Sunday, May 31, 2015

swim sunday #21

This is Gertrude Ederle, the first woman (and sixth person) known to have swum the Channel.  What a lady!  I think I might adopt her as my mental mascot, though my own swimming challenge is going pretty well at the moment.  I've rediscovered my determination.

Lengths swum this week: 110
Target total this week: 1037
Total lengths swum: 1056 (19 ahead of target)

I'd need to swim 62 lengths this week to meet next week's target.
Swimming highlight of the week: being overtaken (repeatedly) by a one-armed man.  Ha ha!

Monday, May 25, 2015

progress report

The shelves are up!  Waaah!  They did take us a whole bank holiday to put together, but they're done and they seem level and secure.  While we were on such a furniture assembly roll, we decided to put together our two new chairs from Ikea.  They're actually for the hall, but we'll keep them in the living room until we've decorated the hall and got a new sofa for in here.  The cool cat cushion on the chair belongs to Dulcie, a present from her Auntie Kerry.  She keeps it in her tent usually but she gave us permission to use it on these chairs.  It's nice to have it out on display - rare to find something loved by all three of us.  The things on the shelves may or may not stay, we just shoved on a few random items tonight to give us an idea of how they might look in the end.

Our living room is feeling so grown-up and tidy and homely tonight, a far cry from its usual state.  Graham has gone out to get us a well-earned bottle of wine and we're going to relax and watch a film before bed glorious bed.  And Dulcie is staying with her granny tonight so I'll actually get some sleep.  Well, it IS a bank holiday after all.  Phew.

when you can't get to the cinema, the cinema must come to you

We're doing up our hall at the moment and have been looking at super-skinny benches, vintage cloakroom stands, various coat hooks and dinky seats.  Then last night, in a moment of madness, we threw all consideration to the wind and bought these three very old cinema seats on eBay.  They will fit in the space, it's just they'll take up more of it than is ideal, but we couldn't resist.  Never start measuring for furniture with three minutes left before the auction ends!  I do love these and part of me thinks they might look amazing and do just what we want them to, but an equally large part of me thinks they might look terrible and cause us no end of headaches and regret.  But if they do work out, how amazing?!  These days my design decisions ("design decisions") are usually motivated by how much I think Dulcie will enjoy the item in question.  There's no way she won't love these chairs.  And we got them for a total bargain price.  Though why, like everything else we love on eBay, they had to be located in the south of England, I don't know.  We got a good price for a courier through Shiply, but even a good price is still more than the cost of the chairs.
Life would be so much easier if we liked right angles and modern mass-produced furniture more, and if our flat was boxier instead of a fluid bowl of wobbliness.  I'm touching wood that these chairs will easily slot into place, but my confidence is not being increased by our current attempt to put our Ladderax/String shelving together.  This is attempt number three and we have been at it all morning and not a single shelf is in place.  (The photo above is from the eBay listing, we are nowhere near achieving this.) We are now bolting the bastards to the wall (excuse my language - DIY brings out the worst in me) and I'm still not convinced they'll withstand life in a house with a three-year-old and two cats.  I think it will be at least a year before I feel it's safe to put anything remotely breakable on them.  Honestly, I wish we'd never laid eyes on them.  Hopefully I won't be saying the same about our cinema seats in the coming weeks...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

swim sunday #20

Lengths swum this week: 70
Target total this week: 957
Total lengths swum: 946 (11 behind target)

I'd need to swim 91 lengths this week to meet next week's target.

Swi-i-i-i-im in the end! :)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

stripe after stripe after stripe...

I'm at home with the plasterer again today.  He's working on our hall, so I'm kind of trapped in the living room and can't be particularly productive in any sensible way.  To entertain myself, I've been crocheting a rainbow-striped jumper for Dulcie - no pattern, just a Dulcie-sized tube.  Who knows whether or not it will work out, but Dulcie is pretty excited about it already.  I made the first two stripes of this about a year and a half ago and then accidentally abandoned it.  Fortunately, I'd made it way too big so it will (hopefully!) fit her now.  If it doesn't pan out as a jumper, I might make it into a cushion cover or a pyjama case or something.  Yeah, I'm just mindlessly crocheting stripes really.  It's nice to have an excuse to waste time like this.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

as exciting as my life gets

 I treated myself to this book on Amazon and I'm so looking forward to reading it.  I'm confident it will be right up my street and the cover makes me doubly excited.
Another grim (see what I did there?) but exciting sight is our hall.  Look at the state of it!  Graham has been a busy bee, stripping all the wallpaper in preparation for replastering.  Actually, Dulcie has been helping him and loving it.  She's desperate to strip all the rest of our wallpaper now so we'll need to keep a close eye on her!  The plasterer is coming this morning.  Exciting indeed!

Our hall has been a disastrous dumping ground for so long and I can't wait for it to be a welcoming space that I can be proud of...even if I can't allow visitors beyond it!  The wall where the ladder's standing is (hopefully) going to be full of bookshelves.  An actual home library!  I've dreamed about this for years and years and can hardly wait to see it completed, not least because it means I won't have to climb over bags and boxes of books all over the place.
While stripping back the hall, we realised that lots of our unsightly wires and cables were obsolete, but we got a bit carried away with the excitement of ripping them out and accidentally disconnected our phone and internet.  Oops.  The disconnection was a definite team effort (the best way to make such blunders) but poor overworked Graham was very frustrated and unable to see the funny side.  Lucky for him, I channelled my inner Girl Guide (and my physics qualification!) and worked out how to fix it, doing away with about 10 metres of unsightly, paint-covered, unnecessary wire in the process.  I can hardly explain how proud this picture makes me.  And yes, it does look very dodgy but it is safe and only a temporary measure while I wait for some jelly crimps to arrive from eBay.  Jelly crimps!  See, I've even got the lingo!  I'm practically a phone engineer, you know.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

floating my boat

I stumbled across this picture on Caitlin Moran's Twitter this morning - a house and garden being towed down the Thames!  I wonder where it came from and where it's going.  There's actually a tree still growing in the garden by the looks of things.  How does that work?  It makes you think the house is still full of all its furniture, maybe the table set for breakfast.  Perhaps there are people in there, having a cup of tea while they watch the world glide by.

