Saturday, January 31, 2009

Shopping all day

I spent the day shopping with a friend. It was great fun; we went to a number of stores, had lunch, and chatted about everything. I had a great time! Our first stop was Vicanie's, our favourite lingerie store. I've been going there for a number of years now and even though I hadn't been there in a couple of years, the owner still remembered me! Now *that's* great service. They have bras in tons of sizes and lots of pretty ones, too, as well as swimwear and nightwear. If you're in Guelph or Waterloo, I highly recommend the store.

You might remember me saying that I didn't think I was all that well-endowed. Well, it turns out that I was wrong and my sisters were right - I'm definitely more endowed than I used to be. The staff at the store did a bra fitting for me and it turns out that I've gone up one band size and one cup size. I was amazed at the size of the girls when I'm wearing a bra in the correct size. This isn't a bad thing, really, because my butt is also big, so at least now they'll be better balanced.

I was able to get two bra-and-panty sets on sale in my new and improved size. At another store, I also bought the cutest little waist-length black cardigan with 3/4-length sleeves, charcoal round buttons, fur trim on the peter pan collar, and wool lace and sequin trim beside the buttons. It is soooo adorable!!!! It'll be perfect with pencil skirts and the vintage dresses I'm making for the colder months.

Now I just need to find another waist-length, 3/4-length sleeve, light-coloured cardigan for summer. I could make a bolero to match each summer dress I'll be making... but that seems like a lot of work. I don't object to making one bolero that matches a lot of things, but I don't want to make more than two, so I'll be needing a cardigan as well.

All in all, it was a very fun and productive shopping day. And because we bought everything on sale, we didn't even spend that much - yippee :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

This, that, and the other thing

Project Runway Canada is back! They're in Ottawa this time and I'm quite curious about where they'll buy fabric there. I'd been looking for an awesome PRC-caliber fabric store when I was there but I didn't really find one. Next time I'm there I'll have to go to the store they pick.

I also watched a bit of this show called Blush, a reality series looking for the next makeup artist. It's the only show I've seen where the guys apply makeup to themselves as carefully as girls do. There's a guy there who is even more flamboyant than Austin Scarlett. Yes. He is. At judging, he had a wig on or had curled his hair into tight 18th-century curls and was wearing a black skirt, flip-flops, and a top with a black lace jabot. His makeup was also interesting (and of course well-done!). Even more notable, he fanned himself with a black lace fan. I think I'll be wanting to watch more of this series :)

I traced out and graded a new pattern - a basic sheath, 50's style - and sewed up a trial, and I'm thrilled with it! It needs some adjustment, of course, mainly because I mis-measured the waist (silly me!), but it fits well. I could tell that I liked it, because after I'd finished making all the adjustments to the trial, I posed in front of the mirror for a while. Even though it's just a trial and so is basically a throw-away garment, I loved the way I looked and felt in the dress. I can't wait until I make up the dress in "real" fabric. I'm also hoping to turn this dress into something that I can use as a block to adjust into other styles.

So that's all pretty good news. My back is still quite painful, which isn't so good. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but when my back hurts, so does my left leg. I guess that whatever causes the pain is pinching a nerve in the leg. I've also been noticing that some of the muscles in that leg feel weak when I move them in certain ways. I guess the pain is sort of like sciatica, except that it doesn't go to my toes (it stops at my mid-hamstring) and it hurts and is weak on the outer part of the leg. I did mention this to the physiotherapist a couple of weeks ago and she said that I should try to strengthen the leg.

Anyways, my back was in agony this afternoon so I took some painkillers so I could go went to curling tonight. I fell while delivering a couple of rocks because of my left leg, and while sweeping a rock my left leg just gave way and I fell. All of a sudden my leg just wouldn't bear my weight.

I tell you, having my leg just crumple like that freaked me out. Ian saw it happen and it freaked him out, too. I don't really know how or why this would have happened. At least I see my oncologist on Tuesday and I expect to be seeing my family doctor soon - hopefully they can tell me what's going on. I want the pain to go away and for my legs to work properly.

