Friday, April 29, 2005

The short and sweet Horlicks clinical trial

Okay, more like anectocal trials than clinical trials but - the stuff sure works!

I had to experiment with the dosage though, due to my lactose intolerance (if you didn't know, Horlicks contains both skim milk powder and a separate amount of lactose, plus you have to make it up with fresh milk). The first evening, I made myself a full cup of the stuff and my anticipated sweet dreams were replaced by a disappointing case of "the trots".

The following evenings, I reduced my dosage to half a cup of the drink (minus the small amount which boiled over the edge of the cup in the microwave oven). This resulted in either a full night's sleep, or only minor awakenings (as opposed to being wide awake, getting out of bed, going to the toilet, watching Animal Planet on the telly and eating toast whilst waiting to feel sleepy again).

On Wednesday evening though, I missed my dose because of my cold. I was so full of mucous already, and decided I didn't want any more. And on that night I had a lousy night's sleep.

Last night I was back on the Horlicks, and sleep was fine and full of pleasantly interesting dreams.

So there you have it - Horlicks puts you to sleep. I'd be happy to recommend it, especially if the makers put money in my hands to say so on TV.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


This morning, in the middle of our monthly staff meeting, I did something that I haven't done for years; something I've almost only ever done as a result of either too much alcohol or eating seafood and drinking alcohol at the same time - I fainted.

I could feel it coming, that extreme light-headedness followed by the urgent desire to close my eyes and put my head down on something soft, so I did what I usually do when this happens - I left the meeting room, went to the women's toilet and sat there until the feeling went away.

Trouble was, fairly soon after I sat down again at the meeting, that horrible feeling came back - only this time stronger and quicker; I didn't have time to get to the ladies' without risking falling flat on my face along the way. So I desperately tried to keep my eyes open, while the cold sweat gathered on my forehead, and propped my head up in my hands.

Next thing I knew, everyone (including the new communications officer whom I'd just met half and hour before) was staring at me. My boss was wiping my brow with tissues which I'd brought with me to wipe my cold virus-laden nose with and the admin officer was supporting me on my other side. I must have gone as white as a redhead with an SPF 50 habit, because after a while I heard someone say that my colour had come back. I joked that this hadn't happened since the last time I got really really drunk. My boss murmured that this apparently sometimes happens to pregnant women. I wondered if the yoghurt I'd had with my cereal this morning was past it's use-by date after all.

I made some noises about excusing myself to go sit on the toilet for a while, and then I'd be okay, but one of my workmates had already gone to her desk to ring up the boy. Shortly afterwards the boy came by in his shining armour (a Toyota Camry), brought me home and tucked me up on the sofa with the telly and the heater on.

I suppose it was a bit of excitement for the day, for the folks at work. Perhaps one of them will go home tonight and blog about it (or not). For me, it was a little scary because I'd thought I'd worked out how to avoid blacking out in public - don't drink lots of booze, don't mix booze with seafood and try not to eat my own cooking - but now I'd discovered another variable, one which I could't pin down.

Several hours later, I finally got hold of the mid-wife. Although my having a cold could have had something to do with it, normally this sort of thing would only happen if I'd been sitting or standing still for a long time (which I hadn't), leading to my diluted blood pooling a long way from my brain, or if I was anaemic (which I'm not). In other words, she didn't have an answer except that sometimes this happens when you're pregnant.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

In the waiting (for hours) room

What a long afternoon it was. My mother had an appointment at the fracture clinic, to check on her upper arm; the notice told me it was scheduled for 2.45pm, and to allow at least one hour.

After I'd gone over to her house to help her shower, dress, make lunch and shop for groceries and Chinese medicine, we were still about twenty minutes early for the appointment. At bang on 2.45pm, we were called up by Radiology to get some new x-rays done. There was the usual I'm-pregnant-so-I-have-to-leave-the-room-as-soon-as-I've-translated-
all-your-instructions-into-poor-Cantonese hassle, but it was over pretty quickly.

Then there was the hour and a half wait to see the doctor. In that time, we guzzled water (from my bottle, because there was no water cooler in the room) and chatted, I read from The Poisonwood Bible (for the second time), and we wondered why the examination room opposite seemed to have the higher turnover.

The doctor's consultation itself, took all of ten minutes.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Lazy Sundee afternoon-ah *

What a weird thing to have so little to do on a Sunday. Normally my Sundays are taken over by daughterly duties, but today my mother has been put off going out, by the icy wind which feels as though it has blown straight from the shores of Antarctica. Welcome to autumn in NZ.

