Thursday, September 29

UFO #2

Last night I did step up to work on my second UFO.  I used Butterick 5147, I can't remember which dress view, I think the one with the wider skirt.  I have successfully done the top twice, tweaked it a bit as it gapes across the chest.  I figured I could do the dress.

My mom has been passing a lot of fashion fabric to me.  She hasn't sewn clothing for ages, most of this is from between 1970-1984.  Past that she was sewing as a business (occasionally for the three of us) instead of herself and it gradually was easier for her to buy clothing for us than make.  She gave me 4 pieces of somewhat sheer fabric a few months ago and this boarder print was my favourite.


I am honestly not sure what I was thinking when I decided to pair this pattern with this print.  The dress is lined and being sheer, that works well.  I have some stretchy beige fabric that will work well as lining.  But it has a back zip, it's too long, I was so worried about centering the fabric, I didn't think about where the flowers were going.  I was trying to puzzle this out last night and in following the directions, managed to create a Chinese finger puzzle by sewing the neck closed and the arms and trying to turn it out like the directions.  In the directions, there is a back zipper, so the back pulls through in two halves, not so with my version. 

Such a pretty boarder.
 I can fix this, I will fix this.  I will figure out how to put in a side zipper.  But not yesterday.  Not today.  I am realizing this became a UFO because I needed distraction and steps to follow, and this requires creative thinking.  That's just not me today.

I was at my parents house for a family dinner two weeks ago and I was given more of Mom's stash.  It's woolly and scratchy, definitely needs a lining.  The colour is a little more orange than I typically wear but I could work with that I think.  There isn't much, about a metre, I think it's going to have to be a skirt when motivation hits.


I am having a real Jamiroquai week.  I don't listen to a whole lot of truly current pop/dance/whatever, but I have a huge love for Jamiroquai.  I first heard Emergency on Planet Earth on my first day moving into residence at university, thought it sounded like Stevie Wonder on acid (and I loves me Stevie Wonder).  So, I end this post with a video.  I love the funky dance stuff, but some of the slower songs don't get the attention they deserve.  So Butterfly it is, it's a long version, but oh so pretty.

Wednesday, September 28

I'm melting... and stress

It's hot again here.  I wore my rayon Sencha blouse and it was a good choice, but my fingers are still sweating because the computer is warm on top of the overly warm room.

Tonight, Mr. Lina is having a friend over to play guitar with.  Ever have your husband "steal" your friends?  I worked with him at my favourite client office, he was kind of my work husband, we went for coffee/tea every morning, talked about all the same gaming/fantasy/sci-fi stuff Mr Lina was exposing me to...  Then he resigned from my client.  Mr Lina was happy, it meant he didn't have to watch his behaviour because he went into friend category, not client.  He's part of our D&D group and comes over to jam more weeks than not.

Net-net to me is time in my sewing room tonight while I stay out of their way.  I'm hoping to tackle the two UFO dresses. 

In other life news, we're off to see my specialist this weekend for our review appointment (seriously, 3:45 on a Saturday, when does this man not work?).  We should cover if they learned anything with the "natural" attempts to get me pregnant and hopefully he will have some ideas from the US about what to do with my last 4 frozen embryos.  To me, there isn't much to stress about yet.  There are three ways this goes (although he's surprised me many times before):

A.  He has a plan.  Different medications, a different strategy.  I like A.  Let's get this show on the road.
B.  There is no point in me doing this, it will always end in miscarriage.  Surrogate mother is the best way.  Right now, I am not interested, although I have been offered the use of someones uterus (you want to talk about awkward wedding conversations...).  He mentioned this option in February, but when we said no, he was very supportive and felt it was a good choice but he needed to present the option.
C.  More freaking testing.  I'm not a fan of this anymore, he's had nearly 6 years, if they don't know now, then I don't know what's left. 

Mr Lina, however, is worried.  I'm getting daily baby pictures from him, kitten videos, kitten and baby videos, videos of kittens walking over pregnant bellies, descriptions of babies he sees out for lunch...  It's like the only words he has we have both heard before so everything comes out in pictures.  I am okay with that, it's some form of communication and I oddly understand it.  It is far better than pretending that nothing is going on, which may be what I'm doing.

One of the reasons I sew is stress.  When my brain gets wrapped up in being sad, circling negative thoughts and obsessing over past/current loss, sewing stops it.  All I have to focus on is the next seam, the next instruction, the next stitch.  Starting projects can be hard, but I can't think about the rest of it when I get going.  I come out of my sewing room with something finished so I feel accomplishment. 

Initially, I made yeast breads coming out of failure - soft pretzels, cinnamon buns, pizza dough (had to start somewhere), focaccia (side note, spell check thinks this should be cowcatcher or quackish, um, no), etc.  I think some of these very homemaker type activities fill a gap of failure.  It is subconsciously like I feel failure as a woman that I can't get and stay pregnant, but I can do these other "womanly" things like sewing and baking bread (sadly this did not extend into house cleaning).  I would go crazy to do things from absolute scratch.  I have had multiple cake disasters because I felt compelled to not just buy a cake for a family event, or maybe do something from a box and buy icing.  No... it needs to be non-chocolate for Dad, halal for my brother, green because my mom likes green or whatever million constraints - add something complicated like a chocolate collar and three tiers... and wonder why I'm a freaking basket case before we are out the door.  Now I try to recognize this behaviour for the craziness that is and redirect it into something that won't set me up for tears.

The good thing about the appointment on Saturday is two fold.  We will have some sort of plan which is always a good thing, and I always feel better after seeing my specialist.  Somehow we talk about very sad events, and I leave his office feeling better.  He is a miracle worker just for that. 

Tuesday, September 27

Sewing Guide

It's Tuesday and that means bowling night.  Hopefully we'll have the teams set this week and I bowl better than last week.  Oh it was a rough night last Tuesday.  I must really like this sport when I go back year after year and still suck.

I came across a new to me blogger, Living in Red and in my usual fashion, started reading every entry.  She has this little tutorial for a simple pressing guide that I am going to have to make at first opportunity.  Sadly, today is garbage day so my recycling bin is empty, but the next time I have cardboard available I'm making one of these (maybe I'll have cereal for dinner to hurry this along, Mr Lina is curling so it's just me on Tuesdays).  How has this never crossed my mind?

I can't wait to leave work today.  It is a sauna in here.  I'm seriously going to need a shower before leaving the house again.  It is often hot here and last week was brutal, their A/C is broken, again.  Apparently it's so old they don't make parts for it so they are waiting for a refurbished part to arrive.  None of the windows open so they set up 6' fans.  There is a constant humming from the fans like a propeller plane.  I figured I would plan ahead and wear my rayon polka dot dress that I said I thought was too summery a few weeks ago.  Not too summery at all today.  I'll probably need my sweater when I leave.

Okay, 4:35.  Good enough.  I'm done here.

Monday, September 26

And the stash continues to grow

I really have to get sewing.  It's much faster to buy than to sew, but what's a girl to do when Fabricland has a 50% off sale and I have time to kill before a party?  The party Friday was around the corner from my clients office.  Given that Mr. Lina didn't want to come, I figured I'd stay at work a bit late, kill some time at Fabricland, add a stop to the liquor store for a house warming gift and I'd be on time. 

