Out of the habit

Christmas Dinner

Is Christmas really over?

I’m out of the habit of blogging regularly and finding it hard to get inspiration… so I thought I’d do that old trick of just typing away – stream of consciousness like – and see what happens.

I love hosting Christmas but I also love my house back to normal the day after Christmas after all the empties have been taken out to the recycling and the dishes finally done, extra tables hidden away and the crunchy floor cleaned.

In the days since we’ve been chilling out the back lolling on the couches under the patio we built last year, occasionally jumping in the pool to bring down the core body temp (it is over 40 every day for the next four), lighting the candles in the evening and enjoying the odd glass of wine.

It’s been lovely having my brother and his family to stay too.  Their little one is uber-cute.  Just the cutest 3-year-old ever.  And even though I know I’m going to be approached again and again to play animal matches, or go for a swim, or watch the spelling game stars I don’t care because she is so adorable.

They’ve gone down south for a few days now and the house seems strangely empty.

This year we did a couple of things to encourage “groupness”.

Groupness is a term I picked up from a facilitation course this year.  Basically when you have a new grouping of people it’s important to get them to interact quickly and share.  Sharing is more likely if the peeps feel part of a group.

Groupness can be created in any number of ways…

For example… name tags… not really appropriate for family dinner…

This year we did souvenir holiday teeshirts designed by my artist brother

Me modelling the holiday tee

And a dancing video.

If you’ve seen Where the Hell is Matt? you will know the inspiration.

I asked my invited guests and extended family that weren’t coming to the evening to send in snippets of video of themselves so that I could mash them into a video to play on the night.

That way peeps who couldn’t come would still be part of the group… and those who were there would feel part of the group – having gone through the shared experience (pain and humiliation?) of dancing in public.

I guess I’m an extrovert because I loved doing the dancing videos, others felt it wasn’t such a cool thing, but everyone sent something in.

Unfortunately I ran out of time but I delegated (another management technique) to my niece (not the 3-year old) and the video was lovely.

Even the too-cool-for-school teens admitted it was fun in the end and I think – should I ask them to participate in one of my crazy groupness exercises next time – they might find it easier to say yes, lets!

UPDATE: Here is the link to the video. 🙂

OMG.  I’m at the end of a post and I had something to say after all.

Maybe the habit is stronger than I thought…

Contact lenses REALLY hurt

Contact lenses of course

I don’t consider myself a wimp.

Indeed I have given birth to two children.

Non-wimpdon confirmed.

But damn if I can get the hang of contact lenses.

I ordered them because my dear husband says I will go from a 6 to a “hard 8” if I don’t wear glasses and who doesn’t want to be a hard 8?

So yes. Vanity.

But apparently I’m too old for my eyes to “truly cope” with multifocals and so really I can only get contacts to go out socially.

Which is fine, except that now that I have them I kind of want to be a hard 8 all day every day.

Well. Who wouldn’t?

Day 1: It takes me 20 minutes to get the right eye in. I try for 15 minutes to get the left eye in before giving up and racing for the train. The left eye pops in when I get to the very well lit bathroom at work, but not before someone asks if I’m okay after seeing my red and bloodshot teary eyes.

Day 2: Practice makes perfect they say. It takes me 20 minutes again to get the right eye in, and once again I don’t have time for the slippery little sucker to get in the left eye so I wait til I get to work and spend a further 10 minutes chasing a little bit of see-through silicon around the bathroom.

About 2pm I’m back in the bathroom poking myself in the eye to get the wretched things out. I don’t ever find the left eye lens. And now I’m wondering if I got it in.

Day 3: Bugger it I need a day off. But I do get the optometrist to check my eye just in case the left lens is still in my eye somewhere.

She explains that really, at my age (does she have to keep saying that?!) all these are good for is reading menus at restaurants when you go out… They are not for close work, she says.

It’s only women who get these lenses, she says, the men can’t be bothered.

As I said, vanity.

So I will be leaving an extra hour to get ready next time I go out.

And I suspect the 30 pairs of dailies that I’ve bought will last a long time.

Just saying.

Come to me my precious

I’ve decided I’m a grown up and therefore allowed grown-up (read expensive) make up.

The last lot I bought lasted a year and a bit and would have lasted longer but a certain teenage daughter decided it was really nice and used it.  Grrr.

So this week I ordered some more, this time direct from the States.