Monday, May 18, 2015

swim sundays #17, #18, #19

Lengths swum these last three weeks: 0 (I've been ill! I've got a note!)
Target total this week: 1034
Total lengths swum: 876 (158 behind target)

I'd need to swim 212 lengths this week to meet next week's target...and I think we can all agree that ain't happening!  Time for a rethink. I'd really like to complete the challenge on time if I can and, while I accept that might not be doable, I'm not ready to give up yet.  So my plan is to divide the total number of lengths left to do equally among the six weeks that remain, which means I'd have to swim an average of 80/81 lengths each week.  This is a lot of swimming, but not impossible if I don't have any more major health setbacks.  I can but try!  Plus I have two spare days to play with at the end of June too.  I think I may need them.  Gulp!

So, new targets in mind:

I'd need to swim 81 lengths this week to meet next week's new target of 957 lengths.

Wish me luck...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

beautiful books

I saw this beautiful picture (and many others) on Evie Barrow's blog this morning and had to buy a copy of the book it comes from for myself.  It wasn't cheap, but - gah! - it looks so lovely.  I can't wait to see it in real life.  Hopefully Dulcie will adopt it as a bedtime read.  I'd never heard of Dahlov Ipcar (the author/illustrator) but it looks like he has a lot of beautiful books out there to discover.  Being off work can be an expensive business. I think I'll implement an internet ban on myself for the rest of the day.

[Edit:  Have since discovered Dahlov Ipcar is, in fact, a woman.]

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

happy kidneys

Colossal Kidney Plush - When Urine Love! 
If you want happy kidneys too, you can buy this plush kidney from I Heart Guts.

According to today's blood tests, I've gone from being on the brink of complete renal failure to totally normal kidney function in the space of 72 hours.  The medics are baffled, but I'm not asking too many questions, just happy to be well and truly on the mend.  Disaster averted once again!  Hooray!  Hopefully my lovely heart nurse can keep me on this even keel for a good long while now and my heart won't start objecting to the reduced meds that the kidneys apparently thrive on.  Come on, organs, just find a way to work together and get along!  You can do it!

Monday, May 11, 2015

35 and still alive...just!

 It was my birthday this weekend.  Graham took Dulcie and I to Callander for a quiet day of charity shopping and a night in a B&B.  Clearly, this was too rock-and-roll for my 35-year-old self because I ended up being admitted to hospital with worrying heart-attack-type symptoms.
 Well, the good news is that I wasn't having a heart attack, but it turns out my kidneys were buggered thanks to my medication cocktail.  Hopefully that's why I've been feeling so ill for the last month and hopefully they'll be able to sort things out with some tweaks to my medication.  Watch this space...?
So I managed to ruin my birthday weekend for all concerned, but it wasn't all bad.  Dulcie had a great time at the hospital, being allowed to use a real stethoscope to listen to my heart etc.  She now claims she wants to be a doctor.  Also, I got a single room (en suite too - no commode embarrassment for the birthday girl!) with a view to rival the hills we could see from our B&B window.  And I had a telly to watch and the Baftas were on!  Score!
Then Graham delivered my book to me, so I got a nice chunk of reading time.  And I'm home now.  Hooray!  It doesn't look like I'll be back at work for a while and now I have the fun task of trying to find a balance of medication that helps my heart as much as possible without destroying my kidneys and making me feel too ill to have a life.  I guess that's nothing new really, just a bit of a backwards step in the ongoing juggling act.  I'm looking forward to feeling better, touch wood.

Oh yeah, and no swimming to report, obviously.  I'm dreading working out how far behind I am.  I might cut myself some slack and extend the deadline if I have to, we'll see.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

beaming into outer space

Or should that be BEADING into outer space?  Oh, my rapier wit...

So, all the beads are on.  I even went back and redid some bits after I discovered I had a much more suitable purple colour in my bead stash.  Now I just need to decide what to do with it...and how to do it.  My original plan was to make it into a bracelet, but there seems to be a lot of fiddly work involved in that and I'm not sure where to start.  It would be much easier to attach it to a piece of felt and frame it, but I feel like that might highlight its wonkiness more.  I might set it aside for a while and come back to it later.  
Either way, I've discovered I really enjoy beading.  It's just the right amount of fiddly - demands your concentration but in a relaxing way.  I'm sure I'll bead again, but I'll wait and see how this looks in its finished state and then plan my next project accordingly.

I'm chalking this up as a Craftathon 2015 success!

P.S. Apologies for the lack of Swim Sunday post this week.  I got confused by the bank holiday, but truth be told, I haven't swum in almost a fortnight because I haven't been feeling well enough.  Feeling a bit broken-record-like to say this again, but I'm hoping I'll feel up to a swim this week.  Either way, I'll do a proper progress report next weekend.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

bead progress report

Saturday night!  Rock and roll!  Here's another bad photo to show you where I'm at with my bead project.  I'm getting close to being finished.  You MUST be able to tell what it is by now.  No?  Look here and all will be revealed.  I was definitely inspired by Marceline's perler bead Arecibo project.  I'm hoping mine will look more regular/digital once it's all finished off properly, but I'm still raging (bead rage!) about the varied bead sizes I received.  I don't think aliens would be able to decipher something this wonky.