Monday, October 28, 2013

Trở về nhà một lần nữa (Back Home Again)

While it's exciting to head off into the great wide world, Dorothy had it right when she said "There's no place like home". Sadly I forgot to pack my magic sparkly red shoes and so we had to come home from our two weeks in Vietnam the traditional way - through three airports in the space of 24 hours. 

Important news first. My hair straightener made a single appearance in the two weeks we were away. I walked around Vietnam with ala natural hair because with the humidity over there it's pointless to straighten it. Within 5 minutes of going outside your hair  looks like one giant brillo pad. My hairstyle du jour became a constant ugly pony tail that served to accentuate my triple chin. Don't laugh-  I'm seriously contemplating a diet and some exercise which shows I've probably gone temporarily insane.

Nothing can prepare you for the sheer volume of traffic,  the noise, the level of activity , the smells, and eighty eight million people speaking in a language I only understood three words of . I pondered googling the phrase for "fat stupid western chick " because I'm fairly confident that I got called that a lot. 

Hilarious events- Mr. P thinking the lady with the basket of cats was selling them for food and wanting to buy all 8 of them to rescue them. She was actually selling them to people so the cats could catch house mice.  

Mr. P refusing to have a massage because he was afraid his clothes would get stolen and he'd have to walk back to our hotel naked. My 5 hours of spa treatments were absolute bliss for under 80 bucks.

Getting lost in Saigon approximately 432 times. Is there anywhere in the world harder to negotiate than a city where every single street seem to be named Hang -something and Bu- something. That was not the time to discover Mr. P was absolutely crap at reading maps. 

I loved the food and didn't have any close calls with nuts. I had a list of things I wanted to eat while I was there that I happily munched my way through ...bahn mi, bun cha, pork skewers on a stick eaten in the street. I almost cried with happiness though when I saw lamingtons in a bakery in Hanoi and bought one just to have something that didn't come accompanied by rice or noodles.  Mr. P dragged me into the Vietnamese version of McDonalds (Lotteria) our last night in Hanoi and was bitterly disappointed by the fact the hamburger had chutney and no cheese and the fried chicken was honey and soy flavoured. 

The single best thing we did in Saigon was a street food tour. It was amazing to eat where the locals eat. I have to say though after two solid weeks of Vietnamese food I was hanging out for a lamb roast. 

Vietnamese clothes are made to fit people the approximate diameter of a corn cob. Since I am not in that fortunate class I didn't do any clothes shopping. I did however lay in a supply of hand fans for when menopause proper hits in a couple of years time. My hot flushes are going to be a classy affair. 

Halong Bay was glorious. Totally unspoilt and very relaxing. That part of our trip just wasn't long enough. 

 Saigon was brash and sassy and in your face. And huge. And hot. And there were street sellers and cyclo drivers everywhere trying to rip you off. 

L to R top- view from the Sky Deck , and Ho Chi Minh Square
Lto R bottom - the footpath after rain and the reunification palace
Presidential Palace, Fountain near Hoan Kiem Lake, Unicorn, Detailed steps, Ngoc Son Temple, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and Temple of Literature.

I adored Hanoi. Beautiful old streets and French and Chinese inspired architecture. A lovely friendly old city. We had a favourite pork stick lady there and she greeted us like old friends every time we rolled up to eat at her street stall, and we found a bar in the second story of a building near our hotel where we could just watch the world go by while sipping cocktails at night. I love a country where beer is the same price as water and a cocktail costs less a cup of coffee back home.

Back to real life beckons so I can pay for a bathroom renovation and start planning the next trip. But it's good to be home- I think I hear some quilting calling my name. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Finished !

Once upon a time (around about the same time as the invention of the wheel) I saw a clamshell quilt and decided that I was filing that idea away for future reference. 

From time to time I came back to the idea and then shoved it straight back into the "too hard" basket. All that cutting - all that basting - all that appliqueing and all that quilting  just put me right off. Yep- basically I'm lazy. I knew I'd get about 10% of the way in and end up with a UFO on my hands that I'd probably be finishing in the nursing home.

Solution- a mini quilt -which would give me a chance to see if I liked the process enough to do a full sized quilt ( at some point in the distant future-have you seen how many other projects I have on the go at the moment?)  and would have the added bonus of yielding something pretty to put on my sewing room wall. In my infinite wisdom I decided this would be my first hand quilting project too.

It's done - I'm happy. But this is going to be an only child! 