Now I would have bought it locally but the pricing in Australia is ridiculous.  Foundation for example… US$30-50 or AUS$70-90.

I do like going to a beautician and being “fitted” for my makeup – finding exactly the right shade and last year I bought locally.

But that is just price gouging.

So why such a mark up?

The US dollar is worth less than the Australian dollar at the moment – it should be cheaper.

Add some for freight maybe… that wouldn’t be more than a couple of dollars for each item max.

And I’d be happy to pay that.

Luxury tax?  Apparently not.

No it seems we are charged nearly 40% more for our makeup because we are willing to pay it.

Well I’m not.

Now the makeup I wanted (and this is the same with many other brands) does have an online presence in Australia, which has the same mark up as the shops.

The US website does not ship directly to Australia.

How to shop in the US when they don’t ship to Australia directly

I set up a redirect address in the States through a US Shipping company. Just search for “US shipping only websites”.

Then I ordered my make up on the US site and sent it to my new US address.

When it gets there, I will get an email asking me to instruct them on where it goes from there.

Then I pay the freight to Australia.

The freight will be about $28 which is less than the mark up on one foundation.

I hate the fact that I can’t go down to a local business and support them, but if I do, well I will just be supporting an absolute rort which has gone on too long.

And now I have a new hobby… tracking my makeup as it makes its way to me…

I’ll let you know if/when it gets here.

The journey so far

UPDATE:

Getting excited now

Furthur Update:
It arrived. And I love it. And I saved 41.55% approximately by shopping online.

Retail therapy

Gorgeous

A friend of mine had to go to the specialist today to find out about her prognosis post surgery.

The fact that she’d had to have the surgery in the first place sucked.

That she was going through this sucked.

And I knew, even though the news was expected to be okay, that just having to go sucked as well.

Love the purple underside

Anyway I got the news on my way home that the news was good. Best possible outcome.

Phew.

Thank goodness.

And then I teared up.

I realised I’d been holding my breath all day.

It started raining on my way home and I ducked into my favourite shoe shop hoping that the rain would pass.

There in the window were these beauties.

Half price.

My size.

Last pair.

And size 40 is never the last pair.

I bought them.

Because LIFE. IS. TOO. SHORT.

And because a last pair in my size is a sign my friend.

In October when I see my friend I will wear them and pop a bottle of Very Expensive Champagne.

Just saying.

 

UPDATE:

Me:  I bought some shoes today.  You’ll hate them.

Groover:  Really? [looks in box]  I like the colour.

 

Out and about in my New York coat

Rainy night in Melbourne

In Melbourne for a training course.

The forecast is for 14 degrees every day, except one which is 13.

Freezing for a Perth girl and I’m very glad to have my New York coat bought after being stranded in Vancouver in their worst snow storm in a 130 years (although it was worse in Victoria BC).

The snow was thigh high.

I was 5 months pregnant.

Planes weren’t going anywhere and we only had hand luggage.

Someone lent me their winter coat and I went for a walk to a Virgin record store.

I became quite attached to the coat and with reluctance handed it back when we got back to the airport.

The first thing I bought in New York was my own coat.

Now I live in Perth so the opportunities to wear my coat are limited.

And… it looks a bit like a dressing gown.

But I am so glad of it here in Melbourne.

UPDATE: And I haven’t stopped wearing it. This week in Perth the weather has been dire and my coat is my new best friend.

How cheap is too cheap?

The other day my son said he needed some new clothes.

Now I’m lucky, because he doesn’t care about labels and would rather have lots of cheap clothes than one or two designer pieces.

Except when it comes to hiking gear.

And he is still enjoying the suit I bought him for his year 12 ball.

So we went down to Kmart at his request and for $138 bought:

2 jumpers
3 teeshirts
2 pairs of jeans
socks
jocks
1 pair sandshoes

Not a bad little haul.

But I felt guilty.

The jeans were $7.

How can you make jeans for $7??

You can’t even buy the material.

Imagine all the work that has gone into them.

Growing the cotton. Harvesting it. Processing it. Cutting it. Sewing it. Delivering it from China to Australia.

Then the mark up in the shop.

$7.

Who have I had to exploit to enable me to buy those jeans?

Today, in order to write this post I went to the Kmart website.

From the website

50 cents?

Must be a typo.

This is getting ridiculous.

The guilt didn’t stop me from buying the jeans this time.

