Spirits, cloth and alterations

This week is Obon, which means we are to invite souls of dead family members to our homes where they will stay for a week.  During obon, we are apparently not supposed to eat meat, or to kill any soul (including bugs), as they may be our (let’s say my husband’s) ancestors.  According to Y, only animals with four legs are off limits.  I’m not really sure why, but that means, fish and chicken are fine.  So for dinner, we ate pork.

This morning, after a rough night where H decided she would sleep in my bed from 5:30a.m., and then wriggled non-stop for about an hour or so before I gave up and sent her off to play.  Y had taken today off as part of his remaining summer holidays, so we all went to the temple with my S.I.L.  She brought a little paper lantern with her to carry the candle back to her home which symbolised her ancestors.  We sat for a little while in the temple.  SIL gave her “offering” of money in a concealed envelope (who knows how much, but I would definitely assume, too much), prayed at the little altar, and then we sat down to drink tea (and juice for the kiddies).  One of the monks greeted H by her name, which kind of shocked me, but apparently he remembered bumping into us at a restaurant when H was just a year old.  FANTASTIC memory, as none of us could remember him at all.  But then monks do tend to blur into each other a little, whereas a mixed race family is more of an eye-catcher around here XD  When we were done, the monk told us to take a toy each for the children from a table in the corner.  Now I would have loved to take a photo of this table, but I really didn’t think it appropriate to start snapping the freebies in the temple.  There were a wide array of random things.  Key rings that you get given with petrol offers, stickers, pencils, a j-pop girl band jigsaw, and then the piece de resistance, a big die cast model truck. 

“Wow, only a fool wouldn’t take that,” I whispered to Y. 

“Maybe it’s just for display,” he replied. 

“Hmmm, that’s a bit weird,” I replied. 

“Ask the monk,” my SIL suggested.

And so he did, although I found it a bit embarrassing for us to be asking whether we could take the biggest thing from the free table…but the monk told us to take what we wanted, and then proceeded to reach into a paper bag and pull out two model Harleys and a police car.  L was quite taken with the bikes, but I decided that the parts were a bit spiky and easy to swallow (L puts EVERYTHING in his mouth), so I swayed him towards the police car and H took the truck. 

After taking the candle back to SIL and MIL’s home (she snuffed it out before getting in the car, which seemed a bit odd, but anyway!), we went off to eat soba (buckwheat noodles) and tempura.  H and L had great drumming fun with the chopsticks, and it was really cosy with the low tables and tatami.  Recently, we’ve found it much easier to take those tables and manage the children without them wriggling around quite so much.

Back at home, H and I rode the bike to the supermarket to take the recycling while L and Y had a nap.  It’s so so much harder to balance H on the back of Y’s bike than it is with L on the front of mine.  I was wobbling all over the place for the first little while, but I kind of got used to it, and it was fun for us to go out and do something just us.

Feeling a bit irritated and p.m.s.ey, I decided that a trip to the craft shop was in order.  I still had that skirt to sort out.  Last night, I put a zip in it, but it still fit too tightly, so I decided to try and put some elastic in a V around where the zip opening would be (if that makes sense..wish I could sketch on here).  Giving the children and hubby the option of staying at home, everyone decided they wanted in too, so off we went on the longish drive to the huge craft shop.  Of course I didn’t just buy elastic.  I got some Indian mini throws to make clothes for the kiddies, and some other bits and bobs of reduced price fabric, all normal cotton, although I am itching to start with jersey, but I imagine it’s a bit of a pain to work with.  Got home, ate, put the children to bed, then pinned in the elastic to the skirt.  Yuk, still looked horrid.  I decided that the problem was the top section.  It had no facing, so was a bit weird anyway, and although I like the fit and flare style on me, I figured why not try a fuller skirt if it was the only way this was going to fit.  So finished the seams, sewed in the zip, and it FITS!  Yay!  And doesn’t look half bad either.  It’s not the most flattering fit on me, but I’m really proud that I worked it out.  I kind of needed it, because after H’s trousers started to fray, I felt a bit useless at sewing.  Now I have a little more confidence left, even if it’s just an alteration 😉 

Today’s rarely worn clothes consist of a blue blouse which is actually two sizes too big, worn before I lost weight, and a skirt that I bought in Germany which I must have had for more than ten years!!  This outfit didn’t last the day, and if you see the photo, you’ll see why.  These are things to be remodelled…

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