Monday, 29 October 2007


It’s Day 7 and I haven’t cracked. This surprises me somewhat, as I haven’t ever been known for my will power and self-control, and I think even I assumed I wouldn’t be able to do this. I have never told myself that I couldn’t have something – my motto being if it makes you feel good, go right ahead, be it alcohol, food, make up, clothes, and cats.
There were 2 hurdles to get over in these last 7 days. I was in Auckland for the weekend, and helped my friends move house, and also had an old friend’s engagement party to go to. I think the house move was the hardest. It was a beautiful sunny day and we all worked really hard to get everything right across the other side of town. The proud owners of the new home shouted a few beers after, and let me tell you, sitting in the sun surveying a job done well and not celebrating with a frosty beer is just WRONG. I had a Red Bull.
Got to the party later on and at first it wasn’t too bad. Caught up with everyone and had another Red Bull – big mistake. I get panic attacks and too much caffeine was making me very shaky. All the people seemed to get louder and more annoying and it wasn’t long before I cut a track. But, I still did it, and let me tell you, waking up on Sunday and pottering around, singing a song here and there then going for brunch with my very hungover friends made me smug as all hell. The drive back to Tauranga even flew by.
Got home and it was another lovely day, so played in the garden trussing my tomatoes and picking lettuces. Sunday evenings are usually my favourite time for a vino but luckily I am getting a cold so was feeling a bit crappy. Hopefully it sticks around for the next 3 weeks!So claps on the back for me please….I am very proud of myself and I really think I am learning some huge lessons here. One being that drinking isn’t the be-all and end-all, and one being that to a sober person, a drunk person is really really unattractive.

Friday, 26 October 2007


So today I was a real dilly and forgot that it was my turn to provide morning tea. There are about 15 of us in the Propeller Head team here at work and someone provides morning tea every Friday. Last time I made 2 lots of muffins, banana chocolate chip and lemon and poppy seed, which were delicious if I may say so.
So I was very annoyed at myself for forgetting, and annoyed at our admin lady for not reminding me yesterday as is her normal practice, because this morning I had to then go spend $50.00 on slices and delicious things. That’s $50.00 of stuff for the house I can’t get this weekend now. GRRRR.
But I got the most delicious slices, from the Deli on Devonport if you’re ever in Tauranga on Devonport Road. There was raspberry brownie which was rich, damp and utterly moreish; toffee apple slice – chewy, sticky and tart; and date shortbread which was a bit of a letdown, a bit dry and dusty. But still better than a kick in the pants.
Friday here at work is always an eating day….in the Winter we would all go for a Friday Curry down on the Strand…$10.00 for a totally decent Lamb Tikka Masala with rice and naan. We would wash this down with a few Kingfisher beers and toddle back to work with only two hours to go until the drinks and nibbles trolley appeared, groaning with chips ‘n’ dip, nuts, lollies, wine and beers. No wonder I have been feeling grotty lately. Now that Summer’s arrived and the sun is out I think it’s time to pack a salad and go and sit by the harbour and get a tan. Life is pretty good here in Tauranga!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

