Seemingly Inchoate Post

The post yesterday was a big lie - I queued it up weeks ago and put some random date on it. The truth is I am not in any shape to go to a shop, thrift or otherwise - I am vilely sick, with a horrid cold and a pernicious cough. I spent Thursday and most of Friday curled into the fetal position in bed, shivering and hacking and filling up two wastebaskets with Kleenex.

To make matters worse, the only thing I had to read was the world's most depressing novel, which I doggedly kept at, sure it could only get better. I was so, so wrong. I'll tell you more about that later.

I have lost my senses of smell and taste, so am taking this opportunity to eat vegetables which I normally abhor, drink appallingly sour unsweetened fruit smoothies of powerful vitamin density, and pound back shots of garlic juice.

My daughters are miserably sick and the youngest one is clinging on to me and crying fractiously, "Mama, 'nuggle", incessantly.

Mr HalfSoledBoots is treating us like lepers, constantly Lysoling the doorknobs, and muttering about flu shots (which we don't get).

I was too sick to knit Thursday or Friday, but did some work on Fern today. It's coming along beautifully. No pictures because the camera is all the way across the room.

I had a great time at my brother's place, centre of contagion notwithstanding. Actually I think I was Patient Zero, since my lungs started feeling "weird" on the very day we arrived, when everyone else was still perfectly healthy. Out of the fourteen of us that were in the house, not a single one remains untouched by the Dreaded Lurgy. We have all been huddled under our duvets of pain for a week now, give or take.

I read a book last week - a good book. Yann Martel told me about it. It was maybe the best book I've read in fifteen years. In this book I found a word I had never seen before. That's AMAZING because, not to boast or anything, but there aren't many words, in common usage, that I have not heard. The word is lour.

I tried to look it up in the Oxford English Dictionary but it turns out you have to subscribe to look up words in the OED online, and a subscription costs a mere $295 per year. Or if you can't commit to that you can just pay $29.95 monthly.

Words are important, don't get me wrong, but.....maybe not that important.

Which brings me to - I once had a brilliant plan to steal the entire 20 volume OED from the UVic library, using 9 co-conspirators, five different emergency escapes, and the basement fire alarm. Then a few nights later we would return them through the book drop. Only a geek could appreciate the humour of this plan - startled librarians checking in restricted books that you can't take out the front doors without getting locked down, and baffled classics students trying to figure out what boustrophodon is without the go-to resource......ha ha ha - it still gets me. Nobody would agree to help me out, though, and I regretfully decided that stealing two volumes just didn't have the same kind of punch.

I think I'm going to go make myself a new pillowcase. I picked up some fabric when I was away and I could really use a lift during these dark days.

Hopefully when I return, I'll have something useful to post.

But maybe don't count on it.

Lesson #5, or Willow is no longer a mullet

I had a good lesson last week. Willow was much softer and didn't throw any fits. The trot is really coming along, and even the canter showed noticeable improvement. And Willow wasn't a steaming wreck when we were through. I think it's a combination of her increasing fitness and her greater mental acceptance that she can actually do what I'm asking.

Trainer Leslie had nice things to say, one of which was "Your mare is no longer a mullet." Meaning, Willow is no longer business in front, party in the back. She's starting to actually use her hind end, instead of letting those hind legs do pretty much anything but carry weight.

This week's triumph was a composed, productive schooling session during a marathon shooting session at the nearby gun range, set to a backdrop of heavy rain with gusty winds. Good girl, Willow.

In television news, I am perhaps the biggest Joss Whedon fan on the planet, but I am finding his latest show Dollhouse to be just dreadful. This is his followup to Firefly? Really? On a happier note, I'm also watching Rome, and I just discovered Supernatural and have become quite the Deangirl.


Buenos Aires Fashion Week culminated tonight and I got to attend my first-ever fashion show!!!!!!!! I was so stoked to go to the exhibition center where designers were showing at booths and beautiful people were out in force, but the tickets to the runway shows were sold out.
GOOD THING I had the Mother Lode camera hanging around my neck -- I don't usually do stuff like this -- but I saw the loooonnngggg line of ticketholders going into the Wanama runway show,
and I bypassed to the head of the line and asked the security guy (in Spanish, nonetheless) how much tickets were. I DID NOT say I was with the press, but he looked at my camera and said (in Spanish), "For the press, it's free." So I was like, "hmmm," and said I had friends with me -- he asked how many, I said "two," and I motioned Neil and our friend Venai over, and he let us all in!! BOO-YAH!!!!! We were sooo incredibly psyched to be there (of course I was thrilled, but yes, my two dude companions were, too). My heart is pounding remembering it. It was so awesome.
Wanama, anyone? I'd never heard of the line, but I LOVED it!!!!! I've always wanted to go to a runway show!!!!

