Pockets pockets pockets.

So I have a few sewing projects on the go. Something fun/creepy, something for charity, and around a million clothing modifications. We did a big clothing clear-out, getting rid of things that I don’t wear or that don’t fit quite right now my hips and bust have expanded. I found a few clothes I wanted to give away… but just because of one tiny flaw. So I decided instead to hold a few back and modify them so that they suited me perfectly. And one of the mods I’m doing is: pockets.

We all know the struggle of not having functional pockets on dresses, skirts, etc. There are even online clothing stores which stock nothing but clothes with pockets. And some of my favourite clothes don’t have them.

Fair enough, I’m not sure I could pull off pockets on a bodycon dress. So that one will have to stay intact unless I get super creative. But my wrap dress, 3 A-line skirts, fitted denim skirt, and summer dress? They’ll be getting the pocket treatment. I’ll put up pics and tutorials as I go, and we can see how well it all works out.

What’s a modification you’ve made, or would love to make, to your clothes?

FitFriday. What nobody tells you about having a “small bump”.

Plenty of people who had more average bumps, or who are as of yet childless, will praise them, or get angry at them, so here’s some uncomfortable details from the other side:

  1. It’s usually not down to you. You can eat as much or as little as you like, exercise however you want, bump size is predetermined.
  2. It’s physically uncomfortable. There’s just as much baby and womb in there (unless point 3 applies), so your organs are extra cramped.
  3. It might mean a poorly baby. IUGR is not a pleasant thing and your baby could carry the effects of it with them for life.
  4. You’ll be blamed for it. “IUGR? You’re probably too old/starving yourself/exercising too much/on drugs… Not IUGR? Well, you probably are at fault anyways.”
  5. It’s a source of constant worry. If your bump stops growing, or is under size, you need more regular checkups, constant scans, and are always hearing doctors, midwives, and consultants talking about hormone treatments, premature birth, or inductions.
  6. You’ll probably be feeling like enough of a failure without being constantly reminded.
  7. Nobody leaves you alone. Everyone wants to talk about it. Half to tell you off for daring to be small. The other half to ask for your secret. There’s no secret and most women with small bumps don’t really want to talk about them.

I don’t mean to come across as one of the perpetually offended. It doesn’t upset me that people want to talk about small bumps. But I’d rather these people considered the facts before getting ridiculously jealous/angry/both.

It’s just a baby. Sheesh.

Hoisin Beer-Butt Chicken.

Because I’d never cooked one before!

Ingredients:

  • whole chicken
  • 1/2 full can of beer (put the rest in a bread, or the cook)
  • 2tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1tbsp onion powder
  • 1tsp mustard
  • 1tsp paprika

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl and fork
  • baking tray
  • skewers for emergency propping

Recipe:

  1. Place the chicken over the beercan, the further in the can goes the more stable it will be.
  2. Prop the chicken with skewers anyway because a chicken on a beercan is stupidly unsteady.
  3. Mix the sauce ingredients together. Slather all over the chicken. We want it looking fake-tanned!
  4. Roast in a preheated oven at 160C for 2h.
  5. Roast at 230C for a few minutes to crisp up.
  6. Make gravy with the drippings and remaining beer in the can.

 

The New Normal.

I knew having a baby would change things. But I didn’t know how exactly, or how much. Well, now I do, and it’s time to try and get back into the swing of things.

So this means it’s all back to normal? Nope. Is it at least stable and routine? Nope too. It’s taken me a while to realize this, but not only is every baby unique, but some babies, mine included, are uniquely random. He’s sort of predictable. But there’s no point waiting until he has a routine for me to renew my old occupations. It’s not about to happen. 4/5 days he’s timely, then he has a bad one. But I finally feel confident that I can roll with this.

Everything else slowly fell into place, and I relearned how to take care of everything that matters: first Jon, then housework, the pets, cooking, my little projects, socializing. So it’s time to renew writing, blogging and art. And in a few months, paid work and gardening. All with a helpless little human strapped to me. It’s not the same. But it’s something you figure out as you go along.

I’m back everybody. 😀

IMG_20170104_152243

 

PS: Babies aren’t expensive. Yet to see about toddlers, but doubt they are either. 😛

There isn’t one me, and that’s OK.

A post at Hearthrose’s blog got me thinking about something recently.

Although I take pride in being pretty independent and happy to be alone, like all people I try and craft myself a story which minimizes conflict, which allows me to appear more congruent, to fit into the group.

But the thing is, although I am functional, stable and happy, I am not a sane, balanced, “one story” sort of a person. I’ve done a lot of stuff, a lot of stuff has happened to me, and my refusal to adhere to one group means my outlook on life isn’t from the same vantage point as any given person I am talking to. I have been on welfare and among the elite at the Oxford and Cambridge club. I have spent time in churches and posing nude for painting and photography groups. I have been paid to write liberal essays, but I have also intentionally associated with Marxists and feminists. I have lived across countries, incomes, social boundaries… And between that and the randomly flicking light switch which is my hormonal balance, I am not sane or balanced, there is no “one story”.

