Thursday, December 29

Christmas wrap up

For being the "slow" time between holidays at work, it hasn't been slow at all.  I'm feeling a little stretched thin at the moment, bit of a brain fog.  As much as I'd love to dive into my sewing room, it's not really in the cards.  I think I'll post, have a bath and head to bed.  Besides, it needs some cleaning before it's productive space again.

Christmas went well, better than I expected.  People mostly let me carry on in happy fantasy land where my SIL is not pregnant.  It made it all a whole lot easier on me.  Outside of a little melt down on the 24th, it was a tear free holiday.

I was spoiled.  Mr. Lina gave me the Colette book as mentioned, I've read through it already.  Certainly some food for thought in there, it's going to be a good resource.  I'm looking forward to trying Pastille and while I should start with Meringue because I need skirts, I'll probably be seduced by the Taffy blouse.

My parents gave me a few sewing related things.  I asked for a few specific things that I thought my mom would find easier to buy than anyone else in my life.  A narrow rolled hem foot being the primary hard to find item.  I also wanted some small scissors for delicate projects, she bought me two pairs.  One is the small cheap kind from the cash at Fabricland, probably useful for threads etc, but the other have a really nice feel.  They have springs and a cushy handle (see basket below).  We'll see how they do in practice.  I also mentioned that I had bought the heart chalk marker and I like it, refills would be a good stocking stuffer.  I'm well stocked now, they were on 2 for 1 apparently so I have two white refills and two blue refills.  I might have to buy a new heart for the blue chalk.

The best, however, was truly a joint project from my parents.

Mom saw the concept somewhere, web article maybe, and had Dad make it for me.  It's peg board in a picture frame, simple as that.  Add some hooks and a basket (holding my other new notions) and maybe I will be able to find my bias tape maker when I reach for it next.  In theory I do have a drawer for this kind of stuff, but it's getting full and I tend to forget to put things away mid-project and then they fall off the desk and I can't find them.  Being on the wall it might feel like it's not being put away exactly, just in a reachable spot.  I like it and I love the thought that went into it. 

The tea towels were very well received.  Completion of the red set was truly down to the wire, but I had time to wash and press them prior to wrapping.  Both of my SIL loved that the designs fit them well.  I gather they were put to use the very next day at Scot's house.  I did get a few pictures before wrapping them up.




I had quite a bit of extra tea towelling in the end.  This came in handy as I baked bread on Christmas Day, a sweet yeast bread that can be made into coffee cake or a tea loaf.  I rolled it with maraschino cherries, brown sugar and butter.  A small loaf each for my aunt and uncle and cousin and the rest went into a bundt pan I'll use for New Year's Eve.  Anyhow, I did a quick press and stitched up the side hems and wrapped the bread in the plain tea towel.  That puts me down to about enough to make one of each colour for myself if I so desire.

Time for me to curl up in the bath with a book and some throat coat tea with honey.  Mr. Lina has been fighting off a cold for a while now and thus far I've felt fine but today... I dunno.  This feels more run down than just tired.  Hopefully a good night sleep and more mandarin oranges will keep it at bay.

Tuesday, December 27

Can't post...

Christmas went better than expected.  I will do a full post soon, but I finally got to open this:

Can't write, must read...  ;)


Friday, December 23

Count down to out of office

Last day of work prior to Christmas.  I can feel the interest in work dying away and I hear more and more good byes from the few people here today.  I still have work to do, too much to do with that mapping project due next week, but today I'm just going to do what's needed and put that to the side.  The fact I can't connect to my employers office may be a deciding factor. 

Christmas plans around our house are 3 dinners in a row.  Christmas Eve my parents are coming over and we'll have tourtiere and cabbage rolls.  Odd combo, but tourtiere is a tradition from Dad's Quebecois side of the family and I love it.  Mom only makes it once a year (although usually 3 pies) so it's super special treat.  She's made people cry with her tourtiere.  I linked to two recipes above, they are similar but not the same as hers, I'll have to get it and post it.  Cabbage rolls are for Mr. Lina.  His mom's side is Ukrainian, it's a nod to them.  We usually do perogies as well, but with just 4 for dinner, it seems a bit of overkill to me.  We'll have perogies another day.  Christmas Day is at my aunt and uncles (Mom's brother).  My cousin will be there, Scot and his wife, but Clone and his wife are still with her family.  It will be a civilized dinner of adults.  My aunt is nice, but um, let's say relations are a tad bit strained with them, they hurt my mom a lot over the years, mostly accidental tactlessness, but she's slow to forgive.  The saving grace to this is I think Mom will not tell them about Clone's wife being pregnant.  This means I will keep my sanity because there will not be baby conversation.  Mom has still yet to mention it to me, I think she's waiting for me to say something.  I'm in happy fantasy land where nothing is going on there to speak of.  It's working well so far. 

Boxing day (26th) will finally have both of my brothers in the same room so we can have our family Christmas.  Turkey dinner, gifts the whole she-bang.  My SIL parents are going to be there and I know she's mentioned to them about my infertility, but I'm suspecting no one is going to be tactful about the happy pregnancy around me because I'm suppose to be happy.  I think I'm going to arrange to drive on Christmas day so I can drink on Boxing Day.  I plan on walking away from any baby related conversation.  My therapist actually has asked me three times if there is a way to get out of this dinner.  I don't think I can without it making a bigger deal of it than just going.  Mom would want to rearrange things to make it work for me, the whole point of this dinner is having us all together, Clone and his wife would feel bad and that makes me feel like crap.  Nope, a little wine, many trips to the opposite side of the house, I'll survive.

The cafe tea towel is done, the Paris bridge is started.  I'm actually feeling pretty good on that front.  I know I still have a lot to do, but I will not be giving these gifts until Boxing Day.  I do have dinner plans, but nothing in the daytime prior to then.  It's actually good to have with me while working on those maps, it takes a while for the computer do redraw the window at times, this keeps me from hitting too many buttons and making it freeze up.  So there is time to do it and I really am finding it soothing.  The only things left to do are buy underwear for Mr. Lina (such an exciting gift, but it's what he needs, his coffee maker is already under the tree), wrap presents and finish the tea towels.  Some house cleaning, but even that's not going to be too bad, it's just my parents and whatever we get done will help for NYE house concert.  So all told, I actually feel less crazy about Christmas approaching than I do most years, so long as I don't think of the 26th.

