Itch to stitch

I’ve never been a crafty person. Well sure, like everyone, I have the odd moments of cunning and skill but that’s not what I mean.

I’m talking potpourri sachets, folk art, doilies and the like…just never been my bag.

My mum is a great sewer and while I’ve inherited her love for beautiful fabric and appreciation of a well-made garment, I never enjoyed any attempts at sewing. Same with knitting.

Anyhoo, last year I felt like trying to turn my hand to something and remembered a little embroidery kit  someone gave me as a birthday present when I was little, can’t remember what it was. What I could remember is that I really liked doing it so thought I’d give it a try.

I bought a kit to see if I did like it and was shocked by how much I did. So, onwards and upwards, I recently completed my first ‘project’, a cot blanket for my son. Can’t tell you how satisfying it was the first night I tucked him in with it.

It’s so relaxing. Who’d have thunk it? I love to stitch. Now I just need to convert my similarly non-crafty friends so we can sit around together for some ‘stitch and bitch’ sessions.

Homegrown

On my “There’s nothing more satisfying than…” list is having flowers from your own garden in your home. Spring may have sprung in the garden, but Melbourne’s weather is lagging behind.

Spring jonquils...can't beat that smell

Empty San Pellegrino mineral water bottles make great vases

The year ahead

A couple of exciting things on the horizon this year. 

About 10 years ago I first started thinking a lot about the issue of adult literacy. I wondered at the time if there would be any scope to get something to help people off the ground at my local church but I never pursued it. It’s popped into my mind on and off ever since but for whatever reason I’ve lacked the time or opportunity.

Last year I finally made some phone calls and contacted some local organisations with the thought that I might be able to get involved once I stopped full-time work. It looks like I will probably start a 10-week training course with the Waverley Adult Literacy Program in April. It could lead to volunteer tutoring one-on-one, in small groups or classes. I’m excited.

The other horizon-dweller is just a maybe at this point. Again, been on my mind for about 10 years but having enough time has always been an obstacle. I’d really love to enrol in a subject via correspondence at Moore Theological College. Not for any qualification per se (Certificate of Theology in this case) but purely for the knowledge (and hopefully wisdom!) I’d get from the study. 

I just need to spend a lot more time thinking about whether I can actually do it with enough time to enjoy it and it not become drag. Otherwise there’s no point. We’ll see.

Words I like: drizzle

It’s drizzling right now, in fact. Well, I think it is. Just looked up the meteorological definition of ‘drizzle’ in the Macquarie Dictionary: ‘precipitation consisting of numerous, minute droplets of water less than 0.5 mm in diameter’. So I can’t be entirely sure.

Curved white line fever

 

When one sporting season closes, another opens. Last night saw the first game of AFL for the year: Bombers v West Coast in NAB Cup. Let me add my voice to the choir of people singing ‘I can’t believe the footy’s back already’.

Watching some of the game last night, I decided this might be the year I try to relearn who’s in my team, Essendon. I have no rights to say ‘my team’, to be honest. I am indeed a fairweather supporter, and my days of flag making and waving are long over. Last night, I only recognised two players. Pathetic!

That may be soon about to change, however, with Greg about to sign up for SuperCoach for the first time this season. It might be time I got back on the bandwagon.

Straight white line fever

Well, the tennis came and went and I overindulged to the point of near destruction.

We spent the middle Saturday of the tournament ensconced in Rod Laver Arena and had a fantastic day watching Sam Stosur, The Fed!, and the tedious Venus Williams. She’s the slowest player between points I’ve ever seen. So frustrating to watch.

However my tennis binge was mostly due to us spending the second week of the tournament in Coffs Harbour and it being so humid that the only bearable pursuit (apart from a swim at the beach) was to plonk down on the couch with the air conditioner at my back and my in-laws’ lovely, large telly to the front.

I think I watched every one of the Fed’s matches during the Open. Oh how I love him! And this is a husband-approved love. He admits the elegance and class of the Fed (who bears an uncanny resemblance to my brother) can’t be denied. 

But all binges must come to end, usually with a crash, thud or hangover. Mine was a crash of tiredness that meant I missed most of the grand, Federer finale. After a tiring day’s travel home (two flights with a squirming 10-month-old) I settled in to watch the men’s final, thankful it was the last match I ‘had’ to watch for the next 11 months. And then, I fell asleep.

Too much of a good thing… 

(And, by the way, I didn’t once hear Gary Wilkinson’s voice during the Australian Open coverage.)

On the other hand, there’s Steve Martin…

Comparing Grisham’s The Associate with Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Hollywood actor/comedian Steve Martin is certainly a case of apples and oranges.

But, unlike The Associate, Martin’s recollection of his stand-up career is immensely satisfying.

Martin is a beautiful, evocative and, not surprisingly, witty writer and this relatively short memoir is a delight from start to finish.

Stand-up has to be the most terrifying of all performing arts and Martin outlines how he painstakingly built up his act from a few clumsy magic tricks (learnt while working in Disneyland’s magic shop as a teenager) to an act which drew thousands and filled stadiums night after night. Anyone with an interest in writing – any kind of writing – would find his 20-something year quest to craft his act fascinating.

Martin admits he was never naturally talented and his persistence and dedication to the art of making people laugh is incredible.

And, as with all celebrity bios, it’s fun reading of his fellow-celeb encounters along the way including Johnny Carson, Dan Akroyd, John Belushi and Elvis Presley. Also interesting is the influence on Martin of an early romance with then-actress Stormie Sherk, now better known as Christian author Stormie Omartian.

Most poignant is Martin’s description of his deathbed conversation with his father, after a lifetime of disappointment and disapproval.

Martin is a sensitive, thoughtful, honest and self-deprecating artist. Just the kind of person I’d love to have dinner with.

John Grisham: I gave you some of the best hours of my life

 

Summer holiday reading. It’s often light, fluffy and it rarely fills you up. You don’t expect too much. A good yarn and a mildly satisfying ending is all you ask, right?

Well if that’s the case, allow me to steer you well clear of The Associate by John Grisham.

Mr Grisham has kept me turning the pages of his clever legal thriller for years. I’ve read most, not all. Sure, some have been way better than others but I think he’s got it right more times than wrong. And that’s why I picked up another of his titles.

After a cracking start which rendered me unable to put the book down until I finished the first five chapters, I maintained my interest right up until virtually the final page. The middle plods a little but the hook on which the whole book is set was so strong that I couldn’t wait to see how Grisham resolved things.

Trouble is I’m still waiting, and I finished the book about a week ago. Resolution? There isn’t one. The baddie gets away and…that’s it. Nada. Nothing. 

Either Grisham’s too big for his boots to accept editorial comment or his editors and publisher were caught napping. I cannot believe his publishers accepted the final draft in that state.

But then again, maybe they just figure that Grisham’s name alone is enough to sell books (or ‘move units’) so a compelling story with a crapola ending is of little concern.

And they’d be right. Because Grisham’s name alone was enough for me to read his book this time. But maybe not next time.

Can it be real?

I’d love to think it is.

Big Slip on YouTube

It must be summer…

If a 43 degree day wasn’t enough to remind me it’s summer, I just heard Gary Wilkinson’s voice for the first time this tennis season.

It happens but once a year: Christmas, Easter, your birthday, Gary Wilkinson on the telly. Or does it? What does he do the rest of the year? Does he have another gig, or does he just sit at home, practising his superlatives and waiting for January to roll around. I’m pretty sure he commentates the equestrian each Olympics, but that’s like saying you only work on 29 February.

What does Gazza do the rest of the year? Why do I care? I don’t really. But once a question like this pops into my head, that’s it; off to Google I go.

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