Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sales, schmales

Due to the economic recession, there are big fat sales everywhere. Shops are discounting heavily in order to lure in customers and move stock. Airlines are offering dirt cheap fares and holiday packages.

Yeah right.

I have yet to find a shoe shop that is willing to sell me a pair of good quality black leather riding boots for less that $350. That's not a bad price, but it's not a discount price either.

And now it looks like I will have to miss out on going to a wedding in Aussie because the cheapest return airfare from here to there (and that's not including an additional internal flight plus a bus ride) is still around $600. I'm pretty sure that's the normal fare.

Am I just out of the discounts loop or something? Because at this rate it looks like I'll be staying home and sending a really big wedding gift instead.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Starr...trekkin'...across the univerrrrrrse...

TLM's best mate lives right across the road, and her parents are just as keen as we are, on the idea of baby-sitting swaps.
So TLMBFF's (TLM's Best Friend Forever - is that what BFF stands for?) mum is coming over tonight. And the boy and I are heading out shortly for dinner and a movie.

Once upon a time my ideal date would have been a swish dinner and an arty (i.e. subtitled) movie. But one time, my date took me to see a Japanese film with many awkward sex scenes in it. I thought it a bit much for a first date, though I'm sure he was as surprised as I was.

Therefore, I am perfectly fine with the fact that tonight we will go and see the new Star Trek movie. It will be a shot of nostalgia for me, and hopefully sufficient special effects for the boy. We might even get to have dinner somewhere nice, rather than at the boring food hall downstairs from the cinema.

I'm still trying to decide whether to go all out and wear some clean jeans for the occasion. Maybe even some lippy...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

go on, it'll be fun!

I saw the poster a couple of weeks ago, advertising the Baby Pops - a one hour show for little kids, in which the local orchestra plays kiddie tunes like Twinkle Twinkle and Old MacDonald, and the audience are invited to get up close to all those bassoons, violins and trumpets.

It was mentioned on Thursday evening, and within minutes the boy had logged onto the ticketing website and booked two tickets for TLM and me. I reeled in horror at the $8 booking fee (almost a third of the total cost of the tickets), but figured it would be fun for TLM and only a once-a-year thing anyway.

And it was fun. The conductor was cheesy, the hostess was dressed like a young MacDonald and someone even stood by the entrance giving out conducting batons (plastic straws, actually) to the kids. We learned how to conduct (" faster...good!"), we practised our animal noises, we sang, we even had a chance at holding and playing a baby-sized violin. At least, I did all those things. TLM kept trying to hold my hands down and telling me to stop singing. I think she might have been embarrassed by me.

It took approximately 60 minutes to get out of the parking building, compared to about 15 minutes to actually drive home. If we ever get TLM to go again, someone else can bloody drive her.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Forgetting to be productive

I was thinking today, how handy it would be if there were pockets in more of my clothes. And then I thought it would be really handy to have a little zip-up purse-y thingy to hold tampons, lip balm and all those other things that I might want with me when I use the Ladies', but which don't easily and discretely fit into one hand (and which a pocket would be really useful for).

So in my lunch break I went into one of those beautiful-things shops, and saw some cute little zip-up purse-y things, and made tsk-tsk noises when I saw the prices of those things. I could sew one up myself and it wouldn't cost me anything, I thought. And as I walked home in the icy wind with multiple layers of fleece about me, I pondered whether to make it out of bleached denim or the lime green quilting cotton. In my head, I alternated between choosing a plastic zip, and the metal zip from the boy's discarded jeans (the ones which are halfway to becoming a corporate-bogan shell top), and tried to decide whether my purse-y thing should be cylindrical, cube-like or flat.

Boring as I am, I was actually excited about making my own tampon holder.

And then...I got home and completely forgot about it. Now it's time to go to bed and the most productive thing I've done is put TLM to bed and wash some dishes.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hog Hell

I remember the first and only time I'd ever been in a battery piggery - I was in Yorkshire, staying with a nice boy I'd met on holiday and his mum invited me to go for guided walk around the farm. The smell was so appalling and clingy that afterwards I had to shower and put all of the clothes I'd been wearing, into the washing machine.

But the really appalling thing was the size of the pig pens. The pigs were penned up in small groups and even smaller crates. The sows were penned in so tightly they couldn't turn around - I was told this prevented them from accidentally squashing their piglets.

And I smugly assumed that piggies in New Zealand ran wild and free-ish, like our deer, sheep and cattle.

Then I saw some film footage last night on 60 Minutes Sunday, that made me realise how wrong I've been all this time. The pigs in this farm - and apparently it's not unique - were confined one to a crate, and the crates were so small they could not turn around. Some crates looked big enough to allow the pig to lie down in despair, others didn't. Sows lay effectively immobilied for years like big, pink piglet machines.

It was pretty much as bad as the hen batteries I've seen, only worse because pigs are supposed to be even more intelligent than dogs.

It was so upsetting, and this is all legal. I just don't understand why pig farmers aren't subject to the same rules of humane treatment as other livestock in New Zealand.
So, no more pork sausages on the menu. And we will get getting all our bacon from Freedom Farms from now on.