So mental health update, therapy was AWESOME on Tuesday.  I wanted another session prior to Christmas but the only time that worked for our therapist and myself didn't for Mr. Lina so I went alone.  Previous session, she had asked if we felt trapped, holding back on life because of infertility.  Mr. Lina said no, I said hell yeah.  We can't move, I can't quit, I don't want to change jobs and find they aren't flexible to the multitude of appointments I have when doing FETs, added stress of a new job is probably not helpful to fertility, etc etc.  I picked up this thread again this week.  I realized that the last time I remember feeling happy consistently was about August.  That's when I got my promotion.  Now promotions are cool, I got a little salary bump, my title changed, but not one thing changed about my job.  Nothing.  I've had bumps in pay, changed clients, but this was my first title change.  So good for internal recognition, but I think some of this stems from the fact that's not the job I want.  I want to be a Mom, neither corporate ladder climbing nor money (to a certain extent, I don't want to worry about paying the mortgage) is motivating to me.  So yes, it's infertility behind the depression, but the catalyst to a certain extent was possibly the frustration that nothing is changing even when something changes.

We talked about what I could do about that.  It's amazing how much better I was feeling just talking about possibilities.  In no particular order, here are the thoughts, opportunities and constraints I'm going to mulling over.
  • I like mentoring and teaching.  I like it when people come to me with problems.  We have a few new-ish people on the team and they seem to come to me for answers.  My managers manager actually books time with me like this so he can learn about our software by doing projects himself (that he could sell and then pass the work to me).  He's commented many times that I'm effective at this, he enjoys learning with me.
  • So training is an avenue to look at.  The training needs for my specialty are met by 2 US trainers coming up about 4 times a year, not enough for one person full time. 
  • My company offers a lot of training for our staff and clients. I may need to learn other products to be a trainer for my employer. 
  • I don't want to work at my employers office 5 days a week, it's too expensive on the toll highway ($12 one way, that adds up quick) and in the opposite direction of where we'd want to move.
  • A lot of US counterparts seem to be working from home (like moving to Florida when their office is in Pennsylvania), maybe there are roles that I could work remotely, then we could move further west if the right opportunity came along.
  • I'm not sure 100% at home suits my personality, but we aren't looking to move to Florida, so a day in the office may still be feasible.
  • I could look for work in the consumer packaged goods industry, but honestly, my skills are really niche.  I need some training on broader software to be more attractive for more types of positions.  I've taken the intro and advance courses before, but I don't use the software in my role so I forget.  At least saying it's recent training on my resume would help. 
  • If I did change jobs, maybe I should look at teaching in some capacity (not kids, no interest there)
I didn't come out with answers, brainstorming isn't about answers.  I came out with a whole lot of food for thought that for once felt like a step forward.  Understanding why I'm feeling like this now really helps.  No random tears this week, no crying while driving, only a little bit of  "I don't want to be here" thoughts at work and that's while I was doing something I didn't understand the process for rather than just going for tea. 

So, time to wrap up a couple of things, do up my project log and pack it up for the day.  I'll stop for the last gift on the way home (tried at lunch and they didn't have the style he likes, harumph) and let the holidays begin.

Side note, I seem to have gaming on my mind, I wrote the wrong role/roll all the way through this.  I hope I caught them all.

Wednesday, December 21

Tea Towel Progress

Today is flying by and I need a momentary shift in brain so a quick post with tea towel posts and a bit of debate.  The green set for my mom are done, but the picture is brutal.  I took them quickly this morning before heading to work and they are all dark.  I've lightened these, but the green ones have colour in the background that just doesn't look right. 

First, progress on the blue tea towels.  These are Paris themed because Clone's wife went to university in Paris.  I'm half way through a cafe scene.


I really like this one though, sorry it's hard to see the pencil, but isn't the dress lovely?  The Eiffel Tower in the background sets the place without hitting you over the head with the location.


Now for my brother Scot, his wife loves to travel.  She spends 3 months at a time in Australia (I don't quite understand, but it seems to make them happy).  She has family in Scotland as well that she likes to visit.  So I'm temped by this image from the book.  The tags all say Paris here, but I'd change them to AU or SCOT or UK or whatever.


But... she also really likes tea.  And it is a tea towel... so that would be fitting.  The book doesn't have tea for embroidery, but they do for cross stitch.  I could smooth out the lines for some of these images.


Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, December 20

A reminder to myself

We had a super quiet weekend planned.  I stayed in on Friday night, Saturday I did some work from home, ran a couple of errands with Mr. Lina and stayed in.  Sunday we went to have lunch with friends and I had another migraine.  So back home for a nap and a fuzzy day yesterday.  It's been so long since I've had migraines, I kinda forgot how much it sucks.

I don't have any pictures at the moment, but I have made headway on my tea towels.  The green set are done, the blue set have the image traced out and I'm about a third of the way through one of them.  Still picking out images for the red set, but I think I'm going to take Lazysubcultural Girl's idea of tea themed.  My SIL really does like tea, so it would be fitting.  It's that or some travel themed images.  I'm trying to use images out of the book I was given for my birthday, but the better tea themed images are for cross stitch.  I know I could adapt it, just not quite sure yet that I want to.

Tonight is our bowling Christmas party.  We play two games, usually Bingo as a team and then something in partners.  Potluck food, a few prizes for the games and it's a fun night that wraps up a little earlier than usual (which is good, I have embroidery to do).  Bingo is a bit of a misnomer, we use the bingo form but fill it with bowling counts, like right corner, aces, head pin, 12, 8, 4, strike, left corner spare...  etc.  The team circles through throwing lane courtesy to the wind and the fastest team to fill the card wins.  People get mighty pissed when the pins get tangled (this happens with string pins from time to time).  I am taking chili rolls as I have for the past 7 years.  It's a Company's Coming recipe, from the hard cover Easy Entertaining book.  The second year I wrote antijitos figuring that made more sense than chili rolls and was hunted down to ask why I wasn't bringing the chili rolls again.  So I stick with what they like. 