I was good, at least, by my standards.  I only bought 3 pieces of fabric.  First, plum stretch satin.  I have wide stretch elastic that will match this perfectly for a bra.  I bought 1m, it's enough for some pretties.  This picture has a bra I made (and loved until the front clasp broke) and you can see how much better this satin will match the lace than what I used before.

Second, soft grey corduroy.  It has a little stretch and it's oh so soft to touch.  I bought 2m.  I blame Lazy Subcultural Girl for this purchase because of her lovely skirt.  I showed my husband and he said pants and I thought Clover... so we'll see, there is a pant buzz starting to work at the back of my head.


Third, a knit.  Look at this, this is a Seraphinalina fabric.  All purple and print-like.  It has nice drape and feel to it.  2m again.


So end of shopping trip.  All told, the bill was $45 for the fabric and fray check (also 50% off).  Not too shabby.

This is the fabric for my unloved dress that will likely be a tunic.  Nice, I'm not saying I don't like it, but I don't feel the excitement that I do about my purple fabric.


And this is a fabric I bought a while ago and didn't post.  It has pin tucks running through it.  It's cotton, a nice shade of burgundy (another favourite colour of mine) and it's a little narrow.  I'll have to measure it when it's out of the wash.  I dunno what I'm going to do with it, but it was on super clearance so I wasn't turning it down.  I'll find the right project one of these days.  That spool of thread is actually red red, the fabric is darker than the picture shows.

Sunday, September 25

Joy Division

It's been a busy weekend here in Lina-ville.  We took advantage of the beautiful weather and went hiking both Saturday and Sunday.  Friday night I was reminded that I'm not 25 and under any more at a coworkers house warming.  I had a good time, but beer pong and flip cup are not common occurances at my house parties these days.  Although I know there are still some people who over indulge at our house, they generally don't leave proof of this at the end of the driveway.

Mr Lina likes a lot of influencial music that is just noise to me, typically, he knows where that line is and goes to those shows on his own.  He was a rather angry person in his high school/university days, so a lot of angry music takes him to his "roots".  I like Culture Club and Corey Hart for the same nostalgic reasons as he likes Ministry (or their side project Revolting Cocks) or KMFDM.  So I was a bit surprised when there was an "OMG PETER HOOK IS COMING TO TORONTO!!!!" email (I may be exaggerating) and he bought tickets for us, my manager (who shares taste in music with Mr Lina) and a friend of his from high school (there are many Manitobans among us).  I had no clue who Peter Hook was, but I trust him.

Peter Hook was a guitarist in Joy Division.  Joy Division had a couple of albums under their belt, a big following in the UK, success in Europe and about to go to the US.  They would have broken big.  But, their lead singer commited suicide the night before their plane was to take off for the North American tour.  This was his second attempt at suicide.  He was struggling with his mental health, epilepsy, felt the pressure of the band, his failing marriage...  lots of factors.  The remaining members felt they couldn't record as Joy Division any more and became New Order.

The concert was awesome.  Truly.  Opening acts were okay, well themed to the music we would be hearing.  When Peter Hook hit the stage, my feet already hurt from standing (another reminder I'm not 25 anymore).  The music was good, I start moving along to it.  I don't know any of the music, but it was good.  Then he left, we cheer, he comes back for encore.  The music gets more dancable, I'm totally grooving along now, again, still don't know anything.  Then he leaves, I figure well, that was good.  But no house lights.  He came back AGAIN.  Now everyone is dancing, crowd is happy and friendly and dancing up a storm.  And then he closed with a song I do know. 

Mr Lina was right in his excitement and taking me along.  I was so hyper from dancing and moving, driving home at 2am, I felt 25 for a little while.

Friday, September 23

Friday rambling

Oh it's going to be a long day here.  So far it's off to a good start with a decent commute, but the to-do list is long and it needs to be done today.  I'm going to ramble a bit to clear out the cobwebs before I focus on work.

In cleaning up my sewing room, I found two UFO's.  One is from Stretch & Sew 1595.  It's a pattern I have inherited from my mom.  The pictures on my pattern are a bit different, but it's the same pattern as this:
Courtesy of http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/Stretch_%26_Sew_1595
I made View C without the shoulder ties in early 2010.  I get a lot of compliments on this dress at work.  The neck as drafted is really high and the facing huge, I cut it lower.  I made a belt from 5" elastic that I put over the elastic waist.  Here is my first version of it with a tie belt from another top.  The other change is that I cut it too short forgetting it would drape, there is a 2" tube to make a bubble hem at the bottom.  It's a bit lost in the print but it moves nicely.  Sorry the picture is so small. 
I cut out another version, a geometric print in blue, brown, white and black.  The issue is the neckline.  I guess I tried cutting it lower, then it kept going off centre.  I remember putting it to the side a few months ago, I haven't quite got back to it.  The back of the neck wasn't sitting right, it's still not quite centred, the facing was driving me crazy.  Well, I futzed around with it last night, cut off the annoying facing, it's going to take some creative work to make this right.  I did not find the solution last night.

I guess part of the issue is that I don't love the fabric.  It's nice, but brown/blue just isn't that exciting the way purple is so putting it to the side was easy.  I'm also debating about making it more tunic length and making it a casual top rather than a dress for work.  The lower neckline would be okay if I do that.  I was talked into buying tights when shopping with a friend in March.  I have yet to find a way to style them that I like.  My tops just aren't quite low enough for me to feel comfortable in the outside world. 

The other UFO I'll talk about separately, but the issue here is the opposite.  I love the fabric, it's from my mom's stash from the 70's I guess and I'm afraid of screwing it up further. 

Well, that's enough stalling, time to get stuff done.

Wednesday, September 21

Kwik Sew, what were you thinking?

Any one else fans of Pattern Junkie?  I find her writing style hilarious.  I've had tears streaming down my cheeks from some of her entries.  I have sent links to Mr. Lina because I couldn't keep it to myself.  I bow to her on what to say about this pattern.

I know Rooibos is the next project on my mind, but I am tired tonight, not up to working on the muslin etc.  I figured I'd go through my fabric and maybe sort it into some order rather than just which box had the most space when I bought it.  I also looked through my patterns, there are a few gaps in my closet, I thought a flip through would be helpful.

Two years ago I bought a cute little top/dress pattern and made it up for a couple of close friends when they had babies.  Based on that, Mom figured she could download a lot of her patterns for kids on me.  I hate saying no, but I try to pretend these aren't in my collection most of the time, I don't really want to sew for other peoples kids.  Which would be why I never noticed this:


Who on earth thought it was appropriate to pose a little girl in her slip like a playboy centre fold?!?  I get that you end up with some weird poses to hide their chest with the half slips (although how tiny is that kitten?  is it a toy? and where did everyones feet go?), but then you drape the little girl with that creepy pose.  Kwik Sew must have been the pedophile equivalent of the lingerie section of Sears catalogue for pre-teen boys.  I looked to see if Pattern Junkie already had this and I don't see 238, but I do see Kwik Sew Shenanigans

I can't believe I have had this pattern for 2 years and only noticed it now. 

