Archive | June 2014

Getting enough sleep?

My answer is a resounding no.

Of course, the question demands another question: how much is enough?

My answer is I’m still not getting enough. And not enough good sleep.

I’ve been trying to improve my sleep for years. Bad habits such as falling asleep on the lounge reappear all too frequently. I relax on the lounge and then am too tired to do my before bed routines. So I sleep for a few hours, and then make my way into bed, only to toss and turn for hours.

So no putting my head down on the lounge. I know I will fall asleep.

And off to bed by

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What about you? Getting enough sleep? Getting the right sleep?

Spaghetti Marinara

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Apparently seafood divides the masses.

At the Sans we are fans of prawns, octopuses/octopodes, muscles, calamari.

No recipe for tonight’s feast, Spaghetti Marinara, as Mr Sans cooked it. (Actually, he is the cooker of most seafood in the house.) Onions, garlic, tomatoes, carrots. Cook them altogether. Add seafood for a little bit. Sounds about it.

We are spoilt. Australian prawns and muscles. (OK, our black muscles are not as good as Kiwi Green-lipped ones.) We eschew prawns from China and Vietnam; they lack flavour and there are too many horror stories of how they are farmed.

But if I had my druthers, I’d have stir-fried sweet chilli octopus. Too good!

Happy Birthday

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I’ve said it before, gotta love a public holiday.

So happy birthday, Liz.

Hope you get some cake!

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What it’s not your birthday? Well, I’ll be blowed. Don’t tell our Liberal government or they may cancel the day off. (Then again you may be happy to know the PM has put your pictures back up in all the offices of Parliament House. At least it is acknowledging that you are our head of state, not the G-G.)

Even if he cancelled the public holiday he wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to hand out honours in your name. Do you know he even returned giving out the honorifics: Dameships and Knighthoods?

No matter that I’m a republican. And I don’t believe that the luck of birth should entitle one, nor limit, restrict and condemn one, to be a ruler. Happy birthday, Queen of Australia and other assorted countries.

Whatever, she does have a good line of coats and hats.

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Where do you stand on the monarchy thing? Do tell!

Lid-care

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Back in April I bought a heap of beauty products. One I was asked about was Lid-Care.

Mercester had never heard of it. And until a friend gave me a handful of sachets to try, neither had I.

In January I had a horrible skin reaction around my eyes. I looked horrid – puffy, inflamed, red, flakey eye-lids. My eyes stung. They were itchy. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t put make-up on because it hurt. Besides the pain and suffering, I was embarrassed.

What does everyone look at? Your face, your eyes. I was a mess. I looked like a disease-ridden, scabby, scaly, tenement-dwelling, ugly beast.

Nothing seemed to help, though a lotion for eczema did sooth the sting. Slowly the red and flakey skin largely healed. But not totally.

Enter my friend. Lid-care comes in a box with individual sachets. Each sachet contains a little wipe. The manufacturer recommends one sachet for each eye – every day. That would soon add up; though, if it worked, I’d be happy to pay. My friend recommend one sachet for both eyes, using one side of the wipe for one eye and the other side for the other eye.

They worked. Soothing, cleansing, no reoccurrence.

Dr Google diagnosed blepharitis. [OK, I diagnosed that. I had gone to a pharmacy in NZ and the pharmacist just diagnosed, “Oh, looks bad.”]

Now I use them several times a week. [OK, when I remember and give myself time of an evening.] I remove my make-up first and then wipe my lids with Lid-care, getting right along the eye lash line. Sometimes the frugal me rips a wipe in half and makes one last two nights. But that’s when I don’t have much make-up. Finally, I rinse my eye-lids with water and pat dry.

I strongly recommend this product; it’s a keeper for me. Keeps the eyes clean and free of grime.

Cost? I paid about $8 for a packet of 20. Given I am only using them occasionally, I’m fine with that.

Winter work frocks

I find there is a real problem with winter dresses in Australia.

They either have no sleeves! Yes, I know. Unbelievable! Why have dresses made from wool, made for winter with no friggin’ sleeves.

Case in point, this dress.

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It is made of wool so too warm in summer, but no bloody sleeves. Was there a shortage of the material?

Or the winter dresses are really open at the neck. Yes, so my bloody chest freezes.

