Archive for the ‘work’ Category

End of term

Friday, 25 July 2008

I think I need a holiday as much from sorting out the end of term stuff as from the term itself! I’m looking forward to sleeping and reading over Shabbos, and getting some crochet in on Sunday. We have a couple more days next week, but the end of the tunnel is in view…

A good weekend to all!

Life Expectations

Sunday, 13 July 2008

So, another week about to begin. I’m taking a break from my Braille practice to write to you. I was mightily confusing myself on Friday by constantly switching back and forth between the Perkins Brailler and my laptop (which I had directly behind the Brailler), and trying to touch-type both of them almost at once. I managed, fairly well, but both were somewhat slowed down. I think it helps that fewer fingers are used on the Brailler, as it helped my fingers decide which was which!

201. Step-Up History: The Indus Valley Civilisation by Rhona Dick

The Indus Valley Civilisation flourished 4-6,000 years ago in an area around the border of modern-day India and Pakistan, but there is a lot that is unknown about it, and this presentation, aimed at children, is nice and clear for an uninformed adult as well.

202. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Books narrated by Death make me think of Terry Pratchett‘s Discworld character, but this book really isn’t so much like the few of Pratchett’s books I’ve read (the flatmate is more keen). Or perhaps it is, in some ways, but at the same time this has to be so much more serious, as set in the Germany of the 1940s in this world, and no other. I cried, but I did laugh, too, in some places, and I could accept the characters, in a setting more messed up for being real than any fiction.

203. My Life in My Hands by Alison Lapper with Guy Feldman

This is a very open and honest autobiography of a woman who is a prestigious enough artist in her own right to have received an MBE for services to art, and yet who is far better known as the subject of a controversial sculpture, and as a participant (with her son Parys) in the BBC‘s series Child of Our Time. This book is more about her life as a disabled woman than specifically as an artist, although since much of her art is to do with her body shape and people’s reaction to it, that is in no way ignored. I would heartily recommend this to those in art, disability, or just in biography in general.

Overly popular

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The popularity of the spool-knitting drop-in has not abated, and I’ve run out of tubes to rework into spools! I’ve put out a request at work for more (preferably in a variety of sizes), and put the girls’ names on the ones I’ve made already. I’m also taking more yarn along. I got to see some great completed projects today already, and thoughts of how to develop skills and new projects to use the technique for. Lessons in straight crochet are becoming more popular again too, which is great.

I got to do a bit more on the granny square blanket, but once involved in shopping for the new flat I simply didn’t have the hands available. In work I got to practice with the Brailler (I’m amused that the manual specifies that they are available in blue and green, when I got a grey one!), and I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m going back to redo all the exercises with it, but I think I’ll continue progressing on the graph paper, as I can (messily) do that on the bus.

I’m really happy at the moment, what with the new flat, its peace and the fun of doing it up, learning (Braille) and teaching (yarncraft) things I enjoy, reclaiming my social life, reading again, and getting compliments. I even got to 23,000 steps on my pedometer today. It’s fabulous!

Slow and steady

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Day 12 of the Omer

I’ve done some more on my granny square lap blanket, lesson 3 of the Braille Primer, and read another book at work. I could take and upload a picture of the first two, but it wouldn’t look particularly different from the latest photos you’ve seen already, so I’ll save on the memory. I’m feeling quite good about the braille letters now, although I can’t read words without working out each letter yet. I’ll get there. In tomorrow’s lesson I start on word contractions (abbreviations), so that’ll be more to remember.

I did go and vote this evening, as I felt I must, considering all the struggles major and minor for emancipation (including a few relatively very small ones of my own for my right to vote this time), even though I literally hadn’t decided who I would vote for by the time I was at the booth with ballot papers and pen in hand. I amn’t going to tell you who I did vote for, and to be honest were I to do it again I amn’t sure it’d come out exactly the same, but that’s the way these things go.

There’s been so much focus on the top two or three candidates for London Mayor that I’ve heard practically nothing at all about the candidates or parties standing for the London Assembly, and so the vote there had to be on party politics, which I don’t always think local elections automatically should be. But it’s done now, and all we can do is await the results.

110. Men’s Fashion Illustrations from the Turn of the Century ed. by Jean L. Druesedow

This book is similar to the one yesterday, with its introduction to the changing styles of fashionable dress during the covered period (here 1900-1910) for its subsection of the population. Whereas the plates in yesterday’s book were originally published in periodicals aimed directly at wealthier women, with children’s fashions shown alongside similar images of clothing for themselves, these plates appeared in supplements to the trade journal of gentlemen’s tailors, for the tailor to show his modish clients, rather than for the fashionable lady to show her dressmaker.

