Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Impressionist Sky

The title has nothing to do with anything. But since I haven't posted properly for yonks, I need to do a catch-up, miscellania post, and this morning has given us a beautiful impressionist sky, with clouds that would make Monet weep.

So, first, I got one of these:

He is a mini Rex and he is soooooooo soft. He’s also a big fat dork. He has two names – n00b, because he is, and Christopher Robin, because he goes ‘hoppity hoppity hop’, and I needed a name that was easier to explain to people over 30 than ‘n00b’.

Mostly I just call him 'bunny', though. Or 'bunster' or 'bunstable', or 'el bunnarino', since I'm not into that whole brevity thing.

He disapproves of my poor cleaning skills.

He lives in my spare room, and likes to wake me up at 5:30 by ripping newspaper. He chews things. I luff him. He is indifferent to me, as long as pellets are provided. He tolerates pats but eschews cuddles. He is very hard to take photos of.

Second, I frogged this.

It is technically my first jumper. You might remember me talking about it
here, and here, where I was about to proceed on knitting the sleeves. Yeah, not so much. Despite this jumper having been to China and back with me, I was reluctant to come back to it. Part of this was the fact that I had originally, with my mother’s help, attempted to adjust the pattern so it would fit me. It’s in a Katia book, and so has only one size. I was definitely a knitting n00b, going back and forth between the English and Spanish instructions, because the Spanish had centimeters. When in China, I gave up, and started knitting it to the pattern, hoping against reason that I would be able to wear it.

Last year I decided I’d finish it, and that it would fit someone. Probably my younger sister, although I am reluctant to lavish knitwear upon her. But last week I took it out and… well… it looked… small. Tiny.

That is MOST CERTAINLY never going to fit me. It might still fit my sister but I don’t even know about that. That’s not a large top. It is the opposite of large. So. Frogged. Free yarn! Hoorah!

Some of it has since become something else, but more about that when I have pictures.

I’ve made progress on this:

It’s made from the alpaca that was originally intended for Bryant’s Slipover, but didn’t turn out so good. I decided to knit the Alpaca Silk Fairy Net Blouse from some issue of IK. Except without much of the fairy net. Being more of a Faerie type of gal and not having much room in my life for fairy nets. Or useless pieces of fabric that turn a shaped garment into a boxy one. Still, I knit the lace sleeves. Several times. I just COULD NOT get a handle of the decreasing in pattern. I knit the first one once, while listening to a lecture from UC Berkeley about the French Revolution. I knit it again while watching Beauty and the Beast (don’t laugh. It’s a good movie. Well, if they took out Mrs Potts and her insufferable child. That’s a twisted relationship if ever I saw one.) I knit it once more while listening to another UC Berkeley lecture, this time about Bismark. I FINALLY got it.

And then I lay out all the pieces. All the pieces knit in alpaca. Alpaca with no silk involved. Heavy. Hot. Short… sleeved…


I WILL DEFEAT YOU!!!1!!111!1

I’ve seamed it up the sides. I’m still dragging my heels on putting the sleeves in. Where I am going to wear a short sleeved alpaca top, I don’t know. Also, it’s kind of itchy, so I’d have to wear a reasonable top under it. It’s too girly to be a vest – picot edging, you know.

What I do know is that it’d be a bitch to frog. That alpaca is HAIRY. Maybe I can pull it off as a vest?


On Saturday I went to an engagement party in a park. It turned out to be a lovely day for it, but when I left home it was overcast and blustery, so I wore my
blue jacket. Although I met them at the same time, I’m better friends with him (B) than her (R). Turns out, see, that we read all the same webcomics.

Anyway, the first people I spoke to, after greeting, were R’s parents, who I had never met before and in fact didn’t realize were her parents until halfway through the event. I’m sharp like that. Her dad comes marching up to me and says ‘What a wonderful jacket. Did you make it yourself?’ I’m standing there wondering whether to be offended or not, when I notice his partner, R’s mother, peering at the lacework. She knits. We had a wonderful conversation about ktogs and yos. She said she just couldn’t find patterns that she liked. I suggested teh interwebs.

