I Have a New Love

I’ve just cast on a gauge swatch for a beanie I am knitting for a work colleague who is leaving to move to Tasmania, to work on a house he has bought down there. Toby is a funny guy, with possibly the driest sense of humour I have ever come across, and we have had our clashes in the past, but I really like and respect him, and will miss having him around. Toby loves good craftsmanship, classic design, and things that are handmade.

So I thought it fitting to knit him a beanie to keep his head warm in the cold Tasmanian winter. I chose Naturally “Harmony” 8ply 100% merino, in a charcoal grey. It’s a low twist, with an almost felted feel, and it knits up to be an incredibly soft and wonderful fabric.

I bought this at Champion Textiles in Newtown, for $6.50 a skein. I can feel a Rogue Hoodie coming on. Though I would really prefer the zippered version that Kris did, but this is such a lovely fabric, the fact that the colour is lest than exciting doesn’t bother me.

Oh dear. Have I finally seen the merits of substance over style ?

The Bigots Strike Again

National Anger As Gay Civil Union Ban Upheld

The Sydney Morning Herald poll shows that 71% of respondents have no problem with Gay Civil Unions. And yet our government continues to act as though allowing a public display of love and commitment will irreparably damage the fabric of our society.

The Marriage Act was written with consideration of the understanding that the family is the basic unit of society, marriage protects property, and hence protects the family. The legal nature of marriage is nothing more than a extension of property law. Allowing equal access to both the legal protection of marriage, and the rite of passage of marriage adds value to the institution of marriage. Denying that right to a significant number of people, in my opinion, devalues it.

Society is changing. And the liberal party isn’t keeping up.

To have your say, click here.

Lillian Fraser Garden Photography Competition

Mark and I took our cameras to the Lillian Fraser Garden this afternoon to take pictures in the hope that we might end up with an image worth entering in the first photography competition. While I was unemployed, I volunteered at the garden, and it holds a special place in my heart.

Lillian Fraser was a scientist in a time when women were supposed to stay at home. My recollection of her exploits is sketchy, but I believe she became a bigwig at the Dept of Agriculture, and was a keen plant collector, traveling the world to bring back specimens to her garden in Pennant Hills, Sydney. On her death, the garden was bequeathed in perpetuity to the people of Hornsby Shire.

You can see the pictures we took here.

Please take a look, feedback is very welcome. 8 words per month…..


The past few weeks have been a catalogue of disasters. The death of Rhubarb, SImone’s cat, Scooter, the death knell for AppleCentre Broadway (and probably 2 years worth of my superannuation payments gone with it), and some random lunatic setting fire to Simone’s house – all within three weeks.

So it’s nice to have some happy news in the mix. Adam and Sarah are pregnant. Very early days (about 6 weeks by now), but mother and Jelly (that’s the baby’s official name for now) are doing very well – apart from Sarah feeling very tired and unwell !

George would be very pleased – he’d been pestering me for a great grandchild for years – his sisters had quite a few between them, and he felt a little left out. My parents aren’t too sure if they are ready to be grandparents, but I am ready to be an auntie. Prepare for many bunny booties, bonnets and blankies !


We’ve changed our web hosting, which resulted in the blog going tits up last weekend, and me losing about a weeks worth of posts. Luckily I still had a browser window open on my laptop, and was able to capture the text from the last few posts, and I put them back up last night.

Mark has also started a blog, which means that he has taken a more active interest in blogging technology, and hopefully soon I’ll be able to blog via email, and maybe even from my phone.

I have bought a new laptop. The old one was starting to get very slow, and was below the minimum hardware requirements for running Aperture, which is something that I really want to learn how to use. Photography may never earn me a cent, but if I have to keep working at a not very fulfilling job, then I want to be able to spend my leisure time productively, and get some gratification from creating beautiful things. Beautiful to me, anyway.

My Grandfather, George, was a photographer, and he also taught photography. And he was highly critical. I did photography in high school – and I took one photograph that George thought was OK. One. I didn’t feel encouraged to continue with it, and when my camera was stolen in the late eighties, I never replaced it with a decent camera – disposables were good enough for nearly two decades.

Slowly I have started to get into the habit of photographing the things that I love, and I hope, my photographs are imbued with a little bit of my love for my subjects. I am not technically trained, but I have spent most of my working life around film (cinema) cameras, and watching very talented cinematographers compose and light for cinema. Still photography is a very different art, yet some of the sensibilities do transfer, and I feel that I have absorbed a certain feeling for light, and hopefully also composition.

George loved me exceedingly well, and I him, but he came from a different generation. I never doubted that he thought the sun shone from me, and I know he would have been pained to know that I let his lack of “approval” hold me back. To be honest, I used that as an excuse – it was my own lack of faith in myself that impeded me. If I had made it clear to him that I wanted to be a photographer, I am sure he would have done everything in his power to help me out – he wouldn’t have given me an easy ride, that wasn’t his style, but he would have been behind me at every turn.

In the photo below, of Mark and I walking “down the aisle”, the photographer captured a moment that was very special to me. On the right hand side of the frame, you can see an arm reaching out to me. That was George. He died six months later.

So now I have a kick arse camera, and a lappy that will keep me out of trouble for a few years, and a very supportive family. All I need to do is take some photographs, and learn how to use all my wonderful new toys 🙂

PS. The laptop is a new black macbook, with 2GB RAM, called Rhubarb.

A Wedding !

I heard today that two of my friends are getting married – and though this news isn’t always a wonderful thing to hear, in this case it is. These two are fabulous together, each provides a foil for the other, and together they share a joy that is natural, and wonderful to see.