This is a little different from the book because it's off the top of my head...
1 package of cream cheese (take it out to soften, or use the spreadable kind)
1 can of chopped green chilies (they are small, not sure how many oz but it's in with the salsa)
a little onion powder
I have chives in my kitchen so I chop up a few, I think the recipe calls for green onion
a tablespoon or so of mayo, just to make it spread easier
tsp - tbsp sambal oelek (chili paste) if you want to kick up the heat, know your audience (this is my addition)
large soft tortillas, about 6-8

I use my mixer to mix everything together, you can use a spatula if you're starting with the spreadable cream cheese instead of the brick.  Spread some over the tortilla, put more at the end where you start the roll and none at the edge you are rolling to - it will spread.  Roll it up, wrap it in saran wrap and let it chill for the best flavour.  I do this the night before pot lucks then slice diagonally the day of. 

Prior to bowling I'm going to see my therapist.  Just me tonight.  I wanted to see her again before Christmas and Tuesday worked for both her and I but Mr. Lina is at curling.  So I'm going alone.  I've been spending the whole time talking anyhow.  I will say I'm feeling better.  Not great, I still have lots of negative feelings at work, but I haven't just cried for no reason in a while. 

Speaking of work, I have a new laptop.  The old one took forever to shut down and start up, it wasn't up to making 3' by 4' maps.  The mapping project was the push for me to get a new computer.  So it's chugging along great, I'm having a good morning, but now I need to connect to the office from my client site and it won't.  It really doesn't matter how well the computer works if I can't get at the network that I need to when I need to.  Harumph.  So, a quick post before the frustration gets to me. 

This post serves as a reminder to myself.  Things are okay:
  • My head does not hurt
  • There isn't an aura blocking my vision
  • My Christmas presents are nearly all purchased
  • The tea towels are coming along and I'm finding the work soothing
  • I haven't cried in a few days
  • My chili rolls rock
  • I can eat the pulled pork this year, last year I didn't know the people who brought it well enough for the Spanish Inquisition of allergies, turns out it's Doctor Pepper and ketchup.  I can eat that.

Friday, December 16

Forced Pause & Tea Towels

Adding to the medical issues I've mentioned before, I occasionally get migraines.  I used to get them about every 8 weeks or so, not often enough for preventative medication, but enough to be pretty annoying.  I never did figure out my triggers so there wasn't much I could do to prevent them.  Regular massage helped, but I stopped going when I switched jobs and for whatever reason, the migraines reduced significantly.  So my old job probably was a factor to some extent, but not the only trigger.  They started before I was working there and haven't gone completely.  Now it's months instead of weeks.

I get auras with my migraines.  The aura is not painful, but it means I have what looks like shifting shards of broken glass blocking my vision prior to the migraine pain settling in.  I actually went to the eye doctor before going to my family doctor.  The aura gives you the heads up that things are going to hurt a lot soon, but I can't see so I'm not comfortable driving until the aura clears.  Of course then I'm in pain so it's a bit of a lose-lose situation.  I wanted to include a picture for this, but google image aura migraine isn't cutting it.  Now mine seriously look like a kaleidoscope of broken glass with prisms of light, so picture more movement than just the flickering, but this guy nailed it.  Mine rarely go to a full circle, usually being a growing crescent shape that slide to the side out of my field of vision. 

Stress does seem to be a factor, and sometimes I think it is how my body says enough is enough, you need to rest.  It's not to say every time I'm stretched thin or stressed out I get migraines, but it's certainly a factor when I do.  Sometimes it seems to be the removal of stress.  Like, post-wedding.  I had 3 migraines over the course of my week long honeymoon.  We were taking possession of our house two weeks after the wedding, so I picked a low key honeymoon.  We rented a cottage near Haliburton for a week.  No planes, no passports, no foreign currency, very few restaurants so I didn't have to stress about what allergens were in my food.  Very low key.  And I spent much of it sleeping off a migraine.

So Wednesday night, I was working on a wall sized mapping project that's driving me a little crazy.  It needs to be done before year end to claim the revenue and technically, I should only be working on it on Mondays because it's an ad-hoc project, not my usual clients.  At that rate it's going to be done in February so I'm working on it on my other client time and evenings when I can.  Well, my body decided that I needed to stop this insanity and rest.  So yesterday was a day of dim rooms, soft noises and very minimal screen time.  We have very, very, few plans this weekend and I'm so thankful for that. 

I did get to make some progress on the tea towels later in the day when I had better concentration.  I have one set a little over half done and I'm pretty pleased.  I didn't trust myself to cut/sew, but I ironed up the red tea towelling that was going to be two sets, but sadly it will not.  There is a flaw and a few threads are pulling out in the middle about 50cm from the cut edge.  Pout.  So I'll get two good sized tea towels, but not 4.  So I was off to Fabricland this afternoon to buy more (yay early close!  oh wait, now I need to finish work at home... sigh).  I bought blue edging so now the three sets are different colours (and still 50% off, so $5/m).  Green for Mom, red for Scot (his wife loves red) and blue for Clone.  I'll do something with the flawed fabric for myself.  I don't care if I patch a hole, but I can't give that as a present.  Oh and these green ones are not the same width.  I bought this as a remnant and it was not cut straight.  I really wanted to keep what width I could so one is wider than the other.  Eh, Mom will understand.


Mr. Lina is well, worried about me.  He wants to see me happy again.  Poor guy only sees the crappy moods because I don't feel obligated to hide things from him.  The good and bad of being in a relationship.  Today he sent me an MLS listing for a house.  He hasn't done that in a while.  We talk about moving to a smaller community closer to his work, I lived out that way for my post-grad years.  Likely something with a bit of property to it, room to store a small fishing boat, kids to play.  After being in a semi with somewhat noisy neighbours and postage stamp yards, a little distance from the neighbours would be most welcome.  It's dreaming, but dreams are a good thing, I find it frames up a conversation on where we want to go and what we want our life to look like.  It feels good for him to send me the listing.  And the amusing part to me is that I looked at the same listing about a month ago.  It is a lovely house, problem is I'd need to quit my job to live there so you can see it's big domino to tip.  Whattdaya think?  Take a severe pay cut and work at Fabricland?  My current workload is making that seem pretty attractive actually.