I'm not normally put off by a bit of brisk weather, but today I'm as much of a wuss as an eighty-year-old with an arm fracture and a fear of being in cemetaries on cold, windy afternoons. No walks into the hills for me.

Today we'll partake of our latest DVD purchases - part 2 of Season 5 of Angel, Shaun of the Dead and Bad Santa. We already saw Bad Santa at the cinema, but apparently the DVD version is an uncut version. I wonder which scenes will be extended - perhaps that infamous one of Billy Bob Thornton's character having anal sex with a fat lady in in the women's changing room?

Shaun of the Dead we watched last night - it was quite amusing, but I couldn't help comparing it with Peter Jackson's much earlier film, Braindead. And from memory, the latter was much funnier.

And Angel was fab of course; there was even an episode which neither of us had seen before - a real bonus. Well, Fred annoys me. It's partly because she's supposed to be geeky but always dresses like her looks must be so important. The other thing that annoys me about Fred is that, while she's supposed to be a physics genius, now all of a sudden she's a total science polymath whose ability ranges from forensics to weapons design and beyond. Yeah I know it's a fantasy show, but still...

* that's a reference to the song by The Small Faces

Friday, April 22, 2005

Depressing stories

I had a late lunch date with a friend who's in town for a couple of weeks; I assumed she'd be late ('cos she usually is), so I dived into the library on the way and pulled a book off the Readers' Picks shelf. Just in case she was half an hour late or something.

The book was The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck. The title sounded familiar, like maybe it was prize-winningly famous or something. And I am often drawn to stories set in Chinese environments. (I can never quite relate to domestic tales about middle-class white people).

But I just had a look at a couple of Amazon reviews, and I realise now that I've probably chosen a typically depressing Chinese story. Let me give you an idea of how depressing it's gonna be: the hero is a poor farmer who wants to marry and produce an heir. The only way he can afford to marry a virgin is by purchasing a very ugly slave girl from a wealthy landowner, because all the pretty ones have already been "had" by men in the landowner's family. So he does. And apparently somewhere along the line this wife ends up killing her newborn daughter in order for her other children to live.

Is it really that hard to write a story set in China which has a happy ending?

Thursday, April 21, 2005


The midwife had a good feel of my tummy today and announced that the baby is lying sideways, as opposed to vertically in a sitting-up kind of position. At least one of us seems to be getting enough sleep.

Desperate for a remedy for my insomnia, I've gone to the supermarket and bought a large jar of Horlicks. You're supposed to make it up with milk, but I'm hoping I can put in a smallish amount in the drink and still get the sleep-inducing affect mentioned on the back of the label.

Last night I kept waking up with a really dry mouth (due to my nose being blocked, and the fact I have to mouth-breathe). The boy kept telling me I was snoring loudly - which was really strange because I could swear that I wasn't even asleep at the time!

It might be why I'm a little grumpy that my bank has charged me five bucks for an unwanted overdraft facility on my cheque account for the second month in a row. Heck, I rang and told them to remove it when I got my previous bank statement last month; the last thing I expected was that it'd still be there one whole bank statement later.

Five bucks per month isn't a killer, but that amount is actually more than my total monthly bank fees were last year when I was pretending to be a full-time student (it wasn't an active lie as such, I just didn't bother telling the bank when I stopped being full-time, about three years ago).

It's all money, and we're gonna have to tighten our belts a little if we're to buy that plasma TV screen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The belly

Those forty-five minute walks home from walk are taking almost an hour now, with every slow step being that much harder. I can see now why a woman might want to try a belly bra, because it feels like my belly is trying really hard to give me stretch marks - as though gravity itself is not doing a good enough job of it. I thought I would have to start taking the bus home when I could no longer go forty five minutes without a pee, but I might be wrong on that one.

Up until now, I've been guessing at whether I'm feeling the baby kicking. I think most of the time what I've actually been experiencing is gas, indigestion, cramp or the ligaments around my uterus stretching to make way for greater baby heft. But now I think I have it. The kicks are those little flutterings which feel as though I'm being tickled from the inside. It must be those, because they don't feel like anything else I've felt before, and because I've felt them mostly at night or when I'm sitting still.