Clearly I won't be curling tomorrow... or possibly for a while. We'll see.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The sun came out today

Talking with my meditation group definitely helped today. Several had been through similar situations and knowing that makes it easier. My group leader also suggested that I write things down and allow myself to feel whatever it is that I'm feeling and not try to suppress it.

And of course meditating will help to keep my mind clear and calm. This is not surprising advice because it is a meditation class, after all :)

One piece of advice made a lot of sense: that whatever I do, I have to live with it later, and I don't want to do anything that I couldn't live with. I know it seems like a logical statement but in this context it made a lot of sense. I'm not depressed, don't worry, and I won't do anything silly... except for spending too much money, like I did with the pattern over the weekend.

On a brighter note, I did run across something I thought was quite funny: yarnbombing. I guess it's like guerrilla knitting: find an object, knit something to cover it, and attach the knitted item to the object. I love it! What a way to make our cities more beautiful - and use up your yarn. :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

My cheery self seems to have disappeared

I've been finding myself sort of up and down, restless, and out-of-sorts over the last few days but I wasn't sure why.

Of course I'm worried about my lower back; I worry that the marked increase in pain over the last bunch of months is mets. And I'm seeing my oncologist in a week so of course I'm going to be more worried about my back. But no matter how worried I've been in the past, I don't usually freak out until just about the night before (or the weekend before) the appointment.

So it's not (or mostly not) my back or my cancer that is causing me to feel this way.

No, I think the main reason I've been up and down is that I'm starting to remember and relive events leading up to my dad's death last year in anticipation of the anniversary date of his death. I'm finding myself flooded with memories and feelings... and I think that I'm sort of trying to suppress them because letting them come leaves me sad and crying. I suppose that it would be better to just let the memories come out - or to write them down - but I haven't been able to bring myself to do that.

I have my meditation class tomorrow and I hope to get some tips from the leader of that class on how to handle my grief and mourning over the next while. It's almost like it's happening all over again... at least in my head.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A movie in an actual theatre

Saturday is movie day for us, as you know. Tonight we actually went out to watch a movie. Yep, we left the house and watched a late-night movie in an actual movie theatre. I know it's hard to believe, but we used to see almost all of our movies in the theatres - it's only lately that we've watched so many at home.

The movie we saw was Repo! The Genetic Opera. It was AWESOME! We both loved it! It's a musical (an opera, really, because there's almost no spoken dialogue) set in a post-apocalyptic world where many people had died due to some disease or other. A biotech company found a cure for that and managed to set up a culture of elective surgery and transplants; those who couldn't make their payments for the surgery had the organs repossessed by the repo-man.

The backstory was revealed slowly throughout the movie, providing information and connections to the previous story, and each reveal managed to surprise us. Interestingly, some of the story was told via comic-strips and the rest of the movie looked sort of like a comic book. The movie tended to be shot with high-contrast and slightly blurry edges, giving a kind of other-worldliness to the sets. The costuming, makeup, and sets also lend a goth sort of look to the movie. Some of the main characters wouldn't have looked out of place in a vampire movie :)

The singing was pretty good throughout the movie, as was the acting. It is supposed to be a bit over-the-top, of course, and parts of it are definitely way over any top. That's part of what makes this movie so good.

We highly recommend this movie; we liked it very much and felt that it had more depth to it than most movies like this. As well, it was shot entirely in Canada :) However, since the movie centres around surgery, there's quite a bit of gore and blood throughout, and given that much of the movie is about organ repossession, some parts are very, very gory. There is quite a bit of sexuality (mostly in the form of scantily-dressed women dancing with men or each other) as well. Therefore, this movie isn't for everyone. This fact doesn't diminish the movie's awesomeness, though :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

A little shopping, a lot of love

I found the most awesome fabric today!!! It's a collection called "Rocket Scientist" by In The Beginning fabrics and the fabrics have a rocket theme. There's a border fabric with rockets and a countdown fabric (it comes in a white background with lime - I wish it came in a white background with blue writing, but oh well - the best part about them is the little blast-off swirl under some of the rockets) and a fact fabric. They're so cool!!! There are other fabrics in this collection, too, although I don't think they're available everywhere yet. I loooove those fabrics.

