31 August 2011

the totally bearable lightness of being

Spring brings it. That lifting of the weight you hadn't even realised was there.

wattle

The air is mild rather than biting, the swallows have returned as they do every August to their little mud nest above the laundry door, and all the cliches of Spring come rushing to the fore.

duck

Yesterday we had ducks wandering about the back garden, quacking mildly at the dog and I through the glass back door. This morning we were eating our muesli and Son #1 said Mum, quick! Out the window! And there was our old friend the Swamp Wallaby.

ignoring the totem tennis

He ignored the totem tennis in favour of the [plentiful, ahem] weeds. Then when he noticed the camera pointing at him through the window he moved to the side garden bed. I followed him ... and pointed the camera at him from my bedroom window.

camouflage wallaby outside my bedroom window

He is bigger than I remember, assuming it's our semi-regular wallaby of course. I do like to think it's the same little chap year after year. He's looking a little worse for wear these days with his grey muzzle and chunk missing out of one ear.

fast asleep by the fire

Unlike the ever more relaxed cat, I'm feeling slightly Spring-mad this year. An essay to complete, a new [to us] car and all the associated research and paperwork, a family holiday to plan, a sore throat to combat, craft camp to plan and pack for (two more sleeps), and fresh plans for new lace knitting. It's all a bit fraught n' frantic and here I am blogging instead of finishing the essay so I can breathe that enormous sigh of relief, execute the Happy Dance of Completion and feel the last scrap of weight lift from my shoulders and float away into the middle distance.

narcissi

By the way, I wanted to thank you for your enormous collection of podcast suggestions. I made a complete list and have been having a marvellous time listening to them on my commute. When I've thoroughly sampled them all I'll post a consolidated list with review notes (because that's how I roll). In the meantime, even though I swore I would never make my poor, embarrassed offspring the focus of my blog, here's another shot of Son #3 who was recently promoted to the first [soccer] team. I recorded his first match for posterity.

he got promoted to the first team

29 August 2011

do the macchiato with me

Lyn's coffee cosy

The other night I took a deep breath and pulled out a whole month's worth of lace knitting. It was a silk shawl that I had had high hopes for, but the yarn and pattern were just not made for each other.

close up of buttons and smocked stitch

So I sniffled a bit, and then made a cosy instead, for a friend who likes her coffee HOT.

Ravelled here if you need the low down on how to make a coffee cosy of your very own. Just don't speak to me about shawls.

26 August 2011

Book Week costume :: The Hobbit

Book week dress up

Book week dress up

That staff came in handy after all.

PS. Seeing that first photograph uploaded made me sit him down in the kitchen and CUT THAT HAIR.

13 August 2011

we have a winner!

sunrise

The random number generator thingy spat out comment number 29, which means Leonie is the winner of Rae's book The Eve Tree. Congratulations Leonie - shoot me an email at suseinthesoup[at]gmail[dot]com with your address and I'll post your book.

Not much else of interest around here at the moment. I'm researching cars as my current work vehicle lease is up soon, the eldest and I are doing the rounds of the university open days looking at their music studies options, the middle is preparing for his next camp, the youngest is scooting along nicely, the dog is being doggy, the cat is being hilarious, the husband is playing/watching/coaching/breathing soccer day in day out, and my strings sextet chose its name in a hurry when our teacher informed us we have two performances coming up so we'd need a name (we are now known as Highly Strung, after rejecting String Bags). (For those of you who remember talk of The Mighty Cellos last year, I had to drop out of that group as they were all quite accomplished musicians who sped waaaaay ahead of me very quickly and I got all stressed and distressed. Now I'm in another beginners group where we are all real beginners. I mean, reeeeaaall beginners ;) Phew.

6 August 2011

cobblestone

I made the mister a jumper.

finished cobblestone

This is only the second jumper I've ever knitted for him. Because the first one took twelve years (I kid you not). You can see it here and gaze at how little my children were and how I only had three readers back then. Awwwww, look at Son #3. So wee, like a little elf.

cobblestone

But I digress. Look at his new jumper! The pattern is the cobblestone, by Jared Flood and it was a pleasure to knit. It's green. And, it fits him. Bonus. Happy belated birthday, darling!

And yes, some of you may recognise that it's resting peacefully on my magnificent quilt, made by the gracious and talented Tracey.

Ravelled here if you're interested in the details.

PS. Apparently it's my "birthday" today. The mister was caught by surprise by a soccer colleague who demanded to know why we were not going to a certain [very expensive] club fundraiser tonight and instead of just saying honestly "Look, we would love to support the club but just now we really can't afford it" (I think he was a bit embarrassed to say that, probably) he replied "Um, we can't come, it's my wife's ... um ... birthday!"

And so, I have demanded cake. Well, wouldn't you?

PS. I'll leave the book giveaway open for a few more days.

1 August 2011

a little book talk (and giveaway)

grevillea
rosemary-leaved grevillea

The photos are unrelated; I'm just enjoying the blooms of late winter so I thought you might too.

winter mist
Standing in my driveway one wintry morning, looking across the road

Do you read Rae's blog? If you don't, you really should. It's quite a gem. And now she's written a book. A book! I feel ridiculously proud of her, my imaginary Canadian friend who lives this exotic life with her husband and four children in India and has now written her first novel. I think I'm the last person to review Rae's book The Eve Tree, for which I feel bad, but, well, there were reasons. At first the book didn't arrive, so the publishing company sent another one, but it was in the middle of essay-writing time so I didn't get to pick it up, and then (you know what I'm going to say, don't you?), the first book turned up. So now I had two unread copies on my bedside table, taunting me, wafting waves of guilt over my head as I slept.

dew
um, a photogenic clump of grass. with cobwebs.

But lo, the day arrived when semester was over and I was free to read whatever I WANTED to read, and that included Rachel Devenish Ford's The Eve Tree. (It also included Geraldine Brooks' Caleb's Crossing, and Peter Hoeg's Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, two very different but equally unputdownable books. So it's been a rather rewarding semester break in terms of my personal reading).

hardenbergia
hardenbergia growing along the roadsides everywhere

The Eve Tree is a tale that will resonate with anyone who has a connection to the land they call home, or who has faced the threat of natural disasters, or has a complicated relationship with her mother, or mental illness, or makes cheese or keeps goats or has a mother. Everyone basically. Rae writes simply and honestly about a family living in the redwood forests of California, dealing with each other and the very real threat of losing their beloved farm to a forest fire.

the froth of euphorbia wulfenii
the froth of euphorbia wulfenii

The central character Molly, is beautifully drawn. She's fragile but with a powerful undercurrent of ferocious strength and determination, she is flawed, cranky, loving, contradictory. Molly will get under your skin and live on in your brain long after you close the book with a sigh and put the light out. She's very real. The story feels very real and there are some lovely little pearls of poetry in the deceptively simple language.

daphne on the verge of
daphne in my garden, about to do its thing

I'm kind of in awe when people I know write books. Even imaginary people who live in my computer. And I'm thrilled to hear that another novel from Rae is in the works already.

daff
the first daffs, also in my garden

Anyway, remember I said I ended up with two copies of The Eve Tree? Well with Rae's blessing, I am giving away one copy to one of you. Leave a comment if you would like a chance to receive this beautiful debut novel, and I'll pull a name out of the virtual hat next week. Or if you can't wait to find out if your name is the one drawn, go here and buy a copy now.

Edited to add, lots of people are asking so I should clarify that yes, I will post internationally. Enter away.