Well, I'm off now to be my mother's nurse for an hour or two. The boy has promised to make me something especially nice for tea when I get home, because he feels guilty about staying out till 3am this morning. It's not that I don't like him having his boys' nights out; it's just that when I wake up at 2am and can't get back to sleep again, I want him to be around to feel my tossing and turning, and to hear me sighing with frustration. It's nice to have someone to complain to.

Monday, April 18, 2005

music for the inner child

There's a little kid inside me who isn't trying to get out yet, but give it about four months and there'll (hopefully) be no stopping it. Apparently now is the time to be playing music to the baby and finding out what makes it dance around in the womb.

So far I've played it Prince, Madonna, Bach and various acid jazz collections. As far as I can tell, these don't compel the baby to get down. What else have I got - Nick Cave's Murder Ballads (perhaps not a good idea right now), Chris Isaak and the entire soundtrack of Carmen. If they don't doing anything, then I may have to resort to the boy's collection of Metallica.

Remember Nanking

I honestly can't blame the Chinese for getting upset over the Japanese history textbook thing. Although it might have been more appropriate to throw things at the Japanese embassy rather through the windows of Japanese businesses who, after all, probably weren't around at the time of the brutal Nanking massacre.

As they say, history is written by the victors, and in this particular war the Japs won. On the other hand, if one wants to apologise for torturing, raping and murdering citizens of one's neighbour and trading partner then actually owning up to it is a damn good start (and paying compensation would also go a helluva long way too). I don't have anything against Japanese as individuals, but what they did as a country all those years ago affects me more than what I know of the Holocaust - because the victims were my parent's countrymen.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The boy is baaaad

Just because the boy is worried that I say too many nice things about him, he wants you all to know that he's not lovely and he's not nice. He's a bad dude, oh yes. People who work for him respect him, and not just because he's a good manager. It's because he's well practised with the hard looks and only-partially-jokey threats. Ask him about his scars, and he'll tell you about his dark past. There's a reason one of his nick-names is Dark Evil Lad.

(But sometimes he is just lovely).

The Chinese patient - episode two

My mother has stopped resisting offers of help - this is good, because she needs help with stuff like getting cleaned, getting dressed, food preparation and cooking, hanging out washing, getting around and buying groceries. On the other hand, I'm very very glad she isn't doing the equivalent of ringing a little bell whenever she wants something.

She's too hot, and needs help removing her cardigan; now she's too cold, and wants help putting it back on again; she tells me to chop up the veges; peel some oranges; cut her up an apple; get some fish balls out of the freezer; put her socks on. Instructions are issued rapid-fire as though they must be done as soon as she thinks of them.

But then, I look at her hurt arm and it's about 50% bigger than the other one; it's a scary dark red tinged with blue, purple and yellow. She had to stop using the Voltarin because they were giving her stomach cramps, and the codeine is apparently having some other nasty side effects, so she's having to rely on regular doses of Panadol.

So I just take a deep breath and get it done.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Chinese patient

My mum has managed to avoid using the shower for two whole days now, probably because she knew she couldn't do it properly without help. I decided I'd rather learn to soap her down than put up with accumulated unwashed-ness every time I visit though.

There won't be any details, despite Jon's explicit request for a Showering with Mum blog post. Let's just say that it wasn't something I'd do if someone didn't have to do it.

She's holding up pretty well, though she did freak out a bit when she saw the extent of the bruising on her upper arm. If I'd had a big enough Cantonese vocabulary, I would've told her that the people who feature on Extreme Makeover look a helluva lot worse than that after their visit to the cosmetic surgeon.

Thankfully my brother has been visiting her mornings and evenings, so if she changes her mind about getting oranges pre-peeled for her, someone is bound to be along to oblige.

And I'm also thankful that after all that, I didn't have to cook tea when I got home, because that's the boy's job.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Late yesterday afternoon, my mum was getting on the bus to go home after having a wander around the shops, and her legs suddenly just gave way. Over the phone, it sounded like she just keeled over on the steps. She wanted to get x-rayed, though she didn't seemed to be hurting enough to have broken anything.

A visit to the after-hours doctor and a few x-rays later (I had to translate for her and then swiftly remove myself from the room before my womb got zapped by the rays), it turned out that she'd managed to fracture and impact her upper arm. After the first hour or two of being shocked and stunned, I think she took it pretty well. I was told to take her to the hospital, just down the road, to see the orthopaedic registrar for an expert opinion. Apparently, there was a chance she'd go "into theatre". My mum isn't the singing and dancing type, so I took it to mean that there was an alternative to throwing her arm in a sling and letting the bones heal themselves.