Tuesday, September 20

How bowling shaped my life

There isn't going to be any sewing going on tonight or any Tuesday night until May.  My bowling league has started up again and I'm happy for it.  I am in a 5 pin bowling league, it's a Canadian version of bowling.  Scores are higher (perfect game is 450 vs 300 for 10 pin), the pins have different values (5+3+3+2+2), the balls are smaller but it also means that you need to be more precise on where the ball goes to take them all out without punching the headpin.  Wikipedia has a good entry, although there are one or two terms I don't use (clean game, full set, and I'd be more likely to say a 5 bagger for 5 strikes than a 5 pack, could be regional differences).

I grew up bowling, Dad registered my brother S and I when he was old enough, so I was maybe 8 and he was 5.  Bowling and swimming were the two things I was fairly good at, and my dad took us for public swims but he couldn't really coach me on flip turns and butterfly.  Bowling is really our bonding sport.  As a teen, I wanted my dad with me at tournaments, it was almost weird when my mom came for provincials.  This was a Dad-Daughter thing in my mind.  I am just 5' and a half inch, I've always been one of the shortest in the class and easily intimidated.  Dad would shake me out of my nerves quietly making fun of other people so I didn't see them as threatening.  Tall girls became "Amazon Woman" and I'd end up giggling instead of feeling scared at the approach.  It's maybe not great to teach your kids it's okay to make fun of people, but it sure worked for me and I felt powerful when I could get over my nerves and bowl better than them.

Dad stopped bowling at one point, I think it's mostly because of money.  Single income and 3 kids resulted in a lot of compromise in my house growing up.  It worked out to being more time with him for me because my brothers were in scouting that night, so it was just he and I to hang out.  Dad went back to bowling while I was in university, it was an easy way to start a conversation before he would assume I wanted to talk to mom (and why do fathers do that?  yes, I want to talk to her, but you can chat with me before passing the phone in 2.3 seconds).  As soon as I knew I'd be living in the same place and have enough income (it's a long season) to do it, I went back.  He got into the habit of phoning me on Wednesdays at work to see how I did. 

My parents actually met because of bowling.  I love this story so I will share.  My mom was going on a date with Warren.  She wasn't keen on him, conversation was mostly about work (teachers) and he didn't seem to appreciate her.  Still, she went out with him Dec 6, 1970.  It was busy and they were seated at a table by the exit.  My mom was struggling off and on with tonsillitis, she had them removed that January, and asked if they could be seated where it wasn't so drafty (this is Toronto in December).  They said they had no empty tables, but a gentleman was planning on leaving soon and was willing to share his table, if that was okay with them.  Mom said sure, it's not drafty, and there was my Dad.  He was stopping in for a drink prior to his bowling league Christmas party (he didn't make it).  My mom bowled, different league, but it was something to talk about other than teaching.  Get this, my mom won a tournament the year before, the prize being a trip to Montreal on the train, tickets to a Habs game, for a nominal fee you could go again the year after you won and she was planning on doing that.  Dad won the tournament that year, but the only reason he wanted to go was for the hockey game.  He grew up south of Montreal, the city wasn't that exciting to him.  Mom  danced with both men, Dad was sneaky and wrote his number in her matchbook and made sure her cab got her home safe.  She woke up to flowers and a proposal when she had her tonsils removed in January.  They got married that July.  My dad still has the ticket to the Christmas party he never attended and he brings her flowers every December 6th.  He's such a romantic who is still completely in love with my mom. 

Bowling also caused me to grow my hair. 

One December after the "Family Twosome" (kids bowl with parents, me with Dad, S with Mom, A was too little that year) we went out for dinner.  The washrooms were in the basement (really, this will tie into hair cuts).  We get there and S goes to the bathroom.  Then my youngest brother needs to go, Mom sends S down with A because he knows the way.  Then after all the drink refills (Chinese multicourse meal, time has passed), S goes back down to the bathroom.  Finally, my parents are settling the bill and I go downstairs, looking for the ladies room.  There was a hall in the basement and someone sweeping up.  He says "Wow, you go to the bathroom a lot" and I think, I haven't even made it there.. my eyes widen as I realize, he thinks I'm S...  Then he asks if I have a twin...  Sigh.  I was so crushed.  He thinks I looks 8 instead of 11, he thinks I'm a boy, he thinks I'm my brother, eeeewwww...  In his defence, we were both wearing the same orange shirt from bowling.  S and I got opposite genes so he's tall and I'm short.  This was his full height of 6' in Grade 8 where I topped out at 5' and a half inch.  At the time, he was probably the same height as me or just surpassing me.  Here is a picture of us from last year and our brothers wedding, I've got 2" heels on here.

Back to 1986, S had that 80's rat tail/near mullet look and I had short hair 'cuz I still went to Savvy's barber shop with Dad for hair cuts and Dad liked it short (still does).  It was the day, the specific moment, I decided to grow my hair.  It was a long time before I went downtown with Dad because that usually meant a visit to Savvy's and I didn't want to risk a boy hair cut ever again.

Who knew bowling could have so many life altering events associated with it?

Monday, September 19

Shame works

It appears that shame really does work.  You may have noticed my last post was proof of sewing going on, I did a little tidying.  I can't say I went through everything, but I did find a garbage bag of stuff to pitch and put away a few things to their proper homes.  Doesn't this look better?


It's not fantastic, but you can see my cutting table, the sewing machine table.  It's managable.  I don't mind a little clutter.

Sunday, September 18

Cheeky panties

I won't be modelling these for you, but trust me, they are aptly named as cheeky panties.  I like this style because they are sexy, comfortable (when the lace is right) and with only 2 seams dead easy to sew.

I stole the pattern from a RTW pair I bought.  They were okay, but the lace isn't all that stretchy or soft, so honestly, mine are better.  Looking them over, I realized that if you folded them in quarters, the two pieces were identical.  Ideally you want stretch lace elastic, at least 5" wide.  If you are smaller, the proportions may work out okay for 4.5", but I like even a little over 5".  The top part needs to be able to stretch enough to reach your hip measurement. 

The white pair are one of the original 3 pack of RTW, the purple is what I was making for myself.  The bride got a pair like this last week (and a black pair) but I didn't get pictures at the time. 
As mentioned, there are really only two seams, the front/back and then across at the crotch.  You need to cut two pieces of lace so they look like this.  One is folded in half and how I cut it, the other shows it opened up.  The third rectangle is for the crotch.  The RTW do it in a diamond tacked down, but I like the rectangle myself. 



It is important to look at where the pattern is ending on the lace when cutting, it's nice to have the flowers or whatever look symmetrical.

I've mentioned I don't have a serger, I use the overlock stick and foot.  The stitch on my machine is 19 and I've put a picture of my overlock foot.  It makes a huge difference in getting the fabric to line up right and not roll.  Because I am using a sewing machine, there really isn't a seam allowance to these, just the width of the stitching.  If you are using a serger and will be cutting as you go, you would need to add that on.


This is what it looks like with the front to back seam sewn, now there is just the little seam at the crotch left to sew. 

Fortunately I did a good job in matching the pattern.  This is going to be the front.  Sorry it's upside down, it's rotated in photobucket.

Now that the front is determined, it's time to add the cotton crotch.  I've used tshirts, but now I have a bit of ribbing I bought in black, white and pink to chose from.  It doesn't take much.  I have put the RTW and my version over my ham.  The RTW uses a diamond and tacks it down at the corners.  I like a larger rectangle and sew it all around.  Although it won't fray, I sew around the edges of the rectangle, I like the look and it keeps it from stretching out too much.  This something I do differently than RTW, they centre it on the crotch, but honestly, that's puts it further back than I think is ideal.  I put it 2/3rds to the front.  I folded mine over so you can see where the crotch seam is.

