Monday, May 31, 2010

The upside of being sick

  • I get to experience being cared for by the boy, who is an excellent nursie
  • There were no complaints when I decided to watch the whole of Season Two of Gilmore girls over three days (I've been sick since Thursday, but hardly conscious enough to watch telly until Saturday)
  • It's nice and warm in my living room, but nasty cold outside, so I didn't mind being stuck at home
  • by this afternoon, I was well enough to play Junior Monopoly with TLM - which I don't usually get time to do if I've been working all day
  • and hopefully, the boss will see to it that I can take a few days off to get out of town for something fun with the family
The cold has, as predicted, moved chest-ward (ho!). But at least it's left my brain.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I told her so

We are way overdue for a holiday - well I am, anyway. We haven't been away since Christmas 2008/2009, and that was only for a week.

But could I get a long weekend off work? Not on your nelly, because the place I work for is in the middle of a big project to launch a new database and website and there's tons of work to do.

And now I have the mother of all colds - hopefully not as terrible as the affliction which put me out of action for a month last winter - but certainly bad enough to keep me in bed for two straight days. For a cold! It's now working its way to my chest, so even if I make it in to work tomorrow, my workmates will still need to keep at least a metre away from me at all times.

And if I don't make it back to work tomorrow, then all I can say to my boss is,
 I TOLD you I needed a break!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Believably busy

I suppose it's to be expected when you work for a non-profit organisation, but at work there's just far too much to be done and not enough person-hours in which to do it.

So when my mum gets a pay-immediately demand from the power company which whom she has a direct debit arrangement, and wants me to ring their call centre to sort it out, there's only one thing I can do.

"Mum, I'm so busy I haven't got time to piss!" I protest. 

And even though I'm saying this is in beginner's level Cantonese, I'm pretty sure that a born and bred home-villager would have said it the same way (but with added cussing).

But it's almost true, you know. And she believes me.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

The movie, which we watched on DVD recently, was great. It's kinda predictable to present classic heroes as tortured souls, and they've done that with Holmes. But, according to the boy, Holmes was in fact a tortured soul in the original novels.

Actually, the relationship between he and Dr Watson is very, very reminiscent to that between Dr House and his friend Wilson.

Hey, both pairs have the the initials H & W! I wonder whether the creators of House were being really clever.

The other thing about Holmes, which I didn't know from my limited exposure to old Sherlock Holmes movies, is that he is keen and talented boxer. This is good for the box office because guys like a bit violence and girls like a bit of a six-pack. And again, this is apparently a feature of the original character as per the novels.

The movie has a villanous black magic practitioner, which the boy and I always like to see in movies, as well as a super-clever female thief, whom I suspect was included to prevent it from being a boys-only story.

Oh, and the scenery is fantastic. It's sorta like Blade Runner gone retro (seeing as it's set in Victorian London) - all industrial and ugly and beautiful at the same time.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

UFOs coming out of my ears

Once upon a time my workplace made us do personality tests, supposedly to help our team leaders work out how to make the most of our respective strengths (and avoid our respective weaknesses).

I was horribly disappointed to score low in "creativity", but at least I could console myself with my high score as a "completer".

So why on earth do I have so many unfinished sewing projects (UFOs, but don't ask me what the "O" stands for - it's just standard sewist slang as far as I can tell)?

  • the Chanelesque jacket - I made the fitting muslin, but didn't go any further. I've been thinking maybe it needs a hood (or an entirely different neckline) to avoid it looking like a failed Chanel jacket or - almost as bad - like a jacket that doesn't belong on my body
  • the Burda tunic dress I made last winter, which I decided to refashion - so far all I've managed is to unpick the baggy puff sleeves and stick pins in the armholes
  • the too-long and too-small tunic dress which I bought off TradeMe - I chopped the top of it off and cut a new (and wider) neckline and torso into it. It is currently full of pins
  • the merino sack dress, which I wore to work anyway - before I remembered that I still haven't fixed the small hole I found in the sleeve. Plus I really want to add circular patch pockets to the sides for a bit of interest, but I will probably never get around to it now
  • the tweed skirt (which came with the matching jacket that had the hole worn in a stupid place), which I mean to shorten and re-do the waist seam on. It is still stuffed into a big zip-up bag full of other potential refashions (not mentioned here)
If I ever get a couple of hours of free sewing time, I will be so undecided about how to use it that I'm likely to just go for a walk in the hills instead!

A couple of thumbs-downs

The other day I was in the pharmacy (the only other place I go during my lunch break is the public library), and the retail assistant (the very same girl I mentioned in my previous blog post) gave me a sample of a Dr Haushka Lewinn bio oil and a Dr Haushka Lewinn face moisturiser. She raved about the oil, saying it was supposed to be very good for ezcema-prone skin. Then I nagged her about my need for moisturisers so she gave me the other.

FYI - sad to say that neither of the above were a big success for me. The body oil promised to have a soothing effect on my delicate skin, but it wasn't any different than if I had used leftover cooking oil (well maybe better-smelling). The moisturiser was a stinger.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Home is where the pharmacist is

Anonymity can be a good thing when you go shopping, especially if you are the sort of person who buys a lot of stuff from pharmacies. I'm not even just referring to relatively embarrassing items like  condoms, tampons and haemorrhoid cream.