Edited 23 May - Sorry Antoinette, the TV show I saw this on was Sunday, not 60 Minutes (those hour-long current affairs shows all look the same to me). I couldn't find the show on Youtube, but I did find some similar footage - also received by SAFE - from another piggery in New Zealand (about a year old), here's a link to a news story following the screening and here's a piece about it from SAFE.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Just one of those senior moments

"Hello, Healthline. How can I help you?"
"I'm ringing about my elderly mother. She's got one of those pill organisers? Well my brother re-filled her week's worth of pills tonight, including the ones for today. And she must have seen all those pills in the Saturday compartment and thought she hadn't taken them yet. she's taken her day's medication twice over."
"Oh, bless..."

It turned out to be okay, but I'm glad I'm not there right now, listening to her accuse her offspring of trying to off her.

Monday, May 11, 2009


TLM's got the pukes real bad, but I'm going to post about me instead. Because I, at least, am not sick (yay!).

The most appalling thing happened on my walk home from work tonight. A young woman called me "m'am".

I understand "m'am" is fairly commonly used in the States, but here in New Zealand it's not. And when a young woman calls me "m'am", I can imagine how it must feel to a not-quite-pensioner when a boy scout insists on helping her across the street.

First, I wondered whether my outfit made me look matronly - I was wearing a knee-length sheepskin-style coat over a bright green tunic dress and black top, black tights and black ankle boots. Was the effect a little too much like I was trying to relive the 60's (I'm not that old)? Or maybe, because I had my hood up, my face was in shadow and it brought out the dark circles under my eyes?

Anyway, it's a bit of a shock when, for the last 30 years, people have assumed I was much younger than I really was.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day review - Pretty relaxing, overall

TLM and the boy got me a lovely pink Mothers Day card with fluffy bits on it (you can tell who did the choosing), and made me bacon and banana hotcakes for lunch. I'm still waiting for my Wii Fit, which was bandied about as a potential Mothers Day present, but all in all it was pretty relaxing and lovely. I even got to spend a couple of hours sewing, which is pretty rare.

I've been trying to refashion a discarded pair of the boy's Lacoste summer jeans, into a shell top for myself. It might all turn out horribly bogan and unflattering, but I can't fight the urge to make it anyway. Trying to find creative solutions to the lack of fabric (there's too much of me to cover, there are rips in the knees and the whole front legs are kinda worn, I don't have a "stash" to fall back on, and I don't want to go hunting around in the op shops because the idea of wearing another man's pants on my body (unless it's the boy's) feels a bit yucky) occupies my mind in an enjoyable way.

I didn't forget to get a card for my mum, though I'm ashamed to say that that's pretty much all I did. It's not like in my younger days, when I would lovingly hand-sew a pink elephant soft toy and watch her casually toss it on the sofa to be farted on at the next opportunity. Nowadays I want Mothers Day to be fun for me, which means not spending too much time with her (harsh, but sometimes true). Before you lambast me for the ungrateful daughter that I am, I have already volunteered my services on Wednesday - my day off - to ferry her to any number of banks, supermarkets and purveyors of very large sacks of rice.

We still haven't found any spots on TLM, but she was grumpier than usual - either it's that time of the month, or she's got another bug coming.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I am not one of the elongated people

Apparently, in fashion illustration you aim to draw people with quite different body proportions than you would in other kinds of illustration. (This one was swiped from the Cornell University website - I hope they don't mind.)

You have to admit they are hardly realistic, but I can see why they'd do it - to sell clothes. Everyone knows that just about anything will look good on a 2-dimensional version of a flat-chested Barbie.

But what I don't understand is, why do sewing books and magazines - aimed at people just sewing for themselves and their families - tell you to draw the same way? Surely it is much more useful for 5' tall, cello-shaped woman with a bit of a tummy to draw all of her design ideas onto figure drawings that are also 5' tall, cello-shaped and with a bit of a tummy.

Monday, May 04, 2009

spotty what

We had a worrisome evening last week when TLM suddenly got extreme shivers right after her bath. She felt too toasty to the touch and couldn't eat all the next day.

She seems fine now, but the folks at her daycare said to be on the lookout for measles. So we've been keeping an eye out for the itchy scratchies.

And now, I've just found out that her best-est friend is down with chicken pox.

Well, they always say that if you're gonna get sick it's best to do so when you're young and able to bounce back with nary a hacking cough.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Good bargain

I went to Arthur Toyes yesterday, on the off-chance that they were still having a half price sale on some of their sewing patterns.

There was a sign above the entrance announcing 50% off all New Look patterns, so I went through the whole catalogue and scribbled out a list of half a dozen potentials. They were, according to the catalogue cover, only $10.50 each. Score!

And then, after I'd selected two patterns to take home (and stash away for the day my cold gets better and I can think clearly enough to cut fabric safely), the nice old man behind the counter charged me only ten bucks for the 2 of them. He explained that the discount applied over and above the discounted price already there. Five dollar sewing patterns - super score!

And in case you're interested, the two I picked were 6824 and 6808. (Edit note: 6824 is the dress pattern below, not the one originally posted.)