Conception & Names

We can’t actually know, but we suspect that Ampersands conception occurred on the evening of the Scissor Sisters concert in early February – the same night that Sarah went into labour with Alex.

Lots of things conspired to bring Mark and I together (thanks Richard), and the decision to have a child has had even more twists and turns. We wouldn’t be here if Mark was still teaching, and I’m sure that having a month in Vietnam was also crucial in giving us the time and space to concentrate on our lives together. We’d really like him to have a name that means something to us, and our journey to this point in our lives. Binh means peace in Vietnamese, and if it didn’t mean dumpster in English, we’d have a name by now.

Mark and I are keeping separate lists. Here’s mine.

Algernon – Moustached
Aldous – Old, noble
Aubrey – Ruler of Elves
Casper – treasurer
Archimedes/Archibald (Archy)

Apparently, Peregrine should only be considered by pretentious nerdy gamer types, Aubrey has become more popular as a name for a girl than a boy, Mathesar is the head alien from Galaxy Quest, and someone will object to it. George (after my beloved grandfather) is excruciatingly popular, Mark hates Harvey, Ambrose would surely have his head crammed in a toilet, Archimedes also has a touch of the pretentious twat, Casper is far too twee, Inego requires a dead father to be amusing, and despite the comic joy of Bernard – the name sucks.

Gomez is far too camp, Atticus too wanky, no-one will be able to pronounce Iago, Ford makes us look like tragic mulleted rev-heads (despite nobler aspirations), and Tobin, Floyd, Orlando and Finn wave the wanker flag, and Edward and Edmund and a trifle boring and common. Argos just looks like a skin complaint.

Hare is a Nettle family middle name, and we like it, but it won’t work as a first name. Apologies if your name appears on this list, no offence intended.

Suggestions welcome, but please bear in mind that I’d like something relatively unusual. Having grown up being the only Lara that I had ever heard of, I liked having an unusual name, and I don’t want anything that appears on this list.


For a while, I was craving fish and chips. Not just any fish, but deep fried shark. The cravings were so bad I could barely concentrate on a book, or driving the car. So for a few weeks, I had fish & chips once a week. The first time, it made me gag, but the craving went away. I’m over it now, and very glad to be – the fish made my skin smell in a really nasty way. I’m sure meat eaters wouldn’t notice it, but Mark did.

But now it’s all about cheese, and eggs. Apparently at the moment, I’m growing teeth and bones, so I need a lot of calcium. When we babysat Alex last, I ate almost an entire block of cheese that Sarah had in the fridge, and wasn’t sick the next day (usually lactose makes me snotty and vile the next day). So since then we’ve been going through about a kilo of (animal rennet free) cheese in a week.

I’ve also been eating more eggs than the girls can lay (about 3 every 2 days), so I’ve been buying Eco Eggs, on the assumption that since they are the most expensive, so hopefully I am paying for a better quality of life for the hens. Trouble is, without actually inspecting the living conditions, it’s bloody hard to know what you are buying, and what living conditions you are supporting with your grocery money.

Examination of the site tells me that each hen gets 0.1 m2 of space to sleep. Doesn’t sound like much to me, especially since these chooks are much larger than our girls.

I won’t go into the horrors of the dairy industry, it is my intention that one day I will stop eating all dairy, but in the meantime, I am living a bit of a double standard.

My first funeral

It’s a difficult feeling to express in writing, which is why I haven’t said anything before now, but today was a rather big milestone for me.

Last monday, my friend Miriam’s grandmother died, and she and her family asked me to conduct the funeral ceremony. I never met Helga, so while I was sad for my friend and her family, the pain wasn’t personal, and I was really touched to be trusted with such a special event.

The ceremony was this morning, and while I can’t say that it went off without a hitch, it went far better than I could have hoped for, and I think the family were happy with the ceremony.

And afterwards, I came home to an email from the AG’s department, telling me I am still on the waiting list for accreditation (I had to be re-assessed after the move for some reason). So hopefully this ceremony won’t be my last.

A huge thanks to Miriam and Malle, for trusting me with this important occasion. It’s a day I will never forget.

I should have stayed in bed

I promised a mate I’d go in to his shop and help out today. So I dragged my sorry carcass out of bed before the coffee had fully kicked in, and got onto the M4, dry retching on the way.

I really should have stayed in bed.

Apparently, the parking fine I asked Mark to pay in December hadn’t been paid, and my licence was cancelled in January. Which a kindly policeman pointed out to me on the M4 roadside. After telling me I’d have to appear in court in about six weeks time to plead my case in front of a judge.

Since the law don’t know of my bad character (yet), I hopefully won’t get locked up, and I hopefully won’t have a conviction recorded against my name. But there really are days when staying in bed isn’t such a bad option.

I feel stupid really. I should have known that I had no licence, and I should have dealt with it myself instead of keeping my head in the sand. No-one to blame but myself, and no point feeling sorry for myself – but of course, there is a certain amount of that 😉

But in order to distract you from how miserable I am, check out this amazing list of knitting links. Thanks to a very old friend….

I’m not planning a trip to Japan

but this makes me really wish I were…

I love Japan, I particularly love the quiet self effacement of Japanese humour, and this is superb. And makes me miss Japan rather a lot.

I didn’t go to the Stitches and Craft show as planned today, instead I spent nearly three hours on the phone to a girlfriend in Melbourne. Time much better spent 🙂

Why didn’t anybody tell me about this?



Using Alpaca – “Fibre of the Gods”. 1st & 2nd September
Tutor: Jenny Hopper
A 2 day workshop concentrating on exploring the advantages and particular qualities of alpaca fibres so that spinners, felters, weavers, knitters and other users of alpaca can create yarns, fabrics and garments/articles which use the best of alpaca’s features to greatest advantage.
Detailed facts of alpaca fibre varieties, structure, characteristics, qualities and handling will be covered in depth. Comparisons will be made with other fibres, also blends of other fibres together with alpaca and the resultant advantages or disadvantages. Cost $70 per day. ($140) which includes morning tea and lunch.

Fully booked. Damn.

This Sunday

This Sunday is Innominata Concert Day. This concert is “Brilliant Baroque“, and is quite likely to be Mark’s last concert for 2007, since the next concert will be two weeks after Ampersand is due to join us, and it may be a little tricky to get to rehearsals.

I had a sneak preview of the concert on Tuesday night, as I had to bring supper for the rehearsal. For this concert, Innominata are joined by an orchestra, and the music will be quite special. Tickets are about $30, 3pm, Sunday 19 August 2007 Saint Scholastica’s Chapel, Glebe.

Do come – and if you do, come early. I expect this concert will be a sell out.

PS. I knit during the concerts. I know of other knitters who attend, but don’t knit. Feel free to come “out”.