Monday, August 16, 2010

London is Lovely

I'm enjoying sight seeing in London. 

The hotel room is very small and I'm getting quite sick of my husband's incredibly loud chewing.  He's always been a loud chewer, but I can usually get far enough away from him to be able to escape the super annoying noisiness.  No such luck in a tiny hotel room.  And he likes to snack on cookies at night.  So, with no escape in sight, I am stuck biting my tongue.  I want to scream at him and tell him to just shut up already, but he really can't help how loud he eats.  I think it has something to do with his hearing loss.  Since he can't hear himself, he can't tell the difference between loud chewing and a normal volume of chewing.  For the record, I hate all chewing sounds.  They give me the heeby-jeebies.


So, back to the sight seeing.  We've seen Westminster, Parliament, Big Ben, some square with a lovely fountain and giant lions, and the Tower of London.  We spent like 4 hours at the tower, which was way to long for my style of sight seeing.  And just so you know, the British Army does not seem to have the same kind of standards for their Beefeater's as the Swiss have for their Vatican guards.  The Swiss guards are all 6 feet tall and super dreamy (you notice this when you are 21 years old, which I was when I was last at the Vatican).  The Beefeaters are over 50 and pudgy.  The outfits are just as silly, but the men are not nearly as attractive.

I'm hoping to see lots of fabulous things tomorrow.  We're thinking about going to see "Wicked."  It would be a nice birthday present, I think. I would have preferred to see the original Broadway cast, but I certainly won't complain about a West End production.  I'd like to do some shopping at some point, but I don't know if I'll have time. 

I would have finished all of the embroidery for the wedding gift on the way here, but the embroidery hoop broke.  I'm hoping to run into a craft store soon...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chicken With My Head Cut Off

I feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Mark and I are busy preparing for our fabulous two week vacation. It's our first trip away from the baby, and I'm very nervous. The little ones will be home with the nanny while we are gone, so that makes me feel much better. Their routine will not be disrupted other than getting a little time away from the house with aunties and grandparents (to give the nanny a break). We also got a new computer for Mark to use in the shop (I was sick of grease stains on my pink netbook). We are going to leave his at home and take mine on the trip with the hopes of being able to skype the kids while we are gone. I've never done it before, so we are going to practice later this week. Any hints or suggestions would be greatly appreciated -- especially if you've every done it internationally. Does that even work?

So, first of all, work is crazy busy. Summer is usually slower, which gives me an opportunity to catch up on some paperwork and take some time off. Not so much this summer. The kids (and parents) are wild. It's like a 3-month-long Full Moon. If you know anything about the population I work with, you know how the full moon goes!

Secondly, I'm not done with the gift for our friend's wedding. Luckily, I checked on the TSA website last night, and both my embroidery needles and crochet hooks are okay to take on the plane. There is even a special section on their website about knitting and needle work, which was very helpful. I will have more than enough time in the air to finish the gift. (I decided to do a traditional mid-west American wedding gift: a set of embroidered flour towels and other cute kitcheny things. As both the bride and groom recently gained their American citizenship, I did a patriotic theme. Super cute. I also crocheted a wrap for the bride. It turned out beautifully, and I hope she is able to wear it).

Which brings me to my third problem. It will probably be way too hot to wear a wrap: there is a record heat wave and drought in Russia. And now there are all these fires right outside of Moscow that are causing major air quality problems. Not good for my breathing issues. People are dropping dead left and right, and I'm a little worried. Luckily, Olesia's father is a doctor. Unfortunately, she mentioned to me once that her family doesn't speak English. I think that I will be contacting the pharmacy to see if they can give me an extra rescue inhaler, just in case.

And did I mention that I'm just a bit worried about being away from the kids? I really want to go, but the thought of actually leaving is about to send me into a full blown anxiety attack. I'm super distracted during the day, and I'm having a hard time sleeping at night. The logical part of my brain knows that they will be just fine and that I'll miss them more than they will miss me. The emotional part of me is, like, in anguish. I'm a very logical person, and I can usually talk myself down from troubling emotions with a good reasonable internal dialogue. It's not working so well this time. This anguishing emotional unreasonableness is so unlike me that I'm on the verge of freaking out. "My babies! They are going to miss me! And I'm going to miss them! Whaaaa!"

A lady I work with said that I'll have a good cry on the way to the airport, and then a minor pitty party the first couple of nights while I'm gone, and then it'll sink in that everything's fine and I'll relax and have fun. I hope she's right. She also said that I should expect to get the cold shoulder when I get home. I hope she's not right about that. I expect lots of hugs and kisses when I get home!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lusting over a Serger

I need a serger. Specifically, I need this serger:





Isn't it lovely? Doesn't it just scream "Sew with me!" Doesn't it just look like it would be the most wonderful, perfect addition to my sewing room?

This particular gorgeous little model is being given away by SewMamaSew (http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=9630). I read this blog every day. I enter almost every contest. I've yet to win anything, so maybe this is my time. Maybe I have never won a blog give-a-way for a reason. Maybe all of my good karma was being saved up for this, the ultimate blog give-a-way?

So, how would my life be better with a new serger? It would be melodramatic to say that my entire life would change, but I'm guessing that there is a great deal of truth to that statement. I suppose that it would be equally melodramatic to say that my life changed when I got my new sewing machine, but there is no doubting that. Sewing has simply saved my sanity.

I see terrible things in my job. Things that most people hear about on the evening news, and just can't bear to think about, are part of my everyday life. It chips away at my heart, and sewing helps my heart heal. I can just leave behind the horrors and injustices of this world and just focus on the goodness of simply creating something beautiful for somebody I love. I can go into my little room, with my thread and stacks of cotton, and leave the pain behind.

Thinking of all of the things that I could make with a new serger makes me smile. The beautiful little knit shirts and dresses I could make for my girls, the rescuing and repurposing of the beloved Lightning McQueen t-shirt, the hot pink wrap dress that I've been dying to make... mmm... blissful. Winning this serger would be like the universe is saying, "Thank you, Monique, for all that you do. Here is a little token of our appreciation."