Tuesday, 9 December 2008

And lo, she arose

Internet, does life EVER slow down? Is it ever boring, routine-filled, and stress-free? Judging from the last couple of months, I'm going to say "no".

Things that have happened to me in the last few weeks.

  • Boyfriend has moved into house! All is going well. Basil has taken to sharing the bed like the trooper he is. I am most enjoying having the rubbish put out for me. AND, this one time, he even emptied the dishwasher WITHOUT BEING ASKED. I know. He's a keeper. He, in the meantime, has clockwork meals, clean undies and a great big shed to fill with man toys. I think it's a win-win situation.
  • Best friends' baby girl born! Little Georgia Rose is a special little bunny...she and I had cuddles last time we were in Auckland. Her parents are my two eldest friends and we used to hang out in nappies. To be holding their new baby was a surreal moment. Here is pic of me and Georgia. I look kinda drunk, but seriously, I'm not.... much.
  • Last but not least, I have just found out that my position here at my work has been downgraded to part-time! So if I want, I can work 5 weeks out of every quarter! Unsurprisingly, my mortgage and psyche don't agree with that and I'm now in the position of looking for work during one of the worst unemployment periods in recent years. While I hold no grudge against my workplace as they've been told to cut costs and they're doing it - I do hold a grudge against bloody Wall Street fat cats who caused all this. Grrr. Fear my wrath. Fear it!

So that's basically me. Lots of other things happened, you know, my hair grew, I read some books, but nothing too spectacular. How about yourselves?

Friday, 19 September 2008

My Poppa

My Poppa died when I was about eight, so I only have a few hazy memories of him. They are mostly of his bent, gaunt figure standing around his garden, with his hands supporting his back, pipe hanging out of his mouth.
I remember he had a working Morse code machine in his pottering shed, a model train set, and, so my mother tells me, a fair few bottles of gin.
He used to send my sister and me photographs of hedgehogs that appeared on their lawn, writing on the back as if it were a postcard, which all our family still do today.

I knew that he'd been in the airforce during World War II, and that he'd been decorated for some daring stunt, but I never knew the full details until last week when Mum sent a cutting up from a researcher who was writing about DFC recipients in New Zealand.

I got quite choked up reading this, and wished that I had known more about it when I was younger. It's one thing to think of the man staring into space over the bluebells, but yet another to think of him landing a plane in choppy seas knowing that he had 5 kids at home and a boring bank manager job to go back to.

Moral of the story - get to know your grandparents while you can.

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Challenge Begins

This time two weeks ago, I was two kilos heavier than I am now. That’s about five pounds, I think.
Pretty cool huh?
Recently, I was on a shopping expedition with my mother. If you get my mother at the right time, and talk softly toher without waking her up from her trance, sometimes she will pull her Visa card out and melt it with large transactions. On this expedition we tried on lots of clothes. My mother is a size 8. I thought I was a 12. Turns out I’m a 14. Trousers were not comfortable at all. I was losing my jawline. The assistant kept mentioning control undies.
Seeing Summer looming in the distance and the party season nearly upon me, I had a think. Normally after a shock like this I’d be all “I’m never eating again!! Or if I do, only cabbage soup with low-fat water!”
This time though, I’ve been logical and thorough.
The aim is, people, to get to my goal weight in 6 months. I’m going to do this, not only by eating well, but by exercising and getting active.
I have never been an active person and say things like, oh I change my sheets this morning and got all puffed after wrestling with the duvet….that’ll do me for today.
Now I’m off to the gym every lunchtime, and in the weekend I’m making a point of busting a gut for 30mins. Last week we walked up the Mount. It was hard. I’m loving going to the gym, now that it doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s fun to see what I can make my body do. Put it this way, 3 weeks ago, I couldn’t kneel onto a Swiss Ball and keep my balance. Now I’m kneeling and doing bicep curls at the same time. Also drinking two litres of water a day (I go to the loo more than Kate Moss out clubbing).
Food is an interesting one. I’ve never really eaten unhealthily, but I eat a lot. Rich eats even more. So we’re dialling down the portions and filling half the plate with veg and salad. We’re drinking only on Friday and Saturday nights. Rich has started dropping weight faster than a supermodel after giving birth. So unfair.
The difference of all of this is if I have a handful of chips at my nephew’s birthday, or a wine with dinner on Fathers Day, I don’t beat myself up. 6 months is a good amount of time, and so long as I stick at my rules 95% of the time, I should be okay. The only downside of this is, all the trousers that Mum bought me on our shopping trip? Can pull them down without undoing the zip. I don’t really feel bad about this.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Some advice

