there are worse things

A reminder today that life is fleeting and precious.

Someone in my company died.  She had an operation, was out of hospital and then got sick.  Complications ensued.  

We really don’t expect people to die.  That seems odd, but death is largely hidden in our society, something that happens to other people, to other families and only to the old.  But that isn’t true.  I did not know her well- we worked in different areas, and she hadn’t been there long.

But her situation echoed something closer to home. Some one in my team (7 people in that) had a cardiac arrest in January, and survived solely because she was in the ER at the time(she had fainted earlier and had gone in, they were in the process of releasing her when it happened). She’s in her 40s, exercised regularly and as far as I could tell, ate healthier than I did. And it was so close, her survival.

So treasure the life you have.

And a brief moment of bitter infertility- my co-worker kept repeating that woman who died had young kids.  Yes that makes it sad, but a person is not less worthy of sadness if they don’t have children, or young children. Just frustrated that the worth of a woman is predicated on her procreation.


Today’s tip: stay out of the sun!

Not because of sun burn, but skin cancer.  My work sponsors a free skin check every year, and this year she found two suspicious areas.

One looked like a skin cancer forming, the other was just a bit suss. (Suss is short for suspicious in Australian).  I fluked an early dermatologist appointment (torrential rain = Cancellations) and he agreed.  So yesterday I went in to get them cut off.

The skin cancer mole was on my neck/shoulder- very inconvenient.  Luckily on my left, but no heavy lifting on that side for a few weeks.

The other one was on my lower back, just above my bum.  This makes sitting for long periods a bit problematic, and standing.  Lying down is awkward. Sleeping was fun- I am a side sleeper and that was not happening.

And so my back aches, the two wounds hurt and I have to move carefully.

So, stay out of the sun. And get your skin checked regularly!  

It was always likely I would get some problems with this- I have fair skin and have lived my life in sunny places, not in the cloudy lands of Northern Europe, where such skin is a beneficial mutation (vitamin D).

adventures in parenting

Or step parenting.

Just a thought.  If your child, who has in the past failed to give you a goodbye hug at the airport, or wave goodbye heading onto the plane, fails to do either of these things, perhaps you need to directly ask for a goodbye or a hug, rather than blaming the people at the other end of the trip, who have not been significantly involved in parenting said child.

I know that if I want a hug from my 10 year old brother I have to ask- he is not going to do so spontaneously without an indication that I will accept.  He is happy to do so (or acts that way), but I am also careful not to impose you must show affection to all adult relatives habits on kids.

Ditto my two year old niece. 

G’s ex wife is very angry that J failed to say goodbye to her at the airport. It’s all his fault!  Even though this is exactly what he (J) did three years ago, and she complained then too.  Actually every time she sends him to us.  So now she isn’t speaking to us.  

I am a little floored at this.  If you want someone to act in a certain way, you need to communicate this.  Some children are openly affectionate, teenage boys generally aren’t. 

And I just found a grey hair!

microblog Monday- happy birthday!

I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks.  A combination of a break from blogs- I still internetted, but didn’t read many blogs- and being distracted by other things (clash of clans, rereading Pratchett).

But That doesn’t mean my brain wasn’t trying to write posts!

Anyway, a brief moment back. It’s my birthday today. Oddly most of the celebration occurred before- dinner out on Saturday, family dinner on Sunday and I received the first gift a week early (my sister was in town then). This is not where I would have pictured myself five years ago.  I would have expected to have at least one toddler around, instead we have an 18 year old moving in tomorrow.  I also have a mole removal scheduled for tomorrow- I am finally part of the one in two statistic in having skin cancer.  

So, not an entirely happy birthday.  I don’t want to be in this position on the next one.

kraft shopping in kyoto- needles

I meant to do one big post, but have not yet been organised enough.  One issue is my pictures- I overloaded the cloud, so they were taken off my devices and put in our main computer.  And I don’t have regular access, because I don’t have a computer at the moment, so I need to boot my husband off his.  Which is not convenient.  So a bit of a lack of pics.

Anyway, one thing to know about japan is that addresses are not sequential.  I have never understood the numbering, but it is not the same as western numbering.  So 2 might be next to 25.  And street names are often not posted.  So most business in Japan have little maps on the back of their business cards and on their websites.  You learn to navigate by landmarks and other shops. And Google maps is less reliable than usual (I spend a lot of time cursing them).

So. Needles in Kyoto! From a 360 +year old company.  Misuyabari needles.  I found out about them from this blog post.

The writer has quite good directions, and has managed to include a Google map link, so can recommend that. My directions are going to be different, and a little bit fluffy.  Teramachi-dori is a covered shopping arcade, which is not uncommon in Japan.  It runs between Shijo-dori and Sanjo-dori (well almost to Sanjo- dori), with the busiest and most interesting stuff at the Shijo-dori end.  Shijo-dori is one of the main roads in Kyoto, and if you go to Gion you will probably go to the Shijo-dork station, or ride a bus along there.  There are a few major department stores along there as well. So, most people will start at that end. The needle shop is all the way at the other end.  So you walk the length of teramachi, at one point it does a little bit of a dog leg, but keep going in the same direction.  Eventually it will hit a crossways street , and form a t junction.  Just before that point there is a little branch off, like a y.  But both branches end on the same t junction street.  At this point you turn right onto the t junction street.  It’s going to be on your left side.  I don’t know how far it is, but on the right side there was a hardware/knife/scissors shop.  It’s further than that.  The sign for the needle shop is a little hidden (because the shop is hidden), but there is a sign for a palm reading place and it is there, through a tiny passage.  You pop out into the courtyard garden and in the corner there is a tiny shop. (The linked blog post above has a good description and pretty pictures- we were there in winter, not so pretty)

Their closing day is Thursday. I know this, because we tried to go on a Thursday. 

I bought some needles 

A tiny travel sewing kit

The top comes off 

Inside a tiny pincushion, some snips, needles and three thread bobbins 

I also got some pins and a pincushion.  It was not very expensive- when I think about how much I pay for needles and equipment here they were cheaper.

There are a number of craft shops along  teramachi- keep your eyes open.  One of the two Nomura tailor (fabric and notions) shops is on teramachi. There is also a bead shop and a number of stationery shops.

The misuyabari logo.


When we came back after the Thursday attempt we came from a different direction. We took the subway to Karasumaoike station and walked through the back streets towards teramachi.  We did this because in theory we had the shop pinned in Google maps.  We did, but the directions were not awesome.  Anyway, we found a number of craft and handmade shops.  Many shops may be on higher levels of the building, not just on the street level.  Look at the information(pictures in front of the building).

One of the places we found was one that was on my list already- Avril.

An awesome knitting shop.  In the same building (it’s on the third floor) is a button shop and a Tintin shop.  The streets around were filled with great little shops.  Walking from that street towards the river will take you to teramachi. 

Leave a comment if you have questions, or have found other shops. 

Microblog Monday- rereading

I have been slowly rereading the Harry Potter series over the past couple of months.  I started before Christmas and only finished this weekend.  This is in part because I read other books in between and around.

But it’s also because I slowed down on the last three.  They were harder to read, knowing what is to come.  Sadder too.

But it was nice to be able to read them in quick sequence, rather than over the years as they were released.  

I enjoy rereading books- sometimes experience has given me new insights, sometimes my reading pace has shifted and I pick up new things, sometimes knowledge of what is to come makes the story different.  But I know there are those who do not like to reread- my mum is one of those.  There are very few books she will reread!


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