A round up of the weeks news

Well it’s Day Two of the Detox. Last night being the first night I was unable to chillax in front of the telly with a lovely cold glass of crisp white wine. No, didn’t miss it at all. I kept myself busy with babysitting duties, and looked after Amelie while her parents went to the movies. Being her first ever baby-sitter was a big honour, and I was very chuffed. She really is so smiley and huggable, we literally fight over who gets to hold her. I win, because I am the biggest. We talked about holding these days of her like this to heart, because sooner or later she’ll be running around and far too busy to sit on our lips idly playing with a necklace or watch for half an hour.
Also by the way, my sister lent me a book, called the Memory Keeper’s Daughter. Am about halfway through and I really didn’t want to put it down. Very readable and astonishing for a first novel. I highly recommend it. Megan said she cried at the end so be warned.
Basil got taken to the vet yesterday due to all his barfing-and-eating-it-again habits of late, and I had forgotten how cats grow another 9 legs and their claws grow another foot when put near a carry cage. It was one time I wished I had someone else around. I ended up having to just throw him in the car and drive like hell to the vets (luckily only 500 metres away). The lolcats police would be horrified. We got there and thankfully they lent me a cage and helped me put him in it. Initially the vet thought he had a heart murmur but it turned out he was just having a mild panic attack at the thought of having Mr Thermometer up his bottom. But anyhoo, turns out he has a skin complaint, hence all the licking (see the photo here, of Basil doing what he does best) hence all the furballs and barfing. So he’s on injections and special food. Yeah yeah over-anxious pet mother…..I felt guilty thinking he may have been in pain for all that time. Hopefully it comes right. It was a 3 day weekend here in NZ with the celebration of Labour Day, so we all had Monday off which was lovely. I managed to see all of my family, and on Monday I met up with a friend and had what in my view was the perfect afternoon. We checked out the Earth from Above exhibition which is touring NZ at the moment, then walked around the Mount, then had a couple of beers in the sun, then had an early dinner. It was fantastic. I hope the rest of summer is just as good.

Friday, 19 October 2007

A discussion on my cat obsession

With a name like I Like Cats as the title of my blog, some of you may be wondering why I don’t feature my cat Basil on the site more often. There are a few reasons:

Stories about cats are only interesting to other cat lovers – as Antonia tags hers so well: “Shut up about your cats”.

Taking photos of Basil is very difficult, as he is black as black can be, and you cannot differentiate between his head and his butt. Unless he looks at the camera, in which case he then has green alien eyes. (By the way who saw the .gif at Fussy of Happy Cat? Sooooo funny).

He has a very good routine, and doesn’t often do anything out of the ordinary that I could share. This is Basil’s routine:
Wake up on the couch
Watch Mum have a shower (this is getting unsettling)
Lick the shower water from the bottom of the bath
Trip Mum up while she tried to get dressed, put her makeup on and have breakfast
Get sworn at
Get patted for being too cute
Get fed.
Lately*, throw up on the (luckily wooden) floor
Eat the throw up while Mum dry retches and leaves praying it’ll be gone by the time she gets home
*don’t worry we’re going to the vet on Tues
Sleep all day
Upon hearing Mum’s car on the driveway, sit sleepily peering out the cat door yawning.
Trip Mum up while she tries to get inside
Get fed again.
If he’s really lucky, get brushed.
Scratch Mum when she stops brushing.
Sit on armchair, scratching the hell out of it
Have a bath for about an hour
Run up and down the house chasing either the lid of a water bottle, a peg, a lavender sachet, a piece of paper, an earring, a fly or something invisible to the naked eye
Settle down near Mum’s feet at bedtime after a good game of biting the goblin that lives at the end of the bed (my toes).

Seriously. He does this every day. I am also a big fan of routine so it suits me fine.

I used to have another cat, called Polly, or Princess Polly PJ. She was a long haired tabby moggy, and way more snuggly than Basil, probably because we got her when she was about 6 weeks old. From day one she crawled under the covers and snuggled into me and stayed there all night. God knows how she didn’t suffocate from no oxygen and sharing a small double with 2 people. But she’s still alive…. Living with friends. We had to give her up when we moved over to Australia…it was devastating. But anyhoo….I managed to teach Polly to fetch. She had an obsession with chasing the plastic lids on water bottles – like would do it all night. She had a bell on her collar so you’d hear jingle jingle jingle JINGLE JINGLE jingle jingle jingle all night long. It became soothing after a while. Then my flatmate made me remove it.
I digress. We lived in the top story of a run down old house, and had these massive stairs to climb. For some reason, I began to throw the bottle top down the stairs, and Polly would fly down, pick it up, and pad back up the stairs and drop it at my feet. Seriously. I am not kidding you. It was our party trick. She could do it for hours. Some mornings I would wake up, and Polly would be sitting right by my bed, looking at me expectantly, with a Matterhorn of bottle tops by her little paws. What a lovely way to wake up.

