Tuesday, December 28, 2021

September to December 2021

Hello people,

I didn't realise I've been gone so long. But aren't you glad 2021 is almost over? What a dreadful year it's been. And we all thought 2020 was bad. Hahaha. I'm really looking forward to 2022 (just to get out of 2021) even though next year is the Year of the Tiger which is traditionally not a lucky year but I don't believe in horoscope so there!

Anyhoos, in Singapore we never managed to transition to endemic because Omicron made its appearance and refused to leave. Our social gathering/household visitors/dining out is still capped at 5 people which is fine for my family because we're such loners but for others, it must be a torture. (how to partay with 5 people?)

2021 has been super bad for our health. Hubs and I - we've now become people who have to take pills every day. For me, my protein in urine thing turned out positive consistently so my doctor said better check on my cholesterol as well. I was rather confident the results would be good because in a previous test<ahem>, the doctor said it had improved. I was wrong. My cholesterol had become alarmingly bad. I thought about it and I realised that I had been indulging in far too many Chinese pastries and tarts and upon some research, I discovered they contain trans fat. As a result of my greed, I now have to take 2 pills daily - one for cholesterol and one for the urine. I was determined to lower my cholesterol and I immediately cut out ALL pastries and tarts. In my next blood test, the doctor said my results were exceptionally good. I was so pleased with myself! But I have to continue with the medication for now but if my cholesterol remains exceptionally good in February, I may get off it. The urine meds I'm afraid I have to take for life. It's either that or lose a kidney.

Compared to me, hubs had it way, way worse. Firstly, his gout on his foot refused to stop hurting. It would get better and then return and repeat. Then it spread to his wrist. That was frightening. His company doctor was a blood sucker who only wanted to squeeze as much money as he could out of hubs. We kept asking for a long term treatment plan but it was always the same answer, next time, wait, wait. And the fees were so expensive. We really felt like suckers. Finally one day hubs made up his mind he didn't want to be treated by the con-doctor anymore. I was happy about that but also really worried because without long term treatment, the gout could return easily. Luckily I was able to persuade hubs to see a doctor at the clinic I go to. And it is so much cheaper. No nonsense treatment and no unnecessary tests. Hubs has more meds to take daily - uric acid control, cholesterol and high blood pressure. So I win.

Food became a big headache because a gout diet is an impossible diet - you can't eat so many things. At first hubs ate a lot of plant based meat and avoided real meat and seafood. After much suffering and a talk with a dietician, we realised that plant based meat are highly processed and bad for cholesterol as well. So now hubs decided to eat a little chicken, a little fish but to avoid all other meat and seafood especially sardines and anchovies. 

My frozen shoulder has improved a lot. I can now do nearly everything with my left arm. I can wear my bra myself although I do need my right hand to help out when the bra line is high. I no longer feel pain and the best thing is I'm able to swim. At first I started swimming with a float. Then I tried without a float (breast stroke) and I could do it. I try to go swimming once a week as my muscles are still weak. I don't know how much longer it will take to get my shoulder at 100% again. There are 2 movements which my arm is still quite weak at. Hubs has asked me when I'll stop my physiotherapy because it is rather costly. I'm very reluctant to quit. I feel a bit like a freak because my left arm can't rotate as well as my right arm. But realistically, I've spent enough $ already and maybe I should let nature do its healing. I'm (fake) sobbing as I write this because I really don't want to give up physiotherapy yet.

Both my kids finished their fall semester successfully. I'm very thankful. My daughter had it really tough. A very difficult year for her. But she made it through. One last semester to go. The good news is she managed to get a job before graduation. I'm so proud of her. 

Okay, enough about my personal life. I made a few pieces of tops for my daughter but based on her review, it's unlikely she'll wear them.

First I made a shirt. A real shirt with collar and sleeves and buttons and cuffs. It was hard but I managed to get the fit right. This shirt was the muslin in case you're wondering why I choose such a colourful fabric.  I couldn't believe it but I got the fit right at first try. I made a "mistake" with the buttonholes. I thought it was odd that the buttonholes turned out a bit too long for my liking. After sewing ALL the buttonholes, I decided to read the sewing machine manual and guess what? There is an option to sew a customised length. I'm an idiot.

Then I sewed a T-shirt. I used the Basic Instinct T-shirt pattern here. You need to subscribe to the newsletter to get the pattern. What I like about this pattern is the sleeves FIT the arm hole. On many patterns, they never fit but this one does. What I don't like about this pattern is the neckline is too high. But you can fix that easily. Mine is slightly lowered. The design is quite boyish. All the seams are serged and the hems are twin-needled. 

