Saturday, September 20, 2014

Spring Cleaning: The story of my stuff (part 3)

Spring cleaning, clothes

It's spring and I'm going room by room and culling all of the things I don't have mental or physical space for anymore. But culling is sometimes hard when attachment remains or the stories behind the stuff run deep. These are those stories.

Going through my dresser drawers is sometimes like gazing at a cliff face, with layers of sediment from different phases of life and sizes of body. Fat clothes, normal clothes, skinniest clothes, fat mum clothes, healthy mum clothes, wedding clothes, one-off-wear clothes, old favourite clothes...

There are now two large purple garbage bags of clothes sitting next to the drawers, clothes I haven't worn in quite a while or probably won't wear again in the future. Here's some of what I'm giving away:
  • Flowery navy blue maxi skirt with a waist band that I sliced at the side to accommodate my expanding girth when I was pregnant with Dear Boy. I held onto it, thinking I could convert it to a maxi dress but it remains possibly the frumpiest thing I've ever seen on my body.
  • Mustard coloured tights that look great in the drawer but look nude-coloured when I wear them. I'm not going there
  • Three collared business shirt with girly ruching across the chest. The ruching just emphasises how much they gape at the moment. Plus ironing.
  • White linen collarless shirt. White. Linen. Impossible to keep clean. Plus ironing.
  • Two pairs of men's boxers that are near translucent after approximately eight years of wear as PJ shorts. I added my own button to the gaping fly and they were the comfiest things ever. But after stretching them to their limits while pregnant over the summer months, those babies don't stay on. 
  • Approximately one million long sleeved black tops from Cotton On. I found a good thing and stuck to it through many a Melbourne winter, layer upon layer. Then I outgrew their sizing options. Sigh. 
  • Fourth trimester stretchy fat jeans, the only pants I could find that fit my ballooned and deflated shape. Except they came with sparkles. I. Don't. Do. Sparkles. So I picked off all the little rhinestones and coloured in the sparkles with a Sharpie. 
  • Assorted skinny woolly scarves. Skinny scarves are just utterly pointless, especially in Melbourne. 
  • Skinny belts, never worn.
  • And, with much shedding of tears, my most favourite Lululemon yoga top with a ruched back that they don't make anymore. The perfect size and the perfect length. Except after a few years of wear, the straps have disintegrated (see below). 

Here's what I can't part with, none of which fit me at the moment:
  • My $14 green wedding dress. Every time I see if hanging in my cupboard, I think of this. It's also still a nice dress to wear to other people's summery weddings.
  • The grey business trousers I wore to my first university graduation. Although I can't even do the zip up now let alone the buttons, these were some seriously awesome pants.
  • My size 10 jeans, quite possibly the only size 10 item I've ever worn as an adult. I felt triumphant in those things.
  • Black Bonds maternity skirt, which is pretty much just a tube of stretchy fabric, but quite possibly the comfiest item of clothing I've ever worn in my life (at what was quite possibly the most uncomfortable time of my life). Although my memory of this is fairly hazy, I'm 90% sure I wore this to the hospital when I was in labour, dropped off at the front doors and then waddling and groaning and leaning and then half-sitting in a wheelchair up the birthing suites. Eight hours after that I was a mum.
Even holding on to these (currently) unwearables, my drawers are half empty. I'm going to let the garbage bags sit for a week or so, just in case, but it's nice to shed some of the layers. It feels like there's room to breathe again, to adjust my image of myself, to rethink how I present myself to the world.

Have you done a clothing cull this spring? What have you thrown away and what couldn't you part with? 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Middle Name: A rose by any other name

I've just heard of another baby girl being given Rose as a middle name. There seems to be quite a lot of them. Hell, Sylvester Stallone gave all three of his girls Rose as a middle name. I like the name, I do. But I'm curious as to why it's quite so popular but relegated primarily to middle name status (Scarlett Johanssen and Doctor Who aside). It hardly ever makes the top 100 baby name lists but I would hazard a guess it'd take out the no. 1 slot on the middle name list (with Grace as a possible second).

I'm always curious about people's baby name choices and the insights it gives you into the parents. There's such a lot of pressure to get the first name right. But is the middle one any easier?

The middle name was where we went familial. Dear Boy's middle name is his Grandad's, who himself was given it to commemorate an event on the day he was born (and the nurses insisted it be added in). 

My middle name, Jo, was given in a similar vein, presumably for my two aunts, Joanne and Joanna, one who died as a small child and one who didn't. I like the name for more literary reasons, with Little Women's feisty writer a Jo as well - "such a little name for such a person".

For other parents, though, the middle is where they let go, let their freak flag fly (Biggest Sister and Brother-in-Law, I'm looking at you). It's the name that can stay hidden on a birth certificate and not added to forms or put on business cards or desk plates. 

What middle name route did you go for your own kids? Does your own have a story behind it?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spring cleaning: The story of my stuff (part 2)

It's spring and I'm going room by room and culling all of the things I don't have mental or physical space for anymore. But culling is sometimes hard when attachment remains or the stories behind the stuff run deep. These are those stories.

