Author Archives: Greek

My latest sewing 10/2/2018

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My 9.5 year old has reached this awkward age when it comes to buying clothes.

I can no longer buy her stuff from the kids range. My favourite place to buy kids clothes is from Cotton On kids, I love how fun and crazy their designs are.

Unfortunately their teen section “free” is the opposite of fun and crazy. It is depressingly boring and overpriced. I feel like the transition is too steep. She is not yet a teenager, she wants to wear fun stuff too… her mother wants her to wear fun stuff too!

The T-shirst are mostly white with prints.

The stuff with colours are more somber and sparse.

Everything is more expensive while the fabric looks cheaper.

And I’ve been looking at many different stores. We just came back from Aussie and the situation is similar.

Anyway, long winded way for me to say that I thought I’d sew her something for CNY. (her sister has a lovely maroon coloured dress, bought in Aussie, it’s not fair!)

And here is the result:

Only after I was done with it did I realise that it looks like a nightgown. Sigh. I’m working on another one. Same design, bolder colour.

On another note, I got the pattern from a Japanese dress making book. I love getting these from the library. They include the pattern and give very good instructions (I like them much better than the American dress making books). The clothes in the Japanese books are usually very simple, I usually add embellishments, like piping, or ric rac to fancy it up a bit.

Here is my second attempt.

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Teens 7.2.2018

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I just finished watching
“The end of the fxxking world”

It was pretty awesome!

But it only gets better at episode 3-4. If I hadn’t been bolstered by the many positive reviews I would have given up before the end of the first episode.

And I usually don’t watch teen focused shows. (Although I did enjoy atypical).

It’s sort of in the same vein as atypical, in that confused way teens are about what is real vs they believe is true.

It’s how sometimes you read in the news of how a teenager just murdered his parent and you wonder how things could have gone so wrong.

This series kind of answers that. It is the lack of perspective. And usually perspective can only be gained through life experiences. It’s no point telling a teenager the facts of life because they have only experienced life in a very sheltered and contained way.

When I was a teenager, I remember feeling afraid of the future because it was so unknown. But I also felt a lot more sure about the facts of life.

I have learnt things are a lot less black and white today.

Yesterday my husband was complaining about a friends daughter (the poor girl is becoming a teenager).

I had to remind him that we were teenagers too and from his own retelling, he was not an easy teenager to raise.

And our own daughter will be a teenager in a few short years…

Even now, she is not yet 10 but already beginning to transition. Her body is already beginning to develop.

She doesn’t greet her daddy at the door with the same kind of overwhelming joy she used to when she was younger.

She likes to chat with her best friend on Viber and requires privacy when she does!

She will sit quietly for hours reading an engrossing book.

Alias Grace 24.11.2017

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Ah I really enjoyed this. Its been 3 weeks and its still on my mind. In my books, that’s the mark of a good story (or tv show).

I almost didn’t believe it when I saw it on Netflix, because Alias Grace is my favourite of Atwood’s novels.

Couldn’t help comparing it to Handmaid’s Tale. The themes are similar but this seems to have a much more pared down setting. I think with Handmaid, the most striking thing of all is the cinematography.

The contrast to our world today. The very vivid colours.

Alias Grace had muted colours instead. And in a way that really suited the story. Suffocating but in an understated way.

In a way, its easy to dismiss her story as being just a story, far removed from today’s reality. But then you are reminded that it’s based on a real woman. And the things that she and the other women went through, were normal occurrences at that time.

That when a woman has sex with anyone other than her husband, its her fault. And the man is completely off the hook. And if she decides to abort the baby (despite attempts to ask the father of her child to act responsibly), she is the murderess and must face all consequences alone.

And, her harshest critics are women.

I often think, the reason men believe they are better than women, is because they are raised by their father, but more importantly, their mother to believe this.

She does this by doing all the “womens work” for him, laundry, cooking, cleaning. So that he never learns to do these things and later on expects his wife to do them for him. And when she asks for him to pitch in, he feels like either she is not a good wife, or if he does help out, that he is a saint.

This is one of the reasons that I am so grateful to my mil. She has 4 sons and because in the early years she was so busy, everybody had to pitch in.

I’m not saying that my husband is perfect, but certainly, he does not feel like helping out is beneath him. And to be fair, I do the bulk of the house stuff – the kids, cooking, laundry etc. He works very long hours while I’m at home after picking up the kids from school.

Repeating history? 12.10.2017

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I used to think that life was like a, journey, moving forward, becoming better. Increasingly I’m beginning to believe that we are stuck in a circle. Unchanging, repetitive.