Wednesday, December 14

Way too busy.

I didn't intend on not blogging for so many days, but wow has it been busy.  And tiring.  And draining.

The Christmas party with my university friends was okay.  It wasn't as bad as I thought, but that doesn't quite mean it was great.  There were so many kids there, the oldest being 6.  That's a lot of reminders that I'm just not in the same stage of life as they are.  That said, it was nice to hold a couple of them, fun to put a puzzle together with others, but it really sucked giving them back.  And because all those kids having bed times, it was all wrapped up at about 8:30.  Even lingering with another childless couple, we were home before 10.  Strange.

Mr. Lina and I had a good conversation on Sunday morning.  After I went to bed, he decided to watch a couple of movies that make him sad and he woke me up at 2am to cry together.  I'm glad he did.  Sometimes we need a good cry and a reason to open the dam and start the conversation.  I'm not saying it resolved anything, but the next morning we had a really good conversation about lots of kid related things.  It was good to hear where his thought process was going.  I'm generally ahead of him on that kind of thing so it can feel isolating when I'm ready to talk about something he's freaked out by because he hasn't had enough mulling time.

Sunday was D&D and then out to the movies with my two sister-in-laws.  I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with Christmas.  The movie was okay because we met up at Scot's place, I drove the three of us, Mr. Lina stayed to play video games with my brother.  My pregnant SIL was a little later arriving so there wasn't a ton of conversation or even time in line at the movies.  Scot's wife sat between us so I didn't have to talk to her during the movie either.  But then when the three of us were back at the apartment and she was asking for food and talking about how she used to love mushrooms and they just don't taste the same, all I could think was shut up.  Seriously.  Enough.  I don't want to hear it.  I want to pretend that nothing is happening and talking about it is messing up my illusion.  That's going to make for a great family dinner on Boxing Day when I want to punch her because she's pregnant and happy.

Sigh.  So therapy on Monday night, crazy times at work led to working after therapy.  Bowling last night and today I want to curl up and cry because I hate the paper work involved in my job.  It's like everyone knows the little part of the world that they do and doesn't understand what anyone else does.  So when you ask for the process, they can only give you a little snippet of what to do.  So you do it, and the next person says, oh no... it's not that simple, you can't do that in three bundles, each category needs to be done on its own.  It doesn't need to be that hard.  I am a consumer analyst, I want to analyze consumers. 

There is a picture of my Sorbetto from Saturday and a post about how I suck at bust darts, but I haven't had time to take the picture off the good camera yet.  Tonight I have to do laundry and relax, hopefully I can talk Mr. Lina into helping me with that.

Friday, December 9

Exploring Emotional Dressing

Already Pretty had a great post yesterday about the emotional wardrobe.  I found it thought provoking  because I do have days where I dress by emotions, both for better, for worse and for needing a boost.  After going back to work after my most recent miscarriage, I just wanted to feel safe.  I didn't realize until Thursday I wore black every single day that week.  I started with my huge, comfy, black sweater dress and went from there.  Colour gradually returned to my daily dress, but it was all black all the time for a week or so.


Typical work wear,  B5147 top, rest is RTW

Clothing that I made makes me feel good.  Assuming I'm not worried about the hem line being too short or some mistake or another that I know about, I feel pretty awesome in my own clothing.  If I need to feel super confident, then I reach for my clothing.  For work, most likely a dress.  I've had a few unsolicitations on this dress, although the facing at the neck can drive me batty if I'm in a fussy mood.  The one picture there is actually at my clients office.  A Toronto Raptor and a couple of dancers came, Primo isn't my client, but let me tell you, I wasn't sure where to look or put my hand for the picture with Andrea Bargnani.  I know I'm short, but wow, he's freaking tall. 

For a presentation at my employers office where jeans are permitted all week, I think I have a new go-to outfit.  Dark jeans, a corduroy jacket and my satin Sorbetto.  My boots make me feel tall, the jeans generally make me feel slim, the jacket makes me professional and Sorbetto is the self sewn punch.  I need a lift tomorrow at the university Christmas party.  I'm not freaking out like I thought I would, but a little self made to brag about would be good (AND there will be pictures taken).

But there are other emotional aspects to dressing.  I feel a real attachment to my maternal grandmother, I can still hear her laughing in my head when I want to.  It always seemed to me she could do no wrong without being an actual perfectionist.  Her shoulders were narrower than mine are (or you better believe I'd have her lamb coat) so clothing just generally wasn't going to pass down.  Too much of my Dad's genes.  Jewellery, however, doesn't care.  Nor purses for that matter.
Nana's necklace, Mom's shawl, at my brother Scot's wedding (Casa Loma)

Thursday night my team had their Christmas party and I ran a cruise ship themed murder mystery.  I cast myself as the show girl and entertainer of the ship.  My directions were to wear what I'd wear on stage, the more sequins and glitter the better, a boa perhaps.  I bought this red dress two years ago and I've only worn it once.  I really like this dress, it's a heavy knit with a lining, the rouching is kind to my belly and hips, it's comfortable to wear.  But what makes me happy?  My Nana's jewellery.  I wore her earrings, her necklace and a cuff.  I love them all, it's like having her with me and don't have the opportunity to wear them all that often.  It's too fancy for most occasions, although I do wear the earrings for weddings.
Even "dead" I felt pretty in Nana's jewellery.

Sad that the death pose shows the gathering in the dress best.  How I wish I could say I made that dress.  Oh and the feather in my hair?  I cut part of a dollar store mardi gras mask (been in a box for 3 years at least), put a piece of cardstock in the middle of a bobby pin and glue gunned the pin/paper onto the feathers.  I must say, it stayed put really well.  Didn't really match my dress but I still got a few votes for "best dressed".

Another family item is that "boa".  It's actually a scarf I wear with my winter coat.  Mr. Lina's aunt knit it.  It's eyelash yarn, black and silver.  His aunt died from cancer a few years ago, it's lovely having some of her work around me too.  I didn't have many opportunities to get to know her, she and her family lived in Kelowna, BC.  Distance and family rifts made it hard to get to know that side of the family.  Fortunately a few fences were being mended just about the time I met Mr. Lina's family.  She died far too young, her husband maybe two years later.  Face to face, I only met her twice, but both occasions were fortunately a few days so it was quality time with lots of happy memories. 