I took all the pictures you see here. Special thanks to the bomb camera and whatever it might lead security guards to assume about my profession.
Our friend, Venai

Out and About

Back to the thrift shop today, where the sight of these did my heart good:

I won't tell you whether I bought them or not.

Backup Cuddly

This is a topic which has commanded a fair bit of my attention over the past 13 years: the idea that you must have a backup 'cuddly' for your child.

I used to pour over Mother & Child or Good Parenting magazines when I was a new mother. One of the articles that caught my eye, when Possum was about 6 months old, was about a backup 'cuddly'. The author of the article wrote,

You should always buy two, or even three, of your child's favourite cuddly so you will have a backup in times of emergency - such as when it has to be washed or, heaven forbid, if it should be lost or damaged.

But as a new mother, I wanted to know how can you tell which one of the many soft toys and/or cosy blankets received during your Baby Shower, or as Newborn gifts, will your baby will decide to love best?

Possum became attached to a white, scruffy, stuffed dog which had been given to her by one of my piano students. It didn't matter what else we tried to get her attached to, she only wanted Scruffy and would cry and scream until he was there. My student had moved interstate soon after Possum's birth. I had no way of contacting her to find out where she bought Scruffy, and even though we enlisted the help of all family and friends - who systematically scoured the city for a 'backup' Scruffy - we could never find one that was even similar.

Luckily, Scruffy has never been lost, and has survived the washing machine many times. (Lucky, too, that he dries very quickly!) Scruffy has travelled everywhere with Possum and shared every experience with her - good or bad. Birthday parties, punishments, illnesses, sleepovers, and immunizations have been patiently witnessed by Scruffy. He even accompanied Possum across the Pacific Ocean when she went to Disneyland in California with Nano a few years ago. Scruffy has achieved the status of becoming 'real'. I mean 'real' in the sense that he is so loved by a child that he is no longer just a stuffed dog, but a 'real' member of the family. (Like the Velveteen Rabbit.)

Possum still loves Scruffy.

Dragon also chose a tricky 'cuddly'. My parents returned from an overseas holiday bearing gifts, and one of the gifts was a toy Tigger for Dragon.

"What's the problem?" you may ask. "Tigger is fairly common."

Well, not in Australia 11 years ago. Pooh Bear was still just a children's storybook. It hadn't achieved the cult status it currently enjoys. And anyway, this Tigger was from DisneyWorld in Florida. It was practically irreplaceable. And it was Dragon's favourite. We've been lucky that Tigger has never been lost too. At least not permanently..... we have had a few near-sleepless nights but Tigger always turned up in the morning.

Dragon no longer needs Tigger ........

......but I think Tigger is pleased that someone still appreciates him.

Then Ducky arrived. I kept giving her a cute brown teddy bear to cuddle. I figured a brown teddy bear would be fairly easy to replace, if necessary.

But just after her first birthday she became attached to a little yellow duck. A duck I grabbed off the shelf as I was going through the checkout at Target, thinking it would be useful to decorate a hat for Dragon's Easter Hat Parade at school. Dragon took one look at it and refused to have it on his hat. So it was given to Ducky to supplement her Easter gift that year, seeing as she was still too young to have very much chocolate. No one ever thought it would become a 'real' part of our family.

I did go back to Target in hopes of being able to purchase another Duckie or two (they were only $4.00), but I was told it had been Easter stock, not one of their regular lines, and was now sold out.

Duckie has never been lost. But he looks very old and fragile now. I do have another toy Duckie-in-waiting hiding in my wardrobe, but the only similarities are the size and colour. I'm not sure how it would be received. So I dread the day Duckie will have to be retired because he is too dilapidated precious to be hugged any more.

Mousie has had a few favourite 'cuddlies' in her short life, so if one was missing, we could usually find one of the others. But again, her unpredictable favourite of favourites is a little yellow mouse which was part of her Christmas gift from Nanna when she was 1 year old. He was quite appropriately named Yellow Mouse.

Mousie now has a new favourite 'cuddly' - her doll Rosie which she asked Santa to bring her last Christmas. But I think Mousie's all-time favourite 'cuddly' is Grandpap....

.....although, unfortunately for Mousie, he isn't available most of the time.

With Teddy, I was determined to get on top of this 'cuddly' dilemma and I once again tried the brown teddy bear approach. This time it seemed to work very well. "Ernest" bear was becoming essential to Teddy's life ... until Baby Jo appeared on the scene. Even though "Ernest" has taken a bit of a back seat in Teddy's affections he still does get to guard her pillow. Now, Kitcat is very much attached to her Miow-Miow cat blankie. I bought this blankie, on a whim, from an online store located in USA. I was probably still suffering from the raging hormones which hijack a woman's body in the weeks after giving birth, because I don't think I would have paid that much for the blankie (let alone the shipping) if I had been in my right mind. Miow-Miow originally was a lovely pale pink, but after a few years of loving cuddles she is now more of a murky-musky-greyish-pink.

