Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two movies and a novel

Notes on a Scandal: It was the only movie on the telly that sounded even remotely watchable, with Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett heading the cast. And it turned out to be really, really watchable. Dench plays Barbara, a loveless old history teacher at a secondary school (high school) who develops a crush on the new and beautiful art teacher, the married but desperately lonely Sheba (played by Blanchett). Barbara soon becomes Sheba's only friend and confidante, which plays into the former's hopes for some kind of lesbian relationship. And when she catches Sheba in an inappropriately intimate embrace with an underaged boy pupil, the stalker-ishly needy Barbara sees their little secret as an opportunity to get even closer into Sheba's undergarments.

The thing about this story is that - even though I disliked Barbara for being psychotic and manipulative, and I disliked Sheba for her irresponsible fling - in the end I just felt sympathy for the both of them, for their loneliness and need to grasp at any chance of emotional intimacy.

Madagascar - Escape 2 Africa: It was rainy this morning, so I took TLM to the movies. It was her very first cinematic experience, and she was enthralled. There was none of that restless wriggling that you might get when at the movies with small children, though it might have helped that she had her own packet of chippies to munch through. Although she did almost disappear into her fold-down theatre seat when she sat too far back.

As for the film itself, I really enjoyed it. But I did feel sorry for the poor creature that became the "sacrifice" to the rain gods in the volcano, when the waterhole dried up. There were lots of laugh-out-loud moments, and even a tear-inducing romantic scene between the giraffe and the hippo.


The Historian: Having not been a teenage girl for quite some time, I have absolutely no interest in Twilight, that vampiric Mills and Boon series that has become a teen hit movie. I picked up The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, from the discount bin at a local bookshop and have been enjoying it since. It's, like, a literary vampire story for academics and librarians. Or something.

I'm only about three chapters in, but so far it's about a teenage girl whose historian father possesses evidence that Dracula is alive and sucking somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blogging from the coast


We're 2 days into our holiday. Believe it or not, when we realised that there was broadband available in our holiday apartment, the boy went into Harvey Normans and bought a MacBook. Otherwise my holiday blog posts would be handwritten on paper and you'd all be spared them...

The weather's great, the beach and the shops (dress shops!) are only a few minutes walk away in opposite directions, and TLM is loving the heated pool just outside our door.

I took TLM on a ride on the miniature railway this morning and it's really pretty cool; there are three trains all going in different directions - over and under bridges, through tunnels and overlooking the well-used paddling pool. Actually, I might've enjoyed the ride more than she did.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Waiter! There's a bug in my soup!

Halfway through the dinner (a nice winter-y beefy stew for a slightly wintery evening) that the boy had lovingly cooked, I noticed it.

A weta, curled up in foetal position, was quietly lying in my stew.

The boy, who is greatly disquieted by all bugs but especially wetas, was more distressed than I was.

I told myself it was just as well that it wasn't half a weta that I found in my dinner.

We still haven't figured out how on earth in got there.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I must be insane

"Are you insane!?" I asked my mum (in Cantonese), after she proposed that I spend the afternoon of Christmas Eve at Pak 'n Save with her. Shopping at the busiest supermarket chain in the country, during the busiest day of the year, can only lead to trolley rage, sky-high blood pressure and plans for emigration.

My mum took offense at having her mental capacity questioned.

Nevertheless, I ended up realising that I'll need to buy fresh produce for the fresh fruit salad I am making for Christmas lunch - meaning that I will end up in a supermarket on Christmas Eve anyway. But I insisted on visiting a far less crazy-busy supermarket, and at a far quieter time.

So she got her way - sort of - in the end.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I am not alone

Yesterday, I was the first to arrive at the pimp's Christmas lunch (oh, the embarrassment!). Eventually though, everyone else showed up, including a few people I was friendly with. So my fear of spending two hours shovelling food into my face because I'd no-one to talk to, was unfounded.

The interesting thing about this lunch, apart from the fact that the NZ CEO and the global boss both came over to say hi, was that the woman I sat next to has also worked with a woman-who-hates-her (not the same person as the-woman-who-hates-me).

I find it quite shocking really, because this firm's point of difference is their cosy, caring atmosphere. It's why having lunch with the NZ CEO is no big deal. They are nice. This is not the working environment for office politicking, and there definitely shouldn't be two cases of junior staff (albeit contractors) being bullied by insecure, passive-aggressive senior staff.

The two of bonded over our mis-treatment. We even swapped phone numbers. But...it's not really a good basis for a friendship is it?

The food was delicious.

Friday, December 19, 2008

TLM's Christmas party

Yesterday we all went to a Christmas party at TLM's daycare.

I'd taken a few hours beforehand to practice deep-frying my mum's wontons, and - against all expectations - they turned out really well. I should know, because I ate six of 'em and my tummy is still fine.

At the last minute I realised the party had a Seventies theme. Apparently we were encouraged to "brush off" our Seventies gear (like I have such things in wardrobe!). At first, I went for a hippy look. But my maxi skirt is denim and my flowy top is black. So the overall effect was not so much hippy, as bogan. In the end I just wore jeans and a nice top.

TLM decided not to dress up as a fairy or a baby jaguar. Instead, she wore a too-small, pink, bib-front dress over a green tank top. I told her that if anyone was to ask, she was a go-go dancer.

The head daycare teacher was dressed up as the Captain Stubing of the Love Boat (thereby reinforcing my suspicion that she is gay - not that I have anything against that). If there'd been any prizes for costume, I'd have voted for her.

The highlight (apart from watching the crowd of mums and dads and kids eat all the wontons) was watching all the kids stand on the stage and sing Christmas songs. TLM stood at the front next to her best mate, both stage-struck. But at least they were brave enough to stand there, right? Anyway, considering only about half of the kids actually sang, there was an impressive amount of volume.

And then Santa came out and handed out the presents, and we all went home.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Busy all of a sudden

Just when I have a sexy top and nice trousers to sew up for our holiday getaway at the seaside, it looks like I won't have the time to do any sewing after all:

  • I found myself a couple of days's work this week (which is great, because soon I'll have money to buy Christmas presents), so Monday and Tuesday were busy. Plus, I didn't finish what I'm being paid to do, so I'll go back in to work on Thursday morning to get it all done.

  • Wednesday is TLM's day with her mum, and we're going to take my mum for a morning out (to the bank and the supermarket - how exciting).

  • Thursday I have to practice deep-frying wontons for TLM's daycare's Christmas party. Hopefully there will be some left over from practice, that are actually nice to eat.

  • Friday I have Christmas lunch with the pimp - it's free and I get to go "Hi! Merry Christmas! Why haven't you been returning my calls?"

  • And then it's the weekend, 2 days of Christmas shopping...then it's Christmas.

    Not that I'm complaining.
  • Sunday, December 14, 2008

    The annual Christmas letter

    Actually, I never do these. But if I did, then this year's letter would go something like this...

    Dear Friends and family,

    It's hard to believe another year is nearly over with, isn't it? I hope you're well and aren't too badly affected by the economic downturn that those irresponsible Americans are putting the rest of the world through.

    TLM is doing well at daycare; at the parent-teacher meeting I was told that she has "outstanding" knowledge and vocabulary. I told her that this is due to all the DVDs she watches, though the teacher might have thought I was joking. I am thinking of enrolling TLM in Chinese and/or ballet classes next year. What a pity there are no classes that teach both at the same time; it might be cheaper. Oh yes, and she has started sleeping in a big kids' bed. It has been a week and she has only fallen out twice.

    As you know, I was thinking of going back to work as a technical writer. Well, I did indeed get some work in that area! But then I got fired so I'm back to being a stay-at-home mum until I get another contract or permanent job. But in the meantime I am using my free time to do 7 months' worth of housework that didn't get done while I was working.

    The boy is well; he is still expanding his collection of electronic games and wants to rearrange his study so that half of it (not my half, I hope!) can have his XBOX, PS2, Game Cube and Wii consoles set up permanently. Fair enough, I suppose, as he doesn't spend every night at the pub like some dads.

    Well, I'd better sign off now. Write back soon and I hope the rehab is going well.

    Love,
    Violet


    Or something like that.

    Crossing off the financial to-do list, not

    Way back in March, I posted a list of the things I wanted to spend my spare money on, once I started earning again.

    But I haven't managed to get many of those things done:

    buying a compost bin (they probably don't cost much, but the boy isn't interested so if we get one it'll be because I paid for it)
    Nope

    - having my will done (I mean, as in "my will and living testament" or however it reads - not some kind of Willow-magic)
    Nope

    - buying shoes that are both stylish and super-comfy. (It may not be possible, but apparently Kumfs come pretty close.)
    Yes. Twice.

    - and some nice white shirts (I have a problem with white clothes, as they have to be washed separately - but I hate to underload the washing machine. So the only solution is to wear a lot more white)
    Yes, if you count 2 nice white t-shirts.

    - spend more time in cafes (probably in the form of half-hour lunch breaks, but time spent in a cafe is time pretending to be a Beautiful Person) Surprisingly, not really.

    As you can see, the only items I could cross off my list are fashion-related.
    There were further items which didn't get onto the blog post (putting in underfloor insulation, having my vision checked and getting new glasses, saving up to renovate the kitchen and bathroom), but they didn't get done either.

    And now I'm unemployed again. So, not much achieved then.

    On the other hand, my friends tell my I look very stylish now.

    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    Sewing for a square peg

    My second sewing project was going to be a pair of close-fitting trousers - pocketless, unwaistbanded trousers with a side zip to minimise tummy bumpage. I now know that I was too ambitious, because it's turned out that getting the damned thing to fit properly is a hell of a job. It's a good thing I decided to make a trial pair first, because they were way too tight around the waist and a bit too loose everywhere else.