Speaking of happy memories.  This is the twin set I was wearing when I met Mr. Lina.
Now this picture is going back to Christmas 2005, we'd been married a year and a half.  I'm pretty sure this is New Years Eve at a friends house.  That is clearly not my first glass of wine, although I think I'm looking at someone off camera which isn't helping.  Anyhoo, this is another shirt that gives me a lift.  Mr. Lina is a fan of this particular outfit.  I usually feel pretty sexy in this shirt because I remember the power it had across an auditorium floor.  I've stolen the pattern from it, but I made it from silly shiny fabric that was a PITA to sew, we don't go too many places where a liquid silver tank top would be appropriate...



Wednesday, December 7

It's suddenly very warm...

I have decided to take today off of work for a mental health day.  They call them personal days at work because they don't care if it's you, your kid, or your car that is sick, don't lie just take the day.  It's a good policy in my mind.

One of the reasons that I think today is a good day is that stress has moved into my sleep.  When my stress levels get high, I have very vivid dreams that lead to sleep walking short distances and talking in my sleep.  A reoccurring dream the past few years has been that for some reason (this part changes), people will be coming into my bedroom (generally it is actually Mr. Lina coming to bed after me).  This poses a problem because we sleep naked more often than not and I don't want them to see me naked.  So I walk over to my cupboard to find pj's.  I usually wake up at about this point, sometimes the compulsion to wear pj's is too much to ignore even if I'm awake enough to realize what's going on so I just put something on.  Only once have I woken up surprised to see I was wearing pj's. 

Last night I had another variation on this dream.  People were going to be coming to me or looking to find me, not sure which or why, and again I was naked.  In my dream, Mr. Lina was a girl, but I remember thinking that "she" was asleep so as long as I was quiet, she wouldn't see me naked.  I went to the bathroom, peed, put on my house coat and went back to bed.  However my house coat is a fair bit warmer and more cumbersome than most pj's.  I was too hot, I couldn't roll over.  It never crossed my mind that I was being silly to just take the damn thing off, I just kept trying to adjust the blankets to make it work.  Sigh.  More dreams came out of the restless sleeping, but they are slipping away from my memory.  Overall, not a good quality sleep.

So, plans for today are fluid but may include:
-finishing the partially cut Sorbetto
-working on the tea towels (although I started one set, I think I can do better, other fabric is washed but not cut/hemmed)
-laundry - kind of a must, it's like an overflowing volcano of clothing in there
-groceries - again, much needed, out of many things including milk, bread has blue spots, and ingredients for dinner tonight
-nap
-tears - but the let it all out good kind, not the "I hope no one stops by my cubicle right now" kind
-de-cluttering - I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with crap in our bedroom and my sewing room, I'm not good at this so most likely to not happen unless I want to get angry (which again, isn't such a bad thing for a mental health day)
-reading blogs - success!  I've already read a few, and you all made me smile.

Monday, December 5

We will return to regular programming... soonish.

So things are not so happy in Seraphinalina-land (say that 3 times fast).  In perspective, of course everything is fine.  We're healthy, I have a freak hive at the moment but that's par for the course.  My period seems to be MIA and not for good reasons but I've also been bad at taking my medications so that could be to blame.  Finances are good, still employed, have food, have roof... yep, should be happy. 

I mentioned my brother (Clone) and SIL invited themselves over for dinner on Friday.  I have yet to be in their apartment.  I like to feed people, so I'm okay with that, but it did set of the spidey senses, and they were right.  My SIL is pregnant.  While I want to be happy for them, 4 days of off and on crying is telling me I'm not.  I don't want to say too much because they might at some point find out about this blog, but let's just say it's hard.  Really hard. 

Okay, I need an outlet too, I can always hide a post later, right?  So the problem has a few layers.
1.  They are planning on moving to the Northwest Territories in January (roughly 4,500 km away depending on your route, that's about 2,800 miles, no more Friday night dinners).
2.  They are moving because neither have full time employment.  Somehow this will be easier in a city with an estimated population of 3,648 than the largest city in Canada.  I will give them points that cost of living will be lower.
3.  He's 6 years younger than me and she's another crazy age gap to him.  I try not to think about her specific birth year because it reminds me I'm getting old in a biological sense (not that I'm upset about aging, I like my whites). 
4.  Family events have always been baby free.  I never had to psyche myself up for them like I do for any event with friends (except Mother's Day).  Now there is no safe holiday.  None. 
5.  I don't want to feel like crap every time I see her.  She's a lovely, wonderful person who would feel terrible if she really knew how much this is going to hurt. 

We did go to see our therapist last Monday (prior to the news).  It's even more clear to me that I'm the one that is struggling and I'll be going for alternating Mondays for a while.  Mr. Lina just doesn't know what to say or how to listen because it's the same thing over and over.  And it is, but it's not.  I was crushed with our first chemical pregnancy.  Yes, I wanted to be pregnant and I wanted kids, but I had no skills with grief to deal with that loss.  Now I feel like I have the skill set to deal with grief, but this is just ongoing sadness, I can't just fix it.  I had a good day at work today.  I didn't even read blogs, crazy.  And then I got into the car to drive home and promptly started crying as soon as I was on the highway.  WTF?  I felt fine all day.

My therapist asked if I had taken time off work, maybe I should consider a mental health day.  I still have 3 sick days for the year.  It's in the back of my head since she mentioned it.  We'll see how tomorrow goes, maybe she's got a good point.  Stay home, sew up more Sorbettos and cry.  Yeah, that sounds pretty tempting right about now.

Saturday is Christmas with my friends.  I'm not sure I can do it.  All of them have kids except the friend who got married in October.  One is pregnant.  Last year Mr. Lina didn't go with me, he couldn't face 3 pregnant women.  I had a friend pick me up, I knew I'd cry the whole way both directions or balk if I went on my own.  They were my best friends through university and after but I feel the weight in my chest just thinking about going.  So this year I rsvp'd for just me and when I mentioned it he feels compelled to go.  I'm not sure what's worse.  I mean, I want him there particularly while I feel so sad in general, but I don't like thinking of making him go.  I hate how this makes my world smaller. 

