Friday, August 23, 2013


Techie came today and connected my Windows 8 laptop to my network so now I have computers 'minniemagnus' and 'minniemini' both connected and I can transfer data without having to use a thumb drive.  minniemagnus is also connected to the printer as I am tending to use her more and more as one of my main computers and the more I use her the more I actually like Windows 8.

My yesterday's client has a Windows 8 laptop but he has had the start screen option installed so I kept on getting lost trying to find things on his computer and it hasn't got a touch screen and he didn't bring his mouse or dongle with him as he "just wanted to sort and file his photos".  I had to lend him my mouse as dragging and dropping would have been beyond him on a touch pad.  With the number of unfiled photos he has I would not have fancied trying to do it using the touch pad myself.

I have finished spinning E.Roberta's bobbin No.5 (although I think that I should discount the first two which were so bad that the piece I knitted from them is going to be presented to Poppy who will probably love and cherish it.  Bobbins 3 & 4 are presentable and knittable as chunky but No.5 is getting quite fine and I am looking forward to doing the next one and seeing what it looks like plied.

I use clumping, flushable litter for the cats and when I tried to clean out the outside litter tray I found that, with all the rain we have been having, the litter had set rock hard so yesterday I bought one of those dome litter trays.  Parsifal thinks that it is wonderful and that all boys should be able to go outside for their toileting; I may need to get a second one.  I dosed them with Catlax today; they are both molting.  Parsifal licked it off my fingers but Poppy doesn't think that is quite polite so I had to rub it into her paws.  She is the first cat I've owned who didn't lick it up and ask for more. *sigh*

I have made overtures to buy a Turkish spindle from a lady who makes the most beautiful spindles I have ever seen and am hoping to buy at least one of them.  I can see that, like my collection of Tarot cards, I am going to be buying and collecting Turkish spindles because they are so pretty.  But I will use them  -  they are so very portable.

Monday, August 19, 2013

No hair left and I've phoned Techie

This morning I tried to download the trial version of MS Office's latest offering but it would only load 80%, try as I would, so I tried to uninstall it from Control Panel but it just kept on churning over and over so I tried a reboot.  I got a message not to unplug as it was downloading 50 updates.  That took about six hours.  I decided to go for Office 2013 instead but from a disc rather than trying to download from Microsoft so I went out and bought it but I kept on getting an error message.  When I was directed to the MS site I found that there were pages of people with the same error message and no solution that I could find.

That is when I phoned Techie who should be able to get here in a couple of days to fix things if he can.  He did warn me that there were problems with Windows 8 but I can't simply tell my clients that they should abandon their computers and buy themselves an Apple Mac instead.

Other than word processing, minnie magnus is working fine and I have pinned Wordpad to the task bar so that I have a word processor.  I prefer to teach word processing in Wordpad anyway as it is simpler to understand.  Its problem is that it reverts to Word as soon as it is saved.  Hmmmm  -  I wonder what will happen if I create a document and save it on minnie magnus.  I'll probably stuff up its already addled brain.  I'd better do it before Techie comes to sort things out; I wouldn't want to waste his time having to come back again.

On a more positive note, my jumbo wool winder arrived today so I have wound a skein of the yuckie pink and can now resume knitting ... and I ordered a very pretty medium weight Turkish spindle from a man who handcrafts them on the Isle of Wight.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How to tear out your hair in one easy lesson

I have spent the day setting up my new Windows 8 laptop and it is now working, on the whole, as a computer should.  I managed to get my iinet mail working by downloading the Live Essentials app and then synching it in.  I can't remember just how I synched it but I then had to delete about 300 emails which had crossed from this computer (my desktop Win 7).

It told me that I needed at least 16gb of thumb drive to make a backup and recovery drive in case it goes belly-up but the 16gb thumb drive I bought only had 14.4 capacity so I had to take it back and get a 32gb one instead.  So I now I have a backup drive, some shortcuts on my desktop, have rearranged all the little icons on the start screen, loaded some photos into My Pictures, put a signature onto my emails, sent myself a couple of emails to make sure that it is all working, deleted the preview pane etc, etc.

I was going to spend the day spinning but it is almost 6.00pm (and I had to change the clock which was showing Eastern States time) so not much chance of that now.  It is only vaguely connected to this main computer and I will ask Techie to come and network it and check that there is nothing else that I need to do.  And I think that I need to get the latest version of MS Office.  I have the 2003 version and it loaded in but then I realised that I was stuck with Outlook, which I hate, so I took it off again; but the option is always there to put it back again.  I am sure that I have a later version somewhere  -  perhaps I could spend the evening trying to locate it.

And now all I have to do is teach it ......

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Not ANOTHER one !