    This should not have been a huge surprise to me, as commercial sewing patterns made by the big brands seem to be based on the hourglass figures of women in the Fifties. I've read that women are getting bigger and more straight up and down - yet this isn't reflected in the fit of sewing patterns. I don't understand how sewers put up with this, unless they are mostly differently-sized versions of Marilyn Monroe.

    I'm going to press on, though I'll need the help of some good dressmaking books and websites.

    Dresses and skirts must be so much easier to fit. Thinking about the shop-bought trousers I own, really the only ones that fit well are the stretch denim jeans. I can see now why it's a good thing that women have the option to wear dresses.

    Monday, December 08, 2008

    But the boy is far prettier...

    In the midst of much tantrum-ing, due to wanting another hundreds'n'thousands biscuit and not being allowed one, The Little Madam lightened up jungle hour with this nugget of cuteness:

    "That's dadday!" says TLM.
    I look over to where she is pointing.
    She's eyeing the back of the weekend newspaper, where they put pointless photos of celebrities at parties and opening nights.

    She is pointing at a photo of David Beckham.
    I rush to the phone to tell the boy. He sounds as pleased as I'd expect him to be.

    TLM does not, however, identify the not-Posh model standing next to Mr Beckham as her mummy.

    Oh, and in case you were wondering - Becks was not in New Zealand at the time of TLM's conception.

    Saturday, December 06, 2008

    I made that


    It took me years to decide that I like the dress-over-trousers look. Here's a picture of me wearing my first sewing project in many years, a green-on-black tunic dress (i.e a mini dress which I will only ever wear with trousers). I've even reviewed it for the Pattern Review website (the link is over on the right - go and click on it to see my review of the sewing pattern).

    Anyway, on the envelope it says One Hour Pattern in large, friendly letters. But trust me, it did not take me one hour. Actually, just hemming the dress took longer than that. I must be out of practice.

    p.s. you can thank the boy for taking this photo in such a way that I look even shorter than I am.

    Wednesday, December 03, 2008

    Mummy's got a brand new project

    Recently I've decided to accept my slightly unhealthy obsession with fashion; like all my previous obsessions, it's just a matter of giving in to it until it's out of my system. I'd predict that, at most, I've another 18 months before I'm ready to move onto something else.

    This is a little at odds with my need to rein in my spending, what with being out of work and all. So the aim will be to minimise the glossy magazines and make do with fashion blogs and related websites.

    I'm also going to sew.

    Actually I'm kinda excited about it, because it'll provide me with a creative release and a cheaper way to get style-y.

    There is the possiblity of ending up with masses of almost-dresses, held together only by crooked tacking and destined to be completely dated by the time they're finished. There is also the possibility of having to scan the living room floor with a large magnet at least once a day, to avoid pin-in-foot disease.

    But it'll keep me off the streets (at least, once I've chased down some patterns and fabric etc).

    Tuesday, December 02, 2008

    The Day After Tomorrow, last night

    It was TV last night and there was nothing better to view.

    The Day After Tomorrow could be the movie to convince the masses that climate change is a load of bullshit. Because, if you can believe that the world (well - Tokyo, New York and LA, at least) can shift from "normal" to ice age in a matter of days, then you'd have to be a moron. And if that scenario is unbelievable, then how believable is the idea that it could happen over a few decades?

    Those tornadoes over LA were pretty impressive, though.

    But not impressive enough to stop me from turning the telly off so I could get the dishes done and get myself off to bed.

    Monday, December 01, 2008

    Getting back into SAHM mode

    At first, I continued to dress in casual Friday clothes during the week. I didn't want to wreck TLM's daily routine by suddenly acting like I didn't have a job to go to.

    After the first week, I stopped taking my work bag with me when I dropped her off in the mornings.

    By the middle of last week I'd stopped putting on makeup in the morning (which, admittedly, is just foundation and concealer).

    Today I almost put shorts on after my shower.

    But that would be going too far.

    Friday, November 28, 2008

    bellevue


    It used to be my daily fitness walk - nothing as strenuous as a full gym workout, but a cheap and easy-to-schedule substitute. Somehow I got out of the habit, and yesterday was the first time I'd ventured up into the hills since last summer. Today, the view was even more beautiful than yesterday.

    Sometimes I forget just how pretty my home town is.

    (And no, that is not my house. If it were, I'd either have a mortgage hefty enough to buy someone a couple of those jewel-like islands in the Marlborough Sounds, or sell it and live off the proceeds for the next ten years. Lovely building, eh?)

    Thursday, November 27, 2008

    Notes from Unemployment Land

    It's been two weeks since my last contract ended (not counting the 2 days' work I found at the end of last week), and the novelty of having all this free time is finally wearing thin (missing the income has something to do with it). TLM is still attending daycare on her usual days, but I pick her up earlier.

    That extra mummy-and-daughter time at the end of the day has not been filled with fun activities, as I'd expected. I'm finding that even by 3pm, TLM just wants to relax with a Dora DVD or - if she's feeling energetic - smear acrylic paints all over the furniture. But the shorter daycare days will be cheaper so hopefully I won't be under financial pressure to get work.

    My days have not been completely idle. This morning I washed down the front porch, which I've decided has been specially designed to catch and store as much dirt as possible. Yesterday I baked a batch of muesli bars for TLM's lunchbox. On Tuesday I hemmed up a pair of work trousers which I bought last year, before realising that they look rubbish on me. And on Monday I turned the bedroom rug around so that the non-worn-down end is now where we actually put our feet. That last one was actually hard work, because there were half a dozen pieces of furniture keeping the rug in place.

    I've also been looking around for permanent jobs, but the interesting-sounding ones are all full-time.

    Tarrah for now, I think I'll go for a walk in the hills.

    Monday, November 24, 2008

    It's called having priorities

    I am not a shopaholic. Because if I was, I wouldn't have left The Editter's Tupperware party empty-handed; I would have bought the Madagascar lunch box, or a set of vegetable-freshness-preserving boxes or even the Happy Chopper. Though it was nice to see The Editter of course.

    On the other hand, I discovered a wonderful clothes boutique called Scintilla. Not only did I want to try almost everything on, but several of the things I tried on looked good on me, which was a pleasant surprise. So, although I saved a hundred bucks by not buying any Tupperware, I spent some (and then some) at Scintilla. I liked the clothes so much I've even posted photos, so you can validate my taste.



    Here on the left is the red tunic dress I bought, which looks great over jeans (and hopefully also over leggings or work trousers), with or without a t-shirt underneath.



    And this is the sleeve detail on a cowl-necked black t-shirt which also looks great with jeans (have you guess I was wearing jeans today?), and hopefully also with skirt or work trousers.





    Another boutique on the same street, Rose Petals, had some really costume jewellery (they also had some lovely trendy, cheap, clothes). I'm not a jewellery person - I don't even wear a watch. But this necklace pictured here would be a nice shot of colour (there's more blue on there than the photo shows) on those days when I go to work in top-to-toe black.



    That is, if I get another contract.

    Which reminds me. I'd better stop spending money.

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    Like putting money into a shredder...

    The boy and I have a car each. But for a couple of months we had to make do with just the one, because the boy's car had something wrong with it. And two months passed before he could get it fixed because the spare parts weren't available. I think they had to be freighted in all the way from Japan. By canoe, I reckon.

    So, two months came and went and finally, the spare parts arrived and the boy could get his car fixed. In that time, the car's warrant of fitness expired. The day before the boy drove the car to the mechanics' garage to get it fixed and warrant-able, he got a fine for having a car without a current warrant of fitness.

    Ah, you say - but he hadn't been driving it. And he couldn't get the WOF because he was awaiting the sparts, etc. I said that too. So the boy rang the police (for they are the dudes who collect such fines). And it turns out that, if your car doesn't have a current WOF you'll get fined for it, whether you're driving it or not. The only way to avoid paying the 200 smackeroos is to hide it off the road, like in a private garage.

    Well, that's all well and good if you have a garage (we do, but that's beside the point). But what if you're one of the huge proportion of households in or around the inner city who don't bloody have one?

    It seems pretty bloody unfair if you ask me.

    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Taking Tinkerbell seriously

    After about the twentieth viewing of Disney's Tinkerbell movie, I started to treat it as a media studies case. That's not to claim that I have any credentials whatsoever in the field of media studies. But I've heard enough dissing about Disney films like Pocahontas etc, to encourage me to have a go at analysing Tinkerbell.

    The plot goes loosely like this: at the beginning of Tinkerbell's existence, she discovers that her fairy talent is as a tinker. Whilst exploring her new home and place of work in Neverland, we see that she is probably the only tinker fairy who is classically pretty - her main workmates are a plus-size boss-woman (voice by the enormously talented Jane Horrocks), a geeky boy fairy with oversized spectacles, and a Scottish boy fairy who looks like John Candy. Tinkerbell's best mates are a cluster of nature fairies; all girly girls and all looking forward to going to "the mainland" to make Spring happen. Tinkerbell decides she doesn't want to be a boring old tinker and tries to learn another talent. Along the way she accidentally destroys all the fairies' Spring work but saves the world from another Ice Age with a plan that includes much tinker-made machinery. Tinkerbell learns that tinkering is her thing, and to be proud of it.

    So. Themes.

    1. Tinkerbell's gadgets and automated Spring-creation allows the fairies to re-make Spring in a fraction of the time it took them to do it the labour-intensive way. Obviously this story is all about the triumph of industrialisation over agrarian economies. Those pointy-eared pixies would be stupid to go back to their old ways of working.

