Thursday, July 30, 2009

Perhaps I should be flattered

It's 9pm and we're watching Tuesday night's episode of Outrageous Fortune.

The phone rings. I curse, then get up to answer it.

"Hello?" I ask in my still-husky voice.
"Ah...could I speak to your mum or dad please?" says the voice on the other end.


"" I say.
"Oh, why?"
"Because..they don't live here. Who are you?"
"Oh, this is just a marketing call. Sorry, bye."

It was very slightly surreal.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I didn't buy the coat

Thanks for your opinions, oh wise readers.
I have decided not to buy that coat.
The boy thought it made me look like a little girl in an oversized grown-up's blazer. Not that I have anything about oversized as a fashion style, only it isn't so styley if the wearer is short enough to pass for an actual little girl (albeit not as smooth-faced or bright-eyed).

Also, although I like the green - it's not my preferred colour for a coat. I'd rather it was a deep plum or a bright violet.

And, to borrow from the Project Runway judges - it doesn't look expensive enough.

But it has given me the idea of sewing my own coat. I like these two - the orange one in the top picture and the pink one in the bottom picture:

Of course I would start with, say, a dark denim spring coat - then, if all went well, go on to a nice tweed winter coat in a similar style. By the time I got through all that cutting and fitting and sewing and re-sewing, it would be the right time to wear winter coats again!

Or maybe that is too ambitious for someone who has only made one good buttonhole in the last 20 years...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Should I buy this coat?

It's 100% wool, and is actually quite slimming when I'm not wearing it buttoned up over three layers of clothing (including a thick merino/possum cardigan). It's just the right length for me too - just above the knee. And the wool is lovely and soft. And once I get small shoulder pads put in, the shoulders won't look quite so wobbly.
It's at half price too (plus the cost of putting the shoulder pads in, taking in the belt band at back, and shortening the sleeves).

But even at half price, it'll still cost me almost 400 smackeroos.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The boy's idea of a joke

"I've got a present for you", said the boy, getting up from his chair. Usually when he says that, it means one of two things:

1. a cake, or
2. a DVD.

He seemed to be heading for the fridge, so I tried to guess whether he'd got me an apple slice, a cheesecake, a chocolate-iced banana cake or...something else.
Then he abruptly changed direction and headed towards the DVD shelves.

Ooh, I hoped that it was Project Runway Season Two!

But no. It was "The Librarian". The trilogy. I'd heard of the first one; it was released during the time I was studying to be a librarian (and failed - TLM was conceived). It sounded awful and I had no idea they'd made two sequels.

So, the boy's reasoning is that we will enjoy the movies because:

1. I used to be a librarian-in-training, and
2. he'd heard they were pretty bad in a good way.

We shall see...we shall see.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Maybe I should have stuck to the bag idea.

So, here is the shell top I made out of the boy's thrown-away designer jeans. It's pretty wrinkled, which doesn't help it's appearance.
Basically I used the bodice part of a dress pattern, New Look 6824, and extended the pattern pieces so that it ended at roughly hip length rather than waist length. I had to adjust it for fit, and omitted the zip because I was able to get it on and off okay without one. Then I made the mistake of turning the classic shell neckline into a v-neck, thinking it would be more flattering. But all I did was make it look less like a shell top.
The binding was there to prevent fraying and also to give me practice in using bias binding - but it doesn't really go with the denim does it? Although once it's on, you can only see the binding at the hem.

Oh yes, and because the jeans had holey knees, I couldn't get long enough pieces of denim to make the top long enough for me. So I tried patching two pieces at the front. On a thinner person, this might have been okay.

What I was pleased about, was that I found a good place to put the original back pockets. I think they give the top a bit of a flare (not flair).

Tragically, the finished product looks rubbish on me. Perhaps if I had picked a darker denim and if the jeans weren't frayed at the knees (so I could avoid that horizontal seam at the waist), and hadn't ruined the neckline - maybe then it would be okay. Or maybe princess line styles don't suit women with wide waists.

So I'm gonna put in back on the refashion pile until I think of something else to do with it.

Turning it into a satchel probably would've worked out better.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The coat that got away

A couple of months ago, when I was looking for a nice winter wool coat, I found a lovely one in violet (the colour). It had a nice silhouette - semi-fitted to the waist, then flaring out to below my knees, with slightly puffy cuffed sleeves. On the other hand it was too long (on a normal-height woman it would be above knee length) and the sleeves were so long that my hands disappeared into them. Plus, I wasn't sure whether the colour would be horrendously dated by next winter.

I also didn't buy it because I'd just spent too much money some fab black riding boots.

But my mind kept wandering back to that coat, and every time I browsed the Max online shop, I'd look for it in case it went on sale.

It went on sale - at half price!
But I only noticed when I went into the shop looking for a hat to wear home in the gale force winds. And they didn't have it in my size any more.

I must stay strong, and wait for the next really nice coat instead of settling for something fatteningly double-breasted or boringly camel or something that fits like a rice sack.