Friday, October 04, 2013

Sock It To Me

When I woke at 4.30 this morning it was about 5 degrees Celsius. Just as an aside, I'm not sure where Spring is supposed to be because it isn't here this week- I think the Queenslanders are hogging all the sun again which is just selfish since it's not like that they haven't had it all winter. Some states are just not very good at sharing. Bastards.

Anyway, normally that level of cold at that time of the morning would bother me since we have a lot of tiled floors but this morning I had something warm and fluffy to help me ward off frostbite. 

You will notice in this picture that Im fully dressed and ready for work - or so it would appear. Sadly I am not that organised - I fell asleep in my clothes last night. I do that a lot. On the lounge. Lets not make a big deal out of that OK?

Anyway ...I had warm and fluffy socks this morning to keep my toes from falling off. Why am I writing a post about that? Lots of people own socks. Au Contraire mes amis - these socks are the biggest of big deals. 

You see, I know the Queen of hand knitted socks. And I've been watching her knits socks all winter. Red socks, and blue socks, and purple socks and neutral socks. (If I start channeling Fox in Socks-someone slap me) And every single pair has been completely unique and utterly gorgeous. Truly hand crafted amazingness. 

And eventually Ms. Mistea got fed up with me telling her how wonderful her socks were and how cold it is down South and she offered to knit me some fluffy goodness of my own. Because honestly even though I can knit - I don't do socks because they have heels and toes and all sorts of other complicated things I have no idea how to do because the only decreasing of stitches that ever gets done with any of my knitting is when I accidentally drop stitches and then I have to post my knitting to my Mum so she can pick up the stitches and send it back to me so I can keep going. Hopeless. 

So I swung by the post office yesterday after work, and couldn't contain my excitement at receiving a parcel that I knew contained AWESOME socks till I got home and ripped it open in the car , at the front of the post office, and scared three little old ladies by screaming at a pitch that could be heard two suburbs away when my socks fell out. 

Even the bottom of the socks are a masterpiece. Look! Little paw prints! 

I seriously cannot believe how gorgeous these socks are. And that they're hand knitted. I know some seriously talented peeps. 

Thankyou Mistea- they really are one of the most beautiful  things I own. 

I'm trying to work out a way I can wear these to work today so I don't have to take them you think they would look OK with a dress and Mary Janes if I pushed them down to look slouchy?

P.S. Dear Queensland , I don't really think you're Bastards. I just said that for dramatic effect. But I bet you're wishing you had some cold right about now don't you? 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Mr. P Glams it Up

I think some of the differences between men and women are genetically imprinted by those pesky XY or XX chromosomes.  Examples that spring immediately to mind include the love men have for just about any sport,  their unnatural relationship with anything that has wheels , and their aversion to shopping  of any description.

Fed up with Mr. P looking like the King of the Dag people, we set off Saturday morning ostensibly to buy me new undies, but I was hatching a plan in my head to convince him to get some new clothes. Call me crazy, but I think wearing  a T-shirt in Vietnam that proclaims “Man Whore” across the front  is going to get you all the wrong sort of attention.  Mr. P’s  T-shirt  collection is especially vile and he has needed new jeans for at least a year. He tells me he  attempted to find new jeans six weeks ago without my assistance and couldn’t find anything he liked. That’s because last time he went jeans shopping it was the 1979 and bell bottoms were  all the rage.  I strongly suspect that his attempt to find jeans in August  entailed running past the front of the 23 jeans retailers at our local shopping mall and calling that trip done.

I essentially shoved him into Jeans West on Saturday morning , grabbed a sexy young thing to flatter and assist him (men never say no to a young pretty thing) and said “My husband needs two new pairs of jeans”. Fifteen minutes later he was done. See? That wasn’t all that hard.

Next stop – shirts – shirts that dont have crummy slogan writing on them. The only reason I'm making that damn T-shirt quilt is so I have an excuse to cut up some of his shitty old T-shirts that he simply won’t part with. It's win win. I dont have to worry about him being seen in public with those awful shirts anymore and he gets a quilt out of it. This part of the shopping experience entailed me throwing about 100 T-shirts at him and muttering  “Try this on” and then barking “It fits , it doesn’t have anything offensive on it –you’re getting it“.

More success. And not one of them looks bogan. This will set him up until at least 2023 when we have to do another decennium clothes shopping assault. Im sure that in about a month these will have Pho stains on them that I cant get out but for now my husband has a decent wardrobe.

I've been doing last minute details for our holiday and decided I want to do a day spa. For about 75 bucks I'm getting 4 hours of pampering. Sadly, it appears that the only kind of massage Mr. P can get is one with a happy finish so he misses out. Sucks to be a bloke.