    2. Tinkerbell initially wants to change the way she makes her living, but eventually learns that she can't be anything other than what she is - a tinker. Doesn't this concept contradict the Great American Reinvention myth? That you can better yourself, be whatever you want to be as long as you believe in yourself and work for it? Tinkerbell, meet Flashdance.

    3. On the other hand, perhaps it's a positive message, that we should all accept who we are, regardless of what our respective strengths and weaknesses are.

    4. Tinkerbell, and most of the other female fairies, have large, childlike heads atop grown-up bodies. This is very disturbing. At least Barbie is supposed to resemble a physically mature woman.

    5. Tinkerbell wants to be a nature fairy like her friends. Her friends are like a high school girl clique, but nicer. Tinkerbell's workmates, fairies she ought to feel a bond with, are not. Tinkering is unsexy. Nature is sexy. But tinkering wins the day. Maybe Disney is trying to tell us that geekdom will inherit the Earth - but don't expect it to look pretty.

    6. There is one fairy "of colour" i.e. she's black. I didn't see any fairies with Asian features, nor any with wide flat noses or frizzy hair. Hell, it's not like the producers had to go and find a bunch of actors to fit the range of human appearance and ethnicity. It's animation!

    7. Vidia is a fast-flying nature fairy. She's a lot like the-woman-who-hates-me at work, though far prettier (and, of course, the latter is not a fairy by any sense of the word). She's the one fairy who isn't "nice", and she's the one who gets Tinks into trouble. Why oh why oh why did the animators have to make her a brunette! That's soooo stereotyped!

    TLM doesn't seem to mind any of the above. So I'll probably be watching it again tomorrow morning.

    Not just a gob-smackingly pretty face, y'know...

    1. TLM was going through a pile of old greeting cards. She pulled one out, announcing "This is a grown-up card!". I looked up to see what was on that card - it had a photo of a couple having a steamy up-against-the-kitchen-bench kiss. I took it off her and put it in the recycling bin. Funnily enough, that was a birthday card to me, from a woman friend.

    2. TLM was playing with a set of shape blocks, specifically with some pentagons. I said "You've got two pentagons there, and there are 5 holes in each pentagon. How many holes are there altogether?" TLM took an astoundingly short time to answer "Ten!".

    Smugness ensues.

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Her father's daughter

    I always hoped that TLM would be more like her dad than like me - tall, clever, confident and allergy-free. So far, she's fulfilling my wishes.

    But there's a downside to the fact that she's so much like the boy (albeit smaller, female and Asiatic in colouring). The downside is that she burns really easily.

    My brother and I have that classic Chinese ability to turn almost black with sun exposure.
    The boy, who comes from original English stock, has skin so white it's almost blue. When it's slightly off-white, that's when you know he's got a tan.

    TLM's skin is so white it's almost English. She burns a little if she spends time outdoors even if it's very overcast (when it's very overcast my skin doesn't even get out of bed). Yesterday afternoon she spent an hour at the park, mostly covered up but un-hatted because it was so windy. Not long after, she started exhibiting the symptoms of mild sunstroke (I, on the other hand, don't even have tan lines around my sunglasses; the boy was safely tucked away in his darkened study playing computer games).

    It's a shame that TLM is so sun sensitive. On the other hand, it's way better than having eczema.

    Saturday, November 15, 2008

    The hard decision

    When old people are portrayed in the media as cantankerous and grumpy, their anti-social behavious is usually offset by an admiration for having "attitude". And if it's a movie, that old person probably ends up passing on great wisdom to the younger person who previously resented them.

    But what if an old person is cantankerous, grumpy, utterly negative, paranoid, unappreciative, demanding, suspicious, and miserable - and refuses to redeem themselves Hollywood-style? What if that person is your aging parent and you can see that in the near future you're going to have to make that choice?

    Old folk's homes with Chinese-speaking staff and/or residents are pretty damned rare in these parts.

    Slime in, cake out

    I made a banana cake today; it was my first attempt. The over-ripe bananas which had been put aside in the freezer for the big day were dug out, microwaved and peeled. They were slimy and surprisingly elastic, and mashing them was harder work than I'd expected. But the end result was still really yummy and moist.

    It was also really, really easy to make (apart from the banana-mashing) - even for me. Here's the recipe, which I found on the Internet:

    Quick egg-free Banana Cake

    2 cups flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 cup sugar
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp egg replacer
    ½ cup melted dairy free margarine
    1 tsp vanilla essence
    1 cup mashed banana
    1 cup milk (rice, soy etc)

    1. Sift and mix dry ingredients.
    2. Add wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
    3. Bake 40 -50 minutes at 190°C.

    TLM liked it too, but the boy is probably waiting to see whether I suffer any delayed stomach upset from the big wedge I ate a couple of hours ago.

    Friday, November 14, 2008

    I shopped. I dropped.

    Be warned - a proliferation of brackets follows...

    I made the not-entirely-rational (seeing as I am now between contracts) decision to spend the last two days shopping. Yesterday was a helluva busy day; I literally shopped from about 9.30am until 3.45pm, with a short lunch break and a chat-with-friend break. Today, I forced myself to return home after finding a couple of fitted t-shirts that actually fit.

    My other spoils include:
    • a navy cotton hooded cardigan (not the short, shaped jacket I was looking for, but it will do nicely in the meantime) from the up-market store, Kirkaldies
    • an ink-blue ankle-length skirt with white trim (having decided that spending the whole summer in long trousers for the sake of simultaneously obeying the What Not to Wear rules, and fulfilling my need to keep my legs well covered, would be slightly masochistic), also from Kirkaldies
    • a pair of straight-legged summer weight jeans, from Max (because even though there was a designer-wear sale on, I just couldn't bring myself to pay hundreds of dollars on a pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs jeans, even at discount).
    Now that I have some decent-quality clothing to wear to my next contract/interview, there's a good chance that this current obsession with fashion goes the same way as my past obsessions (with travel, karate, painting, being a librarian, and creative writing, respectively) have gone i.e. away (though hopefully the writing and painting will find a way back into that particular portion of my brain).

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    On a happier note...

    I got my hair cut today. It's a slightly shaggy bob which is just short of shaved at the nape, and lengthens subtly to chin length towards the front. (Before you say anything, I did not get my inspiration from Posh Spice.) I'm very happy with it, and even the boy - who has already expressed a preference for long hair on me - said it was nice. Even TLM was very approving.

    So...does this mean a new job is on the cards?

    Enforced leisure time

    TLM and I were returning from a laidback morning at the library and playground, when I got a call telling me that my contract has been unexpectedly terminated - as of today. The reason given was that they'd run out of work for me to do, which is mostly true. But I think it's a bit shabby to make that decision on the one day I'm not at the office, and make it effective immediately (two weeks' notice is normal). Fortunately, the only personal items I won't be able to retrieve from the desk I shared, are a small disposable drink bottle and a packet of tissues. But I hadn't actually completed finished the piece of work I had taken over for the-woman-who-hates-me, so I would have expected at least to be asked to finish out the week.

    I'm thinking that the people we've been working for are doing this, partly to keep the-woman-who-hates-me happy. She is, after all, their star worker and I'm just a newbie who doesn't quite know what to do with all those stab wounds in my back.

    It's weird really, that after being in the workforce for 20 years, only now have I experienced, first-hand, the horrors of office politics.

    The upside is, I now have 2 whole days free to shop till I drop.
    The downside is, I don't want to spend any money because I don't know when my next contract is coming.

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    Life would be so much less stressful if I were thick-skinned and cocky

    Halfway into the morning, I got an email from the-woman-who-hates-me, telling me that she'd taken over my documentation project (which I'd handed over for approval last week), because it was full of spelling errors, incomplete sentences and inconsistencies. At first, I thought Yeah, there probably were a couple of spelling mistakes that I missed; after a week of poring over the type looking for grammatical errors and URLs without underlining, there was bound to be something. No big. Though I was a bit pissed off that she didn't tell me on Friday and give me a chance to fix it up myself.

    And then, the bomb hit.

    Just before I left work, I got another email from her, casually mentioning that she's spent all weekend fixing my work and that certain people were "not happy".

    Well, that was a whole new bucketful of downers.

    For the rest of the afternoon I stewed over it. What could I have done to make people actively unhappy about my work? Was my pimp regretting that they'd ever taken me on? When I got home I ate a packet of Rocky Road Mallowpuffs and sat down to re-read What Color is my Parachute? 'cos, you know, maybe I was heading for a much longer break than I'd planned for.

    When the boy got home I told him everything, and he was a veritable Mount Everest of support and solace. He also told me to get on the phone to my pimp and get it all sorted out. So I did.

    And it all turned out to be an itty bitty anthill. The-woman-who-hates me wasn't fixing a shitload of shocking errors; she was just put my document through routine quality assurance (which, I admit, I was remiss in forgetting to do myself). People weren't unhappy with my work; they were just unhappy that they'd have to wait a little bit longer before seeing the completed document.

    The-woman-who-hates-me was just f***ing with my mind, and doing a pretty exceptional job at it. I told my pimp that, in my defense, my co-worker had been less than helpful. She told me that she'd already suspected that the two of us had "issues", and that I needn't worry about my rep; it's still solid.

    But y'know, if I wasn't such an oversensitive little flower with less self-confidence than a beneficiary in a Rogernomics economy, all this angst could have been avoided. I could have just told my pimp within the first week that a certain someone was out to get me.

    Ah, we live and learn.