When you're singing along to the stereo really loudly in the gym changing rooms, making sure we're impressed you know all the words, you should probably pick a song that isn't Hootie and the Blowfish.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Breeding

Excellent news.
This little monkey....


.... is going to get a baby brother or sister come March. *snoopy dance*!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

A day you remember fondly

Yesterday was a nothing special day, a day during which I went to work, did my work, went to the gym, got bored to tears during the looong afternoon of clock watching, and went home.
And then, people, something amazing happened. I got my mail in. Looked like a couple of bills. Sat on the couch watching the end of the Simpsons. Opened one of the envelopes. A bill for my curtains. Ho hum. Opened the other. What looked like one of those stupid letters from the Readers Digest appeared. “Money in your Hand!” it stated. “Concession Card!” showed a couple of times. Brow furrowed, I read on. And then noticed what looked to be a cheque attached to the bottom. For over $300.00. Made out to me.
I realised then that this wasn’t a nothing special day. It was a day, where, by receiving an unexpected large payment in the post, it became the most awesome kind of day you can have.
Seriously. Who gets cheques in the post? In this electronic age of phone and internet banking, the only time I get a cheque is on my birthday, from my Dad. And that’s for putting up with his shaggy dog stories and endless self-absorption (I mean that in the nicest possible way).
Turns out that the power company I belong to works like a trust, and pays out to its customers a cut of their profit every year. I rang my sister to confirm this.
“Is someone playing a trick on me? Am I going to take this into the bank and everyone’s going to point and laugh and post me on YouTube?”
She confirmed that it was indeed, my money, to do whatever I pleased with. What’s hilarious is that it states on the back of the letter options for you to choose from when dealing with the cheque.

Option One: bank it into your bank account. Well, durr.
Option Two: use it to pay further power bills. Snigger.
Option Three: donate back to power company. They will then donate it to charitable causes. Roaring laughter plus a bit of thigh-slapping.

This cheque is going straight onto my gasping and wheezing Visa card, so it can have a bit of a breather, before this wekeend’s onslaught of buying Stuff for the Garden.
May you all also, have a day like this, sometime soon in your future.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

A weekend jaunt

Richard and I are off to Taupo this weekend for a wee bit of a getaway. I haven’t had a weekend away for 2 months which is not like me at all. As a result, I am as excited as I was before we went to Fiji.
Being me, I have many lists on the go as to what to pack. Bear in mind, this is a 2 day trip. I could just take a couple of pairs of knickers and an extra jersey. But my spreadsheet has columns, and they must be filled with data. Black polo neck: check. Red polo neck: check. Black cardi: check. Other black cardi: check. Other black cardi just in case: check.
Then, what if we go outside? Taupo is notoriously icey, and the forecast is for 12-13 during the day and 1-2 at night. Bunny fur jacket: check. Polar fleece: check. Space suit made from asbestos: check.
And activities! Togs: check. Towel: check. Bikini wax: priceless. Taupo hot pools are gorgeous – go there if you’re ever in the area – up at deBretts hotel.
The other fun thing about going away is cooking different things. Last time I tried homemade pizzas…. Turns out yeast is the one thing you can’t use after its best-before date. It was like eating scones with a light dusting of cement. The topping of caramelised onion, blue cheese and smoked mushrooms was delicious though.
This time I think I’m going to go for a spring menu….but haven’t got any good ideas at present. Enlighten me with yours. Maybe chicken pie? Free range of course…