When it became apparent that Kitcat had adopted Miow-Miow as her 'cuddly' of choice, I did look into buying another one. They weren't available in Australia, and when I reluctantly tried to get another one shipped in from USA I discovered they were a discontinued line. So I am hoping that Miow-Miow never suffers any mishaps more distressing than being occasionally and accidentally used by Kitcat to wipe her runny nose. I have located a 'backup cuddly' for Kitcat - but that's a whole other story.......

Our House ...

These are some pictures I've taken since we got here. We've moved things around a bit since I took these and we're expecting four enormous crates of our own furniture and decorations (and clothes, blessed clothes!!!) to arrive on a ship next Friday. I'll have to post more pics, or the requested video tour, once we get things all set up.

After living in a studio apt. for a year, I am most amazed at the fact I can go a whole week or more without going into some rooms. Also, as much as I love Neil, it's nice to have some space and room to do our own things if we want. It's really weird to "lose" him in the apt., calling him and hearing his voice, but not sure which room he's in.

There are a lot of things I could say about Buenos Aires. Our neighborhood, Belgrano, is mostly nice apartments and some beautiful old mansions tucked between. There are several embassies (but not the U.S. Embassy, that's about 10 min. away) around us (usually in the big mansions) and it is a very upscale neighborhood. It does have a very "European" feel to it -- lots of cafes, lots of people dining out, lots of people enjoying the parks -- Argentines sure know how to use their parks, they LOVE any park space -- LOTS of people walking dogs. EVERYONE has a dog, and there are several common breeds: mini poodle, maltese, Yorkie, beagle, Lab and Golden retrievers, cocker spaniel, Weimeraner, German Shepherd, Bernese Mountain Dog ... OK, that's more than a few types, but really it seems like a limited amount of breeds here. I mean, I've never seen a pug or a dalmation here. People also don't clean up after their dogs, so the sidewalks can be filled with land mines. Fortunately, the "porteros" or porters (?) who manage the buildings are out every morning washing the sidewalks. I mean, our portero takes a squeegee to it after he washes it. This is unfortunate for water conservation.

Pics now, more about B.A. later.

This "park" is directly across the street from our building. It's really just on a street corner, and there are a couple benches right at the corner, behind the lady walking her dog, which seems like a very awkward place to actually sit and hang out, but there are ALWAYS people of all different ages talking, kissing, playing guitar, drinking (yes, you can drink in the streets) etc. in this "park." They LOVE their parks here.

Here is our building. There is one apt. to each floor in our building. Our apt. is the 5th floor.
Sorry for the redundancy, but this is so you can see the cobblestone street.
Here's the lobby. There is always a portero at the front desk, or standing outside in this case, who unlocks and opens the door. Always. 24/7.
The elevator goes up to our floor and opens to a little vestibule with our front door.
Immediately inside the front door to the left is the powder room.
Here's the living/dining room. Neil has been using the floor space to take private breakdancing lessons twice a week. Luckily he goes to a gym for his jiu jitsu class. And he has Spanish lessons at the Embassy. He has really been taking advantage of this situation, which makes me happy.
Past the living/dining room is the kitchen and eating area -- currently the intensive Spanish study area.
And then the kitchen. The big box was our air-shipped stuff. For future reference I will send more stuff that way -- it got here within 1 week!
The kitchen goes out to a back balcony, adjoining the LAUNDRY ROOM and the "maid's quarters." I am SOOOOOooooooooooo happy to have my own washer and dryer after a few years of not having one in my apt.

Neil arranges the fruit all the time into interesting configurations. That phone on the wall is a video intercom to the front door outside the building.The back balcony by the laundry/maid's room. OK, we don't seriously have a live-in maid (she just comes once a week ;) but even if we did, I wouldn't make her stay out here.
Looking out to the buildings behind ours.Looking down to our building's patio.
The "maid's room," which is occupied by the washer and dryer.
The "maid's bathroom." There is actually a shower in there, almost over the toilet.Heading back in through the kitchen. We have this thing called a "dishwasher." I still haven't used it. Old habits die hard.The guest room. We've since switched it with the office, since this room is where the internet hookup is.
The office, now the guest room. There is a balcony, beside the laundry room balcony, that runs the length of these two rooms.
The hallway looking out from what is now the guest room, toward the master bedroom.
The hall bathroom for the guest room.
OK, SO I DIDN'T TAKE ANY PICTURES OF OUR ROOM YET but I will. It's basically a big square with some dressers, a chair, bed and nightstands in it. It has a separate area with built-in closets. It has a normal bathroom with an Olympic-sized garden-style Jacuzzi tub. Seriously. You don't believe me. I'll post pictures.

This is the front balcony that runs the length of the building, outside the living room and our bedroom. The table and chairs are outside our bedroom. There are sliding glass doors and these nifty, pull-up wooden shade things.

Sometimes we eat outside! Buen provecho!