Things I Like: Capelets

Six days til surgery.

October around here can be kind of problematic, weatherwise. I generally layer around my house or throw a hoodie on when I go outside. When my plastic surgeon said I’d essentially be a T-Rex for the first week or so and therefore unable to wear my regular sweaters, I nodded calmly, left my appointment, and then my head exploded and I died. A lot. The End.

I actually came home and messaged Irene who blogs at The Crafting Hobbit. I remembered she’d made herself a super cute fleece capelet before she’d had her mastectomy in January. Since she’s been so patiently answering my panicky questions and listen to my blathering for the last month, I figured I’d do what any normal person would do and ask her to make me something. This is a good time to point out that thankfully Irene loves me because I’d probably drive a plaster saint crazy at this point.

A few messages, a perusal of the Joann’s website wherein I picked out the gaudiest knit I could find, and some handwavey “oh, some kind of blue” choice of fleece, and my capelet was on its way to being made. All that was left was to drive my postman crazy for a few days til it showed up.

It arrived a couple days ago and I LOVE it. Irene picked out fleece that is nearly the same colour as my hair. It is, indeed, easy to get on and off, and it’s perfect for New England’s crazy weather. I feel like a character in a fairytale in it. I may or may not have twirled around in it a few times. The coolest part? Irene picked fleece that quite nearly matched my recently-dyed blue hair.

It’s nice to know I won’t have to worry about something to wear post-op, but honestly this is definitely more than a one trick pony for me. I can easily see wearing this with an Easter dress or tucking it into my bag for an end of summer night.

Want one for yourself? Head over to The Crafting Hobbit and shoot Irene an email.

Cloak and tie

Hood, close up

The details: I was in no way paid or compensated to write this post. In fact, I don’t think I even remembered to tell Irene I was writing it. I really, truly just love this capelet, even if I kind of look like a crazy person playing ball with my kid while wearing it.

In Defense of the Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid came out on BluRay a couple days ago. A lot of ladies in my age cohort have very fond memories of seeing this movie. I can certainly trace my love of mermaids back to this movie and Splash and it may or may not have played a part in why my hair was dark red for so many years.

What I’ve noticed, though, is that the movie’s release date came closer, there was a lot of backlash towards Ariel. I mean, this isn’t exactly new territory for the lot of Disney Princesses. They’re not exactly paragons of the feminist movement, especially the earliest ones. Part of this is that they’re time capsules of the era they were drawn in and the other part is that they’re cartoons–by nature they’re already exaggerated caricatures. They’re tropes.

What I see Ariel getting the most flack for is her transformation. She drastically changes her whole appearance, she becomes another person, and she makes a deal with the devil–or sea witch, in this case–to get this done, all for the sake of a man she’s seen once and never directly spoken to. She literally gives up her voice and metaphorically, her autonomy as a person, all for the sake of becoming the perfect woman for the man she thinks she loves.

Awful, right? Totally anti-feminist.

Except it’s not quite that clear.

Remember the beginning of the movie, right after the concert that’s supposed to be Ariel’s big debut? The one she misses? Do you remember what she was doing?

She was salvaging a shipwreck for human things. After the brief interlude of a shark chase, she went up to the surface to ask her buddy, Scuttle the Seagull, what the object was. Scuttle, of course, doesn’t know his ass from a fork, but that’s not the point. It’s pretty obvious it’s not the first time she’s been up to get misinformation from him.

Just after, we see her grotto. By the looks of it, she’s been fascinated by and collecting human objects for quite some time. One does not amass such a huge collection in a day or two. Her first big song is “Part of That World”, not Part of Your World (emphasis mine). Before she’s even see Eric, she’s already thinking about what it would be like to become human. In fact, I am guessing it’s not just a passing thought, either.

So, then she sees Prince Eric. Love at first sight–this is Disney after all. He isn’t immune either, for what it’s worth. All he remembers is her voice, but he says that he’s going to find that girl and marry her. In the middle of her twitter-pated glee, in storms King Triton, throws an epic tantrum, and destroys everything.

That, one could say, is the actual catalyst for her trip to everyone’s favourite sea witch. Prince Eric does play his part, of course. Ariel’s father and his horrid temper are the final straw.

But the real point of this is that Ariel feels trapped in the wrong body. Had she never seen Eric, had her grotto never been destroyed, she still would have wanted to be human. She might have made it to the sea witch on her own or maybe found a different potion or who know what else? Maybe she would have spent the rest of her life locked away inside herself.