I haven't bought myself any new bras since having to relinquish my beloved underwires for those weird molded cups and nipple-exposing clips of maternity bras. Once the breastfeeding part of my life was done, I went back into my old-faithfuls, those beautifully comfy Berlei T-shirt bras. 

But Dear Boy is now two-and-a-half and those beloved Berleis have lost their structural integrity. The straps are no long elastic and the sides are worn transparent and the cups were in all kinds of strange shape. Things certainly were not where they should be.

So I bit the bullet yesterday and zoomed Dear Boy into Myer for a proper bra fitting, my first in almost four years. Ah, nothing like shaking and shimmying and being manhandled by a mature lady in comfortable shoes and a set of glasses on a neck chain. Doing it with Dear Boy in the dressing room added a whole new realm of fun. And yes, there was a size change (sigh) but I thought 'no problem, I'll just upgrade to the new lovely colours available in the Berlei range'. Double-sigh. Sometime in the last couple of years, Berlei did a redesign and narrowed the lovely comfy padded straps into thin, biting strips. Decidedly not useful for those of us with breasts of any great weight. 

So this is not just bye-bye to my old, worn-out Berlei bras, but bye-bye to Berlei altogether, and hello Triumph. And although I have hopes of returning to my pre-baby bra specs, it's also a very final see-ya-later to pre-baby boobs. Post-baby boobs are a whole new ball game.

When's the last time you bought yourself a new bra? Have you ever had a proper fitting?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Technology: Ugh

The network was down at work today. No internet, no phones.

I was feeling more than a little bereft. So much of what I do for work needs that technology to connect me with people and ideas and products and services (so much of my social world is the same. We live in Melbourne but so many of our family and friends don't).

I couldn't even procrastiface while I was waiting for it to be restored.

And then, somehow, my USB that I use for my teaching work wiped a selected few folders, namely the ones I'm using now. All my lecture notes and slides, all the extra readings I'd collected... all the marking sheets of all the essays I'd marked in the previous few days.

I could cry.

Technology: ugh.

What do you do when the internet goes down? Are you still connected with the world around you without the technological interface?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Birth certificate

Finally found Dear Boy's birth certificate (by accident) after it being missing for over six months. Of course, the 28-odd-year-old Cabbage Patch Kid one had been safe and sound this whole time (his name was changed soon after adoption - who on earth names a kid Hampston Dunstan?)

Ever misplace the important documents? Spill, what was your Cabbage Patch Kid's name?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fathers' Day: An interview with Dear Boy in five parts

Part 1.
Me: Hey buddy boy, it's Fathers' day tomorrow. What should we do for Daddy?
Dear Boy: Ummm... I don't know. 
Me: Should we give him the present you made?
Dear Boy: Oh yeah. It's nice and has colours on it. 
Me: I think Daddy would like that.
Dear Boy: I think Daddy will like the colours, but he likes black too. 

Part 2.
Me: What's your Daddy like?
Dear Boy: Ummm... a present. 

Part 3.
Me: Why do you love your Daddy?
Dear Boy: Why?
Me: What's good about your Daddy?
Dear Boy: Ummm... toys?

Part 4.
Dear Boy: Mummy, can I have your pen, that pen, please?
Me: Sure, are you going to write on Daddy's card for him?
Dear Boy: Yes, I am... Dear Daddy... He'll like that.

Part 5.


Happy Fathers' Day, Lovely Husband.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Spring cleaning: The story of my stuff (part 1)

It's spring and I'm going room by room and culling all of the things I don't have mental or physical space for anymore. But culling is sometimes hard when attachment remains or the stories behind the stuff run deep. These are those stories.

I bought these shoes in Myer. I never buy shoes in Myer. But I was walking through Myer to get to the carpark and these babies caught my eye. 

These were my first pair of ballet flat style shoes (or any girly style, really) after years of closed toed school shoe-type affairs or black boots. There were some awesome sandals that I wore with socks (but only when I lived in England and it was snowing. Look! There's evidence - before there were  cameras in phones and I was still taking rolls of film to the chemist for printing. It was an extremely hard day when I threw those sandals away, two years after I wore holes through the soles and stopped wearing them - they were the shoes of my travelling years, my life-overseas all-by-myself shoes).

There was something about the print that got me. I didn't wear prints on my clothes, so a print on a shoe was a big step for me. Eleanor Grosch's printed Keds range were just too lovely. The way she put her animals together, the neutral colour combination that worked with all my clothes. I got caught. 

Boy, did I get caught big time.

Because they didn't come in my size (stupid monster feet; nasty hobbitses). Or at least, they didn't stock my size at Myer (stupid Myer).

So I went home with a pair of shoes a half size too small. 

I adored these shoes (I still do) but I suffered for them. I could only wear them when I didn't have to walk anywhere or I'd be crippled with squished toe agony. I looked online for a pair in my size, but even when I found a (somewhat suss) website that actually shipped shoes to Australia), this print in this colour were always sold out. So I kept wearing the ones I had. 

I just don't have room in my life for too-small shoes anymore. Even very cute ones.

Have you been suckered into buying shoes you knew were uncomfrtable? How many of the shoes in your wardrobe actually get a wearing these days?


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