We may went to believe that humanity is becoming better, more enlightened. But really, given the right circumstances, we have not changed at all.

Is it circumstances that determine who we are?

I don’t mean this in a depressing the world is rotten kind of way. I mean we think we have evolved but are we really just the same people at different times in history?

I think this may be how they came up with that phrase, “history repeating itself”

That is to say that I have judged people in the past too harshly. I may have done the same were I in their shoes.

My latest TV shows 14.9.2017

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I have been quite surprised recently to find some tv shows I quite enjoyed. I feel like it’s been a while since I found something I really enjoyed, that I would really pay attention to when watching ( not playing games on my phone while watching)

Here are some shows I watched that I couldn’t really get into.

Fargo season 3.
I thought I would really enjoy this especially since I loved the 2nd season. Kirsten Dunst was so so funny in it. And I usually like Ewen Macgregor’s stuff.

But I just couldn’t get into it, so I gave up after episode 5.

Good Behavior
3 episodes in and I gave up.

Westworld
Watched the whole season and quite enjoyed it, but I feel like I should have enjoyed it so much more? Such a great premise, love that there’s mystery, lots of thought provoking stuff to ponder and the set was also enjoyable to watch. Somehow it all felt a little bit underwhelming.

Taboo
Also quite enjoyed this. Watched the whole season. I loved the feel of this series.

And the handwriting haha… Plot wise it was ok… Entertaining but not thought provoking.

The Defenders
Just started watching this and already losing interest. I think of all these netflix marvel ones, the only one I really enjoyed was Jessica Jones.

Gypsy
Omg, I keep watching, expecting it all to make sense but it just got worse and worse. Not one character to root for, least of all Naomi Watts’. Why did she agree to be in it?

Little Big Lies
I started watching this with very little expectation, partly because of my bad gypsy experience. I thought with all these big movie stars, they are not going to try hard. The stars are the draw, not the plot.
But I got hooked onto it from episode one and when I wasn’t watching, I was thinking about it.
I feel like even without that dramatic ending, it would have been a good show. I loved watching the whole mummy culture. I could relate to some off that.

The husband-wife, mother-daughter, step family dynamics… I really enjoyed all that. Then the Nicole Kidman character and all that entailed, definitely makes you think of that kind of relationship in a new light. It’s not all black and white. Its all actually very difficult.

Atypical
Just started watching this last night. I don’t usually like watching shows with teenagers/young adults. Its just exhausting to watch usually. So I was surprised at how sweet this show is. There’s teenage angst.

But in a refreshing and universal sort of way. I’m only on episode 2. But definitely watching more tonight.

A Handmaids Tale
I almost forgot to add this. I first read the book back in school, as part of English literature. Even as a textbook, I really liked it and that started me reading most of Margaret Atwood’s books. ( another one I really like is Alias Grace)
I loved the set of the show,the colours, the beautiful costumes! The starkness of the scenes.
Plus the plot of course, which is terrifying. Especially as a mother.

The first few episodes especially, every episodes seems to reveal a grimmer and grimmer reality.

Mandarin Lessons 2.9.2016

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On our way home from her weekly mandarin lesson my eight year old asked me, if we can’t speak Chinese, are we still Chinese.

I told her that’s a great question. What does she think makes us who we are. Is it the language? But we speak English best but that doesn’t make us English.

Or is it how we look, so she looks Chinese therefore she is Chinese.

She said, no it’s from the inside. Then I asked her if how people see us affects how we see ourselves.

I told her about American couples who adopt children from Asian countries like China and Vietnam. Does she think an adopted child from China is not Chinese because they don’t speak Chinese and didn’t grow up immersed in Chinese culture?

Then she asked me why are there so many orphans in China. And I told her there are very many people in China. To which she quickly replied, 1.3 billion!

I’m delighted I can ponder with my daughter.

She has always been very interested in her Chinese-ness.

I think she only realised a year or two ago that people look according to their ethnicity. Before she came to that realisation, I think she thought we just look like a mix of our parents. And that we don’t look that different from each other.

She once asked me what makes her look different from her white best friend. She really couldn’t see a recognisable difference.

Mentrual Cup 27.6.2016

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Oh was reading today’s ep and excited to read about her menstrual cup experience.

She and a few others have written about their experiences and I noticed that they are relatively new to the cup. I thought I’d add my experience as someone who has been using the cup for a few years.

