the morning. Chris was up early too, as he was spending the day preparing for his upcoming boating outing with workmates. We also both had in mind that the delivery truck might come early, as it often does here, and we didn't want to miss it.
I had no idea who "the deliverer" was going to be. AusPost always..ALWAYS...shows up between 8 o'clock and 9:30 in the morning, but when 10 o'clock came and went, I was starting to get a wee bit nervous. I hadn't given up yet though. I pottered around the house as best I could. I got on the computer and checked my mail, and I had a fantastic birthday email from my youngest son, so sweet it almost made me cry.
My mom then got online and caught me on MSN and told me she was about to call. She had sent me a present, and it had arrived about a week before, but I hadn't opened it yet. I opened it while we talked on the phone. Now I had given her some pretty specific ideas of what I wanted, and she didn't fail me in the least. In the package I found a lovely dress for me to wear during the Western Action shoots, something very difficult to find here in Australia:
I was pleased as punch, and as you can see, it fits! Even the length is just right, which is a rarity for me, short as I am.
Later, Chris was in the kitchen, preparing a dinner that he was going to take on the outing with him when the phone rang. Consequently, I answered the phone, something I don't do often if Chris is here...it's always for him. It was the delivery fellow, checking to make sure I was home. He must have heard the delight in my voice, I was over the moon when I told him to come on and hurry.
The laptop arrived and I could barely contain myself. It seems silly almost that I should be so excited over something, and yet I was terribly excited. I wanted to rip into the box, but contained myself and opened it carefully. Inside was my beautiful yellow Dell laptop! I loved it at first site:
I got it out, plugged it in, turned it on, unplugged it and let it run on batteries, and generally poked and prodded it, learning where it's bits were located and generally what I could do with it. It runs Vista, and I've never worked on Vista before, so that's a learning curve I'm still dealing with. I can't tell you if I like it or don't yet. I'm still not used to it though.
I still had yet to get a wireless router. I only got the money Saturday, and Sunday we went to the show, and both were workdays, so I simply hadn't gotten it done. So an hour or two after getting the laptop, I loaded it up gently and took it to town with me. I had originally planned to shop for the router in Mt Barker, particularly at Harvey Normans, but at the last minute I decided to look in Murray Bridge first. I do prefer to shop local, but mainly I just wanted to get it and get my new toy online ASAP.
So I went down to Bridge Computers and found just what I needed for only $75 dollars. Now I knew they had one on sale in Mt Barker for around $60, but once you factored in fuel costs to get there and back, I would have only broken even and wasted time. So I bought this Netgear Wireless Router G :
and brought it home.
When I got home, Chris was on the desktop computer, which I needed, of course, to hook up the router. I pretended to be patient, and indeed, I did have other things that needed attention, but I was less than patient in my heart. I'm glad now, though, that I was, because Chris gave me a shout soon and said that Justin, my oldest son, was online and looking for me. So I talked to Justin through Chris' MSN and he wished me a happy birthday! I was so happy to hear from him!
I told him about the computer and the router and what I had to do and how badly I wished he was here to do it for me. He's so good at things like that, and always used to program my TV's and VCR's and hook all the cable thingies. I miss him dreadfully all the time, but particularly at times like these.
He assured me that it would be easy as eating cake, and after we finished our conversation, I found out that he was absolutely right. I had these awful images of ISP numbers and having to delve into those remote areas of the computer that I hate to deal with, but in the end, all I had to do was run a disk and bingo bango, I was online and wireless! I was stoked.
So, of course, the very next thing I did was take my new laptop outside, and make sure the range made it to the veranda, where I am banished to smoke my nasty fags when Chris is home. It worked! I was sitting in the beautiful South Australian sunshine typing away in Ravelry! WHAT A GAS! I trotted around the rest of the house then, testing it in every room. I don't think I put the computer down for the rest of the evening. I took it outside every cigarette. I set it up on my table while I sat on the couch watching TV with Chris. I even sat right there and checked the TV guide online for him, because the TV book that he had had "TBA" written under one timeslot. So cool!
Monday night, I even took it to work. Work that night, however, was an absolute mess, the details of which I'd rather not relive, so I didn't even get it out of the bag, much less get to know it better. But still, like a security blanket, it was there.
The next couple of days were more work and very little play, but today, finally, I have time off and can enjoy it to my satisfaction. I went this morning, and bought a cordless mouse for it:
which hasn't exactly improved the computers performance, but more my performance on it. I've never like the little "fingerpad" navigation on a laptop, and with this mouse, all I have to do is plug a little gadget into the USB port and wahhhlahhh, the mouse does the rest. Much, much better!
Over my day off, I've picked up the spinning again, and finally moved on from the ever lasting brown. I took out the roving I had dyed with koolaid recently, and began to spin it, keeping the colors in sections:
I've managed to get almost a bobbin full so far, and I like the way it looks. I might do the second bobbin with the colors reversed, starting on the other end of the roving, and then see how that plies together. Or maybe finally do that Navaho plying. I haven't made up my mind yet.
I took the picture at the very top of this post to show how my little section of the living rooms looks right at this minute. On reflection, what an interesting picture. The very old craft of spinning blended, right in my living room, with the present day advanced technology. It rather boggles the mind when I think of it.
I've done a bit of knitting, and almost finished off the sleeve to the CPH. I only like about an inch of knitting in pattern and then the shoulder shaping. I'm going to try and finish that off tonight, and also do the maths for an upcoming project that will remain nameless, that I will start on in the next couple of days. I've also started another Christmas project, but in the name of surprises, I will not post about it here. I will, however, have them up on Ravelry soon.
I have to work all weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and then I'm off for 3 days. We are leaving out Tuesday morning for a short 2 day trip to Port Victoria, which is my favorite place on earth. We have rented a seaside cabin there, and I plan to knit by the sea, and perhaps even take my spindle and a bit of fibre to try and hone my spindle skills (which are sorely lacking).
My laptop will be taking it's maiden holiday trip, but I'm fairly certian the cabins we are staying in don't have internet access. But I'll make do. I've downloaded my Scrabble game and some card games, an audio book and my Canon camera's download program, so I will have bits to do on it. I've also thought I might write my blog on there, each day as things happen, and then transfer the data to here when I get back and get online. Ah, the possibilities!