But seas between us braid hae roar’d sin’ auld lang syne.

Happy new year.

Yes, I have been quiet. That’s because I’ve been building websites and doing social media comms, and yoga and swimming, and knitting, and I finally have a job (until April).

Happy birthday to me

Happy birthday to me

Tori Amos, at the Sydney Opera House. 2 bucketlist items: check.

Tori Amos, at the Sydney Opera House. 2 bucketlist items: check.

Last time I wrote, I’d been to KAN, and to Sydney for UWR. Since then, I went back to Sydney to see Tori Amos at the Sydney Opera House (a birthday present), saw Nick Cave live at the St James here in Wellington (the man is just amazing), finished the blanket, my Elfe (which I am currently wearing), the ravello and a Gemini in Jo Sharp DK Soho cotton.

Twice in 2 years.

Twice in 2 years.

Nick Cave playing The Ship Song at the St James.

Nick Cave playing The Ship Song at the St James.

I’ve started a Lemongrass in Cascade 220, another pair of toe-up Spring Forwards in Knitsch “Idris”, a Puerperium Cardi in Needlefood “Pukeko” and modified Dream Mitts in Knitsch “Fawkes”. (The Spring Forwards and Dream Mitts are on a very tight deadline and are currently at 50% each). I have some more baby stuffs and the Lemongrass to finish before I can knit for me again, so I’m really enjoying the gorgeousness that is my Elfe and my Gemini (Elfe has been worn to work several times now. Such a gorgeous pattern, and the Dark Harbour yarn was an absolute pleasure to knit with. Will definitely use both again, and often.

The job is interesting, completely out of my comfort zone, but I’ve managed to get my head around it. The team are a pretty decent group – the problem is in dealing with a bias against contract workers. Having done nothing but contract work ever, this is the first time I’ve encountered it, and I must admit that I’m finding it really strange. But onwards and upwards, and it’s just another experience to learn from and be mindful of. Here’s hoping that this year doesn’t see me unemployed for 6 months though.

I’ve also been reading: a few old friends and some new ones. I have read much on the Antarctic Exhibitions of the early twentieth century. I finally acquired and read Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea; and borrowed and read (3 times), Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. Find it, read it. Read it slowly and enjoy the language. It was absolutely glorious to just absorb and savour. Seriously. Read it. I have Tartt’s The Goldfinch to finish and the Carrie Bebris Austen Collection to start. (As well as some Sagan and Hunter S. Thompson). So 2015 looks like it’s going to be just as varied a year as 2014 was on the book front.

2014 was also a year of endings and learning. And I did learn much. And at a time when the Black Dog would have really taken its toll on me, it didn’t. So I celebrate that success. I reorganised my priorities. I didn’t get hideously sick as I usually do once a year. I had a quiet birthday and a peaceful Christmas. I have finally been able to relax. The most recent ending, however is one I’m still reeling from.

My beautiful Acushla "Moofs" Machree at Ohope beach, March 2014

My beautiful Acushla “Moofs” Machree at Ohope beach, March 2014

My beautiful pup, who has graced my posts from time to time for years finally went to join all the other dogs I have loved and let go on the 27th December. She was 13 and lived a life of adoration and kisses. While I have been expecting this for 3 years now, her absence still hasn’t quite sunk in for me. I’m expecting it will hit me hard when I go home later this month and she won’t be there to talk to me in greeting, bounce towards me and shy away, only to return to press her cold wet nose against my cheek and then become my shadow. She was old, and she was loved. And will continue to be loved. My parents have buried in the garden in a place where she can sniff the breeze, and planted a Dogwood with her to remind us of our pup. Acushla was a purebred Angevin Briard, and she was absolutely beautiful. She was always happy, with the sweetest temperament and the gentlest heart. She was smart too. She would count the people in a room on a regular basis, and if one left, she would find them, and herd them back. She understood our names. She knew when we were coming home or thinking about home. Her eyes were those of an old soul. She hated being alone and loved to go to the beach or the park. She was mad for persimmons and baby carrots. She was all bark and no bite – and would love to chase the “bad birds” (starlings and Spanish miners) and cats out the garden. She and the blackbirds had an understanding though. She was mum’s constant companion and my darling fur-sister. She was there through my ups and my downs. A source of calm and loyalty through it all. And it is incredibly difficult knowing and accepting that she isn’t here anymore. Not just for me, but especially for my parents. Losing dogs is always heartbreaking, Acushla Machree was more than just a dog or a pet though. It is going to take a great deal of time to not feel her passing.

The last time I saw Moofs in October. She kept me company while I wrote job applications.

The last time I saw Moofs in October. She kept me company while I wrote job applications.

So my 2015 looks much like my 2014 – but hopefully without the angst and drama of the first part of the year. There will be sport and fitness. Reading, tea, and knitting. Some travel and some good contract work. There will be more looking after me and mindfulness. And there will be spoiling several friends all having their first child and all due within weeks of each other. 2015 is going to be a busy year.

Don’t be strangers people. I’m sorry I’ve not written for so long. I’ve missed you all. Have a wonderful 2015. Be bright, glorious things.