    Sunday, November 09, 2008

    While the US hangs to the Left, NZ swings to the Right

    I ended up voting for Labour and the Greens again on Saturday, reasonably confident that Helen Clarke's government would get to continue the good job they seem to be doing balancing themselves between environmental awareness and economic pragmatism. So it was a bit of a shock when, standing at the newsagent's counter to pay for TLM's My Little Pony magazine (I got myself a Bust), I spotted the front page news - Labour has lost to National.

    Despite the fact that we now have a right-wing government on our hands (and who know how many social welfare and conservation cutbacks they will be making in order to give big business a leg up?), I guess we will just have to wait and see. Maybe it will all turn out okay. At least we are no closer to declaring war on some unsuspecting oil-rich nation.

    There is one definite silver lining though - Winston Peters, that bandwagon-jumping salesman, is out of the political picture. Way hey!

    Wednesday, November 05, 2008

    List for Wednesday

    Favourite TV show right now: 30 Rock (although Liz Lemon dresses far too well to be a date-challenged geek). It's so funny, the boy takes notes so he can quote the best lines at work the next day.

    Most recent proof that I have truly emerged from 3 years of self-imposed sartorial repression, and am making the hell up for it: a pair of cherry-red patent leather round-y toed mid-heel pumps. And I haven't even started wearing the bronze sandals I bought last month (mostly because my toes would freeze off if I did).

    The Little Madam's cutest feature right now: that she will raid her dress-up basket and emerge dressed as a fairy princess pirate baby jaguar. (And speaking of TLM, we had her measured today by the Plunket nurse. She is now a wopping 15.1 kg and 95 cm tall. Perfect.)

    The least-funny thing that made the boy and I laugh like a pair of tiddly hyenas: when I told him that the-woman-who-hates-me had to go home sick yesterday, and added how sorry I was about it.

    The annoying thing that happens almost every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday: my mum ringing me just as I'm trying to get TLM through her naptime routine. And I do tell her to ring at a different time. Every time.

    The last thing on my mind: who the heck I'm going to vote for at the general election this Saturday.

    Saturday, November 01, 2008

    Grownups night out

    The boy and I went out last night to see a play called The Pillowman. We only knew about it because one of the actors is the husband of a friend, and we only went to see it because it sounded like some kind of early-Grimm adult fairy tale. Well, it was really good.

    It's about a writer who's being interrogated by a good cop/bad cop team, over some child murders that have taken place recently. He's there because the murders bear close resemblance to some of his grisly - but highly inventive - short stories. But it's not all dark and depressing (and it does get even darker and more depressing than I've just outlined). Because it's full of really funny dialogue. And the stories he tells are Clive Barker-esque. I'm not completely sure that the mix of comedy and horror is a comfortable one (which reminds me a little of the movie Life is Beautiful). But I came away with my head full of memorable, shocking images and ridiculous ideas. To the writer character, his stories are the most important thing - worthy of living on after he dies, powerful enough to turn harmless people into monsters. Hmm...perhaps The Pillowman is making fun of those people who take literature so seriously?

    This link will give you plot summaries of the play itself and of the stories told within it. Go have a look.

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    Holiday planned

    Against all odds - laziness, forgetfulness and feared poverty, at least - it looks like we are going to have a wee holiday after all, over Christmas and New Year.

    My first choice (after weeks of vagueness and indecision) was Tahuna Beach, in Nelson. It's a hugely popular family holiday camp, promising nice weather, safe beachplay and lots of playmates for TLM. Unfortunately it is booked out already. But anyway, the airfares would've cost almost a grand for the ten minute flight each way.

    So we're driving an hour up the coast and staying in a resort for 6 days. There may not be loads of playmates for TLM in this price range, but she probably won't notice.

    Hee hee...

    Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    Speechless

    I should have seen it coming, because last night I gave TLM some kiwifruit. You may not know this, especially if you have never fed a kid kiwifruit, but those furry little green ovals activate a child's bowels like nothing else on earth.

    This morning's surprise output was so encompassing, that when I took off TLM's trousers some of it landed on my lap. The rest of it fell between my knees onto the long-suffering rug.
    I screamed in horror. The wipes were just out of reach.
    The boy, only just dressed to go to work, rushed into the lounge to see who was getting murdered.
    I screamed some more and pointed at the box of wipes in the far corner.
    The boy went in the opposite direction, perhaps thinking I was thirsty and in need of some elderflower cordial.
    I screamed still more, this time with an edge of irritation and waving my pointy finger agressively.
    Then I said "The wipes! The bloody wipes!".
    The boy muttered something about mind-reading and fetched the wipes.
    And we used them all up in the clean-up operation.

    Now, I was going to post about TLM's toilet humour. But toilet horror is probably a bit less cliched, right?

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    Elderflower cordial

    Elderflower cordial is a slightly herby, but otherwise very sweet syrup that you mix into a refreshing drink. The boy thinks it's healthy, though I have my doubts because it's still basically sugar water.

    Over the last few days of her tummy bug, TLM has gotten accustomed to having a bottle of elderflower drink in her bed at night, with a pinch of salt added, to help her re-hydrate. But her tummy's all better now and I've put my foot down - only water in her bottle at night, because having one's teeth and gums awash with sugary liquid all night is a sure path down to the city of BlackTeeth.

    TLM is not taking it very well. She starting throwing a tanty as soon as I confirmed that there was nothing in her bottle except tap water. It continued as she climbed into bed, and escalated into full-on screams and wails and tears after I left the room.

    Geez, you'd think I was making her sleep in a bare bathtub or something.

    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    Vapours

    Just now I'm really wishing we had separate family and living rooms - that, or at least warm enough weather to have all the doors and window open without freezing one's nipples off.

    Because, with all the farting, spewing and bad-pooing that's going on around here, it's not a very nice atmosphere. I mean that literally.

    Last post about the joys of this month's bout of gastroenteritis, I promise.

    Saturday, October 25, 2008

    bad luck, bad karma or bad building?

    Before I left work at midday on Thursday to look after TLM (the boy were tag-teaming it), I cheerfully mentioned that she was actually quite happy; she just couldn't keep her food down. Four hours later, my own stomach felt like it was full of concrete and I knew that a night of puking was a 99% possibility.

    That night, I got up about eight times to throw up. I was really glad that all I'd eaten was half a carton of wedges, because those wedges came out with a close resemblance to gruel which has been left on the burner too long so that all the moisture has evaporated from it.

    But I had a deadline to meet. So the next morning I crawled into work, just in time to meet up with my SME (Subject Matter Expert). And left soon after I finished picking his brains.

    Either I've had an extremely unfair and unfortunate run of luck on the health front, or I've inadvertantly enraged the gods of good health, or those little black mould-like patches on the bathroom wall really are that infamous black mould I've heard about.

    Or, it's just a combination of being over 40, a parent of a young child, spring, and lack of fresh vegetables.

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    It shouldn't have to be exciting

    Rather than rant on about my work stress, or TLM's recent vomits and runny green poos, I'll just give you my 5 cents worth (equal in value to 2 cents, in olden times) about New Zealand's general election this year.

    In short, they are boring. I'm as unpolitical as most people, only getting interested when there's a threat to a welfare service that applies to my life stage at the time (e.g. student loans and fees when I was a student, paid parental leave when I was pregnant, the possibility of taxing residential house values when I'm a home owner.)

    The American elections are much more exciting. But I'm not jealous of the Americans, because the only reason for this is that they could end up with a president who has no experience of the world outside her own state, thinks that family planning is the devil's game of poker, and would only win because she's not bad looking for a working mother of five.

    It's relatively dull to be faced with minute policy differences between political parties, which is what we've got at home. But it's far more sensible.

    Monday, October 20, 2008

    Bad double-whammy

    Which is worse -

    1. having a work deadline which is tighter than rat's bum, to complete a project for which I have only a smallish amount of experience, un-aided by a workmate who hates me, and for which the subject matter experts (SME's) are either ignorant, verbose or too geeky to communicate...

    OR

    2. having to do one's GST (that's VAT for Brits, something else for the Yanks) return, deadline in one week, with potentially heaps of expenses I can claim for, but no experience in claiming for, un-aided by a man at Inland Revenue who won't answer my emails?

    The correct answer is...both at the same bluddy time.

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    Stylish and brainy

    I might well the only person on Earth who prefers a bit of copy to go with her fashion magazine photo spreads. For most people who like looking at nice clothes, it wouldn't matter if the words were in French, German or Icelandic.

    So I'm really enjoying The Meaning of Sunglasses: And a Guide to Almost All Things Fashionable, by Hadley Freeman (it was one of the three books I ordered on the Internet - I'm still waiting for the Buffy book...). Freeman is a fashion writer for The Guardian, and this book is a collection of her columns for that paper. It's, like, literary.

    What I like about the book is that it's well written, witty, and quite down to earth. She obviously has an interest in fashion, but she's not going to tell you that a trenchcoat - or any item of clothing or accessory - is a "must have", and has a healthy disrespect for fashion media. She also acknowledges that it's quite okay to spend a grand on a handbag, as long as your love of the handbag outweighs your guilt about spending so much money on it.

    And there aren't even any pictures...


    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    Quietly perfect

    Despite the unsociable-ness of having no party today, I still enjoyed my birthday very much. I got to sleep in till about 8.30, because TLM has been sleeping in till then.