I haven't been buying that much lately - which you might have guessed because I usually talk about the stuff I buy - but I did buy a couple of patterns off of eBay tonight. Tonight I spent more on one pattern than I've ever before spent on a sewing pattern. As soon as I saw it I knew that I HAD to have it. I paid through the nose for it, but I got it... and it's worth it to me. Just look at it!

Isn't it beautiful? It's so gorgeous and I've fallen completely, utterly in love with it. I can't wait to make it up as I think it'll look good both as a casual and a dressy dress, with or without the bows (although I do like the bows). I can see it working in tons of fabrics, and I think that the dress might also work with some sleeves. I'm positively swooning over this pattern - oh, how I love it!

Obviously I'm not the only person who loved the pattern. Although the other main bidder was fairly new to eBay with only ten feedbacks, I wonder if they were buying the pattern to sell in one of the online stores. There are definitely profits to be made by buying patterns off eBay and selling them on your own site. If this is a rare pattern (and I think it is because I've never seen anything like it), it could go for a lot, because there are a lot of people who prefer to just pay a set price for an item instead of bidding on it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Feeling pretty good

My temporary filling was replaced with a permanent one on Tuesday and I'm happy to report that I'm not sick! The last two times I've had work done on this tooth, I've ended up really, really sick. It turns out that the root of the tooth is right against the floor of that sinus, and that I had a chronic sinus infection. So when the tooth had work done to it, that irritated my sinus and made me sick. A couple of rounds of antibiotics took care of the sinus infection and so I'm not sick. Yippee :)

Getting rid of the sinus infection has left me feeling quite a bit better than I did last month; I'm actually able to get up at a reasonable time in the morning and accomplish things throughout the day. I feel like I have more energy than I used to as well. So far, this hasn't translated into cleaning the house... but I have made supper this week. That's something I hadn't been doing before.

It's interesting that I'm feeling less tired these days because I'm not taking the Ritalin anymore. I'd been taking it for a while to help with the fatigue that I'd been experiencing but it seems that I don't need it now. It's also possible that the Ritalin was making me more tired, of course. Either way, I'm just as happy to not be taking extra pills.

Of course when my lower back is acting up (as it did yesterday), I have no energy. That may be a result of the pain pills I take to deal with the pain, though. I do need to talk to my family doctor about the pain there but I've decided to wait until after I see my oncologist in two weeks. If my tumour markers are up, then I'll get my oncologist to investigate; otherwise, I'll get my family doctor to start booking xrays. I figure that it can't hurt to wait a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

Today's subject line comes from Barack Obama's Inauguration speech today. Listening to that speech this afternoon, tears sprang to my eyes and I got goosebumps. I believe in Obama in a way that I've never believed in, well, anyone. I think that Obama may be the greatest leader I've ever known; certainly the greatest in my lifetime so far.

I watched with the rest of the world while history took place today: Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th US president and that nation's first black president. I think that Obama, his leadership style, and the change he will bring is desperately needed... but I know that there are people that disagree with me, and I fear that some of those people are violent. I was afraid that someone would take a shot at Obama during the Inauguration speech and parade and destroy my (and other people's) hopes for his presidency. At least I know that he's protected while in his car.