While fashions for gentlemen changed just as often as those for ladies, these modifications were much more subtle, and indeed many of the items would be just about wearable today, given the right setting. Putting aside the golfing plus-fours and sailing outfits, the only strikingly different aspect of the suits and overcoats was the fact that several (although not all, by any means) had very defined waist shaping, which I don’t believe is seen in men’s clothing today. Nothing that would be unusual in tailoring for women, but eye-catching on men, to my not-particularly-fashion-aware modern eyes.

My new handwriting

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Day 11 of the Omer

RNIB Braille Primer Supplementary Exercise 2
Which is what it is, so far, seeing as I won’t be getting my loan Perkins machine for a couple of weeks to actually produce proper braille. Knowing myself, however, I wanted to get started learning straight away (which I did yesterday, as when I put things off it’s hard to get them going), and the point here is really for me to be able to sight-read braille, so I can check that what comes out of the embosser is correct.

Anyway, don’t bother struggling to work out what this says, as it’s just an assortment of words and phrases using letters A-T (I’m on lesson 2). If you’ve followed a touch-typing course you’ll know the kind of thing. (If you are a fluent braille sight-reader and can quickly tell me have I made any obvious mistakes I’d really appreciate it, however.) I’m using graph paper to try to get the spacing consistent, and I think it does look better than the first exercise, that I did on scraps of paper.

109. Children’s Fashions 1860-1912: 1,065 Costume Designs from “La Mode Illustree” ed. by JoAnne Olian

This book has a good introduction explaining what it provides, including an overview of the changing styles of children’s clothing. The illustrations are beautifully reproduced, and were obviously of a very high standard in the first place.

Fire Safety

Friday, 22 February 2008

We had Fire Awareness training at work today, and it’s given me renewed respect for the dangers and speed of spreading fire, as well as of the importance of having well planned clear escape routes, and being careful about minimising hazards and risks. I learned a lot and plan on putting the advice into practice.

I won’t deny I had fun using the extinguisher to actually put out an actual (if contained and purpose set) fire. (& I feel confident that if the need arose I would be able to use an extinguisher now, although I’d far rather never have to.)

Good Shabbos!

Back to the good things

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

I actually got to read, both in work and out of it, today, and I’ve also crocheted another ball or so of yarn on the Sea Swirls table cloth I resurrected from hibernation yesterday. I even went out for supper tonight, so a pretty good day.

41. Start Scrapbooking by Joy Aitman

Another scrapbooking book, but this one is a nice introduction to the craft, with interesting examples and easy-to-personalise how-tos of some effective layouts. I still amn’t ready to buy the equipment needed to get started (a single hook, ball of string and How To Crochet leaflet aren’t that big of a financial investment for beginning a new hobby) but I do get vicarious pleasure from knowing what to appreciate in the crafts of others.

Allowable spend

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

I had fun at work today, ordering lots of books (that we do need). Another of those days that immediately shows either no results or further mess (because of focussing on things like ordering rather than clearing up), but it should bear fruit relatively quickly.

And then this evening I’ve returned to one of my hibernating crochet projects and I’m hoping to finish it this week. We shall see. I amn’t entirely convinced I’ll ever get it to lay flat, though.

ag dul i mo chodladh

Thursday, 7 February 2008
  • got about 3 hours sleep last night, broken
  • got my mitts finished
  • got much ordering done
  • gone off Amazon a bit
  • going to fix my Irish one day
  • mind gone
  • going to sleep now

A third mitt?

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

So the second mitt is done, and I really like how it’s come out. Far better than the first, in fact, and now I’m thinking I want to redo the first! The person who took this picture for me says she likes how the fan pattern shows up more on the first (I did ‘too many’ stitches in each fan, so they puff out) but does agree it doesn’t fit half so well.

So I think I’ll be crocheting on the bus again tomorrow morning! (I can’t bring myself to begin tonight – I want a bit of feeling good about ‘finishing’!

I read another couple of books at work today (where I’ve also had some compliments on the mitts, as well as bemusement from the people giving me lifts):

38. Wood by Andy Goldworthy

I really didn’t know anything near so much about art before I began this job, and I’m very much enjoying the extra knowledge, especially of artists like Goldsworthy. I’d really like to see some of his works in person, although many are of course ephemeral and meant for others to appreciate through photographs and his wonderful books. (I’ve also read Stone and Wall.)

39. Usborne Famous Lives: Alexander the Great by Jane Bingham

I like this book rather better than the one on Cleopatra, as it seems a bit more about his exploits and rule than his love-life. I’ll admit that my knowledge of Alexander has largely come (a very long time – could it be eighteen or so years? – ago) from Mary Renault‘s The Persian Boy and its sequels. Let’s just say that those don’t paint his first wife Roxanne as the love of his life, the way this one hints (but not very strongly) at.