I have already offered to drive on the way down – ostensibly because Richard’s eyesight isn’t the greatest – but really it’s because I can’t stand being driven by anyone. This is because I am the best driver in the world, and everyone else is shit. Conversations I have with people when driving:

My mother: “Your car has six gears. Why do you only use two?”
My best friend: “Can you please pull over…..I’m going to be car sick.” This because there are 2 speeds – mega mega fast or dead slow.
Richard: “ You can pass him you know. He’s doing 70 in a 100k zone on a straight road.”
“Can you go faster please?”
“Can you please not answer your phone while you’re driving?”
“You’re doing 80. If I were following you, I’d be tearing my hair out.”

Richard – bless him – takes this on the chin. Apparently I am the worst back seat driver in the world and I do freely admit I am. So hey, save us both the pain and let me drive! Not only will we get there in half the time, we won’t argue. You may feel somewhat emasculated, but we’ll make up for that later by letting you empty the car and drink pints down the pub. Now that’s compromise.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

More memeliciousness

Where is your cell phone? On my desk, about to run out of batteries.
Your significant other? Is at work. We had a talk last night about winter flab and we are both going to pull our heads in over the next few weeks. He’s going to start drinking lots more water, so no doubt is on the loo.
Your hair? Is clean, and due a cut already. Seriously, it’s growing really fast lately. Perhaps I’ve been ingesting the fertiliser I put on the garden.
Your mother? Lives in Napier, and is about to go to Tahiti on Friday. I am dithering over my perfume order.
Your father? Lives in the Mount, and is dying to me to go round and see his holiday snaps from Asia. I am demurring.
Your favourite thing. Surprise repeats of the Office or Little Britain on the telly.
Your dream last night. I can always remember my dreams. But not last nights’. Fate.
Your favourite drink. Alcoholically: crisp Sauvignon Blanc. I like Vidal Malborough SB at the moment. Non alcoholically: Sparkling water.
Your dream/goal: To fit all of my clothes by my 30th (4 months).
The room you’re in. The office.
Your ex. Is no doubt still cow farming down south and talking about grand plans.
Your fear. Is that I’ll die old and alone.
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Married with kids.
Where were you last night? At home watching Jamie Oliver’s Fowl Chicken Dinners. Brilliant.
What you’re not? Fake, empathetic, boring, patient.
Muffins. Lemon, poppyseed and cream cheese. Causes muffins over my jeans.
One of your wish list items? An iPod, with an iBook to go with it.
Where you grew up? Napier NZ. Going back for a week in October and I can’t wait.
The last thing you did? Tested a bug from our website and updated the vendor.
What are you wearing? Black trousers, black boots, red woolen v-necked jersey with wide black belt, Karen Walker hearts brooch. A stranger on the way to work commented that I looked nice. Resolved to hand out more compliments.
Your TV? Is a gigantic behemoth that takes up a whole corner of my lounge. I watch it 99% of the time I am at home.
Your pets? Make my life worthwhile. Basil the cat and HotDog the goldfish.
Your computer? Is so crappy, I often look behind it so find the guy pedalling the bike that makes it work.
Your life? Is nothing like I had pictured, and I don’t think it ever will be.
Your mood? Bored with a slice of optimism.
Missing someone? Amelie. She can now say “turtle”.
Your car? Is a red VW Golf. Every time one of my friends see it, no matter what, they say “that car is so you.”
Something you’re not wearing? A coat, for the 3rd day in a row. Winter is on the way out…..
Favourite store? B.A. Reader second hand book store on Wharf Street in Tauranga. Last week I found a garden dictionary from the twenties, and a home-medical textbook from the fifties. An interesting amount of ailments can be cured with either an enema or a douche it seems.
Your winter? Has been a blur of cooking, blankets, drizzle, books.
Like someone? I have done a turnaround on Jamie Oliver…I like that he puts himself out there and gets vilified in the press for what he does, even though he’s just trying to educate us.
Your favourite colour? RED.
Last time you laughed? This morning, while we tried to worm Basil, who was having none of it, nosiree.
Last time you cried? On Saturday, when I gave my best friends a book I wrote for their new baby who is due to arrive in 2 months.
Who will repost this? You’re all welcome to – let me know if you do!