I did cut out a third Sorbetto, well, the front piece.  Didn't quite get to the back when people arrived for D&D on Sunday.  Has anyone tried it in a knit?  This is fabric out of my mom's discard pile.  It's a weird somewhat sheer knit.  I'm not overly fond of the fabric and I have to do something about the sheer factor.  I figure it's good to test out the fit in a knit.  If I don't like it I haven't lost much but my time and thread.

Thursday, December 1

New Orleans Part 3 - Sencha day

I figured my last NOLA post was getting a little long but there was still one more day - and my only self stitched day.  Seriously, clearly I wasn't thinking of that angle when I packed.  We didn't take pictures and I've already told those stories, this was the last tourist day.

Sunday was about catching the last couple of sights we missed - and mostly of the French Quarter walking around variety.  We had a lovely breakfast at the Rib Room with the same waiter as on the Natchez.  Bill is fantastic, gave us a tour of the private dining rooms below. 


Bill!  At the Rib Room - seriously ask for Bill.

We also got to go up to the roof of the hotel.  What a view...

Then it was off to walk our breakfast off.  Mr. Lina had read about cornstalk fence in our little guide book.



Imagine having to take that yellow can of paint around to paint the corn?  Close up it's pretty clear there are many layers of paint to that fence.  It's certainly original.

Bill gave us directions to find Francis Ford Coppala's house, so we HAD to walk by to see.  Mr. Lina is a movie fanatic, so he was pretty jazzed to see it even if nothing was going on.  Apparently he rents it out when he's not using it, aimed more for housing cast & crew.  It's a bit out of our budget.  ;)

60 day minimum to rent from FFC.

Our meandering took us to Jean Lafite's for a drink and Armstrong Park on our way to Treme.  We loved the HBO series, although we still have to watch season 2.  For me, it really grounded what I was seeing, thinking of where Davis or Antoine lived or played...  When we got to Treme, there was a parade.  Good timing.

Treme has a mix of houses that are well cared for and fixed up and some that still have a lot of damage I can only assume is from Katrina.


Then to the Mint.  The mint also hosts a display on jazz and Preservation Hall in particular.  It's a bit odd to share a building, but well worth a visit.  Actually, I could have listened to the guy at the desk for a whole lot longer.  He lived through Katrina and while we didn't ask about it, he was happy to tell his perspective.  He had been in the navy, didn't know how to swim, but seeing the world, he knew they were poor.  Prior to Katrina, he said NOLA was a place you could be poor and not know it.  After...  The illusion was gone.  He has 3 fears, high water (he can't swim), snakes, and dead bodies.  He saw all three with Katrina and spent 6 days in the Superdome because he didn't have the resources to leave.  Sadly, other people arrived at that point and so he went back to doing his job and we went off to listen to music and read about Preservation Hall.
Exhibit for Preservation Hall

Happiest tuba player ever when we were at Preservation Hall.
For our last dinner, we went back to the Crescent City Brew House to have crazy huge oysters.  I wore my black polka dot Lekala 5432 out for dinner and got an unsolicitation.  It was quite lovely and we took pictures of the oysters, but not of each other.  We really should ask staff to take pictures of us while on vacation.

Now that I look at the pictures, you only have one of me wearing Sencha and you don't really see much.  It was a warm day, but I was wearing a sweater most of the time. 
Sadly, one of my covered buttons came uncovered.  It's not pretty having a silver button in between all the pretty purple ones.  I remember thinking after doing them I should have put a little glue down just to be sure they stay put.  Lesson learned for next time.

I need to get Mr. Lina to do a little photo shoot for me so I can post my new Sorbetto's.  I have been wearing them a lot, for being more summery, I'm actually making them work into my winter wardrobe.  I'm tempted to make a third, but looking through my fabric stash, nothing really says Sorbetto.  Ah well.  Not a lot of time to sew in the next couple of days anyhow.  My brother and SIL are coming for dinner Friday, Kev Corbett (recent winner of Nova Scotia Musician of the Year and veteran of my basement) is playing in Oakville tonight so I'd like to support him.  Saturday we're off to the Christmas Tree Hunt...  Maybe Sunday I'll sew.  Nope, D&D.  Sigh.  One day I will get back in that room.

Tuesday, November 29

Busy, busy, busy

As noted in the Thursday post, things have been busy chez Seraphinalina. 

House concert went really well, highest attendance since our first show (a free show because we foot the bill).  Coco Love Alcorn is just a wonderfully warm person, her husband is charming, but Ellie stole the show for Mr. Lina and I.  Ellie was still a baby when she arrived, but she left a toddler.  It was clear that she was a good cruiser and she didn't really need your fingers to walk, but she just wasn't walking on her own.  At some point after the show, she was cruising around the living room furniture and just walked from the love seat to the coffee table.  I was sitting across on the sofa and her dad was beside her in a chair and I could see his eyes widen, but it seemed that Ellie didn't know what she did.  So she did it again going back to the love seat.  Coco saw that time and she just about freaked to see it.  We all started clapping for her and then it clicked that no one helped her.  After that, she looked so proud as she literally did laps between the dining room/kitchen/hallway.  It was really special to be a part of such a milestone.

Have you ever heard of a Stag & Doe?  Buck & Doe?  Wedding Social (Manitoba)?  I've heard in Thunder Bay they call it a shag, which makes me giggle and I'm not even from the UK. It seems every region has their own name for this kind of event and it's a bit more rural than urban.  It's essentially a fund raiser for a wedding, cash bar, door prize, a couple of games.  In rural areas, it works better because the social becomes the 2nd bar in town for the night and people who don't necessarily know the couple will come because it's something to do.  Friday night we got sucked into helping out at one.   This will sound odd, but we're pretty good friends with Mr. Lina's ex girlfriend, not like best friends forever, but enough that Mr. Lina ended up being the DJ and I ended up running a mini-putt game.  Another late night.