So next time you watch The little Mermaid, give this a though.


I got the call Friday. My insurance company approved my reduction in EIGHT DAYS. They ended up calling my husband and when he said “Your plastic surgeon’s office called.” my heart dropped. I figured anything this fast was bad news. But they approved it. No caveats. No catches. I scheduled my pre-op for October 1st. I could have scheduled surgery for the end of October if I’d had childcare.

I am so excited I could cry. And terrified. But mostly excited. It’s major surgery. I have no frame of reference. I had my knee fixed and it was lousy and I healed slowly, but most of the two week recovery was because we lived in a walk up that was incredibly hard to navigate with crutches.

One of the quirks about my insurance is that they won’t pay for any liposuction on my sides. Because of the way my insurance’s contract with the hospital is written, they can perform the procedure and may not add anything on that I would pay out of pocket for.

Since I have migrated tissue, it has to go. Besides my traditional anchor scar, I’ll have another scar that runs around to the centre of my ribs. Doctor said that I won’t be able to do much with my arms for at least 5 days.

I will need help bathing, possibly using the potty, washing my hair… I don’t know about getting dress…. I don’t know how to explain this to Calico.

The other part of my is looking forward gleefully: the shirts that will fit or will sit right. I want to wear a buttom down so badly. Or a coat that I can zip closed. Tube tops, halternecks, anything a babydoll cut. I’ll be able to breathe better. I’m overwhelmed…

That’s not even touching on the parts of life it will effect.

I… just can’t…


12 Years Ago

12 years ago, I was sleeping when the planes hit the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. I was sleeping when the towers collapsed. I woke up to find a dozen missed calls. I remember being afraid something was wrong with one of my grandparents.

I had only been introduced to my husband a few weeks earlier. My stepson was still a baby, my sister was still pregnant with my eldest nephew.

My cell phone wouldn’t work. I called my grandmother and sister from my landline. My grandmother spoke of Pearl Harbour and how she had never thought she’d live to see a second attack on US soil. We were thankful we didn’t know anyone in New York City–my great-grandparents had lived there long ago, as had my grandparents. Later, she would tell me the daughter of a woman on her street–now my street–had been on one of the flights.

12 years later, I no longer remember her name or which house she’d grown up in. I only vaguely remember playing with her kids when I’d visit; my neighbourhood was all older people with visiting grandkids then.

I remember the silence. Everything had shut down and the lack of commercial planes was one of the most unnerving parts. Eleven and a half years later, after the Boston bombings, I’d be sitting in my living room with my daughter, remembering just how chilling that silence was while I waited for my husband to make it home from work.

There was no Twitter, no Facebook twelve years ago. I watched CNN’s looping feed. I don’t know which is more frightening, waiting for the news and not knowing or the constant stream of jumbled up information. The same looping images still happen.

12 years ago tomorrow, I would go to Mass for the first time in years. I had a very embarrassing nosebleed at the very end. Church was silent too.

A year after, I had moved from the apartment I was living in to another town with my now-husband. Ten years later, I walked around my neighbourhood with my daughter who was a few weeks from turning one. Twelve years later, I am sitting here, writing this so I will have a tangible piece of information when my daughter asks where I was.

4-6 Weeks

That is how long it will take for my insurance company to decide whether or not they will approve my reduction.

I had my consult today. It went. The surgeon seems nice, he does good work, he teaches for Brown. He said I am an excellent candidate for a reduction. Even overweight, my boobs are too big for my frame. My skin is fragile underneath, I have grooves in my shoulders, and obviously, the pain is an issue. He said he is pretty sure I will be approved. Ultimately, they try to weed out people who are just looking for a breast lift. I would go down cup sizes.

Tomorrow I get to call my doctor since my records never made it over, the shrink, and my talk therapist to get notes saying a reduction would benefit my physical and mental health. I can give them copies of bras I’ve ordered; they’re considered specialty support garments because they’re not an easily found size. Basically, anything that will show my breasts as a hardship will help me.

There are trade-offs. I have tissue migration on the sides, so the cuts will most likely run to the middle of my ribcage. It will be the longest recovery I’ve had–10 to 14 days, he said. Obviously, there’s a chance of infection and loss of sensation. It’s general anaesthesia and that, of course, has it’s own risks.