In Australia, we swore we’d never get another kitten until we knew we were settled, but me being me, couldn’t help it when I heard there were free kittens down the road. One was super fluffy, and dark grey. I took her home and when her Dad walked in he was greeted by a skittery little dustball dancing down the hallway. Luckily he liked her as much as me so I didn’t get into too much trouble. We named her Ruby. Her mother had died very early so she wasn’t weaned very well. She thought I was her mother and tried to suckle (bad word) on my head. She’d wrap herself around the back of my neck and claw away. I had short hair at the time so when my friend Emma came round who had lovely long blonde curls Ruby would pretty much set up camp in there.
Anyhoo after about 2 months we were at the vet and while the vet was doing the surprise butt sex thing with the thermometer, I was going, oh poor little princess, oh you precious angel. I realised the vet was looking at me funny and I was all what? And he was all, you know this cat is a boy don’t you? I burst into tears and was in denial for ages…..her Dad straight away was all oh he’s a super wee chap etc etc but I couldn’t look at it. Took me forever to think of him as a boy – we renamed him Rudy. Rudy the Rooter. Rudy grew into an exceptionally handsome cat but was never very cuddly. In fact the day I left Perth after breaking up with my fiancĂ©e, I remember trying to pick him up and cuddle him, and he just let loose with his claws and ran away. Really helped my mood. Our friends were taking over our wee house and adopting Rudy in the process. After a couple of weeks I got a phone call saying Rudy had been run over which was devastating as you’d expect.

So after all that, you’d think I’d never get a cat again but now that I have a good job, good home, settled lifestyle it was time for one….and I’m so glad I did. Living on my own has a million positives, but the loneliness is one negative. Basil fills a gap with his antics and listening to him purr from the end of my bed always makes everything okay.
And that, my friend, is why I Like Cats.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Can I do it?

Okay so. Next week I shall start on one of the hardest challenges I have ever set myself. Given that most challenges I set myself are not really too taxing, i.e. try and go the weekend with keeping the kitchen tidy, don't eat the ENTIRE bag of chips, this easily goes to the top of the list.
I am going to not drink alcohol for one full month. 4 weeks. 28 days. Sandra Bullock eat your heart out.
I would have drunk alcohol at least once a week for some years now....and most of the things I do in my spare time revolve around it. Go for a walk around the Mount? Let's reward ourselves with a beer! Do a hearty 3 hour gardening stint? Of course it's all about the cold ones in the fridge. Come home from work and fall on the couch? Frosty glass of Sauvignon. Meeting up with friends? Always for a drink.
I don't do anything that doesn't involve having a drink somewhere in some way, like go to the movies....or.....I can't think of anything else that I wouldn't weasel a wine in somewhere. This fact has niggled at me for a few years now, and having had a few bender weekends recently, I decided to take a month off and see if I could do it. I don't give a rats about my's purely all about my willpower and whether I can. If I fail, everybody will be all, I told you she wouldn't be able to handle it, and I'll really be disappointed in myself, and slightly worried.
I have 2 engagement parties to go to in this time, which is REALLY going to be a test. I will be the most boring person there.
Anyway to make the stakes more interesting, I roped in a friend at work to do it with me. We wrote up a contract, signed it before we came to our senses, and are already planning our post-detox party.
Here is the contract in all its glory.

Contract stating rules for Month of No Alcohol and a Somewhat Healthier Lifestyle

Tuesday the 23rd of October to Tuesday the 20th of November – 28 days

I, Amy, and Her, Shannon, do solemnly declare to not let one tiny drop of God’s nectar alcohol past our mouths during the above dates – not even mouthwash.
We promise that we will support each other, and not get cross at each other for nagging when Amy is sitting on the couch smelling a glass of wine, or Shannon is eating rum and raisin icecream “just to see if it works”.
The following is also out of bounds:
And all other Class A, B, C through Z drugs except Paracetamol.

