Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The last of our summer holiday

Just before Christmas last year I had spontaneously decided to take a couple of week off in January in addition to several days over Christmas and New Year. It meant I'd have only crumbs of annual leave for the rest of the year, but while I'm on holiday at home it feels like the right decision.

We'd had restful mornings followed by leisurely lunches followed by splashing at the beach. We've had visits from TLM's friends, I've managed to cover our porch (as well as my hair, some of the concrete around the porch, and some of my clothes) in a couple of coats of paint. I've nearly finished my non-classic denim jacket and finished my Japanese-inspired linen maxi dress (to be posted here later).

Although it hasn't been all fun and games, what with my elderly mum requiring visits to the doctor, the practice nurse and the medical lab, as well as many visits to cook for her while waiting for her home health service to kick in.

At the same time, the boy was diagnosed with shingles in his optic nerve. That was pretty scary at the time but the big box of various drugs seems to have worked because he looks normal now and didn't lose his sight. He still gets a lot of pain though, unsurprisingly.

I sure hope the rest of 2015 isn't so medically stressful as it's been so far...

Sunday, December 28, 2014

There's a difference between a jacket and a coat

This, I have learned, is most obvious when you are trying to sew a light jacket using a sewing pattern for a coat. There's a big gap at each shoulder which is calling out for a shoulder pad - though I really wanted to avoid using them because my shoulders are wide enough (or maybe they just look that way because I'm sort of wide overall).

Also, I get why tailors use all that extra interfacing and stiffening now - it's to fill in the gaps between your body and the jacket so that you don't get lots of unattractive wrinkles near your armpits when you wear it.

Still, I'll do what I can. This is to be my non-classic denim jacket which is definitely not a denim blazer (cos I hate those). The pattern I used is the one I used to make my spring coat a while back.

I've shortened the skirt a lot, have added rounded sleeve tabs, will add a back tab, and plan to have 3 button fastenings: where the skirt joins the bodice and; two more between there and the collarbone.  I also plan to use dark pink bias binding to cover all of the seams which aren't flat-felled.

It's been a funny old Christmas

It started with having to take my mum to the hospital on Christmas eve, because her GP was concerned about mum's blood test results. We spent all day in there.

The red-bearded Irish doctor told me my mum was cute and even went as far as asking the nearest Cantonese-speaking doctor to tell her in her own language. One day I must remind mum that "I love you" is not what you say when you want to tell someone that you think they have a nice bedside manner.

Afterwards I returned her to my brother's house, where she'd been staying. As I left, my sister-out-law said a few words about Christmas lunch - I could have sworn she said that we should turn up any time after 2pm.

On Christmas morning, we opened our presents and covered the entire lounge floor with discarded wrapping paper. The boy seemed very pleased with his manly jewellery box.

It turned out I was quite mistaken about the start time for Christmas lunch....and we'll just leave it at that...

At least, I thought, this would be one Christmas lunch when my mum won't nag us to take her home right after we've eaten, because she is already at home (albeit a temporary one). Wrong again - as soon as we'd eaten and finished shared desserts, she was nagging us to pack up her stuff and transport her away. I left my brother to sort it out, as mum doesn't listen to me anyway (I'm just her daughter).

Today my mum has been back at her home for two days, with my brother and I taking turns at 3 visits per day (which is what her home service package will be when it starts on 5 Jan). She has already rejected all three pieces of disability equipment, including the walking frame which had initially been indispensable. There is, as they say, life in the old bird yet.

I leave you with a photo of the hand made fridge magnets I told you about in an earlier post. Pretty, no?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

From barfing to babysitting

The weekend after TLM came down with a vomiting bug (thankfully very short-lived), I was struck by the very same bug.

I spent all of Monday dozing, shuffling (to the loo, to the back door to gaze at the sunny day outside), and drinking Powerade. And finding out that my mum had finally been discharged from hospital, and that my brother had taken her to his place until she was fit enough to go home.

By Tuesday I was feeling a hundred times better than I had the day before. I was still cautious about eating and was avoiding caffeine for the time being, but definitely well enough to go back to work.

The same day, the boy complained of a bad feeling in his gut. You can predict how that progressed.

Also on that day, I called my mum to ask how she was doing. All she wanted to do was to go home.