I was feeling pretty grumpy leading up to the Stag & Doe.  I didn't know what I wanted to wear, I was tired, I was sad.  Ellie was like a little light in the house and it was gone.  I had come home from work early because I was really sad.  I was a trooper once we got there, but it did clarify for me that the vacation to New Orleans was like hitting a pause button on all the crappy feelings I have. 

I'm going to be a bit new age-y here, if it's going to make you laugh, well, I'm a bit of a skeptic too, but curiousity gets me.  I want to remember some of this in a year from now, so it's as good a place as any to record it and my thoughts.

Saturday I helped my mom at a art/craft/wellness show.  It was an odd mix having alternative health care on the upper level and art/craft on the lower level.  Someone was doing tarot readings and I thought that was worth checking out.  There were a ton of tarot readers in New Orleans, but being so touristy, it just felt too... tourist trap to me.  I have a pocket deck of tarot cards and I really don't know why I bought them, curiousity I suppose.  I think what works about tarot is that it's your own interpretation of what you see.  If all it does is make you think, that's not such a bad thing. 

She asked if I had a specific question, I was a bit torn.  I don't want to hear I won't have children, I could ask about work...  I just couldn't find the words so I said no.  She said let's draw 4 cards to check your energy and what's going on.

She had another deck of pictures, not tarot, three cards went above these.  So out of this, the hermit shows that I need help, a counsellor, guidance.  The 10 of cups (the rainbow) is part of wish and the card above was also about wish fulfillment, she asked what it is that I want because she thought this was a strong indication I'd get it.  I said that picture is what I want, children.  The two middle cards are rods, the 8 of rods indicates travel.  She felt a pull to the west coast, I have no clue what that means, I said I have family in Manitoba, but she stuck to her feelings, Manitoba wasn't far enough west.  The 9 of rods is suppose to be about courage, but what struck me was the look on the guys face.  It's like Mr. Lina looking back at me saying, yeah... I dunno that I'm up for this.  I have more confidence in his parenting than he does.

She also commented (prior to me saying much about children) that the above card  in the centre had to do with medical issues.  Did I know why medical issues would be associated with children?  Sigh.  Yes, I do.  Now some of this would be led by my comments, but her feelings were that there will be two boys, close in age and more likely by adoption than birth.  One will have a strong attachment to animals, need to have animals and care for them.  The other will like collecting rocks, he will feel an attachment to the ground, feel comforted by the vibrations that the rocks have.  I suppose we'll just have to wait and see about that.

So I went home, told Mr. Lina about it and apparently he liked to collect rocks as a kid.  Every beach they went to, he liked picking up rocks, had a rocker to sort them.  I didn't know that myself.

Sunday we went to a house party, a nice change from hosting.  We were actually in Reader's Digest a year or so ago for an article about house concerts.  We just happened to be the closest Home Routes venue to the author.  This led to the connection between us.  6 a year are too much for them to commit to, so they occasionally take Home Routes people on their Monday off or book artists.  All the way from California, I got to hear Kevin Quinn from Boho Chapeau.  Good show, very personable and has a song about losing his dad that made us all cry.  It's not on an album yet, but there is a live recording of Kevin performing.


Thursday, November 24

Crazy day coming up

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers.  It's business as usual here.

An Amazon package arrived last night.  This is not surprising in my house, Mr. Lina is a frequent customer.  But he needed to tell me that my Christmas present was in there.  Why, I don't know, I would have ignored it assuming there was some Cthulhu or board game something or other.  You know what I think it is (given that it's the only thing I asked for - with reminders when it did release)? 


Tee hee.  The box (still unopened by Mr. Lina) is sitting in the living room right now laughing at me.  Bah.  As excited as I am about getting this for Christmas, I think I'd rather not know it was in the house at this moment.

Today is going to be a crazy day.  I will get back to Part 2 of New Orleans (there is much more food to come) and I have TWO completed Sorbettos to post about (wearing one at the moment), but, it's crazy day and this post is just to let off some steam while I wait for data to run. 

I'm going to try a little good news/bad news...
Bad news...  couldn't sleep last night, too much to do today, too much on my mind.  Went to bed at 12 (about a half hour later than usual) but it was 1 before I fell asleep and Mr. Lina and I were both awake at 4am. 
Good news... when I did finally decide to not hit snooze again, I actually felt awake.  Sometimes it takes a while before I really feel alert.

Bad news...  ham was still frozen this morning.  It was suppose to go in the slow cooker.
Good news... gave me time to make chicory coffee (new addiction since NOLA) and put my lunch together while it was defrosting in the microwave.

Bad news... car needed gas, late start to the day was even later.
Good news...  Took the toll highway to try and speed up my trip to work, so it was at least more enjoyable than the first half of my drive usually is.

Bad news...  accident closer to my workplace, so any time gained was subsequently lost.
Good news... no real upside, I was just late.  But I did get to work early enough to get one of the last 3 parking spots in my usual lot.

Bad news... forgot my pass at home, must be in my other coat.
Good news... it's warm enough today to wear my light blue leather coat that doesn't sit well done up.  They say it's going to be 9C today.  Pretty impressive for November.

Bad news...  I don't enjoy dealing with the person I am doing project work for today.
Good news...  I'm going to be learning about restaurants for the project, so it should be vaguely interesting, a change from consumer packaged goods anyhow.  And the sooner it's done the sooner I'm heading home because...

Good news...  Coco Love Alcorn is coming to my house tonight along with her husband and her 14 month old daughter.  There's going to be a baby (well, toddler) in my house tonight.  Mr. Lina is very excited about that.  There is no bad news that goes along with that (well, until the toddler leaves).


The trumpet playing baby!  Multi talented, she plays the keytar on the back cover

So even with crappy stuff blocking my way today, it's going to be a freakishly good day because I say so.  Coco is awesome, there will be toddlers in the house, we have over 20 people saying they are coming tonight so I'm not stressing about attendance and it's one of our guests birthdays so there will be a surprise cake.  :)



Wednesday, November 23

New Orleans, part deux

Mr. Lina packed a lot into the short time we were there. The day after we booked the hotel, the Stephen King fan club whatever sent him an email saying he would be in NOLA when we were there.  So he bought tickets.  So one day we took the street car out to Octavia Books to pick up our tickets.  This gave us a reason to take the street car, visit the garden district, a cemetary and then push on to Audubon Park.