#menstrualcup

So I got my cup, a meluna, about 6 years ago, then after using it for one cycle, got pregnant with my second baby and didn’t use it again till a year later. Now my baby is 5, so it’s close to 5 years I’ve been using the cup.

Before using the cup, I was mostly on pads, very occasionally I used tampons.

It took a few cycles to get the hang of it, insertion and removal can be quite tricky and even painful when the vagina is not well lubricated.

It is easiest to use the cup when flow is steady… So on lighter days I sometimes just use a liner (homemade and reusable 😊).

My period is usually 8 days long, starts off with light flow, then non existent, then very heavy for two days, then light again.

On the very heavy days I definitely need my liner as back up.

I’ve only had the one meluna cup with ring. Its quite a stiff cup and I think it’s a medium. I think size wise I could go with something a little larger for those heavy days but haven’t bothered getting a new one because most of the time it is adequate for my needs. Also there are so many to choose from, I get rather overwhelmed.

I change about 3 times/day during the heavy days.

 Thoughts on the cup

The cup has changed my life. How?

1. No smell and no blood. Yes, changing the cup can be messy and definitely takes some practice, but once the cup is on, its like a regular day down there. To me this was revolutionary, especially since I have such long periods.

2. I have become much more in tune with my cycle and my anatomy in that region. It is empowering.

3. Not only am I not spending money buying disposables, I don’t have to dispose of pads. I hate disposing of pads. It feels like it’s something shameful, when it really shouldn’t be, its just something natural really, yet it has to be done secretly and securely. Now it just gets flushed down.

4. Plus yay for the environment!

5. Also, obviously the savings on all those pads/tampons.

Ok, I will be honest here, some days , especially on very light days, I feel like I can’t be bothered.

Insertion, is still a hassle, even though I’ve been doing this for years.

The mess when the cup needs to be emptied, still not fun, even on light days.

But then, I am the boss of me, its my choice when I choose to use and some days I just put on my homemade liner. I definitely still choose the cup on the heavy days.

A word of caution to new users. Do not practice on a dry run, ie try the cup when it’s not your period. I tried that and it almost put me off the whole thing. Even on a light day insertion can be painful and the cup may not open easily. Use a lubricant if this is a problem for you.

It does take time to master insertion (I still have trouble some days). Removal is comparatively much easier. Don’t give up, try different folds (my favourite is the punch but I change it up sometimes).

Don’t worry about the cup falling out while pooing. It may feel like it sometimes but the muscles down there really do hold the cup well.

14.6.2016

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Finished Samantha Hunt’s Mr Splitfoot last week. #dayrebookclub. It was good and very readable. Not sure what genre exactly it is.

It’s told from two point of views. One happens about 12 years after the other. Strong themes of motherhood and what it means to be a mother. The mothers in the story are not exactly mother of the year material but over the course of the book I think what emerges is that some moms might be doing a very bad job at being mothers but it’s mainly because they are so

messed up themselves. But they do desire to do right by their child.

Actually this kind of ties in with a movie we watched on Netflix. The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete.

Which also tells the story of kids being let down by their mothers. Only as the story emerges, one mother, even though she was doing a very bad job of being a mother, was aware of it and wanted to do better. While another was perhaps psychotic or at the very least just too ruined by drugs.

A week ago

Today

So now I’m two weeks into my excema treatment and feeling great! Haven’t felt so good in 13 years.

I have stopped taking the antihistamines and most of the excema on my arms and upper body are gone. There’s still some on my legs but it’s improving dramatically.

My hands that used to be completely red and inflamed and hurt every time I touch water are beginning to regain normal skin.

My daughter is also doing very well although not at the same speed as me. She used to have a problem with warts

Diagnosed by a dermatologist as molluscm contagiosa. He didn’t have any medication for her and said best treatment would be liquid nitrogen but that might be too traumatic for her because it was quite extensive.

We tried all sorts of over the counter medication and even resorted to cutting the upper dead skin of the warts but nothing seems to work and they spread because of the scratching that came with her excema. It was difficult for all of us.

As soon as her excema started clearing up her warts were beginning to shrink. Some are already gone and it’s been just two weeks.

All he’s asked us to put on is this first aid cream Chrystaderm.

I was so surprised that it worked.
I think it worked in conjunction with her immune system.

Because I tried it on my youngest and the wart has remained unchanged. My youngest only has one but very stubborn wart.

Excema 2.6.2016

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Currently reading Mr Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt.

Still early days but so far very engaging. Have gotten some very strong recommendations for it.