My bank has been harrassing me about the number of loyalty points which I have accumulated but since anything I buy using them is courier delivered it is difficult as the couriers can never find my apartment.  So I took the cash option and realised that I was not much short of the price of a nice Acer Windows 8 laptop computer.  At COTA we now have two clients with Windows 8 and the surface, although a great starter, is not going to be adequate  -  the screen is too small for starters and is hard to read.  It can be zoomed but then not much of the page shows.

Anyway, I claimed my cash and bought the laptop and spent the rest of the afternoon setting it up.  I can't get my iinet mail on it so I phoned iinet but the man I spoke to couldn't help me; it does not support POP.  Yahoo works and so does my web mail and it might sync itself  -  it has done so for most of the contents of my desktop so it may happen yet  -  the Win8 Surface has done so too, so I live in hope.  I can always call on Techie to help me out if all else fails but I am surprised that iinet didn't know.  J. said that all the guys there are having problems sorting out Windows 8 but maybe he was new to the job.

There are a couple of good photo editing apps which I will point out to my current client  -  he is trying to organise his pictures and some are in dire need of a bit of lightening and brightening; and if he wants to send them as email attachments he will need to shrink them as there no longer seems to be an automatic shrink option.

I'll offer to lend the Surface to Himself to help familiarise him but I doubt if he will take up the offer.  We will see.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lost causes

I have given up on the book "The Stalking of Julia Gillard  - how the media and Team Rudd brought down the Prime Minister".  It is boring, badly written and getting less and less relevant by the day.  I will put it on the shelf with "The Marmalade Files" and "Downfall" and hopefully treat them as history.

However, it has had a very positive effect on me because I have been finding other things ... anything ... to do rather than sit down and read it so I have been knitting; I have gone as far as I can with the yuckie pink until my jumbo woolwinder arrives from New Zealand.  There is not going to be enough yarn for the serape which I had hoped to make but it will make a very nice scarf  -  one of those ones which are sewn double with a gap so that it works as a hood and scarf.  Damart sells them but they skimp on fabric and this, despite its colour should be a whole lot better.

I have embarked on my fifth bobbin spun on E.Roberta and having read all the sage advice on the Ravelry site regarding settings for E.Robertas I am finally spinning finer and more evenly.  This particular lot of tops is going to make a most peculiar garment  -  thick and very rough and getting finer as she goes.  I still have a sample swatch from my first spinnings from E.Emma and it is much the same; thick and rough but it made a very nice sailing jumper and the swatch is now Poppy's favourite thing.  Luckily neither cat seems inclined to eat it so I am happy to let her keep it.

I have had a second client with a Windows 8 computer but luckily he only wanted to file and label photographs so we spent an hour using the right button.  My computer mantra, of course, is "When all else fails try the Right Button".  I think that I need to progress beyond my little Surface tablet and am looking at a grown-up Windows 8 laptop.  My loyalty credits from my credit card will almost pay for a rather nice Acer which I have my eye on and will probably drop in and buy it in a day or so.  I am sleeping on it at the moment but I think that I am going to need it.  Himself is also going to have to familiarise himself with it so he can borrow the tablet while I work on the laptop.  *sigh*

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Things are a little woolly

I have just acquired a jumbo wool winder from Ashford.  They are a "while stocks last" item so I was lucky that there was one available.  It will be posted off to me tomorrow from New Zealand so the pink thing I am knitting will have to wait as I am almost at the end of the ball and I have three more skeins of the sheep/Samoyed yarn ... not to mention the stuff I spun from Terry's fleece which is still unwashed.  I have already picked out a jumper pattern for that.

I have also found a forum on Ravelry devoted exclusively to E.Roberta.  It seems that they have been available for many years but with leather bearings and no pause pedal.  I'm glad that I waited ...

I had my last Intermediate Yoga class last night and will probably enroll for the next one, mainly because by paying in advance I actually make the time to go instead of making excuses and it is not as crowded as the drop-in sessions are.  I do yoga from DVDs most evenings and am therefore ahead of the class with some of the poses but my balance is dreadful and I still can't do the Tree Pose.

The kittens are both molting and Poppy will only accept a very cursory brushing;  Parsifal rolls around in ecstasy and hasn't a hair out of place, but his tummy is still bald from  his last ultrasound.

I am still struggling to read The Stalking of Julia Gillard  and that is the reason for all this untimely activity in the crafts department.  I am actually knitting and listening to music instead of reading, watching TV or playing computer games so the book has merit after all.

Bring on the election!!  It is a right pain in the ****.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Spinning Tops

I have plied off the second two bobbins of tops which I spun on E.Roberta and there is a noticeable improvement over the first two.  The yarn is better spun and better plied and looks to be getting nearer to the 8-ply which I spin on E.Emma although it is a bit hard to tell since I use greasy wool on Emma and until it is washed it looks much finer as it sticks to itself.

