Self identity and perception

I have been a bit MIA. This is in part due to the fact I have been trying to pull together an application for a new job.  It’s a lot of work.  But done now.

As a result I have also been having to think about myself, and my identity. We all have a picture of ourselves, of what we represent.  A kind of idealised self. I tend to think of myself as a bohemian world traveller, who is stretching their budget.  What I actually am is a middle class suburbanite.  Bit of a culture clash.  And there is nothing wrong with the comfortable suburbanite- they have the pretty Pinterest pictures- but that is not my self image of myself.

This became startlingly evident the other day at work.  I work in an office with 6 others, we are all within the same age band- no more than 10 years between oldest and youngest.  I know that 6 of the 7 own either Bosch or Miele washing machines, because we have collectively all had the conversation about how wonderful they are and how they last forever and how there are now two tiers of Bosch machines and they don’t last the way they did.  This conversation has happened more than once.  We too own a Bosch, and I am happy to talk about how it has lasted, but that is not the conversation of the bohemian world traveler.

So I am tying to reconcile who I think I am with what I seem to be.  

Sneaky cycle- not so much

So I mentioned we were doing a sneaky cycle last month, it didn’t work.

 A brief explanation of what’s happening.  Usually when we do an IVF cycle with the clinic we pay a cycle fee that covers monitoring and the drugs.  We also pay fees for the surgical costs for egg retrieval and the lab fees.  The clinic gives me as much drugs as I need for the cycle.  If I turn out to need more of a particular type of drug, they just give me more.  That’s how we have accumulated extra crinone and extra Gonal-f.   It does mean that it’s a little hard to know the actual cost for some drugs- when I needed extra crinone on one of the past pregnancies the cost was variously: free, $30 and $100.  For the same box.

So when we last saw the doctor I expressed a preference for a break- we had an intense couple of months and I was frustrated. So we were going to go back in August. He encouraged us to keep trying, and basically told us to use the remaining Gonal- f we had to do a couple of boosted cycles.  We did a couple of monitored cycles this way last year- what he doing was to do about the same dosage, but without the monitoring.  He then gave us a couple of scripts for more drugs!

So we did a couple of cycles with my remaining pens- 10 days of 87.5ml shots.  But we ran out.  So we went to the chemist (pharmacy) on Monday night.  Monday was a public holiday, so we had to find a good chemist that was open.  So,at about 8 pm we got there, armed with my scripts.  I wasn’t sure that they would have either of the drugs, so we needed to talk to the actual chemist, not just the counter girls.  The poor lady!  So she was a bit puzzled about the Gonal f and the cost ($600 per pen, and the script was for two). So we looked at the other option, which was letrazole.  Which is apparently also a breast cancer drug, so was both available and cheaper for script ($48). So Femara, it is.  Any experience?

Argh!

It’s been a weird weather year and there are lots of ants around our unit building.  We have not had many inside, but there have been plenty on the balcony. Sometimes just wandering through, sometimes setting up nests under the pots and in the pots.  We have washed them away, sprayed essential oil (overwhelms their senses) and finally resorted to real bug spray.  But they kept coming back.

Inside, there have been none in the general areas or kitchen, but there has been an odd sprinkle in the bedroom and near the toilet. I had been classing them as lost expeditions, and chucked the old wheat pillow that seemed to be housing some.  

Last weekend I realised that the steady line of ants on the balcony was heading to a spot on the wall that was just outside of our closet.  It is an older brick building and in some places the mortar is not great. It appeared that there was a nest in there, so we sprayed (with some difficulty, it was not easy to reach). The steady parade on the deck disappeared.  Victory?!

Then this morning I saw a few of the lost expedition in the bedroom. Where there is never food.  So after breakfast I pulled all of my clothes out of the closet.  We had some out of season clothes in a basket in the closet.  I pulled it out, and there was a pile of something behind it.  There’s ants nests in the wall!  So that basket has been emptied, and the clothes are in the laundry.  That said, the ants don’t seems to have been in the clothes.  The closet has been sprayed and vacuumed.

The ants appear to be in the wall only, nothing we own appears to be problematic.

I also found some baby clothes.  These date from pregnancy number one, before I became cynical. The idea was to gradually accrue things.  These clothes were the only things we accrued.  What to do with them?

Here and there

A busy week, lots of irritation at work.

Then I read this article.  Warning, it is quite sad as it is about the aftermath of a baby’s death http://gawker.com/how-to-dress-a-dead-baby-1708728280

My office is moving in a week, so I have been letting the stationery supplies run down, there are no more boxes of tissues, so reading a story guaranteed to bring tears welling was not the smartest idea.