And the inside, all sewn down.
Once that is sewn down, the last thing to add is a little bow to the front and you are done.  Ta da!

Saturday, September 17

One Fine Day

One of the first independent folk/roots musicians that Mr. Lina and I became fans then friends of were The Undesirables.  They were our first house concert, Corin Raymond and Sean Cotton have both also played our basement for their solo work. 

This song is on Corin's first solo cd, but they wrote it together so they often play it as The Undesirables.  I'm afraid people are a bit noisy in the background in this video, but it's a fine performance.  If the noise distracts you, there is another video here: http://vimeo.com/1238038 but I couldn't figure out how to imbed it.



One of the things I like about Corin and The Undesirables, they write lyrics that are really open to interpretation.  Corin writes about lonliness like no one else and maybe most would hear it as lonliness of being single, it leaves me feeling the space in my heart for children.  This song is one that makes me cry, it makes me feel sad about all the crap we've been through and it gives me hope that I'll get through this and more. 

Gimme just one fine day,
Let me wake up laghing.
Give me one fine day
Let me sleep where I am safe
Give me just one clear sign,
A sign of where I'm going
Let me feel the sunshine, let me feel it on my face.

Lately, the line in the chorus of "Let me sleep where I am safe" has me thinking about the children who are up for adoption.  The ones that don't have somewhere safe to sleep.  Of even if it's safe today, will it be the same safe place tomorrow?  Those children need signs, they need the security that comes with waking up laughing. 

Ah, I seem to be having a "big feeling" day as Stellar Parenting would say when talking about her boys.  It's hard to know what to do with those feelings sometimes. 

Thursday, September 15

I promised fabric

At the outset of my post yesterday, I said I'd post fabric next for my glassy eyed readers.  Who knew you'd actually understand? 

However, I have not been fabric shopping.  I have been fabric ogling at Falling Through Your Clothes (this in particular) but I managed to resist going to Fabricland on my way home from a clients office this afternoon.  I was pretty proud of myself for holding the wheel steady as it started to go on autopilot to the right.  I thought I had a piece of fabric similar to her, alas no.  I think I was smoking crack, or it speaks to how your stash changes when a year goes by between purchase and looking at it again. She has a lovely black and white satin with circles, I have this:

Thread is there for scale, those are BIG circles.

In getting the brides lingerie made, then getting the house ready for overnight guests, I really made a mess of my sewing room.  I think some clean up has to happen before I'm productive again.  For the moment, I will drink my rooibos (vanilla at the moment, perhaps apple pie later on) rather than sew it.

Sigh, what a mess.  There is rooibos tissue over on the sewing desk, that is my ill-fitting Sencha hanging on the rack.  The black & white satin is in the corner by the closet...  I gotta get organized.  Hopefully shame will help. 

I posted Lekala 5432 a bit ago, the version I made for the holidays.  I'm wearing my polka dot summer version today, clinging desperately to warm weather that just isn't happening here.  15C isn't too bad, but that wind makes it feel a whole lot colder.  I thought adding a little sweater would be enough, but I felt under dressed.  Maybe with tights it will transition to fall better, but it's a thin rayon.

I think I need practice taking pictures.  I really don't like any of them, they were all a bit blurry, but that's as good as it's getting today.  I have a bit of work to finish up and then off to a birthday event for my sister in law.  I can't say I'm looking forward to the drive into the city, but it's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, September 13

What's in a name?

I thought I might share with where Seraphinalina came from.  It's a bit of a mouthful, and while it has no attachment to my real name, it has attachment to me.  I'm afraid this is going to be a very geeky post, it might not make sense to anyone.  If your eyes glaze over, I promise I'll put up some fabric tomorrow.

When we were first living together, Mr Lina said he wanted to run a Dungeons and Dragons campaign and would I want to join?  I had sat in to watch him play with others once or twice so I had a vague idea of what he was asking.  I figured I like to host, I like to feed people (which seemed key at that event) and we were in a one bedroom apartment, where was I going to go?  The balcony?  He had a long running campaign in mind, this was going to be alternating Sunday afternoons for months or years.  I couldn't just go shopping every Sunday, so I opted to join.

I decided to go with what seemed familiar and fun, generally who I would want to be in a Lord of the Rings type world.  I could relate to a halfling (think Hobbit like Frodo or Pippin) being short myself and I thought magic was more fun than swinging a sword.  I thought the Sorcerer class had less book keeping than Wizards.  It's good to give your character personality, it guides decision making along the way, I gave her a fascination with fire, a high charisma (key skill for Sorcerers), good dexterity and low strength.  Seraphina was one of the names suggested in the book for halflings and I thought it was pretty.  After a couple of sessions, I really came to like playing, hosting, the imagination involved in a game that has no real board or script.  Seraphina took on a real personality in my mind.

Being married to the dungeon master, I didn't miss a session, so she was getting higher in levels than the rest who would miss occasionally.  I pursued a  prestige class that really didn't help her but added character.  Any opportunity I had for her to set things on fire, she did.  Once, she got pissed off with team mates getting in the way during combat and set off a fireball where it was safe so she could see it burn.  Then we took on a red dragon.  I made it a life altering event for her, she found the power of the dragon awe inspiring and started perusing the Dragon Disciple prestige class.  So picture a very pretty, charismatic halfling (not even 4' tall) with brass dragon (known for being chatty, relatively small and fire as a breath weapon) scales for skin and could breathe fire. If the campaign lasted for another level and I would have talked Mr Lina into letting me have non-functional wings.  She was technically too small for wings, but oh I wanted them for her.

Our D&D group was truly too large.  Ideally it's 4-5 players plus the DM, we had 8.  It was big so people could miss a session and we'd still play, but it really made it hard on Mr Lina to scale the opposition appropriately.  Then it was like herding cats to schedule (and strategy in game) and we just didn't get back to it after a summer break.  I still kind of miss her, she was a lot of fun.

Fast forward a few years, I was setting up an etsy account to buy something and every usual name I use seemed to be taken.  I added lina to Seraphina and it was free so I took it.  In setting a name for my blog, it worked as something not attached to real life but I really do have an attachment for it (and again, it was available).  I figure I can call my husband Mr Lina, and when I finally get around to a duct tape dummy or dress form, maybe she can be Phina.

We still play D&D, a different campaign with different friends, usually through Oct-May as schedules allow.  I am playing another sorcerer, but her personality is very different.  I like Nixi, she's again charismatic, she's a team player, she's still pissed at the fighter for killing her a few years ago.  She picks spells oriented on water and weather over fire, cone of ice perhaps being a favourite at the moment.  Nixi has ended up more powerful than Seraphina ever was, but there are times when I miss the glee she would feel charring the bad guys with a fireball spell.

Monday, September 12

Pretties

As mentioned, the bachelorette is over, the outfit was finished.  Although I really do think I did each seam twice, it turned out nicely.  I don't have a ton of pictures because there wasn't a whole lot of time left for house cleaning never mind pictures, but these will have to do.

First, a messy shot.  At this point I have the cups together, the back band and the skirt is attached.  You can sadly also see the state of my sewing room.