The world is changing, all right, and I think (hope?) Barack Obama is the one to lead that change. I'd follow him, if I lived in the US. If you haven't read or heard Obama's Inauguration speech, I'd recommend having a look at it. Not only is it inspiring for the US and the rest of the world, it manages to bash the Bush administration all at the same time. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

No one's perfect

So it turns out that my pattern alterations weren't quite perfect. Overall I'm quite happy with the dress itself but there are a couple of things that need to be tweaked. I didn't actually measure the bust before or after grading it and I think this pattern has more ease in the bust than I like. Not doing the measurements was just plain laziness on my part. If I'd done them in the first place, I'd have to make fewer changes now which would have saved me time in the end.

The lesson here is to complete every step of a procedure, no matter how tedious those steps might be. I thought I'd learned that lesson but apparently I haven't.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to making the pattern "for real" with the upcoming changes.

In some unrelated but exciting (to me) news, I'm getting that temporary filling replaced with a permanent one tomorrow morning. Yippee! No more temporary filling! I'll be able to chew non-soft foods on the right side of my mouth! This may not seem like much to other people, but it's pretty exciting for me.

Replacing the filling also means that I should be able to start receiving Pamidronate again. I'm really looking forward to this because I hope that the Pamidronate might make my lower back hurt less.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Neverending winter

We have an elephant in our backyard.

Ok, it's not a real elephant. After all, it's too cold here right now and our backyard is too small to support a real elephant. This makes us sad because we both like elephants - if they came in house hippo size, we'd so get one. For now, we'll have to content ourselves with the pile of snow on the cedar bush that looks just like a baby elephant.

We've had a lot of snow this winter and it's been so cold for so long that we're tired of brushing off (or scraping) the car, trying to walk in the snow, bundling up just to walk five minutes to the store, and all of the other extra things we have to do for winter. It's been so cold that I'm glad that we have a newer car that starts in the morning. We don't have engine block heaters here in Southern Ontario and if our car was older I'd worry about it starting every day.

Sigh. Can we just have spring now, please? Please?

We've hibernated this weekend and watched some movies. I gave Ian the Ghost House Underground collection for Christmas and we watched two of the movies from that.

The first was Room 205, a Danish movie about a woman who comes out of a mirror and starts killing people. The movie is a bit slow but visually it's quite interesting and beautiful. We started watching the dubbed version and switched to the subbed (subtitled) version about half-way through. If you're going to watch this, watch the subbed version. The dubbed voices are flat and lack the right emotions which takes a LOT away from the movie. At least with the subbed version you hear the actor's emotions, which gives the movie so much more depth.

The second was Dance of the Dead, which is kind of a teenage comedy-horror with zombies that take over the town on prom night. This movie is all about teenagers - focusing on the scifi club ones - and we found it quite funny. The zombies are pretty good, although different from some other zombies, and there isn't that much gore. The only thing we didn't like was that the scifi club members didn't make lots of scifi-type comments when things happen. We have lots of friends who are geeky in that way and they all make comments from their favourite movies/books/graphic novels/games when anything happens. That criticism aside, we both enjoyed this movie very much. If you like teenage movies and/or zombie movies (or like one and don't mind the other), then you'll like this movie. I suspect  my nephews would like this one, too :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Finally, some sewing!

After having traced and graded a couple of patterns, I'm now finally starting to sew one of them together. I'm using fabric that I bought a while ago but that isn't really something that I would necessarily wear. It's one of those "what was I thinking?" purchases, and yes, I make them both in clothes and in fabric. At least when I buy crappy fabric I can use it for something like test garments; when I buy bad clothes there's no hope for them for me :)

Anyways, I really like the pattern for the dress that I'm making and I hope that I don't have to make too many (read: any) alterations to it. This pattern is a little different than previous ones and is introducing me to new techniques: in particular, the collar extends from the front piece, joins at center back, and then is joined to the neck. It makes a nice looking collar but I've never made one like this before. This dress also has buttons down center front to the hip and below that is a pleat; I've never done this before, either. Hopefully it'll all look good when it's done.

I also just ordered this blue yarn-dyed cotton gingham on sale ; I don't know what I'm going to make with it, but checks were used a LOT in the fifties and would look good made up as many of the dresses I'm making. And blue is a good colour for me. And it was cheap; this seller has more gingham in navy and red, and she's got lots of fabric in stock.

