Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Love Story

Before I get all posty about the other stuff we got up to this weekend I wanted to share what I've been thinking about a lot just recently.
Last week I got some really kind comments on a post I wrote about my brother. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you guys' words. I worry a bit about writing the not-fun stuff down, but I do it anyway because then it doesn't have to live in my head.
Anyway, a comment from Emme led me to her blog PTSD: A Love Story. I ended up reading every post in practically one sitting.
It's an incredible story, Emme writes about her sweetie and the (unimaginably difficult) experience they are having even now with a matter-of-fact clarity and HOPE that left me just breathless.
And it really is a love story, you can see devotion and courage in every word.
I think you guys should have a read (Mum, you definitely should).
And Emme, this corner of the world is sending all the goodwill and warm wishes in the world to you and yours.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Invisible Extras

More dresses MORE AND MORE AND MORE. I seriously don't want to wear anything but dresses these days. Maybe because the winters here are so anti-dress. Or maybe 'cause dresses make me feel like dancing a bit? Or because I'm lazy enough to like the one-item-and-I'm-dressed routine?
Either way. I am on a dress kick. My only requirement is that they be long enough. I'm 5'9" and my leggies are... let just call them a "problem area". They get me from place to place (good job with that guys) but my thighs are the first place that cake goes to. Also flashing my undies has never really been my favorite thing.

So that's the back story. This is the dress/tunic in question:

Do excuse the blur and weird pose. Teddy and I were playing the giant squid game with the waist ties. (You know, where you wobble something fabric on your kids' head and go "OH NO. The Giant Squid got you! NOT THE GIANT SQUID!" Just me? really?)

Anyhoo, I'm wearing it with jeans because it was those vital 2 inches too short. BUT it did happen to have those (giant squid) waist ties.
SO I whipped the ties off. Unpicked the seams, ironed them flat, then added them to the bottom of the dress. Like so:

I'm pretty pleased with it. It is, of course, a compromise; I love the border pattern but adding the lenght above it was just WAY more complex. and I'm lazy. My real point here is that I'll be keeping an eye out for the "invisible" extra fabric in ties and straps to make stuff longer from now on.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Serendipity Strikes!

You guys! You guys! Today I got smooched FULL ON THE MOUTH but the sparkly unicorn of serendipitous shopping. I did, I did.
(Today was a much better day than yesterday!)

And here's why; for the last two months I've been eyeballing a pair of sketchers sandals. These fella's here (only in dark brown):

They're cute, they have enough of a heel to look like lady shoes, they're as comfy as a pair of Merrel's, they go with lots of things, and they're cute.
I didn't instantly get them because, well, $70 plus tax. And I thought maybe I should hold out for something in a neutral.

This morning Teddy and I were strolling around and decided on a whim to pop into the Winners on the corner (something we never usually do) and...
There they were. In my size, in a lighter colourway than the ones I'd been looking at. And the best part? They were 39 squee - inducing bucks.
I pounced on them like a... something that pounces on shoes? (A Puma maybe?)
I came home and called my sweetie.

Me: SWEETIE Igotnewshoes FOR CHEAP they were right there and the ones I wanted and everything.

My sweetie (bemused): That's good.

Me: No you don't understand. THEY WERE RIGHT THERE! IN MY SIZE! And I got them! MINE MINE MINE!

My sweetie: Ohhhh-kay?

Me: mine mine mine...

My sweetie doesn't appear to understand about The Sparky Unicorn of Shopping Serendipity. (See him carefully place the bargains in just the right spot to be found by just the right person? With his sparkly unicorn horn? and sparkles? and maybe rainbows?)
So I'm telling you guys. This is them and I heart them AND the unicorn who delivered them unto my feeties.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Today I want to talk a bit about brain injuries. And the things that nobody tells you. And the myth of miraculous recovery. And heartbreak.
From my perspective. Because that's what I've got.
So, fair warning.