Friday, 15 August 2008

You're reading the writings of a medallist

So last Friday was our Olympic Day at work, and as predicted, "work" was somewhat thin on the ground. We had tasks to complete every hour, involving rowing machines, speed eating, trivia questions and singing of parody National Anthems. Our team was Australia, which we didn't mind, because being the IT department of a large corporate, everyone hates us anyway.



That's me in the front, looking a bit 'special', wearing Australian everything. Even got Olympic sunglasses on. The actual Olympian is behind me holding her torch.


This is me coming third in the rice eating competition. Mum taught me well with chopsticks.

This is me coming first equal in the Peaknuckle competition. What's peaknuckle you say? You have to hold the other's thumb down with your own and say PEAKNUCKLE! Due to a mis-spent youth flirting with a guy who had a double jointed thumb when I was 12, I am a peaknuckle queen, even with my cat paws. Note that Dick (representing North Korea), the guy who battled me for a long 5 minutes, has hands twice the size of mine. I should have won with that disadvantage. Totally unfair.

Anyway my and my teammates' efforts led to us getting the Silver overall. Pretty good for a bunch of net geeks.

So there you have it - I'm an Olympic Medallist. Michael Phelps couldn't beat me at peaknuckle I'll bet.

Sobering

Today is an odd day, being one where I am buying a card for a friend who is celebrating the birth of her first child, and a card for a colleague who is mourning the death of her second, to cot death. The shock of the latter still has not worn off, and I don’t even have any children. I couldn’t imagine a worse tragedy for anyone, and if any of you have been touched by cot death, or SIDS, my heart goes out to you.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Mother Goose for the Millenium

Every night when I get home, a few kids from around the street are playing on the neighbour’s trampoline, in their pyjamas and slippers.
They’re about 10, 8 and 6, and although they have all sorts of games involving the two elder boys double-bouncing the younger, I’ve never heard any of them get hurt.
Last night I was cooking tea with the front door open to let the frying onion smell escape, and was having a sly eavesdrop of their hilarious conversations.
“Jack loves Dayna!”
“DO NOT!!”
“Do TOO!”
“It’s my turn….let me have a go…” this from the littlest one.
“Jack and Dayna up a tree….K-I-S-S-I-N-G!”.
There are sounds of wrestling.
“Jack and Dayna went up the hill to fetch a bottle of water. Don’t know what they did up there but now they’ve got a daughter!”
There is a silence, then the little one bursts into squeals of laughter. I am giggling, not only because they’re repeating the exact same songs we used to sing as kids, but also because in this modern age, a pail has become a bottle.
“Jack and Dayna went up the hill to fetch a bottle of water. Don’t know what they did up there but now they’ve got a daughter!!”
There is so much hysterical laughter that I can’t help it and laugh with them.
A tiny voice pipes up. “Jack and Dayna went up the hill to fetch a bottle of water…Jack fell down and broke….got a daughter?”
“That’s not how it goes, dumbass.” DOUBLE-BOUNCE.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Grandpa Simpson

So to update, spinach is still not cool, in my books. I actually gagged on it. But it was nice, as Richard claimed, after hoovering up the leftovers for dessert.
It was really fun doing other cooking – I hope I inspired you to try something a little different too. Last night I made something really out of the box – a little “crazy” – a baked bean and cheese toastie. The no dishes thing was a real clincher with that one.

