Thursday, August 29, 2013

Work in progress: frustrating scarf

Why do I continue to knit when I find it eternally frustrating??

I'm trying to knit Hugh a scarf. I love this wool so much, but I'm not loving trying to find an appropriate pattern for it. Hugh and I agreed that a simple (stockinette stitch) pattern would show off the wool best, but even after blocking the scarf on the left, it still curls up horribly (middle of the photo).

Plus, soaking it caused a significant change to the color, which is still pretty but no longer matches skein 2 (not shown). So I decided to try a 1x1rib, which makes it successfully lay flat, and I'm alternating skeins every two rows so there's no obvious color difference, but I just don't think the scarf on the right is as pretty, because the ribbing interrupts the natural flow of the color changes :-(

Am I just being too picky? Probably. But I want my man to love it!

Friday, August 16, 2013

I've just had an apostrophe

I've been saying for years, years, ever since finishing my Masters (and probably before), that I don't know what I want to do with my life. I've been bumbling around from job to job with a general idea that I want to do research, preferably in infectious disease, preferably tuberculosis, and preferably focusing on the social and ethical aspects of the disease and it's control. But that's as specific as I've ever been able to get. I told myself I wasn't trying hard enough to Figure It Out, that I really needed to sit down somewhere for a few hours and Figure It Out. But every time I did that, I came up with a different answer.

"What I really want to do is medical anthropology. I should get a second Masters in that!"

"What I really enjoy is sharing information. I should do a training course in health promotion!"

I never did these things because they cost shitloads of money, and while some career development courses are worth the money to advance one's career, I already have $75,000 student loan debt for a Masters degree that hasn't starting paying off yet. So I waited, and thought some more, but ultimately didn't get anywhere.

And then yesterday, at the ripe old age if 31 and a half years old, I Figured It Out. It's not that I don't know what I want to do; it's that I want to do everything! Tuberculosis, yes, but let's not neglect the neglected tropical diseases! Leishmaniasis, African trypanosomiasis, Dengue, leprosy even! And let's measure rates of notifications, and rates of underestimation, as well as using qualitative methods to understand how the disease affects the quality of life of patients, and why patients delay in going to the doctor, and why they do or don't use condoms! Let's measure health literacy and see if it correlates to outcomes. Let's evaluate interventions that provide added emotional, nutritional, or financial support to patients. I want to do it all!!

When I look at the research areas of established researchers, when I search for articles written by a specific researcher, I see that they're all the same--they want to do everything, too. And they do! Universities don't want one-trick ponies teaching their courses. They want people with a range and breadth of expertise. And I want to be one of those people!

Of course, I have to start somewhere, but this realisation liberates me. I can start virtually anywhere, and I'll still get where I want to go, because I want to go everywhere! And it gives me confidence in the conviction that the industry I want and need to be in is academia. I'd love to contribute to government health agencies, but not as a government office worker, more as a resident consultant who also works elsewhere.

If right now isn't quite the right time for me to do a PhD, then I'll be ready to pounce when the timing (and visa status) are right.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

first signs of spring!

It's spring!!! I totally wasn't expecting it. It's been colder in the last week than it has been all winter. Hugh even turned on our heater for the first time ever on Sunday. So I was happy to wait until at least September 1st before demanding that spring arrive. But the cherry trees weren't happy to wait! They have decided it is spring already and I'm inclined to follow their lead! It was also nice and warm this morning, though somehow, at 3pm, it's now freezing again. Oh well, that's spring for you!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

mysterious object, made by me!

I made a thing!

(Ignore the dust on the ukelele. We'll get around to dusting soon...) It's supposed to be a pencil case, but is actually rather large and not very strong (see below). The pattern book said I would need interfacing if I was using lightweight fabric, but I thought this twill was pretty substantial. It totally can't stand up on its own, though. Maybe if the whole thing was smaller.

I skipped ahead in my 1-2-3-Sew! book. I made projects one and two, then skipped ahead to seven. Projects three through six wouldn't have helped me make this tube less wonky, though, as none of them have anything to do with cylinders. I found the instructions for this project somewhat on the terse side, but maybe that's just because I'm a bit of moron when it comes to stuff like this.

So yeah, I have no idea what I'll use it for. With the cute vegetable print, I want to use it in the kitchen, but it won't stand up with our wooden spoons in it. I'm almost tempted to fill it with sugar! That would be silly, though, wouldn't it? I'll find something.

Friday, August 09, 2013

melbourne zoo

Our friends Owen and Jen are having a party this weekend. They are going to roast a whole pig! They asked Hugh for a bottle of whiskey to use in roasting the sucker, so I dropped it off at Owen's work yesterday. And guess where he works? The zoo! I got to see the tigers and the seals and the lions and the meercats! But the cutest of all, of course, were the otters. The ones at the zoo are littler than the ones in Seattle, and one of them kept making this adorable squeaking noise. So cute!


TRESemmé, for the well-groomed tiger.

Thursday, August 08, 2013


My softball team spent a couple days away in Anglesea this past weekend. Anglesea is a small, coastal town an hour and a bit out of Melbourne. One of the girls on the team has a holiday home there. I got totally trashed on Friday night, lounged around like a slob all day Saturday, got drunk again but not as bad on Saturday night, then we all headed back to Melbourne and played double-headers. Yeesh! By Tuesday, I had a sinus infection. I'm clearly too old for this kind of partying! (Incidentally, it didn't take long to establish that I was the oldest person in attendance. And yet I neither look it nor act it.)

The whole weekend, I only took pictures of the beach. haha! Those are my priorities! There were 16 of us there, and only four of us even bothered to go to the beach. To be fair, Anglesea is set about a mile from the beach, across marshland. And it's winter. Sadly, I think I may have ruined my Minnetonka moccasins traipsing through the mud :-( But look at that sunset!!

Friday, August 02, 2013

diy coffee

This morning, I was thinking of buying myself a coffee, but then remembered that we're super poor. (I still have some of my UK tax return, but trying not to use it all up.) Then I remembered that Hugh bought us a caffetiere, and a special plate to hold it on our stove because the gas rings are just ever so slightly too wide for it. The plate just arrived this week, so we haven't tested it out yet.

So I made myself espresso for the first time ever! I don't think I did it right, though. It seems a bit watery. I shall keep experimenting until I get it right!

Complete with one heaping teaspoon of sugar :-)