The skirt is attached when the back elastic was added.  I don't have a serger, the seams on the skirt are using the overlock stitch.  The skirt is in 4 pieces, it widens out a bit to the bottom for some flirty skirting along the hips.  You can still see my seam allowance marked on the back band and the T for the strap locations.
I was a bit stumped on how to do a narrow hem on such a thin, sheer fabric.  I've mostly done circle skirts on the lingerie so a narrow hem is possible with patience.  This had a scoop to the front, the curve was pretty sharp, I did something similar for two brides, but it was 3 years ago, I couldn't remember how I got around it.  Google to the rescue.  I decided to do a close fold, iron that to give an edge, then put my zig zag on 0.5 stitches and I think a width of 3.  Once that was sewn down, I trimmed the extra fabric.  I found my snippers worked okay but it highlighted that a small pair of scissors would be a nice Christmas present.  As would a narrow rolled hem foot.  Still, I'm pleased with the result.
And a natural light shot, doesn't it look blue?  The colours are somewhere between the two, not as blue as this but more blue tones than pink as above.  Without something to model this, it's hard to photograph, but I'll draw attention to a few aspects.  The straps are in three parts.  First the elastic across the top back/sides loops through a slider.  Then a 3/8" tube of the skirt fabric.  Then adjustable straps with strapping elastic.  It's my first time doing adjustable straps (I don't really need them for me) and I think I made them too long in my fear of doing it too short, but all in all, I shouldn't have avoided adjustable straps for so long.  It wasn't all that bad to figure out with my Bra Makers Manual by my side.


And a better picture of the cups/front.  You can see a little clearer that the skirt comes around the cups but is open at the front.  The underwire casing ended up going a little above the lace, but I kind of like how that looks anyhow. 

I did make panties to match, two pairs in fact.  One in the same lace as the cups and another in black lace.  I do cheeky panties, a bit like these from Victoria's Secret.  I don't seem to have pictures of the ones I made her, but I made a pair for myself (just to be sure I remembered, it's been a while) and cut out a second.  I'll take pictures of the second for a mini-tutorial.  They are seriously easy.  Two seams and you're done.

I still feel like I'm paying for the lack of sleep.  Mr Lina and I gave up on going for a hike because it looked like it was going to rain, opting instead for all you can eat mussels at our favourite Louisiana seafood place and came home to have a little wine.  We both needed some down time tonight.

Sunday, September 11

Morning after the night before

Oh I am so not 20 anymore.  We had a grand old time at the bachelorette last night.  Much good food, good presents, laughs, alcohol, and dancing was had.  It all suited the bride to a tee.  Somehow I managed to push a glass of water on the bride at the end of the night but not myself, so I woke up with a headache.  Not truly a hangover, but I think it was a sleep deprived headache.

And how did I end up sleep deprived?  It's that gift at fault.  Lessons learned:
  1. It will always take longer than you think.
  2. Just because you've made something before doesn't mean that you won't screw it up.
  3. Don't sew at 1am.
That last point may hint at the sleep deprived status.  Thursday night I stayed up well past midnight and managed to sew two seams wrong.  The cutting was all fine, I didn't screw that up.  Friday I started around 7pm and granted there were some breaks, but I was mostly sewing until 1am and it was past 2 when I fell asleep.  The specific lesson comes from trying to sew the underwire channeling into the cups while over tired.

I generally screw this part up so you'd think I'd learn, but even with my notes that make sense to me when I leave them, they don't when it's 8 months later.  The process is to sew the channeling into the cup seam allowance, then cut the seam allowance and turn it into the cup for a partial band bra.  It is important to sew on the correct side of the cup (which is not really intuitive) and the correct edge of the channeling.  I did one thing wrong on one cup and the other thing wrong on the other cup.  I didn't realize the wrong side of the cup until after the seam allowance had been cut.  You want to talk about precision sewing?  Yipe.

What sent me to bed was when I looked down to see this:

The problem here is that the front closing bra is first basted to the cup, then you sew the channeling, turn the channeling, sew the channeling twice to get that nice 2 lines of top stitching.  And what to I see?  I cut the seam allowance too close and it's now fraying.  That little bit of fabric is going to take the brunt of pressure to hold those breasts together and it's fraying.  Under 3 rows of stitching.  Black thread on black channeling.  The channeling has it's own line of stitching that my stitches are on top of.  It's a nightmare to unpick, but that's what I was facing at 1am.

I chose to go to sleep.

I will post more pictures of the final result tomorrow.  But lesson learned.  Less sewing at 1am.

Friday, September 9

TGIF

It's not an early close Friday, pout.  But.. it is quiet here.  Some kind of marketing summit so 90% of the people on this floor are gone.  My work ethic and interest today is abysmal.  I'd rather be sewing.  I'd even rather be house cleaning.

So what's going on at my house?  Mr Lina is driving at the moment to Montreal.  He will be returning at some point on Sunday.  I wish I could join him but I'm hosting the bachelorette.  Well, hosting, not so much organizing, another friend is dealing with all the details of the party.  So far the plan is pot luck at my house, off for pole dancing class then off to a pub and then many of the partiers will stay at my house for the night.  Possibly a second bar if dancing is not an option, if there is a vague spot that we could dance, we will.

It's going to be an odd bachelorette in some ways.  This is the last of my university friends to get married.  Most of them have kids now and most of those kids are under 3.  As a result, a few can't make it (you know, the four week old baby trumps bachelorette) and I suspect a few won't drink at all.  So maybe 8 people, and if 4 are drinking beyond a single glass of wine I'll be impressed.  I'm going to do my best to bring a little crazy, the bride deserves it.  She brought on the crazy at my bachelorette party.

I have struggled with this group of friends, I can feel some of them drifting away.  When we do get together, it's like time hasn't gone by at all, but I struggle leading up to events.  We did monthly dinners for a while, a way to have casual meetings of the girls more often so if you couldn't make one it wasn't a big deal.  Two in a row people announced their pregnancy, one was the day after Mother's Day.  The other was a week after she and I had traded multiple emails about her fathers death and one of the very short pregnancies, so she wasn't ignorant of my pain.  She was surprised and I am sure she was hurt when I couldn't say a heart felt congratulations.  Another friend now has 4 kids, she never told me about any of her pregnancies, I'd just show up to a gathering and get a sucker punch of a big belly.  As a result, if it's the whole group of us, I actually go a little mental leading up to it.  I've cried driving to events, Mr Lina opted not to go to Christmas with them last year because there would be too many babies and bellies.  I arranged for the bride to pick me up so I wouldn't chicken out.  As a suggestion, you are better off dropping a line to infertile friends before announcing publicly.  I'd rather get an email I can read at my own choosing and reply when I'm ready and can say a genuine sentiment than be told with people around.  Ultrasound pictures on Facebook are not the same as a very brief email. 

So how much progress did I make on the outfit?  Not much.  I went back to my sewing room after posting, the 3 pieces of fabric (2 bottom cup, one top) made more sense and went together fine.  Then I went to do the other cup and did it wrong again.  My seam ripper and I were getting to be good friends.  At that point, it was well past time for bed.  Here's hoping a clear head tonight will make for smooth progress and pictures of the finished outfit.  House cleaning & errands will have to wait, gifts can't.