As this is possibly going to be the most boring and grumpy periods of our lives, we will endeavour to do lots of different things we never would have done, like go kayaking or to the clay bird shooting place or to church, just to take communion.
We also endeavour to make as many people as possible do it with us, kinda like Mormonism, so they can be just as miserable as we will be.
If either of us cracks before the other, the cracker owes the crackee $100 – but only if the crackee makes it to the end. If both crack, they must both pay $100 to the Tauranga SPCA. This is non-negotiable and will be enforced by our “eyes and ears” spies.
If both get through the whole month clean and clear, they both owe each other an awesome girls night out, thereby undoing all the good work they had done.
Signed, Us.

So I shall be blogging a lot I'm assuming....what else is there to do on a Friday night?

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Memory lane

So while I was back in the Bay for the weekend, I took the opportunity to go through all my old childhood junk that Mum hadn’t yet thrown away.
And lo and behold if I didn’t find the best box of treasure ever, namely a shoebox of my old mixed tapes.
Having inherited a love of music from my Dad I was one of those people who listened to everyone and everything, and constantly had a recording tape quivering on pause so that if I heard a song on the radio I liked, I could leap on it and record it. I would also spend hours, seriously hours in my room, compiling my favourite songs of the moment and working out which order they should go in. I would then listen to these tapes until they either fell apart, or I made a new one. Then I finally got a CD player and stopped making them, which is actually kind of sad.
So it was completely bizarre to find this dusty old box, with these familiar friends inside. Luckily I had a 3.5 hour trip ahead of me back to Tauranga where I could blast these babies on my really awesome bottom-of-the-line car stereo.
It was the funnest trip I have done in some time. The first tape I found was one I had done when I was 15, and the most horrible child in existence (in my mother’s opinion, and mine in hindsight) and I hated the world and the world hated me. The first song was Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. Okay, pretty stock standard you say. We then moved on to Plush by Stone Temple Pilots. Soma by Smashing Pumpkins. Oceans by Pearl Jam. How these songs must have spoken to me. I have never laughed so hard in my life as each song came on, picturing myself obsessively learning every word (I still knew them all) or what my mother must have thought, waving her off in the car they had bought her, the whitest chick on the block, off to her private school with “BURN YOUR WICKED GARDEN DOWN” blaring from the stereo. It’s still making me giggle. I knew more about blunts and j’s and sparking an owl from Cypress Hill than I did from real life…I never even saw pot until University (and then I did not inhale, Mum).
The next tape was one I did while studying for exams in seventh form. I had read that classical music made you learn faster, so I got hold of Mum’s Best Classical Album in the World……..EEEEVVVVEEEEERRRR!!! and made a tape. Possibly, I should have actually not spent the hours making the tape, and instead used them to study, but hey I still passed. I had completely forgotten that I had taken this tape over to England with me after exams, and used the end of it to record the first UK songs I liked. So at the end of Bolero by Ravel, we get Your Woman by White Town, and Remember Me by Blue Boy. Always a nice transition. I remember getting to England and waking in my unfamiliar room in the middle of the night and noticing the previous Gap student had left a small tape player behind, so I switched it on, and it was tuned to Radio 1. Having read about this British institution many times it was so surreal to wake up after a horror flight, in the middle of England, listening to Radio 1. Listening to that tape brought that feeling of displacement and surreality right back.
The last tape I had time for was one I did in my first year at Uni. I didn’t know it at the time but I was suffering from depression, and boy any Psych who listened to that tape would have picked it a mile away. Carnival by Natalie Merchant. Fade Into You by Mazzy Star. Fire on Babylon by Sinead O’Connor. It’s no wonder I was munching Prozac by the end of that year (saved my life, seriously). I have about 30 other tapes to go through, some from 1991 when I was 12 years old, so will be full of Color Me Badd and Maxi Priest. I can’t wait.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

A Day at the Races

Have you ever woken up on a beautiful Spring morning, and been so excited about the day ahead, that you actually danced around the kitchen? No? Yeah….um me neither.
No seriously, that’s what I was like on Saturday….a great day of catching up with old friends ahead, a cute new dress to wear, fake tan on that hadn’t streaked or turned me tangerine, PLUS a list of picks to bet that were sure to make me a millionaire.
The girls all looked amazing and the boys were looking sharp. I seriously like a man in a suit. Luckily I work around them all day which is good times indeed.