My infamous navigation skills (i.e. none), the vague directions given by the doctor and the worst fog I've seen since Guy Fawkes' Night in a Edinburgh on a very foggy night, meant that the five minute drive to the Fracture Clinic took about half an hour. Out of four possible hospital entranceways, I managed to find the three wrong ones.

Anyway, by 9pm we'd seen the orthopaedic registrar's assistant and there wasn't going to be any "theatre". A nurse put a little foam sling on mum's arm and made it clear she was going to need a helping hand with showering and stuff, for the next few weeks. Oh, and some very strong painkillers.

I got mum back to her house, with a diversion to the after-hours pharmacy for Voltarin on the way, fed her the tablet, was refused help with getting her ready for bed, and left without remembering to tell her that sleep may be less painful if she sits upright in bed instead of lying down.

It was well past my bedtime by the time I got home, and I'd been on the go for about six hours with only a nasty muesli bar to keep me going. So I was hideously disappointed to find that I just could not fall asleep.

Isn't if funny (well, funny as in peculiar) that when you get insomnia, you tend to finally drop off to sleep only about an hour before the alarm goes off?

I don't do well without enough sleep (yes I know, I'm going to be in trouble in a few months' time), so I let myself sleep in and went in to work mid-morning.

I was still worried that mum might not have had much sleep herself though, so I called her to check in. Apparently that Voltarin is pretty hot stuff. She'd slept like the proverbial baby.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Posh dinner

Last night the boy took me out to what is probably the poshest restaurant in town, and for no particular reason (although my grumble that we don't celebrate our anniversary because we don't have one, may have had a tiny bit to do with it).

It wasn't just posh because it was humungously expensive. It was also posh because the menu is exotic (pheasant, venison, quail and salmon for instance); the waiter puts the napkin on your lap for you; he actually waits for a pause in your conversation before asking what you want to eat (and if you're not ready yet, he will come back); and because there were expensive-looking jackets and stoles in the cloakroom.

I'd been told to dress up, so with my designer pregnancy jeans I wore the only posh top that I could still get into (and only just - my boobs threatened to spill out at one point and the boy was compelled to "adjust" the garment for me). Even the lipstick, sitting ever-ready in the drawer for the last two years, got a look in. (The boy wore a long striped shirt that makes him look like Brad Pitt in Ocean's Eleven).

Our waiter was a young Jude Law with nice manners and a polite smile. He smiled a whole lot more when the boy gave him a tip that would have made me choke on my spinach and oyster soup, if I was still eating it by then.

Any hopes that the boy may have had for after-dinner naughties would've been dashed though. After a big, late meal like that, I was home and snoring in minutes.

Yeah Right

Someone, somewhere, must have sold off a distribution list with my name and address on it. Twice in the last month I've received scam mail in my (physical) mailbox.

The first was a chain letter sort of thing. Several pages long, and topped up with references from happy customers, it was basically one of those pyramid schemes i.e. if you send ten bucks to the guy on the top of the list of names and addresses, then add your own details to the bottom and send multiple copies to your unsuspecting friends, then you'll be rich. Hah - friendless, more like.

On the weekend I received mail from Spain. I don't know anyone in Spain, so it could have been only one thing. And I was right. Apparently I've won hundreds of thousands of US dollars in some kind of promotional lottery, and all I have to do is fill in the form with my personal details (including bank account number) and return it.

Well, all I can say is - what a waste of paper.

Friday, April 08, 2005

scary in the States

I'm currently reading a books kindly lent to me by Make Tea Not War - Misconceptions by Naomi Wolf.

Misconceptions is like an antidote to all the many, many preganancy books which aim to reassure. In fact, in the two and a half chapters I've read so far, the stuff Wolf describes is pretty alarming. She talks about how pregnant women in the States are subjected to medical practices which are geared toward (i) increasing billable costs and (ii) covering the practitioner's arses as much as possible, by pushing expensive tests and witholding information.