Thursday, September 8

Bra Sizing: Clear as Mud

I mentioned yesterday that I forgot to take the band measurement on the bride.  How foolish.  So I figured I would ask her bra size knowing most people don't quite have it right, but I do have her bust and upper bust and I know what she looks like.

So she says she is a 38D, but recently was measured as a 32FF (or G) but didn't believe it.  I kind of figure they are probably on to something here myself.  I looked up my handy dandy chart in The Bra Makers Manual  and the underwire for a 38D is the same as a 32G, she's just wearing a band that is too loose.  Now the bra I want to base it on (Elan 510) doesn't do a 32G so now I'm doing some quick adjustments to make the 38D cup fit to a smaller band.  This fabric is pretty stretchy for a daily wear bra so I would have done that anyhow, but now I have a concept of how much.

It's all cut out and I'm having some geometry issues putting the cups together.  I don't know why but tonight it's just not fitting together right.  It's going to look good if the pieces would just cooperate.  I thought maybe stepping away to check email might help.  Here's hoping...

Wednesday, September 7

Fall Sewing Objectives

I really do want to make the focus of my blog about sewing.  There just seem to be a few things going on lately that aren't sewing.  So here is what I will be sewing:

1.  Lingerie for the bride.  The bachelorette is on Saturday so that needs to start tonight.  I think I've done more than enough thinking, it's time to get to cutting.  I'm hosting the party so time needs to be allocated for house cleaning too.  I went to start on this and realized I didn't measure her under bust.  Silly me.

2.  Rooibos.  I missed the sew along, but that's okay, we all sew at our own pace.  I have traced the bodice pieces, but not the skirt/pockets.  I want to do a muslin of the top half, I'm mostly worried about how it fits at the bust. This is the fabric I have in mind.  It's pin striped on one side and plain on the other.  The colour is a bit redder than the picture.


3.  Bras.  I have made quite a few and really only had one that I liked and then the front clasp broke.  Most have ended up with too much space at the upper cup.  I'm a D cup, but the fullness is not across my chest.  Here are the patterns I have at the moment (with the Rooibos fabic behind them):

  • Elan 510 - The only front clasp bra.  So far this is the bra that worked out best and I bought it because it's hard to find a front clasp for a 38D in RTW.  I've had fails from not pre-shrinking the satin and wouldn't go around by the time I was done.  One of the first versions I didn't realize that seam allowances were not included.  On something as fitted as a bra, that's a HUGE difference.
  • Elan 645 - I've made one up, and I like it, but again, too much fullness to the upper cup to bother with straps.  I think with some tweaking it has a lot of potential. 
  • Kwik Sew 2101 - Oh my this was not designed with my breasts in mind, you can fit a fist between my chest and where the straps meet the upper cup.  The one version I made of this fits my MIL well, at some point I'll finish the straps and send it to her.
  • Kwik Sew 3166 - well, this is more corset/bustier than bra, but so far I've chickened out.  I'll make it eventually, but probably not yet.  I need some functional bras before I make Mr Lina happy.
My parents go to Florida for February.  Two years in a row now I have bought a whack of stuff at Sew Sassy and shipped it to them to save myself the customs fees.  I bought all of my bra patterns from them.

4.  Sencha  I will make Sencha work.  The one that did work fits my work wardrobe well and it's been fun on the weekends too.  I'd like to try version 2.

5.  Whatever suits my mood.  :)  I come up with these goals and lists and generally make half of it.  Either something else comes up (which reminds me, Halloween is not in that list) or I just don't feel the passion to do what is on the list. 

Tuesday, September 6

The rocky road of infertility

So while I am in a good headspace, here is our story up until now.  I have skimmed over a few medical details, but I haven't left much out.  If you are upset by loss, maybe this isn't the post for you to read.  As I said yesterday, this has a huge impact on who I am, where my marriage has gone, how I see the world.

I met Mr Lina about a year after each of us had left long term relationships, you know the kind you have through university that are pretty formative years as an adult?  It came out early in our relationship that he had made a choice to not have children, but that year of being single had him questioning a lot about himself and he wasn't sure now.  So I took a few days to myself, I thought about life without children.  I thought about life without Mr Lina.  I had been so sure from the first kiss when I was hit with stars and images of auburn haired children that he was who I wanted to build my life with.  He has the kind of sense of humour that works well with children.  This was a bombshell.

So I came to a conclusion.  I could not go through life without being a mom and feel okay with that.  I didn't care how I became a mom, but it was going to happen.  That would be part of my identity.  BUT... I knew he needed time to see how he felt.  Being single, it hadn't been an issue.  He had never thought about having children with me, and I'm very different from his ex (she's nice, we're friends, but would not have made good parents together).  I wanted open discussion, I could ask him about his thought process at any time.  If he ever decided that he did not want kids, he needed to be fair and leave me because it was that important to me, but he could have the time to think about it without pressure.  It did take time, lots of conversations, analyzing time with friends, discussing how we saw life with children, our attitudes about parenting.  Eventually, he decided that he did want children and he could be a good father and we got married.

I went off the pill, Mr Lina had some surgery to reconnect snipped tubes, we tried.  And tried.  And tried.

My cycles were as irregular as they were in high school prior to going on the pill.  Mr Lina's sperm count was dwindling.  We were told to go to a fertility clinic.  So we checked out two, one was more to our liking than the other and we're still with them and I would still recommend them.  We had tests, lots of tests.  It was decided that IVF with ICSI was our best route.  This means they would extract my eggs moments prior to ovulation and take each egg and inject it with one of his sperm.  With IVF they just let the eggs and sperm hang out in a petrie dish, but we don't have enough sperm to risk that, so ICSI is the additional step.  3-5 days later, they pick the best 2-3 (3 in my case) and let them loose in my uterus.  Often there are extra embryos, the best of those are frozen.

I did that and nothing happened.  It sucked but it was okay, it's only suppose to work about half the time.  We had 3 frozen embryos from that first IVF cycle.  Frozen embryo transfers (FET) are so much easier, they line up my cycle with the age of the embryos and thaw them out and let them hang out in my uterus and you cross your fingers.  There are many drugs supporting that (although not as many as IVF), but essentially that's it.  I had my first positive test.  With a viable pregnancy, they should see your HCG levels double every 48-72 hours, which is why they test again two days later.  I failed the second test.  I was devastated.  Marriage prep classes do not cover grief, particularly grief that no one else sees and there is nothing specific to mourn.  We found a marriage counsellor, best decision we have ever made.  We still see her from time to time but generally we have good coping skills.

We bought a "3 pack" of IVF at the outset.  Essentially, it was like insurance.  If I got pregnant on the first try, well, you paid too much but you had a baby.  Why would you complain?  If you got pregnant the second time, you got it at a discount.  The third time, well, the clinic sure isn't making anything off of me. 

So we did IVF again.  And I passed the first test.  I doubled for the second test.  They schedule an ultrasound at the clinic for 6 weeks which is really 2 weeks after the pregnancy tests as the 6 weeks starts with Day 1 of your period.  We were over the moon, it was wonderful.  My in laws were visiting us when we passed the second test, so we told our parents.  And then we went for the ultrasound and there was nothing.  No sac, no heart beat, nothing at all.  I take progesterone supplements to support the pregnancy up to the end of 11 weeks, so the miscarriage wasn't starting because my progesterone levels weren't plummeting.  I actually was told that I would be having a miscarriage soon, to stop taking the pills that were holding it back.