It’s funny how when you’re busy, all you dream about is sitting at home, with the paper and the cat on your knee. Now that I have had 3 weekends of doing just that, I’m champing at the bit for some action. Not “action” action…. Just something to do. I’m bored of re-arranging my magazines and picking up dropped lemons and mandarins from my garden. The linen in my hot water cupboard is perfectly organised and the cutlery drawer is crumb-free. The lack of money and the cost of petrol prohibits a quick jaunt away. I am seriously never content…but is anyone?

Something cool to look forward to – albeit a work function – is our Olympic Day this coming Friday. I am lucky enough to work with an actual Olympic Medallist – a swimmer – and she has brought in all her uniforms and gear from the two Olympics she attended, and has kitted us out in it all. I am wearing - from the bottom up – geeky sneakers, an Olympic tracksuit, an Olympic bum bag, an Olympic back pack, Barcelona ’92 RayBan Wayfarers and a swimming cap… all in green and gold. Oh yes – she batted for the wrong team….but we’ll forgive her because an Olympic Medal is an Olympic Medal. We’re not sure what we have to do on the day but I’m pretty sure that it’ll involve not a lot of work and a fair amount of beer and embarrassing stunts. Nice. I do love the Olympics…a great time-waster. I imagine this weekend will be spent on the couch with the remote in hand, with the cat on my knee.

In other news, Amelie will now point at either a bird, or a dog, or both! and say “bir” or “gog”. I got all teary when she did it. She’s not my little baby anymore. But, she still loves a cuddle. Awwww.

Oh yes, and Dad came around the other night. Again, perfect blog fodder. He’d just got back from Sth East Asia where he visited Cambodia, Vietnam and Hong Kong, and, it sounded like, drank his way through all the beer in every country. I got him around for dinner and seriously, didn’t say a word for three hours. Because he talked continuously, I think without breathing, for the entire time. Rich and I ate our entire meal (rack of lamb with spuds and beans, yum) and I must have drunk a full bottle of wine before Dad even put his napkin on his lap. Luckily, unlike his normal stories of “I got up this morning at 4:30 – no wait, it was more like 5:00 – or was it?”, these stories were interesting. I got a phone call from my sister the following day:
“Dad just left.”
“Get a word in?”
“None.”

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Stuck in a Rut

Living by myself means that my cat often eats better than I do. Take last night for example – Basil had Pate with Duck Liver and Chicken last night. I had lamb salad. Admittedly that’s not so bad. But duck it ain’t.
I have a repertoire of dishes that I have on about a 2 week rota, that I have been rolling out since flatting days at Uni. These are:


Spaghetti Bolognaise – made from scratch thanks, no Dolmio grins here.
Thai green curry – with pork or chicken, using the Asian Home Gourmet spice paste, which is the only one with any heat in it. The Gregg’s one is just green flour paste. Don’t buy it.
Steak, with 3 veg. Boring, but boy do I love steak.
Rack of lamb, with roasties and broccoli. My sister gives me shit about how many times I eat this meal…I’m pretty sure she’d never turn it down though.
Crumbed schnitzel with buttered noodles and corn on the cob. Everyone goes WTF? when they hear about this meal. Mum used to make it for me on my birthday. I never cook it for other people, although Dad reminisced about Mum’s schnitzel the other day. I think it’s what he misses most!
Devilled sausages with mash and peas. My step-dad's favourite also.
Stir fried veg with beef and rice. Most of my friends got so sick of me cooking this Every Monday Night at Uni (to cancel out the Macca's and Beer weekend) that they still now refuse to eat stir-fries.

Boring huh. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to cook. When Rich is coming over I’ll be more adventurous, and will do some long and drawn-out concoction in the weekends, but my week day meals are just blah.