There was a time when I would buy remnants from Spotlight. This moustache jersey fabric was one of those remnants I had bought and regretted because there's too little of it. I finally used it to make a muscle tee. Pattern is by Fancy Tiger Crafts. It's an easy sew very much like a T-shirt. Serged every seam, twin-needled every hem. Instead of sleeves, bindings are used which is perfect for this fabric because I didn't have enough to make sleeves.

I made a few embroidered brooches. I don't need more brooches but I was going through a period when I felt very nervous about something and I needed to keep myself occupied. 

I found a pig I had appliqued on a piece of calico a long time ago and decided to do something with it and use up some of my scrap fabric. I regretted the brown fabric and the binding. Otherwise I rather like this piece even though it didn't use much scrap fabric.

I attended 2 baking classes on my list. The first one I attended was Artisan and Decorative Bread. It's an advanced class and was rather challenging as most of the dough was very wet. I was quite disappointed we only made one loaf of sourdough. And literally nothing was taught about sourdough. It was just a levain you add to your dough instead of yeast. On Day 1 I had this teacher whom I knew from way back when I did cake classes. He speaks with a heavy accent and is super hot tempered. But he knows his stuff. One thing I learnt from him is this. My window pane stage which I've always thought was correct has always been wrong. He pointed to a part of the dough and said you see that? Mix some more. And true enough, The window pane he wanted was a much clearer membrane. From day 2, we had another teacher, also with heavy accent. I didn't have as much confidence in the second teacher. But I managed to make the required bread even if they were kinda ugly. The class was small - only 7 girls. I had a nice time baking with the girls.

The second class I attended was Cafe Bread. It's an intermediate class and covers wholemeal flour, rye flour and inclusions like fruits, nuts and bean paste. On Day 1 we had a teacher who thankfully didn't speak with an accent. I think he's good at baking but he didn't share much with us. One thing I leant from him is dough temperature is very important. I usually disregard dough temperature when I bake but now I'll take care to always use cold water because Singapore weather is hot. From day 2, we had another teacher who is an ASS. The worse thing is, he's a passive aggressive ASS. OMG, I couldn't wait for the class to end because it was so unbearable listening to his random rants, idiotic jokes and nonsense. So much nonsense came out of his mouth. And the class was dragged over 4 Fridays so the torture was prolonged. What did I learn from him? Absolutely nothing. He is a "throw everything into the machine and mix" kind of baker. The class was bigger - 12 of us. I didn't enjoy this class at all. 

There's just one more bread class I want to attend - a dedicated sourdough class. I've looked around and there are a few. They aren't government funded like the ones I've just taken so I have to be mindful of the cost. (they don't come cheap) I hope to get a place next year and improve on my sourdough baking. 

Next year I also intend to dedicate more time to use my fabric scrap. I seem to have increased my fabric scrap over the past two years. My goal is to finish 2 pieces of something made from my scraps every month. If I make 2 per month, I should have 24 by December next year. I look forward to that. 
Lastly I shall leave you with this story. I have super sensitive skin which when triggered will result in incredible itch and when that happens, I go insane. To avoid that I apply this Bioderma cream on my face. I always have a tube of this cream wherever I go. I never take chances. The cream is not cheap so I try to squeeze every little drop out of it. One day I was on the train when I felt my jawline itching. I immediately reached for my Bioderma cream and it was a tube that had very little cream left. I banged the top of the tube on my hand several times before opening it and guess what? There was an explosion of cream everywhere. Did I mention I was on the train, sitting down with other strangers? Fortunately most of the cream had landed on my bag and the floor. Then I noticed there was a giant white glob on the thigh of the girl sitting next to me. And she was wearing black tights. The glob of cream was huge. Most people would inform the stranger what had happened, offer an apology and quickly exit the train. But I'm not most people. I did the unthinkable. I reached out and proceeded to use my finger to rub the glob of cream into the girl's tights hoping it would disappear. Now, it never occurred to me if the girl had noticed the cream on her thigh. Because suddenly a total stranger was fingering her thigh. She gave me a strange look and tried to see what the hell I was doing. Thankfully at this point, I realised I could be arrested so I stopped rubbing her thigh and apologised. Then I tried to explain about the exploding cream. I showed her the Bioderma tube and used my hands to mimic an explostion. I'm so lucky the girl was very forgiving. She gestured to me it was alright. Either that or she didn't want to bother with this crazy lady anymore.

See you next year.
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