And we tried again.  I had enough frozen embryos for 2 FET cycles, 3 embryos for the first and 2 for the second as one of them did not survive the thaw.  Both resulted in positive first pregnancy tests and failed second tests.  They call this a chemical pregnancy.  If I wasn't going through treatments, I would assume that I had a cycle that varied by maybe 5 days, when really it was repeated miscarriages.

In between all these cycles we did more tests.  I've had biopsies of my uterus, I've had multiple sonohystograms, everything came back normal.  Yes, I have PCOS so I generally don't ovulate on my own and I overreact to the drugs that stimulate my ovaries to produce extra follicles (I had 28 follicles maturing with the last IVF cycle, it's like my little almond ovaries turned into walnuts).  But there wasn't anything showing that I couldn't support a baby.  My doctor suggested it might be my immune system.  There was a clinic in the US that specializes in these things.  For a good chunk of money we could send my blood to them and have it tested.  Sure enough, that's the problem.  My T ratio is elevated, my immune system recognizes the foreign object and rejects it.

Our last IVF cycle he threw both barrels of drugs at me.  I was on drugs to suppress my immune system, thin my blood to make implantation easier, we did IVIG which is an infusion of plasma from at least 50 different donors to further suppress my own immune system.  And I got pregnant.  I had a good reading for the first test.  And then it was dropping two days later, not failing, but dropping.  And I failed on the third day.

This frustrated our specialist.  From his perspective, he did EVERYTHING he could and I still lost the baby.  More testing and he wanted suggestions from the clinic.  He was suggesting a drug used for people with chronic immune issues like chrones, it's not tested on pregnant women but has been used by pregnant women with no sign of ill effects.  Still, he gave us time to think about it and do our own research, he wasn't going to push us into it and he wanted to know if that is the route that the immune specialists would recommend.  We paid to have a biopsy of my uterus and a sample of Mr Lina's blood sent to the US to see if it was different in my uterus vs blood and what happens when our blood meet.  Sure enough, the issues are worse in my uterus, but they didn't really give a full story on what to do about it. 

While this was going on and we were waiting for results, miracles happened and I got pregnant on my own.  I have been taking Metformin for a while.  Metformin was designed for diabetics but has a side effect of lowering testosterone so it is prescribed off label for women like me so I actually ovulate on my own.  The thing is, I didn't think I could get pregnant so it was a while between seeing signs and actually testing.  December 27th, 2010 I passed a home pregnancy test.  I phoned the clinic.  I passed their test with a level over 8,000 (home tests are sensitive at 25, the clinic considers me pregnant at 5).  It was the best New Years ever knowing that I was pregnant.  So I had to go in for an ultrasound on the following Thursday rather than a second pregnancy test.  There was a spine, a steady heart beat, little buds where limbs were going to be.  It's just a blur, but when someone tells you what you are seeing, it is beautiful.

And I was doing this on my own.  So the clinic said let your body do what it can.  Stay on your metformin, baby aspirin and vitamins.  But no progesterone, no IVIG, no prednizone, no Fragmin... We told our parents because we couldn't hold in the joy.  I was truly pregnant, 6 weeks and 5 days as of the ultrasound.  And on the Sunday, starting my 8th week of pregnancy, I started cramping.  And bleeding. 

We had gone to the hospital knowing this wasn't good.  Ultrasound was closed on a Sunday night, my HCG level was around 14,000, no where near as high as it should be that many days after 8,000.  It should double every 48-72 hours, at outside it should be around 64,000.  I was booked for an ultrasound at the hospital on the Monday while the worst of the cramping was happening.  They wouldn't let Mr Lina come with me.  I was crying and in so much emotional and physical pain.  The ultrasound results are key because it showed that while I was losing the baby, the heart was still beating, weak, but beating.  My baby didn't die and I lost it, this wasn't bad genetics at work, my body rejected the baby.

Which brings us pretty close to the present.  My specialist wanted us to try and repeat that "naturally" but with some medical help to make me ovulate.  It took 3 cycles to find the right dose, one cycle off for vacation and another month lost because medication that was suppose to make my period start didn't work and just left me as a crazy woman for a few weeks.  Since February when he came up with this plan I've ovulated once and nothing happened.  I have 4 frozen embryos left from my last IVF cycle.  And I will do my very best to give them the support they need.  But we're at the end and I know it.

I once read that IVF is like gambling at slot machines.  You just can't seem to stop pulling at those levers because maybe *this* is the cycle that will work.  And maybe those 4 embryos will become our children.  But I'm not doing IVF again.  I want to know that at the end of those cheques, the paperwork, the appointments, the questions, there is a child.  I have never believed that pregnancy equals motherhood.  I know I will mourn not experiencing that, but fathers don't get pregnant.  Are they less of a parent because of it?  So why should I? 

Right now, we're planning on starting the adoption ball rolling in the fall.  We want to go on a vacation around November, October is looking like a zoo of music and wedding.  Things may change between now and then, but Mr Lina is the one saying that is when he wants to make the calls.  I'm happy to go along with that if he's ready.  I know I am.

Some way, some how, someone is going to call me Mom.   I just haven't met them yet.

Monday, September 5

Adopt Walk 2011

One of the options that Mr Lina and I may persue in the quest to be parents is adoption.  In some ways, that's the reason I started this blog.  I had been commenting with my LiveJournal account to sewing blogs, but that log in is too close to real life for me to be open about our winding road to parenting.  I wanted to understand more of the realities of adoption and where better to get the birds eye view but blogs?  But here I was, my own thoughts and questions, but not really feeling like I could join in on the conversation.

So this is a round about way to promote Stellar Parenting.  It is a blog about a family who have adopted two brothers who had bounced around a bit in the system before finding the right parents.  I've found it a facinating read and absolutely inspirational.  J is participating in Adopt Walk and is running a raffle to raise funds.  For every $5 that you donate to the walk, she will give you a raffle ticket.  I am earning a raffle ticket for directing people to her blog here.  She has some super awesome prizes and I'm hoping to win the scarf she will knit. 

I think stemming from this I will share our story.  It's not a happy one yet, but it has made me into the person I am, it has made my marriage what it is, and it colours my perspective.  But the story is too long for this post and Stellar Parenting deserves her own space on adoption.

I survived!


Muah ha ha!  Look at me go!

The relay triathalon went pretty well.  My time was 20:52 for the 750m swim.  Good enough to place 2/4 of the people doing relays, but if you looked at my age category of 30-39, I would have been 31/45.  Still, given my crappy sinuses, lack of practice, I'm quite pleased.  Really, my goal was to finish, coming last would be okay, I have no idea what to expect as a "good" time.  The 30 people who had faster times than I went on to bike 20km and run 5km so I imagine they were in better shape than I was. 

Mr Lina hasn't taken our pics off of our camera yet and I'm not totally sure how that new camera works so I may post more at a later date if there are good ones there.  But my dear friend the bride was doing the relay with me and the groom took both the above picture and this:


Bathing caps are evil.  They use them to separate age groups.  So as a blue cap, I was a relay swimmer.  Relays swam with "the rest", quite likely 50+ but I'm not totally sure, I know there were mostly gold caps and some orange (so 50-59 and 60+?).  They send us off in waves, so this picture shows my group just getting in and settled while the age wave ahead of us is already swimming. 


