Updatey thing

It seems like lately all I do is apologise for not posting. Must get better.

Mum has been enjoying her visit so far. I think she’s feeling slightly at a loose end because she’s so far re-organised several cupboards and cleaned out my freezer. It’s all little jobs that needed doing, but the kind of thing that I never seem to find time for or that I start to do, look at the stuff and conclude that I have no idea how to better organise it all. She even asked me this morning whether there was anything she could do. Er, no, you did all the housework that I’d planned on doing yesterday!

Thankfully she’s borrowed my sock book and is working out her gauge preparatory to tackling her first pair of socks. That should keep her nice and quiet.

I finally got to see her famously broken wrist and, I must say, she did a number on it. They’ve fixed it as best as they can, but it’s not straight and she’s got a lot of swelling in her fingers still. We’re doing regular applications of a cold pack, which is helping a bit with the pain and swelling. The consultant has basically said that, should she ever break it again, they won’t be able to fix it. So she’s being very careful.

Interestingly, knitting is helping her to get a bit of mobility back in her fingers. She can’t work on anything heavy so she’s doing a lace scarf and we’re hopeful that the sock will also be suitably light. At least she has stuff to craft now!

The Girls are enjoying the company during the day. Annie has even been discovered to have a “Mine! Go away!” noise that she’s never displayed before. She steals Blue Snake apparently. And possibly torments Kate.

Work has been amazingly busy. I don’t talk about it much here anymore because I don’t have quite so much venting to do. I work for a good boss, my colleagues are good people and I don’t have insane directors throwing things at me. Even the corporate culture is much better. And when things break, it’s part of my job to fix them. I’m in the team that monitors, fixes and enhances the data warehouse. Everything I do is based on trouble tickets, whether it’s a new feature, an enhancement, a bug fix or a catastrophic failure of a data load (abend). For the last week, all I’ve done is open abend tickets and fix things. Monday afternoon, one of my colleagues donated chocolate to me because I’d been having a nightmare attempting to get Monday’s four (!!) abend tickets fixed. Not problems working out what to do, problems getting people to co-operate with me on what needed doing to fix them.

Today was a bit calmer, only one abend ticket. Lovely. I’ve been asked to help out with our upgrade from Oracle 10g to 11 so this afternoon my colleague assigned a ticket to me to investigate some C programs and look at whether and how they can be replaced with a more Oracle-ish thing. I’m actually looking forward to doing something other than work on trouble tickets!

Think that’s all the catch-up. I’ve got a new novel idea and quite a bit of background notes already written. It’s quite exciting 🙂

Stuff and stuff

In knitting news, the hat that was going to be my knit night project was far quicker to knit that anticipated. So quick that I finished it (and seamed it) last night. Oops. It’s beautiful, though, and only took one skein of yarn instead of the two specified in the pattern so I now have a skein of Rowan Cocoon in Emerald to play with. It’s going to be debuted at knit night, I feel.

I have now cast on the tension swatch for the tunic that I’ve been planning to make in Rowan Cashcotton (yes, I love Rowan, shut up). I’ve had the yarn since last summer, but other projects have always been getting in the way. It’s a pretty pink, not my usual choice, and I’m quite excited to see how it knits up because this will be the first garment beyond socks and hats that I’ve made for myself.

Yes, I am having a selfish knitting phase. I feel that I deserve it.

The tunic is very simple (apart from the final edging where I pick up a bazillion stitches and we know how I feel about picking up stitches) being basically “Moss stitch for xcm” for a lot of it so it should be a good knit night project. Mindless knitting, always good when you’re likely to get caught up in the gossip.

The lace is going somewhat slower because I don’t dare knit it anywhere except my bedroom with the door firmly closed on the cats. And no TV. This definitely limits the times when I knit at it. I’ve finished the first chart and done 2 rows of the second chart (well, 4 if you include the knit rows) but it’s going to get slower as I go because each row makes it a bit wider. Still, I haven’t made any mistakes yet and that counts for something. The wedding is still three months away, so I’m feeling cautiously optomistic about it.

In fannish stuff, I am three episodes behind in BSG so I feel the need for a marathon at some stage. But I am also very tired and BSG requires concentration. I suspect that the tiredness is due to the nasty bug that I had a week ago – this thing seems to leave everyone with post-viral ick for a while and I’ve always been good for getting post-viral ick. I continue to enjoy Law and Order: UK, House continues to be excellent and tonight I have a CSI:NY/Holby City double bill planned after I Skype the parents.

Oh, yes, and I’ve also got my latest challenge story to 7,000 words. Despite all that TV, I’m actually being productive. Go me!

Stuff. And more stuff

The challenge thing is done barring the edits which I am just about to do. Yay me.