    It was a beautiful day today, so sunny I even got out the sunscreen lotion for the first time since last summer. What a change from some years, when we've been hit by hurricane-strength spring winds and lashing rain.
    My presents from the boy included Gok Wan's How to Look Good Naked - my choice - and an Angel comic onmibus. I've already read the former a couple of times today, but am saving the latter for when I'm in the mood for a concentrated spell of reading.
    In the morning, we managed to also fit in a shopping and brunch trip into town (although only the boy actually ate anything because TLM and I had only just had breakfast just before leaving), which included me spending a birthday voucher (from my "employer") on a couple of trashy mind-candy fashion magazines.
    TLM also experienced her very first bike-ride out on the footpath. She's getting better at steering but has yet to learn that it's not a good idea to looking downwards whilst moving..
    The afternoon was a bit lazier - reading magazines in the sun while TLM got kitted out in a very girly sun dress (by her own insistence). The house across the road has builders in putting up a new fence, and she looked so cute with her red plastic hammer, doing her own impression of the lads as they sawed and hammered.
    Then we had some pretty amazing chocolate-coated banana cake whilst watching Mary Poppins. Boy, but doesn't Dick van Dyke's fake Cockney accent sound terrible! He doesn't even sound English, much less Cockney...

    Friday, October 10, 2008

    Death times 2, or double-happiness halved - A pre-birthday ramble.

    That's just a cryptic way of saying "44". Which, by the way, will be my age come Sunday. I'm not really looking forward to being 44 (though to be honest, I haven't looked forward to getting older since I was about 31).
    Although I said in my meme that I'd love to celebrate my next birthday with a 2-hour afternoon party, like the kind toddlers have but with more alcohol and better music, this is probably not going to happen. Not unless the boy is planning a surprise party, and he isn't the planning-a-surprise-party type of guy. He's more the type of guy to order a fabulously expensive birthday gift for me, which appeals more to him than to me (unless it's a MacBook).
    Actually, he recently gave me some money and told me to order whatever I wanted from Amazon, so that was probably his birthday present to me. Though it's a pity NZ Post is taking it's sweet time delivering them to me.
    Okay, enough waffling. It's time to sign off and do some some research into mobile phones.
    Ciao.

    Thursday, October 09, 2008

    Getting back on the mobile phone bandwagon

    The hideously expensive smartphone that the boy got me as a birthday present a couple of years ago, is apparently on it's last legs. Half the time I don't get notified of a text until about three hours after it was sent, and lately it's been telling me I'm out of range of the mobile network (in the middle of the CBD! In the middle of a telecommunications company office!). So I reckon it's time for a new one.

    But I don't want another smartphone, because I wouldn't use most of the features. All I really want the phone to do is: make and receive calls; send and receive text messages; and take pictures that don't come out all blurry when you get them printed at a decent size. I don't want email or web browsing, because it's bloody expensive to use those from a mobile phone. And I don't listen to music much any more either.

    What do you reckon I should shop for?

    Monday, October 06, 2008

    Cyberwomen, mind-reading and "nobbing fellas to death"

    You could say that I turned a corner on Saturday. On that day, I started being able to breathe through my nose again, sometimes. On that day, the feeling that the back of my nostrils were harbouring slimy pipe-cleaners, started to go away. I could watch a DVD and actually concentrate on what was happening.

    We've been enjoying Torchwood lately. At about 5 episodes in from the beginning, I feel that the characters are still not particularly well-drawn. Gorgeous Gwen, obviously, is the most developed, but that's to be expected since we're seeing the show from her point of view. But Tosh, the IT guru with the Japanese heritage, is a disappointingly boring woman so far. She's not endearingly geeky, nor even quirky - just lonely. It might take a few more episodes before I know them enough to like them. The stories are quite good though, even though one or two of the plotlines look like homages to episodes from Buffy or Angel.

    It's also a whole lot more fun than Terminator: the Sarah Connor Files.

    Friday, October 03, 2008

    It's an age meme

    At a certain age women should ... be confident about asking for a raise.

    At a certain age men should grow up.

    When I was a kid I thought I would grow to be taller.

    Now that I'm older I wish I were taller and younger.

    You know you are too old to go nightclubbing when you spend all night complaining about the loudness of the music and the messiness of the toilets.

    You know you are too young to die when you can think of at least ten things you haven’t done yet.

    When I was in high school I listened to rock music, because it was way cooler than disco music.

    Nowadays I find I like the music
    of the same bands, but also some jazz and opera.

    On my last birthday I didn’t have a party.

    On my next birthday I want to have a daytime party so TLM can be there too. In fact, have a party just like a kid’s one – with balloons, cakes, toys and a 2-hour time limit.

    The best birthday present I ever got was my iMac.

    The first time I felt grown up was when I moved out of home and was able to do everything myself, my way.

    The last time I felt like a kid was the last time I played on the slide with TLM.

    When I read the little blue line on the pregnancy test it changed my life.

    Last year was the last one in which I was a stay-at-home mum.

    Next year I hope we get sick a whole lot less often, the boy gets a nice new job and I get comfortable with my work.

    Thursday, October 02, 2008

    Not all better, but not all sick either

    I'm a little better today (and I should be, since it's day 2 of the doctor's antibiotics and 3 different kinds of painkillers). I must be because, despite the coughing and forgetting to eat lunch (that would never happen when I'm well), I managed to get 2 loads of washing on the line, deal with a bucketful of pooey stuff, and clean the toilet. Two days ago it was all I could do to get out of bed and put an Outrageous Fortune DVD on.

    If the boy were to be home sick though, you would never catch him wasting energy on housework. He'd be recuperating with his computer game (don't ask me what he's playing though, those empire-building epics all look kinda the same to me).

    I reckon he's got the right idea.

    Wednesday, October 01, 2008

    My first rejection letter

    Do you remember when I posted about sending a story to the NZ School Journal? It was my first ever (and still my only) story submission. And how excited I was when the editor sent me a letter saying they liked parts of my story and wanted to see it again when I'd improved it? Well, the editor who is filling in for the first editor, didn't like my rewrite (assuming that is what it means when they say they couldn't find a space for it, which I do).

    I'm disappointed, and receiving the rejection today is a little bit like being kicked when I'm down ('cos I'm still sick). But I'm quite aware that even the most successful authors have had submissions rejected, possibly many times. So it's not that bad really.

    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    There's a war in my body and I think I'm losing it

    I'm sick. Again. Or perhaps, still. The boy reckons it's been dubbed the 90-day flu because, just when you think you've got over it, it comes back and drills you on the back of the head with a jackhammer.

    I'll try not to bore you with self pity about my current condition, only that it feels like there's a series of small explosions going off in my skull - like the enemy are trying to blow up the same strategic bridge over and over again. Oh, and the alternating hot sweats and cold shivers. And the gluey snots clogging up my nostrils and turning me into a drooly mouth-breather. You get the idea.

    Talk to ya later when I'm better.

    Style-challenged

    The day after my last post, I mistakenly thought it was going to be a similarly nice day (ha! Boy, was I fooled...) so I wore a summery green empire-line t-shirt to work. Just for some minimal cover, I added a long-sleeved teal cropped cardy - you know, the kind that ties just under the bust. So I was walking to the office, mentally congratulating myself for mixing my colours for a change, when I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the shop window. My first impression was - Cheryl West *. And my next one was - looking pregnant.

    I guess reading all those fashion magazines hasn't helped me after all.


    * She looks good for her age but dresses a bit slutty. She is a Westie, after all.

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Sometimes it's good to be S.A.D. *

    Okay, so I'm grumpy when it's cold and windy, and I get depressed if the sun doesn't come out for a whole month.

    But when I can bask in golden sunshine in my lunch break and don't have to hold onto a telephone pole if I'm caught in a wind-tunnel (i.e. trying to cross the street in the middle of the CBD), then life is good.

    Today, the sun shone and it was lovely warm and there was only just enough breeze to air out last week's bucketful of pooey laundry. TLM has made a rapid recovery from the bug which still has the boy and I hacking like scared dogs each morning; I can see myself taking a week off at the end of my contract; the boy...well the boy is still sometimes fed up with work but he's planning on taking some leave too.

    So I'm happy.

    * Having Seasonal Affective Disorder means that crap weather makes you moody and depressive. But on the other hand, maybe it means that a nice sunny day can send you over the moon...

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Don't let this question put you off having kids (if you don't already have some)

    This is the kind of query you probably don't see in your average Woman's Weekly magazine...

    Dear Domestic Goddess,

    I just wanna know - what can I do to TLM's laundry to stop it from smelling like it's been soaking in a bucketload of poo for a week (because it kinda has)?

    Yours faithfully,
    Violet

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    Preferred cuddle bunny

    This is the third weekend in a row that someone in the household has been struck down with the horrible lurgy that's doing the Spring fling around here; this time it's TLM who coughing her guts out and going hot and cold.

    With her temperature hitting 38 degrees (Celsius) today and no appetite except for chocolate milk, all she's wanted this weekend is constant cuddles. Mostly with me. So, the boy's been feeling a bit hurt because TLM keeps rejecting him (unless he's offering a session of Dora computer games) and I have a sore backside from sitting around for 2 days with a 3-year-old on my lap.

    I've felt the occasional resentment at not getting much of a break. But I guess it's nicer to be needed, and it's not all bad having a warm little body to hold while I'm sitting on the couch watching The Little Princess (that's the animated DVD based on the Tony Ross books, not the movie with Shirley Temple singing "animal crackers in my soup").

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    My latest ear worm

    Lately I've been hooked by a new Nintendo DS game called Picross (so that's two computer-y games I've enjoyed so far since they were invented). And because I'd spent about 3 full days out of the last week, home sick with nothing else to do, probably about half of those waking hours were wasted on Picross.

    Last night, the jazzy ditty that plays on a loop during the game, was spinning around and around in my head. Every time I woke up, dry-mouthed and coughing, it was that damned ditty I heard. I even had dreams of little crosses and blue squares running up and down a glowing grid.

    But I like to think that it's one of those things that'll keep my brain cells from shrinking.