Last week I went to the dentist as I had a crown due to be done.  I went to the dentist about six months ago with three or four not quite right teeth- nothing horrible, but I could feel something had shifted.  We dealt with two at the time with fillings, but I was meant to go back for a crown on another.  And I put it off.  So I went back last week and did the initial session.  I left with a temporary crown.  Then on Wednesday this week I found a bit of tooth in my mouth, but couldn’t work out from where.  The temporary crown seemed the most likely and I went in for an emergency session the next day.  I had been due to go next week, but fortunately my final crown had come in.  My dentist fitted me in and put the final crown on (it was that tooth/crown that broke) in less time than it took to watch a single episode of two and a half men (that was the TV show they were playing in the office). So a good result.

I haven’t been blogging and I haven’t been reading blogs so much.  Not entirely sure why.

I have applied for a job where my social media and blog presence will be scrutinised.  I like to think that I am a reasonable person, but am wondering if there are any hidden bombs.

Creativity doesn’t cost (much) money

This weekend I went to a screen printing workshop with my mum.  This was originally intended to be the weekend after Mother’s Day and was my Mother’s Day present/activity.  I dislike the crowds, poor service and cost that happens as a result of mass Mother’s Day booking, so generally try to arrange something near the day, but not on it.  Anyway, a scheduling conflict at the venue meant a change in date.  So this weekend was it.  It was quite a good workshop, run by a woman who is a professional screenprinter.  The class itself was organised and held at a community centre for a suburb near mine.

The presenter had a very good balance between showing us quality materials and techniques and cheap options.  Often in these classes it is either all good quality and organised for you, so you walk away thinking that it is an expensive hobby that you are not confident replicating, OR it is all really cheap workarounds, with the the quality option mentioned at the end, so you walk away feeling that it is a lot of effort.  Neither really fosters joy in the process.

This workshop balanced the two.  We all received the materials to make a frame- a small picture frame, professional screen material and a staple gun (well we had access to a staple gun, we didn’t get to take it home). The instructor explained that the professional screen material could be obtained from a supply shop, or we could buy fine net curtains from spotlight(a craft and homeware chain). The results wouldn’t be as sharp, but it is cheaper.

Once we had assembled our frames, we made out first stencil.  We drew on plain paper, then used yellow pages paper as the stencil, cutting through the paper for our design and the yellow pages paper.  The stencil we made this way is quite temporary, can only be used for one session, but is very cheap.  A good way to test an idea.  We then taped the stencil to the frame and made our prints (we also got some fabric in our equipment bag). Once we had managed a few prints, we removed that stencil and rinsed off the frame.

On to a more lasting stencil.  We used better grade paper, available from art shops.  It results in a crisper print, but it does cost money.  

I made flowers

All in all it was a good experience.  It turned out to be a simple process, and I understand my options in doing it. I appreciated the options of costings.

It made me think, people give reasons for not doing craft- often they are that they aren’t creative, they don’t have the equipment and they don’t have the money.  But many crafts don’t actually require highly expensive, specific material.  Yes, props may be marketed that way, but it isn’t the only way to access such crafts.  I use a variety of materials for my embroidery, and the fabric for cross stitch (aida) can be expensive, but really basic embroidery can be quite simple and cheap- I can reuse old clothes and fabric and embroider with only a simngle colour of thread.  This is the basis of a lot of traditional embroidery.  It really only costs me needles, thread and time.  And the time is soothing. 

I think it is easy to miss how simple a lot of craft can be- after all most crafts are the result of trying to use leftover and old things creatively.  It is easy to miss, on all of those Pinterest photos that many of the so cute ideas spring from frugality.  Mason jars as glasses or vases?  That would spring from decades of people using them like that because jam jars were the only glasses in the house.  One of the crafts I enjoy is sashiko, a Japanese technique that was used to quilt layers of fabric together to make warmer garments and to help stitch multiple pieces of fabric together.

I have been seeing kits at local craft stores that clearly build on Pinterest projects.  I find it a little disconcerting- a lot of the ideas are using everyday materials, but are packaged up in shiny boxes.  

I think a lot of people are also reluctant to try to be creative- they fear that they will be judged.  Which I understand, but I think that people are more positive than they realise.  And sometimes wonkiness is the appeal of crafting. 

Accomplishments for the week

Things I managed to do this week.

1. finish off my embroidery, get it attached to the bag and posted it to the UK by the set date.  I managed to finish a difficult piece of embroidery on a schedule.  Yay!

2. At work, respond to a query from  the regulator on a project I currently have, produce a new version of breach analysis graphs for my boss and produce my monthly summary of changes.  All good.

3. I managed to clear off a large chunk of my desk at work. We are moving soon, this is important!

4. I made bread using the kitchen aid.  While ice cream and meringues and cakes and jam drops have been made, bread was the final frontier.  But it was successfully made.

 

Actually quite a short list, but I got a lot done.

 

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