It doesn't sound anything like the treatment I've gotten so far. If this book is to be believed, then I'm glad that our taxpayer-subsidised healthcare is ridiculously cost-conscious (not to mention the fact that it's really hard to sue anyone in NZ). I don't think there's much chance of unnecessary procedures being performed on me if no-one stands to make any money out of it.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The working mum thing

We've been having a hard think about how much maternity leave to ask for. I've already decided to stop work in early July, so that I get four weeks of baby-less leave before my life changes completely, but what wasn't so certain was when to return to work. My imagination tells me that I would love being a stay-at-home mum who gets to do coffee mornings with other mums and learn to bake great scones and run up cushion covers on the sewing machine. The boy, however, is pretty sure that so much at-home time would bore me senseless.

I've had stay-at-home time before, when I was still in the throes of my art passion. For eight months I didn't work; I spent my days painting, thinking about painting and looking at other people's paintings. It wouldn't be like that this time around though; firstly because my painting passion has gone the way of all my other past passions; also because I'll have a baby to think of.

At the very least I'd like to take six months off, even if it's just to avoid the awkwardness of trying to breastfeed (or breastpump) in the workplace. After that, I can decide whether I want to continue being at home fulltime or go back to work part-time. See, if I do go back to work most of my salary would be going towards childcare anyway, so there's no point in working unless it's to keep a foot in the working world.

All the same, six months is surely a bit young to be a latch-key kid, eh?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A pain in the bum...and the knees and the hips and the back

Robbed of those endorphins which would have been really helpful about now, my body has started hurting for no good reason.

For instance, yesterday I had the day off work so I went for a walk up to the lookout behind my house. It's normally a 1 & 1/4 hour walk and it's usually a piece of cake - yesterday it was not so much a piece of cake as a truckload of cold porridge dumped on my poor joints. After my walk I had a sit-down; when I tried to get up and move around my whole body creaked and I felt like an arthritic old woman.

And today, I walked home from work like I always do when it isn't pissing down with rain with gale-force winds. Up until today, it was a 45 minute stroll which didn't feel like exercise unless it was accompanied by a daypack filled with a dozen large library books. Until today. First it was that ligament around about where my thigh meets my pelvis that felt out of whack. Then it was the knee on the same side. Then my lower back started protesting, followed by flutterings in my stomach. Now that I'm sitting down at my computer, it's only a matter of minutes before the old sore-bum complaint joins in.

The bump seems to have undergone a growth spurt, which is sort of a relief because I was worried that I was gestating a hobbit instead of a normal-sized baby. When I visited a branch office today, people seemed to know already that I was "in the family way" - they kept telling me to have a seat and looked quite uncomfortable until I quit protesting and got a myself chair.

Tomorrow, I'll be on the alert for similar signs of recognition on the bus. If nobody bothers to give up their seat for me then either my pregnancy is not as obvious as I thought it was, or else those people on the bus are a bunch of inconsiderate bastards.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Crybaby (or - Happy Hormones, where art thou?)

I'm pretty sure that around about now I should be benefiting from "happy hormones", and that this affect should last until soon after childbirth. But I haven't noticed any increase in cheeriness or laid-backness, which is unfortunate because I've never been that laid-back to start with and sure could do with some. My moods are, on the whole, about the same as always; I'm impatient, easily annoyed but can't hold a grudge, and am most grouchy when I'm stuck in a hot car or cruising the supermarkets with my mother.

On the other hand, I have noticed an increase in weepiness. Only yesterday I was watching Bargaining I and II from Season Six of Buffy - they're the episodes where Buffy's friends bring her back to life, not realising that they've taken her from Heaven. I wept like there was going to be a tear shortage or something.

It was worst in that scene where Dawn finds her newly-revived sister (who has just clawed her way out of her own grave) on top of the tower thing which evil shoe-loving goddess, Glory, built in the previous series - the place where Buffy sacrificed herself to save the world. Dawn's fear of losing her sister again and Buffy's returning memory of her last moments on Earth - ah, it was Tear City, Arizona.

If you know the episodes I'm talking about, then you might agree that they are pretty emotionally heavy scenes, which could make you cry even without a dose of pregnancy hormones. Okay - I also cried during Once More with Feeling, the musical episode.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Book Meme

Thank goodness - just when I know I've run out of anything to blog about, Make Tea Not War invites me to complete this book meme.

1) You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451 which book do you want to be?

It doesn't matter which book it is, as long as it's not one of the books which goes on the bonfire. And from the movie, I'm pretty sure most books went on the bonfire except maybe The Bible.

2) Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I really can't think of a fictional character I've had a crush on, and I'm really really sad about it.