My hand carders arrived yesterday after a couple of trips across the Nullarbor  but I'll wait until I have spun my tops and then perhaps experiment with colours.  But I have a lot of knitting ahead of me and will hopefully finish the hideous pink before I am tempted into anything else.

I was talking to the Zoo Lady about what the veterinary animal behaviorist suggested for Parsifal's little problem and how she had gone into medical mode instead pf psychology mode and I wasn't happy with that and didn't intend to follow it up.  The Zoo Lady suggested giving Parsifal a bottle to give him suck time, so I have bought a pet bottle and some low-salt chicken stock to put in it but am concerned that he will become reliant on his bottle and nag at me for it.  On the other hand it might just be what he needs to get over his past reluctance to being weaned.  

In the mean while I am going to be pro-active and make sure that anything he eats is digestible ... only natural fibres from now on as the stomach acids should be able to deal with cotton, linen, wool and silk.   For some reason he is not in the least bit interested in eating the results of my spinning; only the cotton drive band on E.Emma.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Send me, God, some scarlet ribbons ..."

When I got up this morning I discovered that Parsifal had vomited four times on the tiles with a large deposit on the Persian carpet which contained what looks like the whole of the shoelace which he ate ten days ago.  The poor wee thing looked very upset to have done this to me but I was thrilled and relieved that, at last, I knew where the shoelace had got to.  Obviously it had been lurking in his stomach all the time.  I have washed it and am just waiting for it to dry to compare it to the other lace to make sure that he has rid himself of all of it.

D2 dropped in for a short while and then D3 and SIL arrived to take me to Woolylatte which, as its name suggests, is a cafe which sells knitting products.  I bought the needles which I need to knit up the hideous pink handspun and there, on a shelf, was a knitting book which I had been looking for all over the internet without success.  Yeah!!

So, all in all, it has been a very nice day despite the weather which is far too warm for early August and looks to be brewing a storm.  And it is already raining across the river and the wind is getting up.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Party time - no, NOT the election

There was another late-night booze-up underneath my bedroom window the night before last, starting at about 2.00am and ending around about 4.00am which woke me up and left me fuming.  I shouted down to ask the guys to move inside but received no acknowledgement at all so I tried white noise which worked for a time but after a while my radio turned itself off.

Yesterday I went down to beard the beasts in their lair and met the apartment owner for the first time.  He denied that he had known about the goings-on and that he had gone to bed early and slept through the noise.  I suspect that this explains why they party out on the patio but nevertheless, with the number of empties stacked in cartons by the entrance, he must have been aware that there had been some heavy drinking going on.  I gave him a copy of the rules of behavior expected and told him that I already had a dossier and the next step was the police before I could refer it to the Strata Management.  He promised to ensure that it didn't happen again and last night it was blissfully quiet but I am not holding my breath that it won't happen again.

Parsifal has recovered from his latest brush with a shoelace and is full of beans and belting around the apartment and badgering me for dried fish snacks.  I should stop worrying  -  his system can obviously cope with foreign objects.

I am still struggling with E.Roberta.  All her settings had come adrift but luckily I know approximately where the twist and draw controls should be set ... not that it made a great deal of difference to my spinning which is abysmally bad still.  On Saturday (today is Monday) I spun about half a bobbin and will finish it off as soon as I have time  -  this looks like being a busy week  -  and try to ply this lot better than the last skein which, when I eventually plied it in the right direction, was disastrously short on twist 

I must remember the mantra told to us at our spinning lessons:  spin with a slow treadle and fast hands, ply with a fast treadle and slow hands.  Translating that to E.Roberta means increase the twist for plying, and spin loose.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

All is calm, all is bright-eyed and bushytailed

I've not heard back regarding the present whick Parsifal produced for Dr Sophie but he is eating well happy in himself and back to beating up his sister so whatever the fate of the shoe-lace, it is not disturbing him at this stage.  Bless his little stomach  -  it must be made of cast iron.

GB1 has spent the last two nights with me and will be going home this afternoon after school.  All went fairly happily but he is very picky about his food and I am not sure if it is just my cooking or if he was fretting or maybe just plain picky.  Anyway, he has been getting his lunch from the canteen for the last three days and eats a hearty breakfast.  He approves of my omelets but that might be because he cooks his own at home and I am not turning my precious omelet pan over to just anyone, even if he is my grandson.

The handcarders which I ordered from Ashford on 19th July have returned to sender because, according to the courier, I am not known at my address.  Hopefully when they return to me again there will be instructions to leave it at the post office.  I can't understand why the parcel was not left there the first time around.  Luckily they are not urgently needed and I will get them eventually; probably next Friday.