The cats have discovered the joys of my bathroom and, thankfully, worked out how to get out of the bath as well as in. I had visions of needing to rescue stranded kitties regularly.

Annie wants to catch my cursor. Obviously, that is not helpful when trying to edit fic, apply for jobs and sort out driving lessons. Silly kitten.

We’re having my aunt over tonight for a movie night. She’s hiding from her housemate because the housemate’s ex is going back to Ontario tomorrow and there will be much weeping at 5AM. Life in my household is much more civilized.

Annie has now decided to take an early nap in my lap. That bathroom exploration was exhausting.


So I’m nearly done with writing for a challenge that I entered (I should make it just under the deadline). Hitting the word count has not been the problem. *Stopping*, that is proving to be the problem. What is it about challenges this year that is making be break the 2,500 word mark when I hadn’t managed that for eighteen months before?

In other news, I had a day out at Mahone Bay which was fabulous. There were books and yarn and amazing chocolate espresso cookies and then we went to my favourite steak place in the evening for supper. It turns out that a watched job board never produces jobs: while I was taking a day off, several jobs got posted that I could apply for! So today has been a bit more productive on that side than it has been.

Merlin has just finished downloading but I really need to finish the story and then go out to the store. I’ll definitely be back for my regular chat with historyterry unless the sky falls in. I’m starting to feel much more confident about driving on my own and, at the weekend, I finally seemed to get the hang of four-way stops. Go me!

Note to self: book driving lessons after lunch to make sure of stuff for driving test. Also, book driving test.

Now it’s back to the writing with some sustaining tea. Why is my throat sore?

Interesting link on hypermobile hands

This blog article popped into my Google Alerts today: They should do all assistive technology this way.

It’s interesting because the photos of the girl’s hands are remarkably familiar, particularly the way she holds a pen without her ring splints. I’ve always been used to my hands aching after writing for a while and nearly seizing up when doing exams, but it hadn’t occurred to me until recently that my entire writing grip is odd. Holding a pen steady when your fingers bend backwards under any pressure is not easy unless you hold the pen ridiculously tightly.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve taken to using a fountain pen when doing any extended writing. It’s impossible to press hard on the page without bending the nib badly and that seems to be educating me to use a slightly better grip, but it’s not perfect. I don’t think that I’m going down the ring splint route, but looking at the way my fingers bend on the pen does start to make sense of my illegible handwriting and the stiffness that my hands quickly aquire.

Unfortunately, I’ve  noticed that my hands are doing the same where I knit. I use the index finger on my left hand to steady the needles and it’s either bending backwards or locking into a semi-bent position most of the time, which is making that finger a bit sorer than usual. Maybe I need to look into doing something about that finger, even if it’s just when I’m knitting?

Ah, the joys of having a wacky body!

Interesting article on the business side of writing

msagara writes a lot of interesting articles about writing, the writing business and the bookselling industry but she’s written a particularly interesting one today about the business of writing and choosing your writing area. Read it here because it’s the kind of thing that sparks all sorts of thoughts on what we choose to write and the balance between writing what we want and writing something publishable.

Weekend doings

Sometimes you have weekends where you get to the end not knowing what you’ve done with the time and not feeling like you’ve actually accomplished anything. Then there are other weekends where, even though you didn’t acheive anything particularly practical, you did what you set out to do and feel much better for it. This past weekend was one of the second type.

Last week I was exhausted. I’m talking head spinning, brain foggy, dangerous driving type exhaustion that only seemed to get worse as the week went on. So I decided that this weekend I needed to relax, recharge and rest because I really can’t handle that level of exhaustion for long.

Friday night I turned off my alarm and vowed to sleep until I woke up naturally. It turns out that, rather than being wide awake at 8am as I have been the last two weekends when I have tried this, I didn’t surface until 11am. I’m trying not to feel guilty about that 🙂 I popped down to the town with Mum for some chores and to buy some bread, which turned out to be an excellent plan because the bread we bought for lunch was amazing. After lunch, I pursuaded Mum and Da to walk with me to the second hand bookshop. It’s a four mile round trip and usually I end the walk feeling as though I could have easily done another two miles, but the lack of exercise in recent weeks made itself apparent and I was shattered by the time we got back.

I didn’t really care, though, because the bookshop yielded a rather fine horde of five Trebizon books! These are apparently rarer than gold dust and the books all have the same name written in the front cover, so I obviously turned up at just the right time to benefit from someone’s clear out. I also picked up the only Malory Towers that I didn’t yet own plus the first Naughtiest Girl book after seeing it referred to on the Girls Own list. Mum and Da each found a few things that they wanted and we took a break in the pub (cider for Mum and I, London Pride for Da) before walking back. Then we decided that we didn’t have the energy to be creative and ordered in pizza to watch with Doctor Who.