Documenting the state of my excema ridden hand.

I have suffered from excema for the last 12+ years and have given up on finding a cure.

The focus has been on maintenance, ie, stop the itch from getting infected, keeping it on a simmer. This has been done primarily with some high strength steroid creams and lots and lots of very greasy moisturizer.

Last Saturday I met a fellow excema sufferer who seems to have been “cured”!

She told me she met a new doctor and thanks to his course of treatment, she is now drug and steroid cream free. Relying only on an over the counter moisturizer.

I was really sceptical… I have seen several dermatologists, allergy specialists, Chinese doctors and naturopaths and nobody could help me before. But I knew my friend had also tried everything before and it worked for her.

So on Monday I went with my daughter (suffering from excema since infancy) and went to see him.

He gave us some steroid creams, antihistamines and regular moisturizer with instructions and told us to come back in a week. He assured us that by the time we come back our excema would have cleared up.

Also gave us a long list of food to avoid for the next six months 😵. But I am very willing to forgo some food if it means normal skin.

It’s hard to believe but even within the first night there was already a marked reduction in the itchiness.

My skin is already looking so much less inflamed. I can sleep undisturbed through the night.

That picture of my hand is 3 days into the treatment and it’s a pity I didn’t take a before picture. There’s already a huge improvement.

I think I will try to update with a picture once a week.

#myfavouritethings 9.12.2015

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1. Christmas in NZ is my favourite time of the year. With the warmer weather, there is a lift in everybody’s mood. Add to that the general good feeling of the coming summer break, shops gearing up for Christmas, family reunions and there is a tangible feeling of joy in the atmosphere. Work and school life winds down and family and leisure is just on the brink. It’s a good time to be in NZ.

2. My craft cabinet. Sorry it’s such a mess and I only tidied it up two weeks ago! This is where I keep my fabrics for quilts and kids clothes making. Also yarn for crochet which I recently took up and assorted notions.
I love buying crafty things but I really need to rein myself in because there is no more space! And really i think a lot of the time I enjoy buying the material more than actually doing the crafting.

3. Libraries. I love to read but I don’t really like buying books. Not just because I don’t like spending the money but also because once I’ve read the book, most of the time I don’t want to read it again and I don’t want to house books I’m never going to read again, it just adds to the disorder in the house. Hence, libraries are so perfect! Not only do I get to borrow books for free! But they have such a huge selection, and there is a very good ordering system so that I can get virtually any

Book I might want. Ok maybe not virtually any book, because they do take out the older less popular ones.

4. Case in point, books by my favourite author Beverley Hughesdon, I read her books at the library but they have been taken out of circulation. Her books were published circa late 80s, early 90s so I guess they are a bit old. But I was devastated when I realised I couldn’t read her book again. And they are out of print now and the author died three years ago!!!

Please don’t be fooled by the cheap romance look of the cover. I was lucky enough to find this copy at a second hand book fair in Christchurch twelve years ago. It’s not my favourite one of her books though. My favourite is “Silver Fountains” which is loosely based on the beauty and the beast story and the sequel to “Roses have Thorns”. The titles are taken from a Shakespearian sonnet:
Roses have thorns
And silver fountains mud…

#dayrebookclub basically her stories are love stories set during the first world war.
When I realised that the books were no longer available in they library, I did what I should have done years ago, hunted then down on eBay and Amazon. So soon I will have 3 of her books! I’m going to wrap them up for Christmas! She only wrote 4 books in total, but her first one is quite rare and costs about $150 and I’m not prepared to pay that much for a book which I don’t know anything about.

Apparently she left a manuscript when she died and her nephew is trying to get it published… But three years on, still no new book.

5. I love buying girl clothes. I think most moms get this. There’s just so much thrill to it, obviously part of it is the joy of doing something for our daughter, but I think another part of it is that when I buy clothes for myself, there’s so much anguish to go with it, the fit, the colours, the having to go into fitting room, the cost etc. But with girl clothes, most of the time it’s very straightforward, most of the time in a mother’s eyes, her girls look gorgeous in anything.

And there’s so much more colour and whimsy in the choices. Even the shops are so much fun to be in. My favourite kids shop to go to is cotton on, I just love the colours! And I love the simplicity in their design. And sometimes I go there just for ideas on what I can sew 😀 for the girls.

6. Eh… Can’t think of anymore at the moment… Will add on when I come up with something.

Thanks @lynnnnn for making me stop for awhile to think about this. Just thinking about my favourite things make me happy