About a half hour later, there was a new arrival wearing a knitted top. It was a hideous mustard colour that led me to believe that it was store-bought, but it was chunky enough to be feasibly hand knit. Mandarin collar, high waist, I’m eyeing it off distractedly as someone talks to me, wondering about construction. Out of the corner of my eye I spy R’s father marching up to the mustard-clad girl. Drifting on the breeze I hear ‘No! I bought it at Sportsgirl!’ I felt smug. Somebody slap me.

This is not my bunny. this is my sister's Bunny. His name is Giacomo Casanova. No joke. Also, if you haven't seen it, you should totally check out the BBC TV series of Cassanova with David Tennant in it. It's totally surreal and cool. And sexy. Best. Dr Who. EVER.

And to top it off, a story whose moral I have not yet decided on.

Since I was meeting and greeting on Saturday, my weekly cleaning got left until Sunday. I hung my quilt (or doona or whatever anyone calls it) out on the line to air as usual. I’m a bit nervous about leaving it on the communal line. I’ve lost a couple of face washers, one of which might have just fallen off (since someone likes to ‘borrow’ my pegs) but the other of which was definitely taken, so I went to get it after about an hour.

It was gone.

It was definitely not just fallen off, etc. I looked. I stood there, disbelieving. I went back upstairs and cried for five minutes. I was already having a bad day, ok. Also, I’ve had that quilt for years (which, now that I think about it, is kind of gross) It’s like if someone had taken my teddy bear or security blanket – and then I wrote a note.

It said ‘Whoever f*%#ed off with my quilt – BRING IT BACK’. I sneered at myself a little for doing it, but it did make me feel better. Something about registering my anger, or whatever. I pegged it to the line where my quilt had been.

Yesterday I had to go to the shops after work. As I left my apartment, there were a couple of people hanging out their washing. As I walked back, I strategically detoured through the washing line area and…

There was my quilt! I scooped it up and ran to my apartment. I am still undecided as to whether this is a story about the good in people or the bad. Then again, I’m a glass-not-full-enough kind of person. Make of that what you will.

Also not my Bunny. I hope my sister never finds this blog, or I'm in Trouble.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Joyful Sorrow

I try not to talk too much politics on this blog, since it's often alienating, even to people who might agree with me. However, I feel like this is the day to break that tradition, if only so I will have some personal record of it. Wanky as it is, I do feel like this is a day that History Happened.

I just came from watching the parliamentary apology. My first reaction, right this moment, is this: Fucking Brendon Nelson, get your head out of your Arse and at least pretend to be gracious. I mean it. I mean all those swear words (something else I try to keep off of the blog) All of them. I thought my years of being ashamed to be an Australian every time I saw a politician on my screen were over. Not so. I don't think I could have cringed any more. After Rudd's speech which, ok, was not perfect in delivery but was at least heartfelt, Nelson's piss-weak excuse for an apology was deeply painful.

Let's try a metaphor here. This path - it's the way to a whole and healed nation. With me? OK. The gorse and broom weeds on the edges? Brendon Fucking Nelson.

God. Way to screw up your moment in the sunshine.

OK, now onto the petty sniping which I do so well. I enjoyed watching the benches as the speeches wore on. Julia Gillard spent the whole time looking dignified, and nodding along, looking at the back of Kevin Rudd's head as though she Believed. (For those non-Aussies, Gillard is the one who, a few years ago, called another member of parliament 'a grub'. When told by the Speaker to apologise, she said 'I apologise for any insult I may have caused to the Honourable Member. Or to grubs.' Makes me miss Keating.)

On the Labor side, most of the White, Middle Aged Men looked varying degrees of bored or glum. Maybe they were going for gravity. I think they missed. Except, of course, for Peter Garret.