This time next week I might be shouting

I might complain a lot about my mum always ringing me up and nagging me to get back to the doctor's, but it works. The nagging, that is. I went back to the doctor's this morning, just for a follow-up to make sure that I really am getting better, and although my virus and bacterial infections are pretty much down and dusted - I still have a way to go with the coughing, wheezing and raspy hoarseness.

So now I have a course of prednisone, which I think is some super-steroid to help supplement my asthma medication. Hopefully when my voice returns, it will still sound female.

On the other hand, I've heard that many men are very attracted to women with deep, husky voices.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I miss my voice

Quite apart from (still) not being able to read to TLM or sing her songs at bedtime, I miss not having a fully working voice:
  • It means I can't just shout "Thanks, driver!" when I get off the bus, which everyone does except for the really impolite and the non-English-speaking.
  • It means I can't join in when Mr Finance Manager and Ms Admin Support are trading quips. I'm normally good for a laugh, you know.
  • Quality time with TLM is pretty hard to achieve when I get home from work and by then I can only whisper.
  • I can still smile if I'm feeling cheerful, but a good vocal blasting of a silly song just can't be beat.

Monday, July 20, 2009

On the up

I went back to work today, because:
1. I have taken about 14 days of sick leave
2. I haven't had the shakes in the last 3 mornings
3. My eyelids no longer look like small marshmallows (actually, small pillows might be more accurate)
4. I was worried that work would find someone to take over, who'd actually turn up.

Unfortunately the boy is now sick, either with a variation of my bug or with something new and exciting. This meant I had to to the daycare drop-off. By the time I'd returned the car home, I was all tired out. But I was all dressed for work so I thought, what the hell - may as well go to work anyway.

And it wasn't too bad. My co-workers cheered when I walked into the office, and only one of them visibly avoided getting too close to me and my germs. Although I did end up leaving early, because my head and throat started to hurt around midday.

TLM seems to have become quite used to having Daddy around all the time, instead of Mummy. she tends to call for him rather than me, and knows not to ask me to sing to her at night. It's only very slightly sad for me because I know that the boy had been on the vice versa until he was recession-hit.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Let the right one in

Finally, we got around to watching the Swedish vampire film, Let the Right One In.

It's about a lonely 12 year old boy, one of those sensitive and strange types who gets bullied a lot, and his friendship with a 12 year old girl vampire. Oskar meets Eli when she moves in next door with her dad (who seems to be human). Dad's a serial murderer, it's his job to bring home blood so that she doesn't have to. Only he's not very good at it any more and eventually Eli must go out hunting or starve. At the same time, Oskar and Eli become close and she encourages him to hit back at his bullying tormentors. When he does, it feels like he has crossed the line into a life of violence.

Vampirism is not at all romantic in this movie. When Eli brings attacks a local, it's like watching a big cat bring down a zebra. And even when her mouth isn't covered in gore, she's no ethereal beauty (like Kate Beckinsale in the Underworld movies) - she's just an anemic kid with dark, curly hair.

I also liked some of the vampire mythology, where it differs from that of Buffy (and other vamp stories), like what happens if you don't invite a vampire into your home but they come in anyway.

There's also a look at the darker side of school-yard bullying, where the physical cruelty is far worse than I would have expected in real life.

So it's a love story, one with a happy ending. Sort of darkly beautiful.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Home remedies

Ever since last weekend, when my mum's special cold 'n' flu remedy backfired on me so horribly, I've had to take stock of all the other "mum's own" type of health wisdom that I've grown up with.

Like :
  • don't wash your hair when it's that time of the month
  • wear more clothes when it's cold. No, another layer, and make it a woolly one
  • don't let TLM play with cold water if it's a cold day or if she's poorly (obviously doesn't apply to me because I don't play with water)
  • drink plenty of hot lemon and honey if you've got a cold (this, I still unreservedly believe in)
  • don't let your head get cold
  • don't have cold drinks with hot food
But, if I can't believe in my mum's own health fixes, whose can I believe in?

Over the last two weeks I've been sat on the couch in my PJs, watching home remedy recipes being demonstrated on morning TV. Some of them rely heavily on whisky, which would only make me go bright red in the face and then fall over wheezing.

The others make much use of raw onions, unbelievably large amounts of raw garlic, lemon juice and various spices. I don't know if I'd want to go down that route unless I'm sure they'll work - they may or may not boost my immunity, but no-one would be willing to stand close enough to me to expose me to their germs anyway.

Do you have home remedies that really work?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Notes from the sick bed

  • We have had in our possession, a copy of the DVD Let the right one in. It's a vampire movie which is supposed to be pretty damn good and I am keen to see it. Unfortunately, I've been going to bed at 8.30 every night, and when I'm awake I'm sort of semi-sleepy. So we still haven't seen it.
  • Apparently one of my work colleagues is just as sick as I am, which makes me feel better. Not because I want her to be unwell, but because 2 weeks is an awfully long time to be off sick and now I know it's not an improbably long time.
  • TLM has been an angel. She tells me she misses me not being sick, and tries to entertain me. She only very occasionally tries to climb on me mid-cough.
  • I saw in the Sunday paper's society pages, that the book launch I missed last week was packed full of relatives and famous (in New Zealand) writers. For a second or two, I wistfully wondered whether my mug should have been there along with Fiona Kidman, Patricia Grace and Alison Wong (whose book it was). Then I realised that I am neither famous enough nor photogenic enough to get my photo in the society pages anyway.
  • Sorry I missed your wedding, Flying Kiwi. But even if I had not decided that it was too far to go without the boy and TLM, I wouldn't have made it anyway due to my super-lurgy.
And now it's back to the daytime telly...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I can't believe it's not swine flu!