3) The last book you bought is?

Q and A by Vikas Swarup. It was great; my comments are posted here.

4) The last book you finished?

Do Androids dream of electric sheep? by Philip K. Dick, on which of course the film Blade Runner is based. It’s a little more cerebral than the film, and doesn't have any of the right-wing, anti-feminist feeling I've detected in his other stories.

5) What are you currently reading?

(i)The Gameplayers of Titan by Philip K. Dick, which is interesting but probably the last Dick novel I will get from the library

(ii)The New Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer, a classic history of magic and superstition from the early twentieth century; initial comments posted here.

(iii)Up the Duff by Kaz Cooke, loaned to me by my sister-out-law. It’s a hilarious, yet helpful, week-by-week account of what to expect now that I’m expecting. Needless to say I'm skipping over the bits about actually giving birth.

6) Five books you would take to a deserted island?

(i) and (ii)A couple of Buffy books – Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy, 'cos it combines two favourite topics and Fighting the Forces: What’s at stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a collection of media studies-type analyses of the themes in this divinely wonderful series.

(iii)A survival guide of some sort, but probably not The Zombie Survival Guide

(iv) The madness of a seduced woman by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, because it's a good read. Also, it's the kind of book which makes me angry at men; when I'm in that kind of mood, a deserted island might be the best place for me.

(v) One of Bill Bryson's books on origins of words, either Made in America or Mother tongue. He's a funny writer, and the subject is one I'm really interested in.

7) Who are you going to pass this stick to? 3 persons and why?
Anyone who wants to do this meme, can.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The day after the big spend

Yesterday, after I got back from the gym, we went into town for lunch and I wore my new boots. We didn't do all that much walking, but all the same I was glad that my feet didn't show any signs of new-shoe blisters. (I also wore them this morning when I took my mum out to the Sunday market, and still no sign of blisters). So, tentatively, I'm going to announce that the boots are such good quality that they do not cause blisters when worn new, thus vindicating the enormous sum I spent on them.

Blisters are a terrible thing. I once went for on a tramping weekend in un-broken-in boots, and got enormous blisters spanning the length of each foot - and that was just in the ten minute hike from the car park to the beginning of the track. Nothing stuffs up a walk in the hills more than feet that hurt.

I wasn't game to wear them walking up and down the zoo though. We were taking my nephew there, as a late birthday outing. Curiously, amongst the lion cubs, the otter, the giraffes and the baby guinea pigs, it was the peccarys (wild pigs) which he remembered and told his mum and dad about later.

Covering the whole zoo is quite a walk, and the little fella was plain tuckered out after an hour (though not too tired to finish an entire Fruju ice block). Once we got him home he fell asleep watching The Wiggles.

Actually, I was a bit tired too. Instead of going out for dinner as we'd planned, we got oysters 'n' chips from the local fish 'n' chip shop for an early dinner at home and watched four episodes of our new Angel DVDs.

In between episodes, the boy gave me little mini backrubs, because all of a sudden my back is always sore and moving around while sitting or lying down has become such an effort.

Friday, April 01, 2005

At the mall

Today I did something which is ubiquitous to American culture, but which I don't do very often - a friend and I hung out at "the mall" all afternoon.

My friend, who lives in Hong Kong, is back in New Zealand for a couple of weeks' holiday. At first we wanted to go out for a long walk outdoors somewhere, but due to the early arrival of Winter we had our walk in a shopping mall instead.

I was doing a very good job of getting her to buy stuff. I helped her choose some greeting cards, a sketch book (she's started learning to draw), a notebook, a book on drawing, two pairs of sandals on sale and some Body Shop skincare. It was almost more fun than spending money myself.

Then there was a hiccup - we went into a shoe shop and I found a pair of really nice cherry-red, flat-soled ankle boots which would make perfect mid- to late-pregnancy footwear. I tried them on, liked them, and attempted to avoid actually purchasing them by saying I'd think about it. This would have worked, too, except my friend then pointed out another pair of flat-soled ankle boots, in a soft, aged golden brown leather. This time my resolve failed me. I bought them.

I have spent so much money this week: first there was the fridge/freezer; then the boy and I decided we needed to get another bookcase - they were sold out and I had to put an order in, but I did find Angel Season 5 part 1 on DVD though; then the $200 boots.

I need those boots though, and they're surely going to last me several winters at least - if my pregnant feet don't swell up until they are permanently one size too big.