Well I fucking jinxed that

Serves me right for writing my last post, about how happy I was not to have spent the whole of this winter sick.

I’m sick.

I’d gone four months without a sinus infection — but this one is a fucking DOOZY. I’m taking The Huge Antibiotics and they’re still struggling. I’m doing bloody everything I can to make it go away (sinus douche, anyone? they’re as bad as they sound), but… wow. I feel so, so crap.

I’ve tried reading and watching a favourite movie but I can’t really focus on anything so I’m flitting between watching an anime that shits on my heritage in the most hilarious way possible, with very short episodes, and a weird K-drama about kids at an athletic university. The uni gardens are beautiful and the gymnasts are amazing and I’m pretty sure they cast the swim team based on their ability to look good in bathers, but the story itself isn’t grabbing me and I’m not sure if that’s because I’m crook or it just isn’t that good. Ah well.

Wish I wasn’t sick… 😦

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Things I have been doing instead of spending this winter completely sick.

I am so happy.

It’s July already and I’m not horribly ill.

To explain, this is celebration-worthy because I spent the previous three winters sick. Specifically, I spent almost five full months of the middle of last year sick (with, amongst other things, whooping cough, even though I was vaccinated while pregnant a few years ago); and the previous winter I was at the tail end of being sick for more than 18 months.

My partner and my mum have terrible colds ATM, but me and the small child are (madly touching wood) doing fine so far this winter.

Thank fuck.

So what HAVE I been doing?

Crafting
I wove a fabulous wallhanging, while experimenting with texture and different ways to do fringing, as well as teaching myself how to weave pile, soumak, twill and herringbone (herringbone was surprisingly tricky):

A showing-off zoom in so you can see all the different techniques I tried out

I also desecrated this cake stand, which a friend was given for free by an antique dealer but, since it didn’t go with her decor, asked me if I’d like. I told her I was only taking it if I could “upcycle” (read: write profanity on) the thing with a Porcelaine pen and pass it on to another friend, as a housewarming present. She just laughed and handed it to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also made this mobile for my kid’s room:

I felt a bit like I was cheating because it was a project I just had to cut out from frankie magazine but it was more work than I’d expected; threading and knotting all the pieces took much longer than you’d think (and hurt my delicate office-worker fingers), while getting it to look neat, and to balance properly, also proved more difficult than I’d imagined.

I don’t think my kid’s even looked at it twice. Ah well.

Watching
American Gods.
So good. I read the book a couple of years ago (my boss was outraged that I hadn’t read it and insisted I borrow his copy) but I’d already forgotten so much of what happens, since baby brain is real and my memory doesn’t work any more, so it was full of lovely surprising bits while also not being frustratingly mysterious.

I have also watched a whole lot of anime, including, but not limited to, Black Butler, No.6, Gunslinger Girl, One Punch Man and the original Sailor Moon, which I had never actually seen before (but which the small child has fallen in love with — the only show in this list I dared try to show her). I have also watched Yuri on Ice so many times now that I think I could recite it. I refuse to feel bad about this, since it not only gets better with each rewatching, but is also made out of sunshine and rainbows.

I have also discovered the weird and wonderful world of K-Drama, encouraged by a friend of mine who keeps trying to get me into K-Pop (she even takes a K-Pop dancing class). Either way, I loved Goblin so much, I ended up buying myself a Mr Buckwheat stuffed toy  on eBay. Don’t tell anyone.

I have also been quite delighted by the new season of Doctor Who, especially since there was no flirting between the Doctor and his new lesbian companion. Most excellent.

Eating and drinking
The new Cousin Vera’s Gin from Four Pillars is fucking delicious.

So is the Pani Puri from Delhi Streets in the city. In fact, everything there is delicious. Go there. Really.

If you’re anywhere near Prahran, you need to go get a milkshake and a doughnut from Bistro Morgan. You need to. Trust me on this.

Other stuff
I have been going on school tours to work out where to send the small child next year.

I’ve been listening to a lot of the chat10looks3 podcast, because otherwise my boss is disappointed that we can’t talk about it. I wish Annabel Crabb was my friend. We would get along so well.

I have had to update to a new Macbook Pro, since mine was five years old and had a noisy, clicky damaged hard drive (possibly from all the times my kid shoved it off the couch onto the floor when she was a toddler). So far, the new one is super fast, its speakers are excellent and I love it… even though it has trouble connecting to networks and the internet and there’s some bug with the click and drag… that Apple don’t seem able to fix… ah well.

I have been to the bug lab at the Melbourne Museum, which was gorgeous; and the 1990s exhibition at the NGV, which reminded me of doing art in high school (in the 1990s); and taken my kid ice skating for the first time at the temporary rink in St Kilda.