Friday, January 16, 2009

But I don't feel old

Did I mention that I saw the physiotherapist yesterday? Yep, I saw her yesterday. She suggested that I might benefit from some massage on my back and legs in order to loosen the muscles there - they're very tight.

She also said that I should be stretching the muscles as much as possible because then I'll be more flexible and (theoretically, at least) I'll have less pain. I asked whether yoga would be a good idea and she said that yoga might definitely be something that would help.

We also talked a bit about the pain and weakness I have along the outside of my left leg. She said that the muscle is probably weak because of my back and that I should try to strengthen it, and that exercising my legs while in water would be a great way to do this. When I took swimming lessons before, there had been a class in the deep end where the ladies wore flotation belts and did aerobics... I think those ladies were older than me, though.

The last thing the physiotherapist suggested was that I get a back support thingy for the chairs I sit in - like an obusforme thing. Ian laughed because it's mostly older people that need these..... it's like all of a sudden my body got old!

Sigh. I don't know how much I've whined about my lower back here - it feels like I whine about it almost incessantly in person - but when it hurts, it hurts a LOT. The pain has become so much worse in the last six months that I sort of wonder what's going on. Hopefully it is just me getting old and not something like more mets or something.

Oh - and one other thing she said was that when she's flying, she wears pantyhose or compression stockings that she puts on before she leaves the house and removes when she's settled into her destination. Since she's done this, she's more comfortable during the flights and she has less jet-lag. Go figure! I think that the extra compression would make me feel more comfortable so the next time I fly anywhere (which I think will be in the summer), I'll wear some nylons or something and see how it goes.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Where is it cold?

Everywhere!! It was cold when I was in Edmonton and the cold followed me home while also settling down all over the country. Apparently it's only about -15C outside right now but it actually feels like it's about -100C with the wind and the moisture in the air. I think it's around -40C or -50C in Manitoba right now, which is even colder than here. Brrrr.

I tell you, I'm staying inside unless I absolutely have to go somewhere (like curling). I have my patterns, my internet, and my tv to keep me occupied.

Speaking of patterns, I have traced the pattern I'm going to use for my cherry corduroy fabric. I was going to grade them up today but then I decided I was tired, so they're sitting there waiting for me. I hope to finish the pattern tomorrow so that I can cut out the dress.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fabric and pattern matching

While I was in Edmonton I bought fabric, which may not come as a surprise to those who know me :) I bought most of the fabrics from Sig Plach, a fabric store and couturier. They're having a sale where all of their fabrics are at least 20% off - and wow do they have great fabrics! Their customer service is also fantastic; every employee made us feel comfortable and welcome, no matter how long we were there or how many questions we asked. If you're in Edmonton, you should go there.

In addition to the gorgeous fabrics I bought, I have tons of fabric here at home, and lots and lots of patterns.

I spent this afternoon sitting on my sewing room floor with my fabrics neatly folded around me, trying to figure out what to sew next. My boxes of vintage patterns next sat to me so that I could periodically riffle through them, searching for the perfect pattern.

I found pattern and fabric matches for my spring stuff - and wow, do I have a LOT of pattern tracing and grading to do - but ultimately I came up empty for my winter patterns and fabrics. While I could start working on my spring and summer stuff, there's still quite a bit of winter left and I'd like to give myself new things :)

I kept looking through my patterns and my winter fabrics and not finding patterns to use for the fabrics I have. I didn't know what else to do so I started drawing some sketches of what I want the next dress to look like. This way, I was able pick a pattern that will work with the fabric I most want to use - a black featherwale corduroy with a cherry pattern - with a bit of alteration.