I find that with the way my head works, it’s hard to reconcile many different aspects of myself. I learned from a young age that people as disjointed and random as me aren’t “real” people, that I needed to simplify myself in order to be “genuine”. Although no one person has mattered to me beyond Jon, I’ve still tried to minimize conflict by wedging myself into one story and hiding anything which didn’t quite fit.

Pregnancy has given me some time to think about this though, especially about disorders like bipolar and disorders of shallow affect. I know they’re highly heritable. But I don’t want my son to end up like my father: a bipolar alcoholic unable to reconcile all the facets of his identity into something pleasant and superficially genuine, which people might find easier to swallow. I want my son to be able to be weird and disjointed, to not commit to something unless he needs to or wants to or believes it makes sense, to not force himself into an indentity or a group without reason. I don’t want to make him think he has to find a community he can perfectly blend into and fade into the background. Because that is what happened to my father and it doesn’t work.

I don’t care any more if I’m a bit too sweary or immodest at times for the traditional spheres. Or if I’m not racy or flaunty enough for social media. Or if I’m not religious enough for small communities. Or if I’m not abrasive enough for my age group. I don’t care that I read anything from the KJ Bible to Deadman Wonderland, that I’m an anime nerd, that I can’t hate the sex industry, that I prefer to be alone most of the time, that I’m self-absorbed, that I like to do traditional tasks, that I hoard money instead of using it.

I’d rather get on with being me, doing what I must do in order to succeed at what I want, accepting the different sides of myself and not hiding them in order to fit in better or appease someone. If something needs fixing, I’ll fix it, not pretend it isn’t there to give a better impression. And if I lose a few people along the way, then they’re not part of my story, are they?

First Snowfall Chocolate Mud Cake.

Made last week, but writing it up now because all cooking has become very simple due to Jon’s dentist appointment.

The icing turned out delicious and quite cute and snow-like with the split between icing sugar and cocoa and the sparkles of plain sugar, though it was far too runny and looks more messy than anything. Need to work on my cake decorating skills!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 700g flour and raising agents
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped brazils
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped into chips
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3tbsp plain cocoa powder
  • 5tbsp sweetened cocoa powder, milk or white
  • 1 egg
  • 1tsp each: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, coffee granules

For decorating:

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate powder
  • water as needed
  • whole brazils
  • white grain sugar

Utensils:

  • mixing bowl and spoon
  • small mixing bowl and whisk
  • greased, nonstick, lined cake tin

Recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Mix the dry cake ingredients.
  3. Stir in the egg and honey.
  4. Add water until a batter forms.
  5. Pour into the tin. Bake until a skewer comes out with sticky crumbs on it: not dry, but firm.
  6. Put aside to cool.
  7. Mix the icing sugar and white chocolate powder. Add water a few drops at a time and stir into a thick paste. I’m not too impressed with the melting snowfall look, so just blend it thoroughly and set aside to cool a little.
  8. Pour the cool-ish icing over the cold cake.
  9. Stick whole brazils on it.
  10. Sprinkle with white sugar before it completely sets.

snow-cake

4 Things I Learned From Twitter.

Been a bit exhausted following leaving work, especially so considering I basically removed a year worth of mess from a friend’s house. People seem quite pleased about this whole “nesting instinct” thing!

But that means I’ve been able to go through my Twitter patterns of the last month or so. And here are 4 lessons to learn from Twitter.

1: Finding data matters. Research matters more.

Twitter is great for grabbing links, facts and stats. But every single one needs to be investigated. With all the fake news hysteria and mass media being as fake as fake news, it’s important to check our information not just against various sources, but against sanity itself. And if it doesn’t matter: then don’t file it as fact or fiction, file it as a random anecdote which does not matter.

2: Writing succinctly is a skill.

I’m finding my writing is clearer and more succinct from using Twitter. Forcing myself to fit long essays into 140 character shouts is expanding the vocabulary I use without making me sound like a massive nerd who uses words nobody understands.

3: Exchanging ideas is great, but you need space.

Twitter is amazing for swapping ideas, provided you can get on the same page and sum up your points. But you will always need to take some time out to process your thoughts. Most of the people I know who blog well and use Twitter have their own form of meditation where they set time aside to think through new ideas and formulate them better. Talking is wonderful, but we have to think too.

4: The wittiest, most liked stuff is also the most useless to you

Seriously, the stuff that gets the most favourites will be stuff that people agree with and are comfortable with. Being snappy and witty makes you more popular and puts you in contact with more interesting people, but don’t confuse that for personal growth, achievement, or important material. Instead, look to the things you talked about more and were recognized for less. That is where your ideas are developing, being challenged, growing solid. That is what you need to work on.

That said, I probably need to quieten my Twitter habit back down a little. Not entirely sure yet where this new activity fits into my old #NoNothingNovember challenges. What do you think?

TTFN and Happy Hunting.