So. Here’s hoping I don’t get sick and get to spend the rest of the winter doing and making and eating nice stuff instead of that. Yay!

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Did I rave about the kids movie theatre yet? Because someone should have invented them years ago

So, Village Southland now have two special kids movie theatres. I took the small person during opening week. And I didn’t even mind that going to the movies costs a fucking fortune these days because IT WAS AWESOME.

Normally taking a small kid to the movies is really fraught and most parents I know avoid it but…

  • The sound is lower!! (I always worried about that…)
  • They leave the lights on low!!
  • There’s an intermission, so your kid can go to the toilet without missing any of the movie/stretch their legs/go buy a snack etc.
  • There is no allocated seating, so your kid can wander around and sit down wherever and THAT’S FINE. Apparently they’ve changed this and now there IS allocated seating. I don’t know why. But there are also three different kinds of seats, including bean bags.screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-9-08-12-pm
  • There’s a huge SLIDE running down the side of the seating. Sure, my kid took one look at it and went “that’s way too high and scary, big pile of nope right there” but still, SO FUN.
  • There was also a play area before you went in, including colouring pages which
    you then scanned in so they could display them ON THE CINEMA SCREEN before the movie started.

Best of all, it’s all just parents with small kids, so you don’t need to spend a single second worrying that you’re disturbing anyone else. Sure, I was kind of worried that, because of this, the place would be full of screaming kids running wild, but actually, the kids were all really well behaved in the session we went to.

I GIVE IT TWO THUMBS UP.

It leaves me with the question – why has it taken this long for this to exist? Why did it occur to nobody before?

ETA: Having re-read this I should probably specify that no, I wasn’t paid to write this or anything. I just think it was a fucking great idea and someone’s a genius.

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Adventures in weaving

After a few years now, of seeing woven wallhangings out and about (and selling for hundreds and hundreds of dollars), I decided to learn to weave.

Because a) how hard could it be? and b) surely it will come in handy after the apocalypse.

I decided to start with a mini loom kit from the Handmaker’s factory and it was so easy. I plunged straight in without watching any tutorials or anything so I made a lot of mistakes in my first wallhanging, but I still think it turned out fine.

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My 3yo was so tremendously in awe and jealous of said wallhanging that I had to make her one for her room too. Her brief? “I want blue and red and some of that shiny silver and some of that “cotton wool”, mummy.”

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Ready to hang on her wall. I ended up having to put it somewhere really high and pointless to stop her from pulling on it … maybe it can go somewhere more appropriate to its size when she’s not, you know, three years old…

She loves it.

But having made two little ones now, I wanted something bigger, so I bought this:

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-8-45-09-pmIt’s the “apprentice” loom from Loom and Spindle. I threaded it this afternoon. Wish me luck!

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Grandma power 

I was on a train the other day. An Obnoxious Youth in a huge cap with a hoodie hood over it, glaring and blaring hip-hop from his phone, got on and immediately claimed a whole six-seat section of the train, putting his feet up on the seats.

The train filled up, and everyone steered clear of him. Until a little old grannie got on.

“Excuse me, young man,” she said, walking slowly into his legs so he’d have to move.

“You won’t like my music!” He said in a desperate sort of way.

“What was that, son?”

“You won’t like my music,” he said in a clearer voice.

“Oh, I don’t know about that. Music’s music, isn’t it? So, who is this singing then?”

They had the most adorable little chat. By the end of it, his hood was down and he was sitting nicely in his seat.

Hats off to you, grandma. I want to be you when I grow up.

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Polyester melts: when sewing, belly dancing and parenting combine

You never know what random life skills are going to pop up when you have a small child.

See, I used to belly dance. I was semi-professional by the end; I briefly taught and you could hire me for your party (well, if I felt like doing the job. I often didn’t).

The lessons that I took away from it are not what you’d imagine. Two words of Arabic (“beladi” and “habibi”). The fact that smiling while you dance is phenomenally more important than getting every step perfect.

And that polyester melts.

Specifically, that if you’re sewing a dress or skirt out of cheap satin, you can cheat on the hem. You don’t need to bother stitching it; just run a match along the raw edge. Nobody’s going to notice on a dance costume anyway. Especially if you’re smiling.

What does this have to do with parenting? Because it turns out that this sewing cheat that my dance teacher passed onto us isn’t quite as well-known as I had imagined. My own mother, it transpired, had no idea, and panicked the other week, because half of the hem of the satin Queen Elsa costume that she had bought my child tore right off while they were out.

The small child wasn’t upset. She just ran right up to me when she got home and showed it to me, demanding I fix it.