"There's laundry that needs doing, and my bed is still unmade from before I went to hospital". But we didn't believe she was ready to go home yet - it took her five minutes just to get from sitting down to standing up, and she couldn't walk for more than a few metres (with a walking frame) without needing a rest.

I applied for an emergency couple of days leave to give my brother some respite.

I went in this morning and mum was already up. "Alright" I said, "if you want to go home let's see if you can make your own breakfast."

Mum got as far as putting the jug on before complaining bitterly at my lack of customer service.

The rest of the day went a lot better, especially once she realised we weren't trying to force her into a rest home - because in NZ you can't get into a restroom even if you really want to, unless either you are willing to pay unlimited costs to get into one or the local health assessor thinks there's no other way for you to survive.

And that assessor is coming over on Friday, so we shall soon see...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A bit going on

I've been a bit distracted lately, because my mum's health has been a bit of a worry. She's just spent the last few days in hospital, which frankly was a relief because that followed several days of her feeling miserable and very tired. Being at hospital meant we didn't have to worry so much about her.

Now that her discharge from hospital is imminent, my bro and I will have to figure out how to ensure that she gets all the support she needs without driving anyone insane. Seriously, she can be a terrible grump, bossy and an extreme micro-manager.

A place at her retirement village of choice became free, but the prices have all gone up so that the cost of a studio there is only slightly less than my whole house is worth - and that's not including the weekly fees and others besides. So we have to look around to see if anything comparable (and not to far from us) is available that is more affordable.

On a more pleasant note, I was able to attend my work Christmas do. We had an Amazing Race type of thing at the Botanic Gardens, and spent a good couple of hours walking about the place, trying to find clues and taking many selfies. We took more selfies yesterday than I have ever taken before that day, or ever will after that day. After lunch we had the Secret Santa gifts. Mine was a set of six handmade fridge magnets, made using a variety of surprisingly attractive recycled objects. Honestly it was the best Secret Santa present I have ever received. Thank you Santa!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It turns out that something which keeps your neck and shoulders warm is a capelet

I was thinking that it would be nice to knit an accessory that keeps your neck and shoulders warm - like a well-placed shawl (but which doesn't blow off in the wind) or well-shaped cowl (which covers your shoulders).

So I got out a couple of balls of yarn, looked through a bunch of knitting patterns, and decided to use a top-down pullover pattern to make it.

What I came up with is a caplet. Although if you'd asked me what I thought about making a caplet I would have laughed in your face before swinging my scarf around my neck and walking away.

So it will be interesting whether I actually get to wear this, as it's not the sort of thing I had in mind at the start. I call it the Counterfort Capelet, named after the pullover pattern.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Spring with a dash of winter

When I finished my Hitch pullover (from Interweave Knits Winter 2014), I thought I'd be putting it away until next April or May.

But no - I put it on this afternoon and it's is just right for today's chilly temps.

Please excuse the unnatural angle. TLM was taking the photos and decided to make like a fashion photographer (yeah baby year! Now you're a monkey!) so I indulged her with a variety of non-typical poses.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Spring hat

I started this hat because I wanted a project to take to the Knit World knit-in session a while back. But I only went a couple of times because it wasn't looking promising (four people turned up the first time, three the next).

Then I got bored with making the boy's denim surf top again and decided to finish the hat instead.

It's Kiwiyarns Knits' own Cafe Hat pattern (but I stuffed up the ribbing and used different types of yarns so it's barely recognisable). Hopefully it won't be cold enough again to wear it until next autumn!

I've also posted it on Ravelry.

Vodafone gets to live after all

In case you'd had sleepless nights worrying about how my mum is doing without her only connection to the outside world (her landline phone), you'll be relieved to know that her phone was back on around midday yesterday. So you can call off the boys with the big sticks and knuckle-dusters.

It took me three long calls and an email of complaint (and possibly another call from the sister in law)  to achieve this. While they were at it, they also put the phone account in mum's name.

If they'd only done this latter task when I first asked them to (at the beginning of this month), it would have saved us all a lot of stress, frustration, wasted time on hold and in hopeless conversation and me getting unwanted instructions from family (but not the boy because he was just lovely and supportive) on how to "fix" the problem.

But at last the problem is fixed (though I still have to check they aren't going to try and bill her for two phone accounts or anything stupid like that).