And they honoured me by asking if I am available to do the ceremony. Of course it’s early days, and they may choose any one of a hundred celebrants, but making the shortlist is very special to me. One of the reasons I decided to train as a celebrant was an understanding that rites of passage are undervalued in our society – weddings have become more of a party than a ritual. From birth, to death, via a commitment ceremony, maybe with a puberty rite along the way, there are milestones in each of our lives that need celebrating, but also require a deeper understanding of what the ceremony means within the framework of our lives.

Another reason I felt the calling was a desire to see more personality in solemnity, and to offer an alternative to the cookie cutter ceremonies we see in the media, in wedding magazines, and brochures. I am told that the weekend papers report this week that the “in” thing for modern brides is marrying in a coloured dress. Funny, the cool people were doing it years ago……

And the third reason? I want Australia to legalise and give full legal recognition to gay marriage. And I believe that day will come, contrary to the backward rhetoric of “our mighty leader”, and when that day comes, I want there to be civil celebrants who are ready to celebrate, not just solemnise same sex marriages in this country. Bring it on :)

Eulogy for a Friend with Long Ears and a Short Tail

We buried Rhubarb today. He was long gone, but his little body needed a place to go, so we buried him next to Fuzz Bucket in my parents garden. Mum and Dad picked him up from the vet on friday (Mum paid for the entire vet bill, nearly $300), and the lovely Jane came across town to say a final goodbye.

This is what I wrote to say at his graveside.

Rhubarb never lived a moment in fear, never doubted himself, never had a moment of insecurity, never troubled himself over something he couldn’t control. He lived every moment of his life with vitality, joy, and love. He was a rabbit who knew how to enjoy himself, who knew how to celebrate life, and knew how to fully relax after a hard day of adventuring. He never met a treat jar he couldn’t open, a parsley plant he couldn’t devour, or a human whose heart he couldn’t melt – even the ones he bit.

Rhubarb has taught me many things, most of all that life needs to be tasted, and savoured, explored and devoured. A life lived in fear is a life not properly lived. Rhubarb came into my life at a time of great sadness, two days after losing Fuzz Bucket, my heart bunny, to cancer. Instantly there was joy in my home again, Rhu would never replace Fuzz Bucket in my heart but it took him very little time to carve out his own place, and make himself at home.

On being introduced to his new condo, he did a quick lap, and settled down comfortably in what had been Fuzz Bucket’s favourite place to relax. Custard, on the other hand, took a little while to understand and appreciate his charms. Rhubarb was once seen in his outside exercise pen sitting calmly in the middle of a whirlwind of activity – Custard running laps around him as he washed himself. Each time Custard would slow down to catch a breath, Rhu would lunge out to nip him, and the dervish would begin again. Sooner or later though, as the hormones died down after his neutering, Rhubarb decided that he didn’t mind Custard being the boss bunny. He was much happier relaxing and enjoying life, rather than struggling to be on top of the rat race. He was stoic whenever Custard needed to assert his dominance with an energetic humping session.

Soon they were best buddies, and would be seen on the webcam lying side by side as the sun traced it’s arc across the sky. Grasshopper would be a few feet away, not wanting to intrude on the cool kids, but not wanting to be left out either.

From the day I met him, till the day he died in my arms, I dreaded losing him. His was such a vital spirit, that his absence is felt very keenly. Our large house seems empty and barren because it is missing not just 2 kilos of rabbit, but a vibrant and passionate spirit, whose loss I will feel to the end of my days.

If you have a rabbit in your life, you know the joy I speak of, and you will also, one day, know the pain. And the more joy they give us, the sharper the pain we feel when they leave. Pain in some way, defines the love we have shared.


I’ve just sent an email to Spotlight informing them of my intention to boycott their store until they back down on their proposed AWAs.

They are proposing to pay workers and extra 2c an hour in exchange for signing away overtime, penalty rates and rest breaks – leaving the average worker (according to the Your Rights at Work Website) about $90 per week worse off. Spotlight are not doing this because the company is losing money. They are doing it because the industrial relations changes say they can, and it will improve on the $600 million dollars the company turned over last year.

Here is what I wrote…

“I am the organiser of a “Stitch ‘n Bitch” group – people from all walks of life who gather to knit, crochet, embroider, etc, together. While we craft, we talk- and your company was the subject of our discussions last weekend.

None of our members will shop at your stores until you treat your workers fairly. It’s a pity for me, as I need some more yarn from Spotlight to finish a much loved project, but I would rather destroy many weeks of careful and meticulous work than support your company with another cent of my money.”

But of course, and am a rabid leftie, and these things make me very cross.

If it makes you cross, you can send an email here.

Rhubarb is Still Gone

Rabbits are interesting pets. They can be affectionate and loyal like a dog, or just use you for body heat and food, like a cat. They can ignore you completely, or follow you around the house, and spring into your lap if they think you are hiding the sultanas in the TV remote. They can be affectionate, and sneaky, clever, and silly. They play, they snuggle, they bounce with joy, and they wrap their furry paws around a heart like you wouldn’t believe if you never lived with one. Of course, you need to share your space with a desexed rabbit – it doesn’t count if you keep them outside and visit them once a day, you need to LIVE with them to gain their trust, and nothing beats gaining the trust of an animal that is everyones food. The trust of a prey species is a rare and precious thing.
But once you get to the point where they trust you, a funny thing can happen. Sometimes, the little buggers get the power relationship all messed up. Sometimes, they come to think of themselves as the supreme ruler of the universe, and you are the pet.
All rabbits are individuals, and breed does not denote temperament, but there are some common threads I have noted, ie. Rex bunnies seem to have this “I am the centre of the universe” thing very close to the surface. My first bun, Fuzz Bucket was a Rex, Rhubarb was a Rex, and so is this bun in the picture.

Original post here