That's right, for those of you who live overseas or haven't been paying attention, our Minister for the Environment used to be the lead singer of Midnight Oil. I saw him speak at my left-wing uni one time. The guy who used to run around with dreads and bare feet came dressed up like a Quoll, and tried to dump a bucket of barkchips over Garret's head, shouting 'What about the Tasmanian Forests, Peter? What about the Forests?!?!' while the security guards chased him round and round the food court. Good times.

Anyway. Garret was on the edge of his seat, looking tense and excited. The women, of whom there are a fair few scattered along the back benches, were more interesting. I am going to show my ignorance now, since I know none of their names, and I can't look them up since none of them look anything like their official pictures. My only excuse is the Howard years - I just couldn't stand to pay attention anymore.

The woman directly behind Rudd, along with a few others, were weepy. The woman behind her was engaged and dignified, except for when Rudd mentioned mothers, when she did a little simper-sob thing, and looked mushy for a few minutes.

The Liberal benches just looked bored, glum, sullen, sulky. When Nelson got up to speak (boo, hiss) the contrast of Julia Bishop sitting behind him to Gillard was interesting. I actually had to ask someone to check that she was not, in fact, Camilla Parker-Bowles. She looked either glum or sneery throughout.

There were shots of past prime ministers - Keating next to Hawke, Hawke next to Whitlam (interspersed with wives). Keating looked OLD, which made me feel old, likewise. Those were the days. I was in primary school, we had a prime minister who had worked for a living, and the future was hopeful. We never dreamed of Howard.

During Nelson's speech, we got a shot of Hawke and Gough. Hawke looked like he needed a drink (badump, cha), and Gough was leaning forward, looking appaled, like he just couldn't tell where that horrible smell was coming from. I know. It was from Nelson.

Apparently people on the lawns outside stood and turned their backs on both Parliament house and the screens showing Nelson's snivelling face, bringing back memories of the time Howard was similarly snubbed. My reliable sources tell me that Elder park, here in Adelaide, saw similar disapproval. At work, we fired up the TV screen and there were 6 or so of us early birds, and the heckling was intense.

I am just so ashamed. Rudds speech was compasionate, heartfelt, sincere. It was full of feeling, without being sentimental. Nelson, on the other hand, was sickly and sentimental, and seemed to undo, step by step, Rudd's good words.

OK, so Rudd did not deliver the speech with the same vim that you could imagine someone like Keating doing it. He's no Barak Obama. But as he got going, I got caught up in his words, in the story he was telling of my country. It was one filled with real people, with lives, and real pain.

I hope you won't think I'm being overly dramatic if I say that it was the first time in my entire life that I have heard a Prime Minister of my country describe it in a way that I recognise. Rudd spoke about my reality - a reality in bad things happened, and need to be addressed. A reality in which ignoring other people's pain is not only morally wrong, but also counter productive. A reality in which, if we can't acknowledge these wrongs, we must keep feeling ashamed of them. Only when things start to change, can we be, as Nelson claimed we already are, free of the guilt of our prosperity at the expense of the first peoples of this land.

But it is still a reality in which there is room for hope.

For me, it was a very hopeful speech. I could see a glimpse of a future that, two years ago - heck, six months ago - would have been laughably optimistic. A future where Australians are Australians. Where we can live with our past, without feeling it as a weight. Where an aboriginal person walking down the street is no more noteworthy than someone in a headscarf, or a white woman with her child, or an Asian student with fluffy things hanging off of her mobile phone. I can't get over how you can see the members of any nation walk towards you and not blink an eye, but when a member of our first peoples is walking, everyone crosses the street.

I was hoping to come away from this morning feeling lighter. I don't. I feel a strange mix of uplifting hope and grinding, belly-wrenching shame. I'm not sure which will win.

I expected to come away feeling good about the people in charge. I certainly didn't expect to be so incensed by Nelson - I was hoping for hope for bi-partisan movement. I'm not feeling that, now.

All I know is, I'm hopefull. And I'm so, so, sorry.