I try and justify the cost against the $150 I spent on my own jeans a few weeks ago.

And that’s stupid too.

This world is crazy.

My new heroine

I’ve been watching preview copies of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.

The sexy Miss Fisher

I loved the books and I enjoyed the first two episodes which felt like an Aussie 30s style Midsomer Murders.

What’s not to like about that?

I must say that the fashion of the day wasn’t all that flattering.

That said, I like the hats.

Cloche me baby.

So my big question:

Should I get my hair cut like Phryne Fisher?

Seriously thinking about it… your opinion may just be the one that tips the balance.

That’s the way I roll.

Feeling like a grown up

There are a few times during your life when you feel like a grown up.

Antler New Zero cabin and medium sizes

You know, even at the age of forty-something-let’s-not-go-there, inside I still feel 17…okay maybe 22, are you the same?

And when I look in the mirror or catch a glimpse of my reflection in the window of the train sometimes I get a little unpleasant shock.

But there have been times in my life when I’ve suddenly thought… shit.  I’m a grown up.

Owning a mortgage on a house with a linen cupboard and larder – felt like a grown up then!

When I walked out of the hospital with my newborn.

The first time I travelled on my own.

Wearing matching underwear for the first time.

And today when I picked up my first ever set of matching luggage.

Grown. Up.

The luggage

I wanted matching cases, with the small one able to be used as hand luggage on domestic flights.

They had to have spinners – four wheels.

And they had to have those in-built groovy combination locking mechanisms.

I really wanted red luggage.

But.

This stuff was 41% off so it was practically free right?

I could live with bronze.

Happiness.

So why does it have to be matched luggage?

You know, I don’t know.

I mean the times I will actually use both at the same time will be few and far between.

And it’s not as if there are luggage police – well not ones that are interested in whether they match or not.

“Excuse me madam, we see you don’t have matching luggage… please come this way…”

Or.

“Last month you were spotted with a black suitcase, today yours is bronze… please explain!”

Bronze.  A fancy pants way of saying beige.

Matched luggage is just… nice.

Smart.

Grown up.

So ‘fess up.

What makes you feel grown up?

And how old are you inside?

😉

“She’s just got big bones” takes on a new meaning

So... would you say she's just big boned?

So I walked past this window display the other day.

It’s been there for a while but today I actually looked at it.

I’m not sure I like it.

It’s probably an ironic statement about the skeletal frames we see on the catwalk but even so…

I mean it’s not Halloween or anything.

Does it entice me to go into the store.

Not so much.

I guess it stands out.

What do you think?

Yea or Nay to skeletons as manniquins?

The cushion skirt

skirt made from cushion material

It all started with The West Wing.

I love The West Wing.

I watched the whole series on DVD a few years ago and yes I’ve cried during episodes.

But I haven’t watched it since we’ve had a democrat in The White House.

I like to think that Obama’s White House is just like the TV series.

It’s my little fantasy.

And he’s had a bit of bad press, a bit of “disappointment” aired by commentators in his reign.

So my antidote to that is to watch The West Wing again.

That, and reading about Shelley Obama’s outfits.

Now you might think that having seen the series already I’d be more controlled in my watching habits.

But no.

It’s back to back – I am addicted.

So what’s this got to do with the skirt?

As I pressed play on the third episode in a row I started to feel guilty.

And I’m not sure it’s such a good look in front of my screen obsessed teenagers.

And Groover was starting to growl.

Or maybe he was just annoyed with the other gamers playing Half Life.

Anyway I figured that if I was making something, then watching the next three episodes would be okay.

So I got out my pile of material, and perhaps I was influenced by the fact I had been sitting on the living room sofas for hours, but the leftover cushion cover material fairly jumped into my hands.

And I wore the skirt to work the next day.

Should the same thing happen to you – here’s how I made the skirt.

I wrapped it around my waist.

I pinned up the back seam.

I then tucked in the top making darts around the waist to fit the skirt to my body.

I then measured out the darts so that they were equidistant around the top of the skirt.

I sewed the darts, then the back seam.

I sewed in a zip.

I left the selvedge of the material because it kind of looked funky and meant I didn’t have to hem the bottom of the skirt.

Then I turned over the top centimetre and hemmed the waist.

Job done.

And why am I writing about this post now?

Well I’m on the fifth West Wing episode of the day and I figured I needed to look busy.

Job done.