Saturday, July 31, 2010

My “natural” environment

To say I am not the athletic type is an understatement.  I walk (sometimes) for exercise, but that’s about the limit of my interest in sports.

Part of the leisure and recreation unit that I had to complete this week (my last subject! an elective!) were two activities I was dreading:  Lawn Bowls and Bush “Walking”.  The lawn bowls was not too bad, but really, it just seems so pointless to me.  Trying to hit a little white ball at the other end.  With a big wobbly ball that doesn’t roll straight.  I know lots of people enjoy it, but it’s not for me.  I think the real attraction is the cheap alcohol that is served in the bowls clubs myself.  There are always people in there.

When I read the unit outline, there was mention of a “wilderness experience”.  Which made me a little anxious about how much “wilderness” I would have to experience.  Could it be a trip to the botanical gardens?  The local wetlands that are not far from the campus? No.  It was announced that we would be going to Mt Mitchell.  Never heard of it.

We were going on a bus trip to walk on a mountain.  Doesn’t sound too bad.  The lecturer looked around the (all much younger and fitter than me) students and claimed that it was an easy walk of about 3.5 km, so we would walk up, eat our lunch and enjoy the view, then walk back down.  Alarm bells started ringing.

3.5 km – is that the distance one way, or both?  A friend told me that there would be leeches.  I am not very fit, my exercise walking consists of 30 minute sessions on a lovely, flat, concreted walking track in the park at the end of my street.  (and I haven’t done that for a while, either).  Plus I get motion sickness on busses and trains.  Not good.  Despite my misgivings, off I went to try and enjoy the “wilderness” experience.

The weather didn’t look too promising in the morning – thick fog everywhere.  This was the view at the campus (on a clear day you can see the Brisbane airport and Moreton Bay from here, it’s on a big hill. That I drive up).  At least it wasn’t raining, I consoled myself.  I took a travel sickness tablet, got on the bus and hoped for the best.  2 hours bus riding later, I was still feeling OK.  Time to start walking.

The thing about walking on mountains is, it’s all uphill.  I knew I was in trouble when everyone went past me – which was fine, because I would rather they went in front of me anyway.  The plan was to walk until a certain time, and then turn around and walk back down, so everyone would be back at the bus at the same time.  I kept walking. Slowly.  After about 15 minutes, I’d had enough.  No view could be worth this amount of pain.  The assistant lecturer was walking at the end of the group, and I told her to go on ahead of me.  She advised me to take it slow and have breaks when I needed them.  Not what I wanted to hear, but I continued on, against my better judgement.  Another hour of agonising walking later, and it was time to turn around.  Hooray!  I had to sit down because I was light headed and hadn’t eaten all morning.  I gulped down a quick snack, sat for a minute and started back down the track.


It was much easier going down hill – gravity is my friend!  I started to enjoy the scenery and the bits of view that I could see through the trees:



Fungus on a fallen log – they look like shells, so pretty.

The bus trip back was not so pleasant – bus sick despite medication.  Migraine despite medication. It was a long trip.

By the time I got home I was ill – migraine, dehydrated, nauseated, sore feet.  Blech.  Took more medication and lay down with my eyes covered, which usually helps.  Not this time.  The nausea led to vomiting of the projectile kind.  After which I immediately felt much better, so I guess it was all for the best.   According to my pedometer, I walked 8 kms.  After reading the Mt Mitchell link today I am cranky – it’s a 10 K  return walk that should take about 4 hours.  

Back in my “natural” environment (my lounge room, with full amenities included) I am working on this:

about to add rows 3 and 4, trying to work out if I have enough white background fabric left (I don’t think so, unless there is a big piece of it hiding somewhere) and wondering why that is when I bought what the directions said I would need.  Hmmmm.  I suppose white quilters muslin will be the same if I go back and buy some more.  I think I want to add a border to this anyway.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bargains galore

Second hand shopping is always a bit of a hit and miss affair.  There is no guarantee that you will find what you are looking for, you just have to be lucky on the day.  I looked for a couple of years for a heavy duty stand mixer.  I priced the new ones, and decided I didn’t need one that badly.  Fast forward to the day I found a Sunbeam MixMaster at the Salvo’s.  Two bowls, and three beaters plus the instruction booklet.  For $20.00.  I couldn’t get my hands on it quick enough!  According to the instruction book, mine was made in 1968, so we are both the same age.  I’ve managed to buy extra bowls, and I would like to have some extra beaters and the dough hooks so I’m keeping my eyes open for them. 

On Saturday, I saw a juicer attachment at Lifeline.  I didn’t buy it because I wasn’t sure if my mixer had the fitting for it.  I checked it when I got home and I can attach the juicer, so I am kicking myself for not buying it.  I am going to go back tomorrow and see if it is still there (how many people would want to buy it?)  I think it will only fit the older Sunbeams, so maybe luck will be on my side.  My son wanted to know exactly how much juice I was planning on drinking.  My answer was none – but I still want the juicer.  It goes with the MixMaster. 


My other score for the day was this:

A cantilevered sewing box.  It is not very big – 15 inches long and 7 inches wide – but I spotted it the second I walked into the shop.  Some of it is a bit wobbly, but nothing that a bit of TLC won’t fix.  The price they were asking put me off though - $55.00.  I decided to look around the rest of the shop and see what else was there and decide at the end whether or not to buy it.  I’ve wanted one of these for a very long time, and this is the only one I’ve ever found.  My Grandma had a bigger version that sat next to her armchair and it was packed with heaps of interesting bits and pieces.  I decided to bite the bullet and just buy it.  While I was standing in line to pay, a lady came up to me to say how lucky I was to have found it.  Other people jealous = decision confirmed.  What I didn’t realise was that this particular Salvo’s was having a sale, and everything was half price.  Double score. 

Off work for the week, but I have to go to uni everyday.  I am doing my last subject (!!) in intensive mode.  There is an exam (open book, but still) first thing on the first day.  I guess it’s a good way to make students do the reading before they show up.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Flat out…..

There has been a renewed interest in quilting amongst the craft group that I meet with every week, so we have been having lots of fun swapping fabric and making our own version of my Confetti quilt.  I’ve finished mine and entered it into the RNA Quilts Across Queensland, and there are 3 other versions in various stages of completion that I have also assisted with.

I made a stack of these little pinwheel blocks at the same time, with no real plan in mind.  I pulled them out to see what I could do with them, and started grouping colours into sets of 9 and put them together.  Pressing seams open is the secret with these fiddly blocks, which goes against all the quilt “rules” that I learnt.  The result is a lovely flat top and really accurate points.

And more of these – my third batch, and I think I’ve got it down to a fine art now.  Reactions from people are really interesting – lots of them try to peel the bottom bit off, not realising that they are all chocolate.  They’ve been a bit hit.  Tried some different cake flavours this time – red velvet cake and lime and pistachio.