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Impotence against the enemy bugs

    I've had the sore throat from hell since Thursday evening, and promptly blamed it on the boy because he doesn't believe in keeping the hell away from other people when he's sick.

    They say that being a contractor is the best cure for the common cold; if that's the case then what I have (and what the boy had a few days prior) is no ordinary cold. Because, while I've soldiered on in the face of the puny-er viral armies (with a little help from pseudoephedrine, my weapon of choice), this latest one is relatively nuclear-powered. I even took Friday off (shock!) - I even too today off (horror!).

    The boy came home with reinforcements today - herbal cold 'n' flu tablets, echinacea and more pseudoephedrine (mass weapons of decongestion) - so I was thinking of going back to work tomorrow.

    Only...now TLM is sick.

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Keeping my hand in

    I haven't managed more than about two sentences of fiction writing, since I started working back in the end of April. Either my creative energy has run out, or I need lots of time to write (just like some artists need lots of laudanum).

    But I still borrow short story collections from the library, and I usually get through half a dozen stories before it's time to return them. On the one hand, it feels like I'm still keeping a tenuous connection with my writing. On the other hand, coming across an amazing story just hammers home to me the huge gap between what's possible (from a good writer) and what's likely (from me).

    Well, at least there's always the blog.

    Monday, September 08, 2008

    at tether-end

    I've tried not to go on about it, and I think mostly I've succeeded, but I'm just gonna post about it one more time. I am so frustrated with TLM's lack of progress on the toilet training front. She's three, dammit, and supposed to be a bright-spark. So if she still isn't trying to get her doo-dads in the toilet or potty by now, she must be doing it in her pants simply to piss me off. It's been almost a year since that hopeful day when she squirmed to get out of her high chair 'cos she wanted to do a big-girl (poo in the potty). I find it hard to believe she just hasn't "got it" yet.

    There can only be one reason why she's not all sorted - we must be trying too hard.

    Friday, September 05, 2008

    A couple of old guys get their shit together

    I was the lucky recipient of a free copy of The Bucket List recently, courtesy of The Film Guide. Now, this is where it's beneficial for movies to be cheap or free sometimes. Because when the film came out a while ago, there was no way I was interested in sitting through a story about 2 old guys getting their last hurrahs in before the died of cancer. It's not because I thought it would be depressing; I just thought that plot-line sounded a little old, and I've never been a fan of Jack Nicholson. So I thought we may as well watch it before I put it up for auction on TradeMe.

    But actually, it was pretty enjoyable. Nicholson and Morgan Freeman managed to make their characters admirably un-boring. Quirky even, though not in a cute Hollywood sort of way. Not even in a Hollywood rascally kind of way. Probably the only negative comment I can make is that Freeman's character, a mechanic who's worked for the last 40 years to support his wife and 2 kids, can afford the massive house they live in - and that his wife looks like a more mature version of Mrs Huxtable than yer average middle-aged housewife. It's just a bit too middle-class-ideal.

    But back to the positive. The characters were likeable, the ending poignant but not too sugary, and it wasn't too long. And the boy liked it too - really liked it, loved it even. Possibly even more that he liked Gladiator, and that's saying something.

    So yeah, pretty good for a mainstream movie. I reckon we'll be keeping this one.

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Too much mind candy is rotting my brain cells

    Like a nicotine addict (I'd imagine) who has finally become disgusted with the sight of all those discarded cigarette butts littering her back yard, I've come to realise that I have to do something about my magazine addiction.

    It was a luxury, after years of being a non-earner, to be able to buy whatever magazines I wanted. At first I was devouring magazines about writing, but since I went back to work my creative energy seems to have gurgled down the toilet and the only writing I do is on this blog. So naturally, I turned to fashion and "women's" magazines. They were fun; I was interested in the clothes, and the odd photographs of haggard, makeup-less celebrities were just harmless mind candy.

    But rot is setting in. Last week I bought an Australian gossip magazine called Grazia. There was nothing in it other than glossy photos of celebrities copying each other's styles. My starving brain cells are revolting against their junk food diet. It's time to take action.

    My name is Violet and I'm a self-infflicted dumb-dumb. Can anyone recommend a good book of modern philosophy?

    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    Daring to get away for a weekend

    It's been a very, very long time since the boy and I were away. In fact, the last time was the only time we've been away as a family - when we booked two weeks at a resort in Fiji and came back after the first, due to severe lack of sleep for all of us.

    We're thinking of going away again, only this time just for a weekend (perhaps a long weekend, but that depends on where we go and whether our respective workplaces are okay with it). So we can't go far. And we definitely want to stay somewhere with separate bedrooms, to ensure TLM doesn't have to sleep in the same room that we're trying to eat in.

    So, those of you who've been around the lower North Island, where would you recommend? I'm thinking of a couple of luxury nights at The Portage in the Marlborough Sounds. Or maybe somewhere that requires fewer transfers and less overall travel time.

    Monday, September 01, 2008

    It's not all daffodils and bunnies, y'know

    I'm looking forward to summer almost as much as the next person (though I must declare that it's far easier to dress well in cold weather than in hot). But spring? I've got to do a big bah - humbug here.

    Yeah, it's wonderful when we get a nice day or two, especially if it happens in the weekend. And it's great to be able to hang your washing outside on those days, and plan picnics and dress in fewer than three layers (and none of them have to be polar fleece or merino).

    But let me say three things: 1) hayfever, 2) galeforce winds, and 3)the cold snaps that come just when you've put away all your cold-weather clothes.

    Number 3 hasn't really hit yet, mostly because it's still too early to start packing away the woollies. Even the most naive, forgetful optimist would be waiting for at least another month.

    Number 2 hasn't happened yet either, but just you wait. Until October. Then you'll be hanging onto lamp posts to avoid being blown into the next block like a badly pegged duvet cover.
    On the other hand, there might well be some substance to the theory that my city is becoming less and less windy with global warming.

    Number 1...ah, the one that turns my glee to misery every year. I haven't started sneezing yet (unless you count my last cold). But last night I developed the filthiest headache, and - despite faithful doses of paracetamol - it still has it's nasty grip on my head as I blog (it's been 24 hours and counting).

    I guess it would be a good idea to think happy thoughts at this point - floral dresses, the promise of weekends away, summer fruit and...daffodils and bunnies.

    Sunday, August 31, 2008

    A wee story

    She hurried into the pharmacy, hoping it would not take long to locate a packet of the incontinence pads. She was in a foul mood and the last thing she needed was to waste precious minutes rummaging around in the "Feminine Hygene" aisle. But a quick in-an-out was not to be; she easily spotted the haircare, the fragrances and the cosmetics, but not those damned Tena Ladys.
    The man behind the prescriptions counter looked up, noticing her look of annoyed impatience.
    "Have you got any of those Tena Lady things?" Perhaps she should have waited for a female assistant.
    He gave no sign that he knew what she was talking about.
    "You know, like period pads! But for wees!" As soon as she said that, she wished she had turned down the volume. The other customers were looking in her direction. Sniggering maybe, or embarrassed for her.
    But the man wasn't clueless after all. He pointed to a small shelf just to the right of the counter. The shelf had no doubt been picked for discretion. That is, it would have been, if she hadn't barked it out like a crazy-mad peasant.

    Friday, August 29, 2008

    It's never too late for more Buffyness

    Every now and then I go to the Slayage site and - voila! - there's a new issue of interesting though slightly-hard-to-understand articles about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They may require the use of a good dictionary, and sometimes even that can't help me decipher some of the academic-ese, but usually they are good reads and introduce me to something I'll wish I'd studied at university.

    But for something a little less taxing on the brain, there's this taster of the once-hoped-for Buffy animated series (thanks to Film Guide for finding it on YouTube).

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Cruisin'

    Two days on, one day off, two days on, two days off. My work/life balance is coming along very nicely, thank you very much.

    The Little Madam may not agree, as she would still rather hang out with me every day despite all the attractions of her daycare - surrounded by like-minded little friends and patient teachers, offered all sorts of messy play equipment that I avoid having in our home, and pretty much allowed to do as she pleases all day.

    But for me, it's nice to have 4 days per week in which I can't hover around checking whether she's got poos or wees, and in which I do grownup work and - in theory - spend lunch hours meeting my friends or shopping. On the days I don't work, I don't feel any desperate need to get out of the house. It's great just to hang out with the kid and not have to be anywhere.

    Although, on Wednesdays, this wouldn't normally be the case. It's usually the day that my conscience forces us to spend hours with my mum wandering up and down supermarket aisles, looking for the freshest and best-value cuts of meat, or the bottle of rice bran oil at the very, very back of the shelf. I haven't had to suffer this for the last couple of weeks due to sickness and the fact that the boy has been taking my car to work (his own car's windscreen wipers have died and the replacements still haven't arrived from Japan).

    Quiet Wednesdas are a blessing (if I'm allowed to used that word, since I don't worship any divinities).

    Saturday, August 23, 2008

    two outa three ain't good

    I've had TLM's cold since about Wednesday, and - because I've had to take time off to look after TLM while she had her cold - I've been soldiering on and going to work anyway. It has really helped to take the right drugs though. My drug of choice for this particular lurgy, was Codral Day and Night. I've always liked the idea of having daytime pills to keep me from using up entire rainforests' worth of tissue paper on my nose, then taking a night time pill to make sure I get some sleep.

    So for two days running, I took the 2 daytime doses during the day, and a dose of night time pills before going to bed. Then on the third day, I forgot to take the night time pill. And I got very, very little sleep. I already knew that these pills contain pseudoephidrine. But only now to I truly realise that taking them is like taking a baby-sized portion of speed. And that, if I take a couple of doses of something that suddenly makes me alert and productive, I really should not skip the night time pill that's going to allow my body to rest.

