Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'd rather be scrutable

I went to visit a dear friend in hospital today who has cancer and probably not that much time left. It was one of her not-so-good days, when she seemed to barely notice all the people who'd gone to see her. So I put the flowers in the basin, said hi, and proceeded to ignore her for a good ten minutes.

I'm not very good during sad times like these. It's not that I don't feel anything, because I surely do. But I do have an awfully difficult time with saying and doing the right things. I want to tell her this is so unfair, what's happening to her. But I don't, because maybe she'd rather be cheered up. But it's hard to think of anything cheerful to say, and maybe it'd be inappropriate anyway.

Eventually I did talk to her about some inane stuff, and it did seem to amuse her at least for a moment. But I fear the awkwardness behind my chatter was clanging loudly in the background that whole time.

At times like this it would be really handy to have a religion.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Unfinished businesses

After months of fretting, wanting to cancel and then not getting around to actually cancelling, my mum finally had cataract surgery on her good eye. Of course, she's not exactly going around telling everyone how right we were to encourage her to get it done. But I know she's glad she didn't chicken out in the end. If only we were as successful in convincing her to try a hearing aid.

I have nearly finished my coat. Yay! Except I haven't been able to find suitable buttons, and until I do that coat is still a WIP and an un-photographed one at that.

So I moved onto my next project, which is to finish my man's dress shirt refashion - but because I used up all of my white thread in sewing the coat, all I could do was cut out the collar pieces (6 pattern pieces!). However in the meantime I did turn a badly-fitting work jumper dress into a well-fitting work skirt. But there is no photo because right after I finished it, I found some suspicious-looking stains on it and had to throw it straight into the washing machine.

The three of us went into town today to have a look at the Chinese Culture Festival. TLM thoroughly enjoyed the dragon dance - it was a sinewy creature that wove and wormed up and down and around, to a drum beat that would force a galleon slave to faint from exhaustion. But apart from that I reckon her other favourite things were going up and down the stairs one at a time like a big kid, and doing puzzles in the kids' area.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The boy bought the boxed set of the Seventies TV show, Shogun, years ago. It had been a favourite of his when he was a boy, and no doubt he was keen to share it with me. But I was expecting something a little less culturally sensitive, so didn't make any effort to watch it with him.

For some reason, the name of the show conjured up a mental image of a hairy white man frolicking with compliant young Oriental girls in an overtly sexist and racist manner. (But actually I had been thinking of a scene in a James Bond movie.)

Now that we've been watching it since the weekend, I'm really quite enjoying it. Not so much the torture and the beheading, but the political intrigue, the religious conflict and the exotic costumes - and that's just the Westerners.

It shows a lot about Japanese culture at the time (the 1500's, I think) and is apparently fairly accurate, the author having spent many years in Japan and China. One thing that impresses me is that it doesn't take sides - the Portugese and the Japanese Samurai are equally ruthless; the Jesuits have their good and bad points and even the main character - the English Blackthorne - isn't totally a good guy.

The boy reckons that Richard Chamberlain, who plays Blackthorne, invented the I-smell-a-fart method of acting. After he told me that, I couldn't look at him (Chamberlain) frowning without giggling.

The wrong trousers

...or, skinny jeans don't make me look skinny, but wide-leg pants sure do make me look wide...

I really ought to get into the habit of trying on several styles at once, before deciding whether to buy something. If I had done that last winter I would not have ended up with a pair of wide leg black trousers that, on me, look like sturdy load-bearing columns holding up a pair of arms and a shrunken torso. If I had gone into the dressing room with those and a pair of straight-legged black jeans, I would have walked out of the shop with the relatively slimming and leg-lengthening jeans.

What this means is, if you're going to follow Trinny and Susannah's style advice then you have to go the whole hog i.e. if you want to wear the wide-leg trousers then be prepared to put a pair of high heels on your feet as well. Yay.

Anyway, today I bought the right trousers - dark, straight-legged jeans that are so soft it's almost like wearing maternity pants (which, by the way, I still have. They are awaiting a re-fashion).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

More of a hypothetical sewer, really

I'm still progressing on my coat - just the buttonholes and buttons, the topstitching down the front and the back tab to do, and then it's completely ready for wearing!

However, now that I've spent so much time on this one garment, I'm not sure I'll feel like doing it all over again for the real winter coat. I'll definitely be moving onto simpler things for the Summer, before tackling anything that time-consuming again.

Anyway, I think perhaps I'm much better suited to thinking about sewing than actually producing anything. This is because for me, the most fun part of sewing is choosing the pattern and the fabric, and drawing little pictures of imagined modifications. All the rest is just hard slog.

In fact, if money were no object, I would probably just be designing my clothes and paying a professional to construct them for me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I just got asked to go permanent today, at work.

It's good, because it means we have some financial security now.

I was looking forward to some down-time though.

Still, can't complain eh?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

She's literate!

The Little Madam wrote down all the letters of the alphabet today! A couple of them turned out dyslexic-ly, but every single one of them was recognisable.

It's going to be one of the bits of paper that I'll save and put in my TLM scrap book.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Saving an egg from a pointless death

I have a problem with throwing away food, especially meat. As far as I'm concerned, some poor animal died so that someone could have steak/pie/meatloaf or whatever for dinner - so it seems wrong to discard perfectly edible meat (or let it go off and then have to discard it).

Plus, in good traditional Chinese fashion, I was raised to eat everything in my bowl (or on my plate) because there are starving people in the next village or whatever.

And that's why, when I bought a potato salad for lunch yesterday and then discovered it was dressed in eczema-exacerbating egg pieces, I ate it anyway. Though I did try to scrape off eggy-looking substances from my potato chunks first.

And then I spent the rest of the day being very very itchy.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The movie about the guy who was a character in a book

The boy and I watched Will Ferrell in Stranger than fiction the other night and we were very pleasantly surprised. Although I've enjoyed his performance in Zoolander as the man who invented the piano-key neck tie, I wouldn't normally watch a movie just 'cos he's in it.

But he was very good in this one. It helped that the story was intelligent and thought-provoking. What would you do if you started hearing an intermittent voice in your head that seems to be narrating your dull, dull life? What if you found out that the author who owns that voice is trying desperately to finish her possibly award-winning novel by killing off her main character (that's you). And what if you were that author, and just found out that all those fictional people you'd killed off over the years were probably real people?

As well as being a gentle romance about a man who learns to take risks, live life and find love, it's also a movie about defying fate - or not. It even made me briefly consider whether a life-changing novel could possibly be more important than an actual life.

Friday, September 04, 2009

I been busy

Thank gawd it's Friday. It's been full-on at work, keeping 4 students and a hubby gainfully employed and keeping them from adding any more spelling mistakes to the databases they are updating for us. Like, it's "language nest", not "langrage next" - and don't do it again!

That, plus trying to keep track of whose computer has which database on it, and which copy of each database is the latest one (when there's a copy on at least one of the team's computers, plus one on the USB stick, plus one on the server)...I'm sure I have new frown lines that weren't there on Monday morning.

On the plus side, it's such a pleasant novelty to have lunch with the boy every day. I sure do miss lunching socially. And I learned so much about hiring and training newbies, that I even offered advice to someone who rang me up as a reference for a potential new employee!

And just to end the week with a bang, the big boss has asked me to do a prototype of some informational content to go on our website, which means I get to research and write serious copy! For public viewing! coat is now about two thirds finished.

I been busy awright...