It's been 2 and a half years since Elliot's brain injury and lots of people that he meets have no idea that it happened to him at all.
His recovery looks pretty miraculous. It wasn't.
He has had to work excruciatingly, heartrendingly hard at it.

His near-perfect word recall comes at the price of months of speech language pathologist work. Every smooth conversation now comes from a place where he was stopping mid sentence; his face tensing up in frustration, the word he wanted bitterly close but not making it onto his tongue. He'd hiss out a "god damn" or "fuck" between clenched teeth.

I had trouble NOT plucking the missing words out of his mouth and tidying them into the conversation. Because that's what I do. As his much yappier twinnie, as a person who is a social smoother by nature, as someone who loves him. Letting him battle with his recall was hard. Really really hard.
Frustration can make a person furious. Angry all of a sudden when he wasn't before. Or infuriated to the point of tears. And both of those things are symptoms of brain injury anyway.

His easygoing sigh at a misplaced word is a victory. And one I'm fiercely proud of.

Part of the trouble with how "normal" he looks is that when he does have relapses or when he does something that is symptomatic it's somehow worse.
Not just a scab peeled, but a fresh wound. A swift-kick-in-the-pants reminder of what's lost. "Oh hey, you were feeling smug about that. Have some of this so you don't forget."
And then there's grieving to be done again. Maybe that's how that works? Your heart breaks again and again but a little less each time? I hope. I hope.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Shoe! Zoo! Gnu!

Did I mention the super awesomeness of this weekend? Oh I did? Well it. was. blooming. brill.
Friday night was drinkies and chow with chums (at our house; we might not get out a lot but we still have a social life due to our lovely chums willingness to hang out at our place).
Saturday morning was... early. A few cups of strong coffee and a cuddly bear sorted me out though.
Then it was NU SHU SATURDAY! Wherein my boys got new shoes. A pair a piece. That almost match (this was unintentional but holy gibbons is it ever cute).
Now, my sweetie is pretty much the WORLD'S MOST IMPOSSIBLE MAN to shop for shoes with. He'll buy ONE pair then wear them until they need a full military burial. Then he will spend six months hmmmming and hawing over which pair to get next. To wind up with something that looks EXACTLY like his last pair. It's adorable. And infuriating. (I, on the other hand, am a person who can buy shoes with the ease of breathing. Le sigh.)
So new kicks for both my fella's (It was BOGOHO at Footlocker).

Sunday was ZOO DAY!
Which was fun times squared. With MONKEYS! The bear was hilariously enthusiastic about pretty much everything but p'ticly enamored with the simians and the hippos.
Also rocks.

And this lovely hippo lady,

Who MAY have been creating "bubbles" in the watering hole, which MIGHT have caused my bear to declare "HIPPO GAS!" to general hilarity (and a tiny bit of mummy cringing). It's no wonder she left.

There was grass to make whistles out of (that's what my sweetie is handing Teddy).

And cuddles to be had

OH and there were sammiches, I've mentioned that my sweetie makes the worlds best sammiches haven't I? Well he does, and when he's in charge of the picnic deliciousness happens. It really was a lovely day.

To Mangle a Mockingbird

What a brill weekend. Really. Started Friday with a dash of inspiration and a spot of mad refashioning. (And got another-post's-worth of awesome from there).

The inspiration part came in the form of THIS tute from Grosgrain (Kathleen is all about the inspirational stuff; have you seen her sew-alongs? So awesome).
She calls her's The Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird Dress, and as I have a tiny fraction of her sewing skills mine is the To Mangle a Mockingbird dress.
I love the embroidery on her shirt but I don't happen to own anything half as cute. But I did happen to own this fellow:

It's... wrinkly. And WAY too big. I bought it from the Gap ages ago (two years maybe?) and it had this little 'lasticy waist thing going on. It was... "puffy" on me, and totally unflattering so I unpicked the 'lastic and wore it as is. A lot.
It's now too big but I love that ruffle so I planned on doing SOMETHING to it.
I did this:

Kathleen's tute is really easy to follow (and holy cats is her baby ever the sweetiest!)
However, I didn't do a circle skirt like she suggested; mostly because I hadn't enough of the blue print left over from the Sundae Frock. In fact I had to use some piecing together and swearing to get the skirt out of what I had left.
I also put my zipper in at the side rather than the back. (I always do that, even if it means hacking the pattern a bit. I just prefer side zips).
This would have gone together about a squillion times more easily if I had a dress form. I think maybe it's time to try making another one. yeesh. scary.
Anyway, here it is as I'm wearing it today. I'm pretty happy with it.

I shared over at Melissa's place. (And have you seen what those clever girls are sewing up next month? Eeep! Upciting!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Kung Fu is Strong -ish. Kinda. Maybe

I took another class. A Tai Chi class this time. And you guys! It was super fun too. I'm doing this thing where I have to do at least one thing that's out of my comfort zone every week.
I decided about an hour before the class that I was going to go (thereby robbing myself of days of barf-inducing anxiety). I just put on my sweats and went. And It was GREAT. It's a really interesting way of moving, like if yoga got mad and decided to kick someone's ass really slowly. And there was a diverse and interesting group of people too. Like

Hong Kong Grammie (a grammie from Hong Kong), who made all the moves look as easy and natural as shaking a towel to fold or stirring dinner.

Horny HORNY guy. Who's warm up included standing directly in front of the gaggle of cute ponytail girls and doing pant-splittingly high kicks. Badly.

Aforementioned cute ponytailed girls. All graceful leaping around in perky t-shirts and giggling.

Khaki Chan. The super-clean-cut looking white guy of indeterminate age who has all the poise in the world, barely moves a muscle and looks like he could kill you with the twitch of a perfectly sculpted buttock.

Tie dye t-shirt guy. Who does not have all the poise in the world but who bumbles along cheerfully.

And me. Wearing sweats that could expose my bum at any minute (got to have a lookit those) and a Fraggle Rock t-shirt. Grinning like a mad thing every time I pick up something new and don't fall over.
So yah. It was fun. And out of my comfort zone, and I think it helped me suck less at Flamenco. I'm going again next week.

It's possible I'm going to end up with a schedule as busy as a 12 year old suburban kid.
Deep water running-Monday, Tai Chi - Tuesday, Flamenco - Wednesday. Gym all those other days. If I start cutting class to hang out with this cute boy from my building (hi sweetie, I mean you) and writing E.F. HEARTS A.T. FOR LIKE EVER on my binders somebody better call my parents.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Mama Scored

How did it get to be Wednesday already? I could have sworn it was just the weekend seconds ago. Was there time travel? I suspect time travel. Or maybe aliens.

Anyway. Did all the (non- European) mama types have a lovely mothers day? Mine was pretty awesome, stinky weather notwithstanding.

Sunday I got presents delivered to me in bed.
"MUMmeeeeeeee parcel mum-mee ope parcel mum-mee. MUMMMMMeeeeeee parcels!"
And the bear was gracious enough to let me open them myself. I knew what I was getting as I had helped choose it, but it was my sweetie's idea so that totally counts.
I got a hat. Just like Teddy's. See:

And a little red watch. Both inexpensive little presents that my sweetie thought about. I LOVE them.
Then we had a spot of breakfast, English bacon sammiches, made by my sweetie.
Then we went back to TCAF, the Toronto Comics Art Festival, (it's fairly indie so think Ghost World or Jellaby as opposed to superhero-giant-boobs-guys-in-tiny-pants).
I wandered around, talked to some folks and had a really nice moment with Joey Comeau (AND I totally managed to not choke and say something creepy. So yay for me.)
My sweetie took Teddy home when it was his nap time and left me with a crisp shiny $20 bill. Which was a brilliant present.