But the thought of normal sized boobs is so tantalizing… I haven’t owned a button down shirt in a decade. I could wear babydoll shirts and have the banding sit properly. If my bra breaks, I could go buy one at any store. I could afford to own more than one bra. I could go to a store and grab a bathing suit for impromptu beach days. I could wear a halterneck without losing feeling in my hands or being in crazy pain.

I could cross my arms over my chest.

I wonder what it will be like.

Birth trauma: the gift that keeps on giving.

Three years later, I am still let down by Calico’s birth and the kind of care I received. Most of it has faded into old, worn memory, but every now and then, something triggers it and I’m right back where I was, bitter and miserable.

Earlier today, I tripped on my craft hassock. It was one of those stupid things; I went to avoid a toy, caught my foot, and stumbled. It’s the kind of thing that happens all the time; except now, when it happens to me, it pops my pelvis and is accompanied by searing pain. I’ll waddle for the rest of the night.

My shrink used to be an RN. When I first started seeing her, after describing my problems, she asked whether or not Calico’s quick birth had fractured anything. I told her I didn’t have an answer. No one had checked because no one actually took my pain seriously.

The first few months, I was told it was “normal”; I’d had a baby, things shift, soreness is to be expected. Except this wasn’t normal pain. I have a lot of experience with hypermobility. I know what things feel like when they’re stuck out of joint. It took nine months before my OB referred me to see an osteopath. He noted the hypermobility–this was a confirmation of EDS-III–but said that nothing was “actively wrong” when he x-rayed me. He couldn’t explain why I still had pain rolling over, squatting, or any number of other activities.

I have been told over and over that the symphus pubis is a stable joint. The SI is a stable joint. They can’t be popped, let alone popped with kegels. The doctor I used to see refused to believe me, even after my showing her. When my SI joint pops, it’s audible. She told me it must be something else.

It’s incredibly frustrating to not be listened to. It’s dehumanizing. This was one of the hardest parts about being postpartum. Everything has been blamed on birth. I felt like I was given false hope and then, when it didn’t happen, the letdown was immense. It still is.

At least now, since my previous doctor left, I was transferred to someone who listens now. It isn’t going to fix anything, most likely, but it’s a start.

Back Away Slowly

You know what would be awesome? If I had a chum cannon. I don’t actually know what I’d do with it and my neighbours would hate me, but it would be awesome.

I can’t believe it’s the middle of August and I have done nothing this summer. I have a whole basket of half-finished projects, a baby blanket that’s in pieces, and I don’t even know what else. That pretty much means exactly 0% of this summer’s planned renovations happened. Add my back being out basically every other week and my house kind of looked like Godzilla lived here.

This worked out because my mother has wanted to take Calico for a week-end. It’s amazing how much easier it is to do everything without someone constanting needing a snack, a time-out, a beating*, et cetera.

A bunch of the stuff we needed to go through was my husband’s, so I figured this would be a perfect time to redo the baker’s rack my bestie gave me. Also, it gave me an excuse to use spray paint.

I am somewhere between having no taste whatsoever and having the decorating sense of a 5 year old. This usually translates to bright colours and/or glitter. This meant that the obvious choice was to paint the baker’s rack super shiny chrome with aqua glitter. The walls are also bright aqua, in case you were wondering.

I also got it into my head that we needed something to hide all the stored cereal/toddler snacks/whatever. Steven had run to the grocery store just before I got this idea into my head. He came in and I pretty much shoved it in his face, saying “I MADE YOU A CURTAIN!”

Never mind that he didn’t request a curtain or pretty much even think about having one. I dump projects on him in the same way a cat dumps an eviscerated bird in front of their owner.¬†After close to 15 years, he knows that the only appropriate response is to smile, tell me it’s lovely, and back away very, very slowly. He learnt this the hard way, the year after we got married, when I had given him a charcoal of a Boston terrier and he asked where I’d bought it.

I am, however, pretty pleased with it. It doesn’t matter how neatly you store things, they still look crappy. The curtain hides most of it and makes everything tidy. The light Steven put up brightens everything. It never ceases to amaze me how one small thing can change an entire room. Unfortunately, now I want to make ALL THE CURTAINS, but that was the end of my material til I can make it back to Joanns over the week-end.

Pictures at the bottom, in case you want to see my gaudy shelf.

*I do not actually beat anyone in my household, though my cats would like to tell you I starve them. This is especially evident in my 17lb tub of a black cat.

Finished Rack IMG_0944Gliiiiiiiitter