So we managed to get through many many bottles of champers and savvy, all the while having serious, deep and meaningful discussions of who’d had the craziest one night stand and which Dr Hook song was really the soundtrack to our teenage years. (Cover of the Rolling Stone won that one).
I bet money on horses and lost most of it…..until super horse Patrick charged up the home straight winning me an entire $50.00. This is the most I have ever won at the races so I mentioned my winnings to approximately two hundred people, who all indulged me by saying I should have gone into Punter of the Year. I fully agreed, but entries were closed.
The day ended with a big party back at a friends house where we all put on a hat, grabbed a kitchen utensil for a mike and danced around to Living on a Prayer. Ah good times. Luckily I have no photos of that.
The next day started out brilliantly with the All Blacks losing (!!!!!!!) to the cheese-eating surrender monkeys that are the French….can you believe it. The whole country certainly can’t. The best joke I have heard so far regarding the situation is: what’s the difference between the All Blacks and Viagara? Viagara at least guarantees you a Semi. And with that…. I bid you adieu.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Catch up

So today I am still recovering from a very busy weekend – with the added issue of the clocks going forward an hour meaning I am very snoozy this week.

The housewarming went really really well – please see my pics on Facebook – my stupid computer won’t let me upload them to here. I got home early on Friday and cleaned the house till 11:30 at night. It looked IMMACULATE. I was very proud. Of course, ten minutes into the party there were chips and bottles and glass rings and tomato sauce handprints on everything, but not being a Monica, it didn’t bother me. What did bother me was that it was Tuesday night before I could be bothered cleaning it up, after the house had acquired an interesting aroma of stale beer and chop fat. Tut tut my mother says.
So we had lots of beers and wines and sausages, and the back yard got an enthusiastic cricket work out. Lots of people brought their kids so it was a nice family day.

THEN later on the baby-free ones headed into town, where we went to a pub quiz. Our team was definitely the most annoying, and loudest, and drunkest, but still we won. It was weird. I think we were at that stage where you’re supremely confident about everything you do. No wonder people think they’re alright to drive – I probably would have sworn I had the skills to land a plane. However, I remembered that dyspepsia was heartburn, and that Johann Strauss wrote the Blue Danube, and we won. First prize though, was 4 of the most hideous wooden statues I have ever seen – you know like those Indonesian god statues? They also had a mop of red plastic hair – like Red from Fraggle Rock - to add to their aesthetic. Whatever happened to a bar tab I say – anyway we left them there and no doubt some eejit took them home to make their garden look even worse, right next to the plastic flamingoes. If you’re saying, hey, I have some of those statues, please, take my advice and burn them, they’re awful.

After the pub quiz it was all about drinking as much as we could so we went and partied in Tauranga till 2am. It was fun! Not so fun was waking up the next day, realising I was still drunk, and waiting in fear for the hangover to kick in (right around 1pm).

So that was my weekend – good times indeed – and another enormous weekend on the way with the Kelt Capital Races in Hastings on. I just went and bought a fascinator to wear with my LBD and yellow shoes, and some new bright red polish from Creative (Wild Fire, if you’re interested). We’re heading to a very posh tent where the bubbles are free and the horses beautiful, and I am guaranteed to lose at least $50 on the betting, but I know I’ll have a super duper day. Normally I would catch up with my parents at the same time, but at this moment in time they are swanning around Europe on their way to the Rugby World Cup final, which the All Blacks will be in, and win. My step-dad is a rugby fanatic (hey, he’s male and a Kiwi) so it’ll be a trip of a lifetime for him.

Anyhoodle – off to have a coffee with my sister and Amelie – see you next week with pics of the horses and hot guys in suits!