Mr. Lina at Anne Rice's old house.

Wild turkey at Audubon Park




A few houses were still decorated for Halloween


Mr. Lina at Audubon Park
I liked the street car.  For $3 you could ride all day and step out of the French Quarter.  The St Charles line runs through the middle with two lanes of traffic on either side.  Some people are not so smart, forgetting that there is actually traffic and there is possibly another street car coming.  It's also very well used, the cars were packed most of the times we were taking it.  Fortunately not so when this happened:

Street car vs Mercedes


No one was hurt, the fire truck just happened to be driving a few cars behind the Mercedes and we were about 2 blocks from where we were going to get off anyhow.  May I say in a street car vs. mercedes situation, the street car will always win.

The Lafayette cemetary was sad.  Beautiful, but oh so heart wrenching.  We weren't on a tour so I was just reading the plaques and wandering.  So many children died so very young.  There may have been some leaky moments before we left.  I don't think I'd seek out a cemetary like that again unless I wanted the emotional tidal wave that goes with it.



Saturday we split our time in three parts, French Quarter, then the WWII museum and finally the Stephen King reading.  First stop was Muffaletta's for breakfast from Central Grocery.  I can't eat the olive spread, so I really can't comment on the true Muffaletta but the bread, meat and cheese were tasty and Mr. Lina really liked his full version.  Good thing we went at 10:45 for that, by the time we walked back from eating on the boardwalk, it was lined up down the street.

Next stop was the Museum of Pharmacology.  Small but pretty cool museum, I thought it was about the right price at $4.  It looked at medical practices in general and specifically in NOLA.  There was a section about prohibition and alcohol and how labelling laws impacted a lot of "tonics" which were alcohol based.


Allergy testing equipment.
 
Whole section on alcohol as medicine.



The WWII museum was pretty cool.  We could have spent more time there but we were running out of day.  It's interesting to see a different perspective on the war.  Omaha beach was not something I remember spending a lot of time talking about, and in kind, I only saw the word Canada twice.  This picture amused me.  To hide the actual plans to enter France, they had fake planes, tanks and vehicles in England to make it look like they would attack the closest point to England at Calis.  This is 4 soldiers moving an inflatable tank.


We cut things pretty close getting back to the hotel to change and off to Stephen King.  There was a restaurant near the reading we figured we would have dinner there.  As we got off the street car, the line for the show was literally out the building and around 2 side streets.  Food was more important than the line so we went to Pascal's Manale and both had their signature dish, BBQ shrimp.  No idea why they call it that, those shrimp never saw a BBQ, but my goodness was it tasty.  I should have caught more of the table in that picture for scale, the shrimp were HUGE!


That is not a dessert bowl.


Served with a bib for good reason.


View from the balcony of Stephen King.
Stephen King is really great to listen to.  We saw him in Toronto when the book about a town in a dome came out.  It was an interview with David Cronenberg so a different style than the NOLA reading.  He talked for a bit, covered a few FAQ's, read from the book then took questions from the audience.  Time went by in a blink. 
 We were pretty tired and not into a visit to Bourbon street that night.  So we took the ferry across to Algiers again with the good camera to take night time pictures that didn't suck.  It's such a pretty city from a distance.  There are a few more things to wrap up but this post is long enough.  I'll end with the skyline for now.






Monday, November 21

New Orleans Part 1

What a trip.  Mr. Lina has now moved pictures to an accessible place (his work laptop not being conducive to picture sharing but very good for backing up the pictures while we were away) so I can post about the trip.  I should have planned my packing around things I made, but alas, it's mostly RTW.

Mr. Lina has wanted to visit New Orleans for ages.  He did all the planning and researching for this, he had a full page of paper full of places to go, food to eat, hours they were open, notes about them (ie.  cemeteries less likely to be mugged), I was quite impressed.  It made it very easy to figure out what we were going to do for the day and string it together based on geography.  Quite a few places are closed on Mondays, limited or no hours on Sundays so some places could wait for Sunday and some couldn't. 

First stop was food.  We needed a late lunch after the flight and went to Mother's.  Mr. Lina had the Debris Po'Boy on the reco of our airport shuttle driver, I ordered fried fish (edit:  fried shrimp, I really did read this multiple times, I did not order fish) with rice & beans and turnip greens, but I got fried fish.  Whatever, no hives and it tasted fantastic.




Mother's pepper infused vinegar
 
 That evening we went to Bourbon Street.  Found it a bit like Niagara Falls, lots of neon, kinda tacky, total tourist trap, kinda feels like there is a con going on but you're okay with that because you chose to go.  3 for 1 drinks prior to 8pm are pretty common, I was hammered before 7:30. 
Busking to Atomic Dog
Bourbon St & Lucky Dog


Those boys there are busking  just at Bourbon & Canal St and you can hear them a block away, brass travels.  The amusing part was that they were playing Parliament, Atomic Dog.  Bet most people wouldn't recognize that, but Mr. Lina pegged it.

After 3 for 1 pours and a rum & coke that looked like iced tea, we did a little walking around and ended up at Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignet.  There were maybe 15 tables being used, pretty quiet.  Next morning, it looked like this.



Busy, but we didn't have to wait for a table, people were leaving at about the same rate they were arriving.  I was so glad we got our beignets on Wed/Thurs because Saturday morning it was a mad house with the line up around the outside of the building.



Have cafe, will travel.  We walked around the boardwalk, this is me in front of the steamboat Natchez.  We had dinner there that night.  Nice Dixieland jazz, good food, exceptionally accommodating to my allergies, they made catfish up just for me because I couldn't eat the buffet version. 


Then to the aquarium.  I was looking forward to this.  I love sharks, they freak me out but I'm just fascinated.



SHARKS!

He's coming to get me!




Aquarium tunnel, no sharks, just fish & rays.

Budgie making a break for it in my purse



Off we go for more sights..  We took the ferry across to Algiers and stopped in for lunch.  The guide book said the Dry Dock had great po'boys, but I can't say I was overly impressed, good, but the beer was better.  And this sign. 



It's getting to be my bedtime and before I'm charged for whining, I think I'll leave it at that.