And, within 60 seconds, I had.

With a match.

Then, this week, a friend brought around a Tinkerbell costume that her daughter had grown out of. It was just the right size for my child, but it had some fraying bits.

“Can you fix these, mummy?” My child asked. “Of course I can, darling,” I said.

And I did. With a match.

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 9.04.41 PM

You can barely notice the bit where it caught fire and I had to blow it out. Stop looking so closely.

SO, to sum up — when confronted with a fraying princess costume, do not spend all night long mending it, for the love of god. Just get out the damned matches.

They won’t even fit in the damned thing in a month anyway.

 

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Random sick musings

I did a post like this last time I was just wrecked by being sick. Realised it’s all I had the energy for.

So what have I been up to? I’m glad you asked.

Watching
I’ve caught up on a bunch of movies I’ve had on my to-watch list for ages. I saw Suffragette, which I didn’t enjoy even though I expected to. I just don’t think they spent enough time getting us to care about or understand the motivations of any of the main characters. I thought they were pretty one-dimensional.

Also I get that being a militant suffragette at the time was awful – I already knew that it was awful, so I was expecting that, and worse – but would it have killed them to include a few lighter bits in the script? It made me think of that Joss Whedon quote, where he pleaded with writers, “make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”

I also watched Only Lovers Left Alive, which I had been putting off because how many vampire movies can I watch?

All of them, my friends. All of them.

And this one was so unpredictable – I mean, nothing much happens, which is why it was hard to predict, but once I sort of got that that was the point, and it wasn’t particularly going to go with any of the usual themes, I really enjoyed it. It was frequently visually gorgeous, and the music was great and I love the three lead actors in everything they do. Also it kept being unexpectedly funny. There’s this one bit where everything’s looking a bit bleak and Tom Hiddleston’s character just randomly gets angry about some bad wiring he happens to notice up on the wall, and I laughed out loud. You wouldn’t think that would be funny but they made it work.

And I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower because the cast looked good and I like teen movies. Well, sometimes. This was one of the times.

I also caught up on Call the Midwife, which I had forgotten is just so great, and watched a lot of Disney because my child has also been sick. She’d never seen Dumbo, for instance, and I hadn’t watched it myself since I was little. My god, the pink elephant scene. That scared the shit out of me as a child. WHY IS IT THERE:

Teh Internets
I also read basically every comic up on www.fowllanguagecomics.com and he has parenting down, man.

I’ve also been slogging my way through www.harkavagrant.com but wow that shit is dense. Though hilarious. If you like history and stuff. That cartoonist has a kids book out now, The Princess and The Pony. I tried to get my child interested in it – I read it to her in the bookstore – but the fact that the pony does farts somehow annoyed her (I think she didn’t believe that was really in the book) and she thrust The Gruffalo at me instead. Ah well.

Reading
Apart from The Gruffalo, I recently read Lady Killer on no more recommendation than The Bloggess was reading it on a plane and some jerk tried to tell her it was anti-feminist based on nothing but the cover. I enjoyed it. I’ve been thinking I need to read a few more graphic novels since I’ve liked the ones I’ve read. And it wasn’t anti-feminist.

I also just read The Bloggess’s second book, Furiously Happy. I kind of hope her husband is nicer and more supportive in real life than how he comes across in it, but I guess she wouldn’t be with him if he wasn’t. I enjoyed it but her first book had a bit more of a linear narrative; this one’s a bunch of anecdotes sort of loosely about her struggles with mental health problems. It’s poignant and real but also laugh-out-loud funny.

Speaking of graphic novels and mental health problems, only this time not so funny, I also recently finished Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant because I thought reading about someone going through putting their elderly parents in care might help me somehow come to terms with the fact that my Nonna has dementia or something.

I say “or something” because any time anyone comes to assess Nonna, she throws them out of the house or just doesn’t let them in to begin with. So we don’t know what’s going on with her. But she’s losing it and while I’m sure it’s always very upsetting when this happens, Nonna wasn’t easy to begin with. And she isn’t losing it in a vague “oh dear, where is my knitting” way. She’s losing it in a “I’ll call my son every hour to have the same borderline-abusive conversation with him and then when he tells me it’s time for him to go to bed I will call him at 3am to tell him he’s a horrible son for not devoting his life to me and I’m selling the house and he gets nothing” way.

Anyway, the book is from a cartoonist for the New Yorker and because of that, I kind of expected it to be funny and it wasn’t. I mean, there were some funny bits, but it was mostly just really honest, and kind of gut-wrenching. I mean, her parents decay and die, as promised on the label.

Even thinking about it has made me sad again.

I should go have some panadol or something.

 

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