Evidence:

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Look I don’t want to get all old lady fuddy-duddy, but can we have a nice cut. Long sleeves, cinched at the waist, collar, buttoned down so I can do it up or not as the situation allows, warm material. Not much to ask, is it.

Look at this coat worn as a dress!

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I really like this. The photo doesn’t do it justice. (Well, it’s more my non-model stance. How am I meant to stand to show off a dress? I just can’t strike a pose.) The dress is quite striking, crisp and elegant.

It’s how I’d like more dresses to be. And the cut suits me. But this is only cotton,so not really warm. And it is a coat, so I use safety pins and Hollywood tape so it doesn’t open at the bottom or I’d be flashing bits that shouldn’t be flashed in public.

Really that’s all I have in the way of winter dresses. I resort to wearing coats over my non-winter dresses and boots or skirts and tops in winter.

Quite depressing. If I find what I see in my mind’s eye, I am buying it no matter the cost.

And for the observant of weather in my neck of the woods – yes, we’ve finally had some crisp mornings – 8 to 12° when I leave for work.

Like dresses? Pop over and see my work dresses or my casual summer dresses. I’ll share more dresses, including my party dresses and new purchases soon.

Lifts the heart

Just had to share this:

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We have rain – at last. I walked in the rain. The sounds of drops falling through the leaves in the bush was simply beautiful.

Walking down the hill on the way home, I had a perfect view. The setting sun lighting up the tops of the tall gum trees, with the sky dark towards the east and a perfect rainbow.

From my street I couldn’t get the whole view, but here’s some footage:

Just click here.

Reading Down the House in May

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God, it’s long. And has a heft to it (an in-joke if you make it past page 550) at over 700 pages.

I varied between loving it and hating it. It just went on and on. Get to the point already!

It’s like there are four books. No really, it felt like four different, well-written stories. Just that they are different parts of one person’s life and it is one novel. Just a bloody long one.

I was fascinated by the first “book” – how a terrorist attack affects a young boy – when it moved to another story. I gave up. I didn’t want another story about this boy. So put the book down. A month or so later I gave it another go. And loved the second story. My favourite character, Boris the Russian boy, is introduced here. Then it moved to another story/book. So gave up again for a few weeks until yet again I gave it another go. This story I didn’t enjoy as much. It could have done with some serious editing. Too much mediation on drug use. Have to admit I skimmed through this bit. I don’t normally do this. If I like a book, I read it. If I have to skim, it means I’m not enjoying I and life is too short and books too plentiful to waste on a book I am not enjoying. But then, this book is well-written and I did like the characters and the stories. And it was kind of like the investment Rolls Royce made into jet engines. So much time (money in the case of RR) that I couldn’t give up. I had to keep going.

And then Boris returned. Yeah! He adds action. The novel came alive again.

So generally I’m not one for long, long novels. I think the publishers have just either been cheapskates by not employing an editor or the editor is too gutless to tell the author his book needs editing. So many US best sellers seem to be massive epics.

Tartt’s writing appears effortless (maybe that’s why they didn’t edit it), it is also very cinematic – you can see all the action taking place on the big screen.

But, God, the main character, the narrator, gave me the shits, especially in The Netherlands.

In complete contrast is the novella, The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey. This little book has illustrations largely compiled from old pictures and advertisements. Like many, I loved Silvey’s Jasper Jones. The Amber Amulet is a sweet tale but it is difficult to see if it too does the crossover of young adult to adult fiction. The illustrations and the central character may make it appeal to young readers. But the lyrical quality and the deep wistfulness of the tale and the imitation vintage book cover and illustrations may not. But perhaps there are sensitive 12 year olds who will “get” the book.

I cheated and read this today – the first of June. Which is also when I finished The Goldfinch, but am counting these in May’s reading, otherwise I wouldn’t have read a book in May and my sense of identity can’t admit to that.

If I were given the choice and was only able to read one of these books it would be The Amber Amulet, not because it is shorter (though that too was a nice counterpoint to The Goldfinch), but because I love the tone of wistfulness and hopefulness. I loved the little boy trying to keep calmness and peace, above all good, in his street, with the hint that his motivation comes from a father not truly connected to him.

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