    I guess it's never too late to learn about drugs.

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    Natural-born permie

    I know I've only been at this contracting gig for 4 months, but already I'm having frequent introspective periods of wondering whether I'm a born permie.

    The money's good, and - in theory, at least - I can take time off more easily because I'm not bound to the 8.30-5.00 office hours.

    But in reality, I don't take time off unless I really have to - partly because of my Chinese work ethic and partly because time is money. Actually, that really means it's all down to Chinese work ethic.

    I don't think workplaces cut new contractors as much slack as new permanent employees. And I doubt that sitting around gassing all day is as acceptable for contractors as it is for permies. (I could be utterly wrong, but that's my perception and perception is reality.) Not to mention the fact I've had quite short term assignments (the current one is for 4 months).

    And that's what I miss, sitting around gassing with work buddies whom I've known for months or years.

    I'll stick it out for a year if I can, to give it a chance to grow on me and to give me a decent amount of tech writing experience. Then...who knows? Maybe even go back to The Bank where I worked for a longer than most Bebo kids have been alive.

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    She-who-hates-me

    There's this woman I work with - actually, with whom I'm job-sharing in my current work assignment - and I'm pretty sure she's got it in for me. I don't know why exactly, though it probably didn't help that I unintentionally stood her up twice (the first time was at our first meeting). Or it might be because I'm so pretty and she's so homely, but I rather think it's the former.

    And how do I know? Well, she never smiles at me or says hi to me unless I've said hi to her first. Also, we share a desk and computer, and if she gets to work before I do (which is always), she hogs them both and acts like she is entitled to.

    Perhaps I should stand up for myself more, but 1) she's a bit of a star and terribly experienced, whereas I'm a relative greenie who can't always work out how to turn on a mobile phone, and 2) I just want to be liked - it's in my nature and it'd probably take something life-threatening (or reputation-destroying) to get me out of my doormat act.

    The boys says I should just laugh every time we cross paths, but I reckon that would just make things much, much worse. Besides, she's bigger than me.

    Maybe I should go all Pollyanna on her and bake her some muffins. (Yeah, and put an ecstasy tablet in it).

    Saturday, August 16, 2008

    The more the merrier

    For some reason I had this idea that there'd only be about half a dozen kids at TLM's birthday party. But I was totally wrong - there were 13, a baker's dozen. Just as well we were holding the party at TLM's daycare premises, where there was plenty of room, loads of toys and enough outdoor play space to do whatever 1-7 year-olds do when out of sight of their chatting parents.

    One of TLM's friends apparently told his mum that his favourite part of the party was playing with TLM and one other girl friend. TLM's favourite part, according to the birthday girl, was when everyone (TLM included) sang Happy Birthday.

    The dairy-free, egg-free chocolate cake went down well, although I suspect that was due to the obscenely large dollops of icing that probably contained more calories than the cake itself. Or it might have been the multitude of edible Thomas pictures on top of the icing.

    It was a far cry from TLM's second birthday, which was fun but far quieter because we'd followed the parenting mazagines' recommendations to keep the kiddy numbers low. I know next year I'll go for the full-house approach again.

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Oh yeah - the wedding!

    Because you, the reader, have suffered through my blog posts about finding an outfit to wear to the wedding, I offer a brief summary of the fabulous event...

    That morning, it was pissing down with rain. I was glad that I'd recently bought myself a nice trenchcoat, because otherwise I'd have had to wear the blue oilskin that has accompanied me on every tramping (hiking) trip since I was about 25.

    That day, I'd tried desperately to finish handing over my work to the new girl, who I'm sure is extremely competent - but because she is younger, taller and thinner than me, has yet to earn my respect. So when I left work early to get my hair done (by a completely untried hairdresser, because my usual one quit suddenly a week before), I was a little rushed.

    My hair turned out surprisingly nicely. It's a shaggy bob sort of thing. I was impressed by how much care Danny boy took over ensuring my hair looked good, so he's a keeper.

    By the time I got home, TLM's old nanny (the one before we had before the one who just left, if you follow) had already taken her over to visit some older kids on the other side of town (she had a fab time, apparently). Then the boy arrived. We checked the time. I put on my TradeMe dress, which still fit, along with a black lacy cardigan, black opaque tights and my brand new heels. And my sheepskin coat, because it was still raining but now it was also freezing cold. The boy put on his beautiful silk suit. We left to get the taxi, then he went back into the house and returned wearing a slightly mouldy oilskin over the beautiful silk suit. Oh well.

    The wedding was lovely. Despite myself, my eyes started watering as soon as the bride appeared. They even started watering again when, during the signing of the register, Stevie Wonder's Sunshine played in the background. Then the bride and groom marched down the aisle and out of the church, before returning to get their photos taken. Because it was still pissing down and freezing cold outside.

    The reception was at a Chinese restaurant, a traditional wedding banquet with whole steamed fishes and exotic-looking fungi. One of our fellow diners in particular, was funny in a Barry Crump sort of way, and after the first few courses (and a few wines) it no longer mattered that the heater was set to 16 degrees and the Chinese instructions could not be fathomed.

    Unfortunately, my new shoes were killing my feet - even though I was sitting down. It got so distracting that, by 10.30, the combination of tiredness and sore-footedness drove us to go home before I'd had the chance to catch up with old friends.

    So if you're an old friend (or a new-ish one) who was there that night and wondered why I was such a snob, could you please blame those cheap heels I got at the No. 1 Shoe Warehouse?

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    TLM hits the big Oh-three

    Three years ago today, I blogged about how I squeezed The Little Madam out of my loins, in all her gory glory. Today was the day she'd been waiting for since about May, when her cousin had her 4th birthday. Although we aren't holding TLM's party until Saturday, there was plenty of celebration going on today.

    First, there were the balloons that we hung up around the living room. Then, there were the presents - a Dora bathtoy, a Thomas train set (including Annie and Clarabel), a Sylvanian family (otters, all) and a Diesal 10 - and that was just from her daddy. Then, there was the excitement of going to creche with her daddy (because I started my new contract today and had to be there at 9am), a fattening, icing-coated chocolate cake for afternoon tea (I never realised that cake icing is just butter that's been lightly flavoured with icing sugar) and a visit from a much-loved prodigal neighbour.

    She knows she's 3. The boy warned me early on that, at 3, TLM would be sleeping in a bed and sitting on the toilet (as opposed to sleeping in a cot and sitting on a potty). But I'll just wait and see; there's still a ways to go with her poo-removal training, and she still sleeps right up against her cot dropside. And I don't think TLM is quite ready to stop being the baby.

    Thursday, August 07, 2008

    The second embarrassing thing in two days.

    When I say "useless female", of course I dont mean that I think females are useless. What I mean is that there are times when one does something which fits the stereotype. Like not being able to differentiate between car models, or having no sense of direction. Although in these two examples, "useless" is a bit harsh.

    I was a "useless female" this afternoon, when TLM and I went to collect our car from the panelbeaters'. I'd hoped like hell that the men who worked on it, would leave the child carseat exactly as they found it. Because I don't know how to properly install the darn thing.

    So I was really annoyed to find they'd unfastened TLM's car seat. The guys were apparently very busy - too busy to give us a ride from the bus stop to their workshop - so I called the boy and asked him to finish work early and drive all the way across town to reinstall the car seat for us.

    That's what I call useless.
    While I waited, I fiddled around with the straps and almost got it right. Then two of the panelbeaters came over, voiced a disclaimer about not having kids and therefore not knowing how to install carseats, and fixed it in about 5 minutes.

    So there you go - proof that intelligence exists in many forms.

    Tuesday, August 05, 2008

    I was probably a little dehydrated too

    You know the one. A woman goes into the Ladies', and when she comes out she's got her skirt tucked into her pantihose. It's not a good look, and these days you just hope the image isn't up on the Internet later that day.

    I guess I was just a little too distracted by my two weeks of stress-y busy-ness, to remember to check...check...and double-check, before I left the Ladies' yesterday. I don't think anyone noticed, or if they did they were too polite to take photos.

    But whenever I think back on those 5 minutes of exposure, my face just goes all crinkly.

    Sunday, August 03, 2008

    A brief sociological thought about nightclubbing

    We were dancing at Boogie Wonderland last night, my friend who's getting married and her friends, and I had a minor epiphany.

    I reckon there are two broad categories of dancers in nightclubs - interactive dancers and trance dancers.

    Interactive dancers are the ones who are quite unselfconscious, throw in the kind of flamboyant moves that are fun for everyone else to watch, and actively dance with people. They are the ones who start conga lines or get their friends to take turns moonwalking in the middle of the circle. If you're dancing in a group and the interactive dancer leaves to go to the Ladies', much of the loud, silly fun you're having suddenly evaporates until her return.

    Trance dancers are selfconsciousness dancers; they'd prefer to have at least one cocktail down their gullets before stepping out on the dance floor. Once there, they tend to dance as though on their own. This is because they need to zone out a little before they are comfortable with moving to music in public. They are likely to stay on the dance floor until it's time to leave, because it's easier than having breaks and then deciding whether the next song is good enough to dance to.

    I bet you can guess which one is me.

    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    It's raining, it's pouring

    Good news, the dress I bought at the online auction fits! And it looks nice on me too, apart from being about 4 inches too long.

    It means I should be shopping for some nice shoes to go with it, because it wouldn't do to wear it with sneakers, combat boots, ankle boots or boat shoes.

    Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to have time to. Because:
    • TLM has another cold,
    • my mother needs an overdue ride to the bank to collect her pension,
    • TLM's babysitter has quit (she found a full-time job) so I have to find a replacement,
    • I need to get the car to the panelbeater's,
    • my contract is finishing up and I need to finish a handover document to give to my successor,
    • I have several presents to buy for birthdays and the wedding,
    • I have to work next Wednesday, which is normally my day off to catch up on the laundry and everything else,
    • And I badly need another haircut.
    Phew! I'm glad I didn't have to say that in person, because I wouldn't have been able to draw breath.

    Sunday, July 27, 2008

    The Darjeeling Limited

    There was a time, pre-the boy, when I frequented the DVD rental shop to grab whatever arthouse flicks took my fancy. Sometimes my choices were grim, other times they were almost life-changingly inspirational, most of the time they were sub-titled.

    But two things happened to change that weekly arthouse DVD-choosing ritual: 1. the boy, who only tolerates a very limited amount of exposure to pregnant silences, tangential plotlines and lack of references to graphic novel characters; 2. the boy's preference for buying DVD's instead of renting them.

    But it's a joy when we find something that pleases us both - The Darjeeling Limited.

    Quirky, it is.
    The mini-movie at the beginning (which appears to be an enactment of the writer-brother's new short story, a stylised-version of his actual past) was a bit odd. But that was not helped by the fact that we were having dinner at the time and couldn't make out most of the too-quiet dialogue. Bill Murray, as an almost-background figure, appears for about 2 minutes at the beginning and 5 seconds near the end. Owen Wilson shows he can do stuff that isn't just silly-funny; he can also do poignant. He's the one who has a PA on board the train, organising every moment of their soul-searching train trip, and the one who, it turns out, sounds just like his mother. The middle brother purloins items from their dead father's wardrobe, including a pair of over-sized prescription sunglasses. The younger one, the writer, lusts after the train stewardess. All three of them have brought on board over-the-counter drugs to get high on.

    It's quirky, but it's all heart. It's really a story about family relationships - between brothers, and between parents and children - and about accepting that those relationships aren't perfect but should be cherished anyway.

    I did have one nit-pick though. Why on earth did the head steward of a train in India, have an American accent? I'd have expected an Indian accent or a British one.

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    Bang!

    I was slowly reversing my car out of it's tight angle park (tight because the car on the left was about 6 inches away from mine), when - bam! crunch! holy fender bender, Batman! Someone had snuck up behind me, into my blindspot and right into my carboot.

    It was a little traumatic, following as it did three straight nights of broken sleep (it's them damn bad dreams that make TLM scream and yell) and having to turn down a beautiful blood-red party dress that was one size too small. Oh, and TLM in the back seat whining for elderflower cordial and acting like a sleep-deprived little so-and-so.

    The car bumper was in a terrible state. But you shoulda seen the other car. It had a big dent on the front left panel, and wide scratchy stripes all down the left side - we're talking three full panels here.

    The good news is that I'm fully insured and I won't lose my no-claims bonus.
    The bad news is that there is a $300 excess (that's almost a blood-red party dress!).
    The good news is that no-one got hurt, the lady driving the other car was very nice about it (probably because it was a company car and not her own), and the boy is looking after me tonight.

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Wedding wear sorted. I hope.


    After a week of 2-hour lunches in which I hurried from one frock shop to another, and went through an entire collection of flouncy, floaty and entirely unflattering floral creations, I gave up on my hope of finding something suitable to wear to my mate's wedding.

    Well, there was one really lovely dress I found - a long-sleeved wrap number, rather like a less cleavage-driven version of the classic Diane von Furstenburg wrap dress. But the scarlet dress was slightly too small, and the one that was the right size was almost menacing in it's blackness. So if I was looking for a sexy Goth look (and I know the boy would've been right into it), that would have been the perfect dress. But as I was actually looking for something festive, it wasn't.

    So I decided to accept defeat and fall back on my trusty black-trousers-plus-really-nice-top combo. Which would have looked great, sure, but I'm oh-so-bored with that look now.

    But wait, there's more. I just won an online bidding war (well, more of a scuffle really) on a lovely little dress which might just do the trick. (That's the one in the picture.) It is black, but with a colourful print all over.
    I just hope it fits me when it arrives in the mail.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    No, I haven't got a fancy-man

    If your spouse has taken to dressing better than usual, sexier even, but whose libido is still not quite up to scratch, you'd be forgiven for thinking that he or she might be seeing someone else.

    You might be right. Or, you could be terribly, terribly wrong.

    It might be that your sartorially-improved other half has started a job outside the home, and suddenly has an excuse - nay, the opporTUNity - to wear something other than a thermal undershirt, a faded black tee and a pair of jeans with dying Lycra. It might be that your spiffier spouse is still too tired for sex though.

    In which case, at least you can rest assured that you aren't being cuckolded.

    Sunday, July 13, 2008

    The joy of being abandoned

    Sometimes, I take TLM out to a playdate and she spends a whole hour wanting to sit on my lap; sometimes, her little friends visit us and she spends a whole hour trying to prevent them from getting their eager little hands on her precious toys. But when I take her to her friend's 3rd birthday party at one of those preschool-oriented indoor playgrounds, and I barely see her for 2 hours, that's what I call a good time.

    Out of the 20 kids there, she knew three of them well (one of them being the birthday boy). So well, in fact, that as soon as they showed up she ran up to kiss them. Then she circled the kiddie town in her ride-on, stopping at my ankles every few laps to say hi and steal my snacks, came back in time to sing Happy Birthday and eat cake, and then I didn't see her again until we were all kicked out of the joint.

    I don't know about you other parents, but that's the kind of playdate I like.

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    Like a lady of leisure

    Now that "month-end" is over, I'm back to scratching around for work to do i.e. excuses to stay at the office, charging my hourly rate. But I when I ran out of stuff to do about 20 minutes after I got in this morning, I worried that I might set a new record in shortest-ever-working-day.

    In the end, I managed to busy myself until late-afternoon. But then, I did have a long lunch break - like, from 11.30am till just after 1pm. And I didn't even go shopping.

    I went to the library and browsed the fashion magazines. I tried out the new self-issue machine. I wandered up and down food halls, unbothered by school holiday busy-ness, when my low blood sugar jitters started in. I went up steep flights of stairs to have lunch at cafe that used to make scrumptious lamb and kumara pies, and spinach and fetta pasties (the food's gone downhill slightly).

    I felt only very slightly guilty that TLM was in daycare so that I could swan about with nothing in particular to do. It was probably the first time I've really appreciated the flexibility of my work hours.

    Wednesday, July 09, 2008

    I never knew I was a tomboy

    No longer can I sneer at fellow bus passengers caught reading their gossipy women's magazines, the ones filled with useless (and probably less than half-true) information about Brangelina and TomKat. Because I bought one today - willingly parted with four perfectly good dollars for one.

    Though I will say in my defense that I didn't buy it to find out whether Madonna and Guy are on the brink of divorce, or what Kelly Osborne is wearing to the school ball.

    I bought it because the magazine promised to show me 100 fashion items that would encapsulate the current womenswear trend and not cost a whole mortgage payment each.

    All the same, I confessed my guilty purchase to the boy, who comforted me with the words "Don't worry, you're just getting back in touch with your feminine side" and added something about getting myself material for girly bonding. It's true that, until I had TLM, most of my friends were men. Maybe this is a sign that I'm finally ready to have girlfriends.

    Monday, July 07, 2008

    In my comfort zone

    After working at this place for just over 2 months, I finally feel like I'm not just the new girl. I know my immediate workmates well enough to joke with and about them, and the dreaded unreconcilable spreadsheet has been conquered (at least, for this month). I still don't have anyone to go to lunch with, but that's no big deal because I'm not that much of a lunchtime socialiser (I prefer to go to the library or shop).

    I'm here now, in my cosy comfort zone. And I reckon I'll probably have a new work assignment elsewhere by the end of the month.

    Saturday, July 05, 2008

    Two new things about TLM

    1. She can spell her name. And her name isn't some retardedly easy little 4-letter one either. It's got more letters than that, and they're all different. She's so clever.

    2. I have found a new way to encourage TLM to put her poos where they should go. Now, I'm all for positive reinforcement, but the ice cream rewards just don't seem to be working that well. Maybe she only feels like having ice cream every other day, and on alternate days she has no incentive to do what she oughta.

    So.

    I told her that every time she does a poo in her pants, I get an M & M. I tried it today and, considering it's not physical punishment, TLM sure did get upset when I waved a orange M & M in front of her eyes and popped it into my mouth.

    I'll let you know if it works.

    Thursday, July 03, 2008

    Tricks with mirrors

    So the other night, an old friend rang up and invited me to her wedding (after what must be the longer engagement in history - a decade?). And, as it is every time I get invited to a wedding, I started to fret about what the hell I am going to wear to it. I fret, because in general I don't feel comfortable in dresses, and yet feel that I have to turn up looking glamorous.

    I was in one of those up-market fashion boutiques today (bonus - there are winter sales on everywhere) and ended up spending an indecent amount of time admiring my legs in the mirror...

    I know! I've always hated my legs for being the short and chunky lil tree trunks that they are...but in that dressing room, in front of that mirror...I didn't have tree trunks - I had gams. Pins, even.

    It got me thinking that maybe I'd look pretty damned fine in short skirts after all.

    And then I remembered that this incredibly flattering reflection was probably due to three things:
    1. high heels,
    2. opaque tights in the blackest of ultra-slimming blacks and
    3. that old warhorse, the slimming mirror.

    Of course! I was about to be conned into buying that skirt by a dirty, lying mirror. Like the mirror that Snow White's stepmum had, but the opposite. More like...a salesman's mirror.

    I got outa there before I bought anything. Whew!