Most of yesterday was spent sitting on the couch under a super-thick sleeping bag, drifting off to sleep when I could and feeling generally bad. Then the boy noticed I was looking dehydrated, and tossed me a large bottle of sports drink. A litre and a half (I think) later, I was actually walking around, feeling awake and even did some dishes!

I was much better today too (though maybe only as well as I was last Monday when I went back to work before promptly feeling crappy again). Then my mum showed up with an antique silver coin, a dozen eggs and a brand new bottle of eucalyptus and menthol oil. It had been far too frustrating trying to tell my deaf mum that it hurt my throat to talk to her over the phone.

It might have been a bad idea to let her rub that oil on me though. Soon after she left, the vapours started to burn my throat and cause my eyes to swell up. And then there was the stench of eggs and eucalyptus that took an hour to clear out of the living room.

But I know she meant well.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Time to think about spring already?

So, New Zealand's fashion designers have started unveiling their spring collections already.

Even if I weren't sick, I'd still find it incredibly hard to get interested in spring clothes, when it's still cold enough for Arctic (fake) furs.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

She reads me bedtime stories

It's still hard for me to speak without straining my voice, so reading to TLM before she goes to bed hasn't been very easy. I did ask the boy do it once or twice, but he's also doing her bath and bedtime songs, so he's been reluctant to take on the bedtime reading as well.

But I have come up with a solution which is working really well right now - I ask TLM to read the stories to me. All of her library books have been read to her multiple times already, so it's no problem for her to recite - almost word for word - the entire 100 or so words in each picture book (she gets three).

It's really lovely being read to.

"work from home"

I must have overdone it yesterday. This morning I was in no condition to walk all the way down the road to the bus stop, let alone spend the rest of the day working and trying to cough *discretely*.

So I rang in sick again, and said I would try "working from home".

But to be honest, after a super-efficient Monday there wasn't actually that much work left for today. So I have probably only managed a couple of hours, max, of bona fide work-related activity.

The rest of the time I have been browsing TradeMe, looking for nice winter coats, cardigans, and vintage-y dresses.

So I don't know whether I'll actually get paid for today - I've already used up all of my sick leave until the end of the year!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Back to the coalface tomorrow

It's been well over a week since I left work early, feeling too virus-ridden to continue. And my doctor's certificate says I'd only needed to be off work until last Friday, so I kinda have to show up tomorrow morning.

I feel a bit anxious about going in to work - even though I didn't get any sleep-ins (due to the boy's vampiric body clock), I was comforted by the fact that I didn't have to shower, or make myself look nice, or act alert, or talk to anyone. Also, if I accidentally choke on my own spit and spend the next five minutes coughing up lung cells, then there's only my immediate family to be disturbed by it.

What a pity I hardly get to spend time at home when I'm healthy.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

From fashionistas to the literati

Yep, still sick, though no longer feel like razor blades inhabit my gullet; still sound like an elderly alcoholic Rod Stewart impersonator who's been on 2 packs a day all her life.

But perked up somewhat when I saw the boy - most wonderful spouse who has nursed me tenderly all week and only occasionally complained about the snoring - had brought home Season One of Project Runway on DVD. Although a rabid fan from the first episode I saw, we didn't actually get around to watching the show until about two thirds of the way into Season One, so much of this is new and exciting.

Have hungrily watched the first two disks already (out of four) - interesting that Heidi sounds so much less robotic than in later seasons. Like she got her confidence and decided to just be herself?

Also, there is much more focus on the models in Season One. We even get to see the emotional reactions of the models who get eliminated at the beginning of each episode. I wonder if the producers stopped this because they couldn't find another flakey girl like Morgan to entertain us and frustrate the designers.

I'm hoping to go to Alison Wong's book launch on Monday. Though obviously if there's a risk of phlegming out the literati I'll just go home and ask her to save me a couple of signed copies of As the earth turns silver.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Too sick to surf

In the past when I've been sick at home, being sick hasn't stopped me from washing up the dishes or hanging out the laundry or whatever. But this time I wasn't even up to surfing the 'Net. The only activity I was fit for, was watching breakfast tv followed by Oprah and Dr Phil.

When I went to see the doctor (again) on Wednesday morning, my throat was so sore it felt like it was full of tiny little razor blades. And then my ears started to throb while I was still in the waiting room. I must've look quite pathetic, with my eyes all misted over with pain and self-pity. But I reckoned that I may as well look as ill as possible so I could get the rest of the week off work, so I didn't even bother applying any normalising make-up before I left the house.

So anyway, the cold that floored me had ushered in a form of strep throat. I've heard of it, but didn't know anything about it. So I Googled it, as you do. And guess what - sometime it turns into a flesh-eating disease!