The weather on Saturday was glorious and it promised to be nasty yesterday as a contrast, but then it cleared up beautifully in the afternoon. I had been considering going to archery yesterday morning but couldn’t wake up, and in view of the thunderstorm that hit just at the time when everyone would have been out on the field shooting I think I made the right choice. In the afternoon we decided to take advantage of the fine weather and went for another walk, this time a couple of miles through the woods to see the bluebells. They were absolutely beautiful and I took a ton of photos. When I got home I spent some time cataloguing some books (finished an entire shelf in an hour), worked a little on Sensible Man and then joined the parents in front of the TV (Miss Austen Regrets) for the evening.

In summary, most of this weekend was spent walking outdoors and I know that I feel better for it, even if my hips and knees are a little stiff. I suspect that the stiffness is a sign that I shouldn’t have been so lazy over the last month! There was also book geekage and plenty of relaxation so the time was definitely well-spent.

This morning I’m feeling tired and dopey (as always) but I’m determined to get some early nights this week and not end up quite so shattered as I was last week. I’ve got to at least try to be sensible this week!

What I have done this weekend, by ArcheryGirl

This weekend I have been remarkably productive:

– Put in a huge update for the Quakers website.
– Finished another two blanket patches, bringing my total tally up to 4 of 63.
– Wrote a big chunk of Sensible Man
– Walked into town and explored the new shopping centre.
– Replaced the work shirt that the washing machine ate this week. I am a girl with literally enough work shirts to get through the working week and no more. Losing one was a tragedy.
– Checked out food arrangements and printed out the final programme for Orbital.

That’s pretty good for a girl who is completely exhausted as well! I have some deep thoughts on the nature of fantasy and its relationship with the world inspired by the last episode of the Worlds of Fantasy documentary series. Except I have no brain left so I will have to write those thoughts tomorrow.

And now I am going to watch TV and eat something, because that also needs doing.

I’m packed (I think)

Tomorrow I catch my flight to Canada, which means getting up at silly o’clock because we must be at Heathrow by 8am Or Else. This means that we’re giving ourselves lots and lots of time (90 minutes) to get there because, although it’s usually only a 45 minute drive, we’ve been caught out before and still been on the M25 in stationary traffic when check-in was supposed to have ended. We still got our flight that time, but, y’know, it’s caused some paranoia now.

Expect us to be at Heathrow by around 7.15am tomorrow so that we can spend four hours waiting for our flight instead of the recommended three hours. We know that if we leave ten minutes later, we’ll be hideously late for check-in because all the traffic will snarl up.


I am packed. I think. I always have the option of removing or adding things if I’ve forgotten them. I’ve got half a dozen spare cartridges for my fountain pen. I’m sticking Sensible Man onto a pen drive so that I can work on it if I have a few minutes during the week. The notebook with Sensible Man in is going into my hand-luggage rather than checked luggage because I am paranoid. I also have a plastic baggie with a change of undies and socks Just In Case. Watch the paranoia grow as the departure nears.

Unless something odd happens, I probably won’t post here again until I’m in Canada. Yay! Holiday!

And now I shall go and knit in front of the TV because I haven’t actually finished the scarf that I’m taking with me tomorrow…

What have I been up to?

The last two weeks seem to have flown by and yet I’m not quite sure what I’ve actually achieved during them.

I had a lovely weekend up in London, visiting my sister and buying pretty baubles in Liberty.

Last weekend was a quiet, not doing much of anything weekend. I didn’t even write.

This weekend has been a little fuller. I’ve done my tax return and worked out that the government owes me £10. I have done a ton of writing and I’m now willing to admit that the ‘short story’ I’ve been working on may be closer to a novella. Hopefully it’s actually a short novel because those in-between things are impossible to sell, or so I’ve been told. I’m planning to fiddle about a bit with a website later and I’ve got lots of knitting done.

Yesterday, just to get myself out and about despite the nasty weather, I wandered down to the local second hand bookshop.  No Chalet School books, sadly, but I did look in the classics section and picked up Cider With Rosie (I read excerpts at school and loved them so I hope the full book is just as good) and Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales because I’m on a Tolkien kick and I’ll want something when I’ve finished The Children of Húrin.

Torchwood finally started this week and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Last year, it didn’t really pick up until episode five and there were still at least two duds in the second half of the season. This year, despite some definite weaknesses in the actual plot, the episode was great fun and thoroughly entertaining. It seems to have been a huge hit with the fans as well. I think injecting a bit of humour and letting the characters be a bit more likeable has helped.  Last year, even Captain Jack was difficult to like and he’s one of the best things to come out of new Doctor Who! Hopefully this trend will continue and the series will be thoroughly enjoyable 🙂

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