Does that sound stupid? It wasn't, it was AWESOME. In a couple of ways. Firstly, who doesn't love a shiny new bill, all ready to be spent on nothing but silliness; not boring old stuff that you need or even something useful-but-fun like lunch, but just plain old life gravy (you know, the extra stuff that goes on top and makes life more delicious?).
And also $20 is just enough to get something nice but not enough to feel guilty about.
That's not just me right?
Anyway. Here's what my $20 of gravy money bought me:

The two big ones are Rice Boy posters. Rice Boy is a blisteringly brilliant online comic that is by turns funny, achingly sweet and heart-scaldingly tragic. You can read the whole thing here; in one sitting, while your bottom gets completely numb and 3 or 4 cups of coffee go cold if you like.

And the frogs! See the frogs? Frogs are a bit special for me. And these ones are a letter-pressed, limited edition card by David Huyck. He does really great stuff, and I think you should check it out (but only if you have eyeballs and are into awesomeness!).

So that was the weekend. It was super. The week has been little suckier on account of rain and politics and grumpiness but this weekend is looking like a trip to the zoo. SQUEE!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Paris, je t'aime. The Reveal!

Finished it! 'member? from here?
My version of Shabby Apple's Oh La La dress.

I'm fairly happy with how it turned out. Now if only I could go pose in the Jardin du Luxembourg...

This was SO simple. All I did was whack the skirt bit off of the dress. Then I used my trusty little zigzag stitch (and a ball point needle) to sew it onto the t shirt. Same deal with the sleeves. I could have left the little cap sleeves but part of the reason that shirt was in the "yah. I'm ok with this being refashioned" pile was it's tiny sleevies, they didn't love my chubby armies back.

Also, as soon as I put on my scarily red lipstick Teddy did a classic double take and said "MUMMY LIPS NIIICE". Huh. Maybe time to wear a little more make-up.

Oh la la la la la LA! The teaser...

I don't know if it's the dress or the styling or the setting but this dress is KILLING me.

Oh let's be honest. It's Paris. It's ALWAYS Paris. But the dress seems like a spot of the Left Bank, wrapped up in a baguette and served with a slice of '68 and a side order of Edith Piaf. What I'm saying is I WANTS IT.

At $79 it's a BIT spendy but not CRAZY expensive. BUT. Well... I happen to have these two things:

See what I'm saying? One stripy tee and one maternity dress and a dash of inspiration (read "filthy swearing")...

I'm almost done. Just some fiddling around with sleeves left... I'm thinking later today for the big reveal. Meet you back here?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Sunny Sunday Sundae Frock

I made a dress! Only it's not REALLY a dress. It's a FROCK. Dunno if there's any kind of technical difference, but in my head this is most assuredly a frock.

Frock-y. Frock-like. Frocklicious.

It's New Look 6805 made up in a glazed cotton print. A glazed cotton print that was expensive enough to make my palms sweat.
But that I LOVE. A lot. I loved it when it was sat on my shelf looking like someone had sliced off a piece of Aix en Provance and folded it up neatly. And I love it even more now.

The pattern I almost love. Let's just say I'm glad I made a muslin before lopping up my slice of the south of France. And also lets say "Ah, New Look? You guys? What the what is up with your stupid strap design?"
So muslins, YAY!
I finished hemming it late last night and it was all
"HEY! Lookit me. I'm pretty! We should go for ice cream!" (Actually it said Regardez-moi! Je suis joli! Laisse aller pour la glace!) I told my sweetie and he agreed wholeheartedly.

So today that's what we did. I would have taken my new dress out for ice cream even if it had been pouring with rain like the forecast said BUT...
It was SUNNY! Unexpectedly sunny is my favorite kind. Which makes this the Sunny Sunday Sundae Frock.

And there's my favorite kid, in his new rat-pack hat. And my pooch halfway through her hair cut. Which incidentally, is the reason I look a little fried. Poodle parlouring is hard work.
And now for some gratuitous bear shots:

I done shared HERE:
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