Now I have to figure out what to do with all of my knits and all of the new, gorgeous fabrics I bought :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Changes, they are a-comin'

My meditation group started again today. I'm so glad that I went, even though I was tired, as I find the meditations keep me feeling emotionally even. I wasn't sure that I would get there because it starts at 10am and Ian had the car today but I managed to get myself up and out of bed to arrive on time.

It was really important to me to go to this group, just as it will be important to go to curling this week. I've been pretty lackadaisical about going to these and other events in the past but now I'm going to try and show up for everything to which I've committed (unless I'm sick, of course). I made this decision because when I was in Edmonton and people backed out of plans with me, I ended up feeling disappointed. It's not like I'd never had people back out of plans with me before, but for some reason I really noticed it this time and it bothered me.

So I got to thinking, and I realized that if it disappointed me when people backed out of plans with me, then it's likely that other people feel disappointed when I back out of plans with them. While I don't usually care all that much about what people think of me, I don't want to break commitments and disappoint people if I don't have to do that. So if I commit to doing something or being somewhere, then I'm going to work a lot harder to me to honour that commitment than before (where I might have blown off the event because I was shy or a little tired or whatever).

I'd like to think that this is a step towards living honestly and mindfully... and maybe growing up a little? Either way, I'll get more out of my meditation group if I actually show up for the group each week.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Home again

I arrived back in Waterloo last night. Leaving Edmonton felt bittersweet as I had a wonderful time with my friends and family, but I missed Ian so much.

This year's Christmas visit was longer than usual as I was there for over two weeks, and I'm really glad that I stayed so long this year. 2008 was such a difficult year with so many losses that I wanted to spend some time connecting with my loved ones. I felt that I accomplished that goal :)

I was thrilled to stay with my mom and her cat because she made her home so warm, welcoming, and comfortable. I loved getting to know my mom and my sisters again by spending time with each of them together and separately. I really enjoyed watching tv and movies and shopping and hanging out with each of them; I felt at home and comfortable and happy. It was a great visit and it was hard to leave.

Of course I'm happy to be home with Ian :) As much as I enjoyed my visit, it's good to be home.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year!

Since this is my first post of the new year, I wish you and yours a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year.

I hope that your New Year's Eve was as fun as mine, which I spent mine with my sisters and my nephews playing games and eating. There was a lot of laughter, giggles, general silliness, and an all-around wonderful time. You can't have too much fun, I don't think. :)

I spent New Year's Day inside doing nothing at all, which was quite relaxing. I woke up today feeling a little stir-crazy, though - I'd been inside so much that I really needed to get out of the house. Even though it was around -30C (at least it was bright and sunny and not too windy). So my mom and I went downtown and did a little shopping.

Have I mentioned that I've been looking for an early winter coat, one that will be warm between about 10C and -10C? I finally found one today. Yay! I'd tried on this coat in a larger size back in Waterloo and I liked it but it was too big. I saw the one in a size smaller and it fit perfectly! I'm so thrilled with it. My other one was a touch tight on my hips, the zipper had a tendency to come undone from the bottom, and the lining was wearing thin. It was definitely time to replace it, and I hope I'll get to use it next week when the temperature is just below 0C in the daytime.

For some reason, I bought more socks as well. Normally I don't buy a kabillion pairs of socks but for some reason, almost all I've bought here have been socks. It's not like I didn't have socks, but I'm always on the lookout for soft, squishy socks and I found a few pairs. Hopefully I don't have too many socks now :)

I also managed to get a vintage pattern altered today. It's a one-piece dress with only four pattern pieces and I was able to trace the pieces and alter them for me in only about three or four hours. It used to take me a LOT longer to make the alterations before but I'm getting used to the kinds of alterations that I need to make now. Of course I'll still have to test out the revised pattern - I'm not so confident about my skills that I'd use the pattern as-is without a test first. I'm willing to do that for current patterns, because I know exactly what alterations to make and they always work, but it'll be a while before I'm that confident with my vintage patterns.

Tomorrow I think we're not doing anything, which will be relaxing. Maybe I'll work on more patterns :)