My blue cap and lack of wet suit kinda stands out in the crowd.

And then coming back to shore.  Take that pink caps!



So all in all, glad I did it, would likely do it again next year if schedules work out and they need another swimmer for the relay.  It also reminded me how much I like swimming.  I really should get out more.

I was up at 6:30 or so for the triathalon, home by 11:30, then food prep, house cleaning, failed attempt at a nap and guests from 5pm to 2am.  Today is low key for me, mostly reading, Mr Lina has people over for further movie tweaking.  A few muscles are sore in my arms mostly, but better than I expected because they hurt after pushing the last 100m to pass those pink caps.  I'm too brain dead and sleepy to sew I think, and they need quiet for recording sound.  Still, sewing has to happen soon, I have to have the outfit ready for the bride on Saturday.  Sigh, it always seems like you have more time than  you do.

Saturday, September 3

Ragweed, how I loathe you.

Much as I love my birthday, fall colours, warm days with cool nights, fall means one thing to me.  Sneezing.  I have always suffered with fall seasonal allergies.  I was sent home from school in Grade 1 with "pink eye".  My mom explained to my kindergarten teacher on the first day of school that no, she did not beat her child, I was not accident prone, I just wouldn't stop rubbing my eyes so there was some bruising. 

So far this year hasn't been too bad.  Slower to start and pretty managable.  Today I was out and about more than usual, no air conditioned office to hide in on the weekend.  Between the farmers market, the LCBO, the grocery store, out for lunch... I've been outside a fair bit and antihistamines help but not enough.  First frost, I would love an early hard frost and then have a lovely warm autumn.

No sewing today.  Between errands and the guys needing silence for recording, it just didn't work out.  I'm too tired now to focus on something new.  Tomorrow is my relay triathalon and the party, early to bed tonight...

Friday, September 2

And it's here!

Happy birthday to me!

So it's Friday, another early close day and my birthday. I have a hair cut scheduled at 3pm so there will be pampering.  Mr. Lina is still sick but shows some improvement.  I think he will be up to some kind of low key birthday celebration. 

The mechanics have decided to celebrate my birthday as well.  They can't find the issue I have with the car, but they found lots of brake/suspension safety issue type stuff.  I would rather that their birthday wishes did not have a $1,300 bill, but I do like it when the car stops.

On Sunday, we will be really celebrating my birthday.  I will swim that relay triathalon in the morning.  750m at Kelso conservation area, I won't be fast but I won't drown.  I'd honestly rather swim 750m than run.  Given my lung capacity, I suspect a lot of it will be back crawl.  I'm probably one of the few people who will do that, but I like back crawl.  I can breathe as much as I want and it's way faster than breast stroke and my butterfly just sucks. 

Then we will have a party.  So far there are 18 adults and 3 kids, so it should be a full house.  We have held a party on September long weekend for a few years now.  We hosted our first house concert September long weekend of 2008.  Mr Lina and I paid for The Undesirables to come so people would get the concept, it was a Summerfolk/birthday surprise arranged by Mr Lina.  I was like a 16 year old girl waiting for a boy to call with that show.  Anyhoo... we generally do up a whack of food, it's super casual with kids running in and out, I like it.  We do so many house concerts now it's actually kinda nice to have something a little less... organized from time to time.

So I will see about posting this weekend.  Maybe we'll figure out what the birthday girl should wear to her party?  Tomorrow I'd like to spend doing three things:  1. Farmers market to buy foods for party.  2.  House cleaning, people are coming over and Mr Lina has been too sick to do much of that this week, he generally doesn't want me doing much for my own birthday party but this cold has really knocked him on his ass.  3.  Sewing.  Mr Lina will be busy cutting a trailer for the movie he's producing so I figure I can hide in my sewing room while they all work in the basement.

Now to focus on work so I CAN leave at 1.

Thursday, September 1

Guess what tomorrow is?

It will be my birthday.  It doesn't really feel like my birthday or anything special.  It feels... overwhelming.

My day tomorrow is busy.  It's an early close day at work which is awesome.  Nothing wrong with getting off at 1pm.  I have also booked a hair cut for 3pm.  That was to be sure that I actually left work on time on my birthday.  The downside... my car is going in for repair.  It's a 2002 and I've put a lot of milage on her, she's starting to show it.  Living in Ontario, I have to get emmision testing done alternating years so I can update the license plates.  So considerate of the government to make me pay $35 for that plus the stickers etc on my birthday.  Mr. Lina and I will likely go out for dinner, come home for wine and snuggles.  I say likely because he still sounds horrible, I think this is moving from his head to his chest.  We may have to adapt that plan.

Anything that marks time is hard for me.  Christmas, birthdays, May long weekend, as much as I love it, even Summerfolk.   I've mentioned I'm on the long road to being a mom.  It's a very long road and every milestone reminds me.  It reminds me of where I hoped I would be by now.  It reminds me of how I felt a year ago, what I've been through in that year.  It reminds me of just how much time has gone by.  It's hard.

This past year had a lot of crappy things.  Last fall was more immune testing to figure out why I can't stay pregnant.  Then a miscarriage in January that kind of verified that the problem isn't with the embryos or genetics.  We went to visit my in laws in Manitoba and it was a good visit but they have significant flooding all summer at their cottage.  What was a beautiful grass lawn to the lake is now a moat and an earth dike, the lake has outhouses and all kinds of things floating by so you know the septic tank that was under that outhouse is also in the lake.  It's sad to see.  My grandmother-in-law is turning 88 this month and that is wonderful, but I see her aging.  I've had cycles where I tried to get pregnant and sometimes medications didn't do what they should and once we finally got that right, it didn't work and I went over my reasoning for not trying again this month.

But would I have a do-over?  No.  Not at all.  I loved the feeling of being pregnant for the couple of weeks that I knew about it.  It filled my heart.  We hosted 8 house concerts, all of them with fantastic musicians and brought our friends and family together.  I see my brothers and my parents more often now that we host so many concerts.  Some of those musicians are still in touch with us, hopefully we'll be connecting with Kev Corbett when he is in Ontario this fall.  We started to snow shoe in November and it's been a great experience, good exercise, a way to love winter again and time with Mr Lina without his blackberry.  I got to sandbag in Manitoba and feel like a contributing member of my in laws family.  I made some awesome clothing.  3 versions of Lekala 5432, some bras that didn't quite work out but I learned a lot, Lekala 5241 for myself and again for my new sister in law.  Speaking of my sister in law, my youngest brother got married last October to the perfect person for him.  It's been interesting watching them merge family traditions and carve out their own space.

Speaking of the wedding, just so this isn't a totally pictureless post, I had one of the best pictures ever taken of me at that wedding.  Their photographer was worth his rate for this alone.  Seriously I don't look this good in person.  I think this will be my Facebook profile picture forever.




More often than not I look like this:

That's Mr Lina and I at Summerfolk after the rain stopped.  I got carded that day.  Score one for pouring rain, layers of clothing and hats to cover non-styled white hair!

So, I will shake off this poor me feeling and enjoy tomorrow.  Well, outside of paying the bill for the car repairs, plates and drive clean.  Past that, it's going to be a very good day.  I know it.