I go in a lot for my prescription medicines (for my allergies etc), but I'm also a frequent visitor because of my skincare experiments. Plus - I don't know about pharmacies elsewhere in the world, but the pharmacies in NZ are chock full of pretty things. Things like luxury toiletry bags and Disney-character shampoos for kids, and then there's the more usual stuff like fabulous perfumes and creams and so on that are like poison to my skin...and yet so attractive.

Anyway, yesterday I went to my local (pharmacy) for some non-soap hand cleanser, and today I went in for some antihistamines. The girl who served me said, very cheerily, that I ought to move in.

Normally if someone tells me this, then I know that I am becoming far too familiar for comfort. And I don't go back because now I'm too self-conscious about it.

But this time I just said that I'd only move in if she gave me a 10% discount for being such a prolific customer. And she did.

I have no intention of packing my bags and moving into the shop (it's too close to work).

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Extracurricular education

I've been thinking about it for quite some time - signing up The Little Madam for Chinese language classes. One of the obstacles was the fact that I didn't want to pay the tuition fees (which aren't actually that much at $50 per term).

But mostly it was fear of having to commit to more parental volunteering.

My brother just happens to be the something-or-other coordinator of the Chinese school, and his kids go there too of course.  TLM loves their company and wants to go, 'cos she'll be in with the big kids. So tonight I put my stake in the ground (as they say at work) and told him to go ahead and sign 'er up.

The deciding factor? Frankly I'm embarrassed that our half-Chinese daughter has learned to speak Spanish (from watching Dora the Explorer), but can't understand anything my mother tells her.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

We might have a winner - Trilogy and xma-ease

For several weeks now I've settled on Simple moisturizer - not because it does a great job, but because it doesn't hurt my face when I put it on.

But I recently tried some potentials from this little skincare boutique (called Earth 127 or something, the latitude or longitude of New Zealand I think it means) - the woman who sells the products makes her own lotions and potions, and she uses natural ingredients etc. The "natural" label is usually a warning sign that it will make my skin sting. Don't ask me why, it just often does. And sure enough, her day cream did make my complexion glow in a not-so-nice way. But her "rich" moisurizer didn't. The only things I didn't like about it were it's strong smell (frankincense perhaps, but I'm not sure) and the fact that it didn't moisturize the eczema-ry bits so well.

Then yesterday I got a couple of other samples from a health shop right next door to the Kumfs shop (where I have my expensive school shoes on layby) - one was xma-ease for the eczema-ry bits, and the other was a Trilogy moisturizer (it's NZ-made and possibly even from Wellington).

These two were a good combination for me - absolutely zero irritation and plenty of moisturisation. Not all day moisturization, but minimal flakiness through the day, and that's pretty good for me.

So I went back to get a tube of xma-ease, and might go back and get the potful of Trilogy too. But first I've got another sample of moisturiser to try, from the lady at Earth 127. When I told her what I thought of her samples, she gave me another one to try and promised to make something up for me if that's no good. Talk about good customer service!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

More space AND more cash

Only about three years after we stopped using them (and about a week before we gave them away to the nearest op shop), I sold TLM's old high chair and buggy via Internet auction.

The high chair which was an upmarket Chicco Polly, went for a mere $41 - which is still better than seeing the boy haul it to the Dump Shop i.e. give it away.

The buggy, a MacLaren (not the racing car brand), was subject of a surprising last-minute bidding war. On Saturday the highest bid was a humble $11.50. Twenty four hours later it had climbed to a peak of $148! While that's just a fifth of what we paid for it new, it's still way better than the alternative (yes, the Dump Shop).

So now I have money to put on my shoes lay-by, AND we now have a free corner in the study AND a couple of feet of unclaimed space in the hallway.

The house looks almost big enough to live in now.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Today the world is much noisier...

...because I got my ears syringed this afternoon.

Yucky yucky, you're saying to yourself. Well, yes the stuff that came out of my aural cavities did resemble worm casts (or miniscule poos). Better out than in, I say.

Suddenly I can hear whirrings and rustlings and whisperings and sound of my jeans brushing past each other at the thighs when I walk. TLM, who is normally just loud, is now head-splitting. And when the boy says naughty things whilst walking away (to test my hearing), I can react with mock shock at his dirty mind.

The nurse who performed the syringing - the evacuation, you might say - was lovely and completely un-freaked by the amount of stuff that squirted out. When she'd finished, she announced that she could see right into my ear canal.

"Right through to the other side?" I joked.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The (retirement) Village

Today my brother, my mother and I went to inspect a retirement village that my mother is thinking of wait-listing herself for. It's one of those establishments which has: apartments for people who want to live independently but have access to lots of other old people; assisted living apartments for people who want someone else to worry about the housekeeping, heating and bill-paying; and rest-home apartments for...well, you get the idea.

It was the independent apartments she was after, and the display apartment we looked at was really quite nice - modern, reasonably spacious and low-maintenance. It's appeal to my mother was that it looked just like a "normal" apartment.

Then we went to visit a friend of hers, who has recently moved into one of the assisted-living apartments. It's a studio, so everything's crammed into one cosy room plus bathroom. This friend doesn't have to worry about power bills, vacuuming or cooking - the former two are included in his living package and the latter is sorted by the closeness of several small eateries nearby.

I haven't talked to the sales lady yet, but it appears that either you get the larger apartment and mostly look after yourself, or get loads of help but live in a cupboard.

And I think my mother is going to want the bigger living space AND the lotsa help.