This week I decided to be really out there, and cook things from Monday to Thursday that I would never normally do, either because I hate them, or it’s completely the wrong season. Hence the lamb salad last night. Lettuce has never been my favourite thing – what’s the point of it, you burn more calories chewing it than it puts in – and eating icy leaves is not part of my winter comfort food plan. But, the fresh crispy capsicum, carrots, lemon squeezes and garlic and rosemary lamb strips quickly fried was totally delicious. I had some for lunch today also and am feeling bright eyed instead of my usual afternoon blah. The rest of the week is as follows:


Cottage cheese and spinach canneloni. I hate hate hate spinach, and we used to get this every Tuesday for lunch at school. The pasta was always undercooked, the onions crunchy and the tomato sauce burned onto the tubes. I have refused to touch it ever since, but looking at my above list, I eat way too much meat, and this may be a good vegetarian meal for me to include. Plus I am a better cook than the crones we used to have in our dining hall. Pizza with tinned spaghetti and chowchow anyone?
Chicken paella. I’m doing a really dumbed down version of this, because I don’t like seafood and I can’t afford the proper ingredients, but it looks pretty easy. I used to make risottos a fair bit but got bored with the blandness.
Fish in filo pastry. I really don’t eat enough fish, and when I do, I usually crumb it and slather with tomato sauce. So good. But kinda cancels out the nutritive value. My flatmate in Dunedin used to make this so I emailed her in the UK to get the recipe. She said “wrap fish in filo, and bake”. I think I can handle that. I might make up a tartare sauce to tart (I know) it up.

So let’s see how we go. I had an interesting lunchtime conversation with a few workmates about the cooking routines they have with their partners or flatties, and it was really enlightening. Things that had never occurred to me yet were so simple, like pizzas, or fish burgers. I thought we should all share our routines and pick and choose from each others. There’s almost a book in there somewhere….or a blog. Hey I could even do a recipe sharing website! Oh…it’s been done?

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Back from the dead......

I have no idea if anyone will read this because no doubt you’ve all given up on me….I would have if I was reading me. You suck! I would be saying, and turning to more pictures of cats with funny captions, or totallylookslike.com. Posh Spice and Falcor had me laughing for days.

But please have mercy. You are no doubt well aware that I am always whingeing about something and this month the whingeing was about my job. Not the job itself, but that the work it entailed took over my life for 6 weeks, due to this new Thing we are doing, and only today – today! – have I had time to breathe. I’m not going to bore you with the details of what we were doing….the mere mention of “going live with new system” glazes the eyes of even my closest friends, and Basil rolls his eyes and puts his paws over his ears.

So anyhoodle. Where have I been and what have I been doing! Well.

Firstly was the trip to Fiji in May. God it was beautiful. I loooove Fiji, and Fijians, and Fiji Gold beer, and stonkingly strong cocktails made by gorgeous Fijians. We went as a family group of 13 to Treasure Island, which is about a 40 minute boat ride from Denarau. The entire island is the one resort and you can walk around it in 15 minutes, apparently. That sentence there shows how active I was on this holiday, unless you count dragging the deckchair around on a point to get the most sun.

My feet.

I spent most of my days lying on the beach reading books – I got through 3 including Marian Keyes’ latest and Gordon Ramsay’s autobiography – and snorkelling.
Prepare to be jealous with this little anecdote: I’m off snorkelling with my brother in law Ben – Amelie’s Dad – and we’ve got fistfuls of bread snaked from the breakfast table. Over in the distance I see a big blur heading towards us. I clutch Ben’s arm and we stop. Turns out the blur is this ENORMOUS big school of the most beautiful yellow fish, each about the size of my hand. I hold my bread out and am surrounded by this cloud of yellow. I can feel them nibbling my legs and arms and one ducks down my togs to get at the rest of the bread I’ve stored there. I’m laughing out loud, and Ben decides to dive right into the middle of them. They immediately divide into 2 big beautiful swirls and swim away. We turn around and cruise over some more reefs, when I get the sense we’ve being watched. I look behind us, and faithfully following us along is an enormous big school of yellow fish. We feed them some more and they follow us around for the rest of our snorkel. It was incredible.
Oh yeah, and I saw a shark but APPARENTLY IT WOULD HAVE PRETTY MUCH SHAKEN MY HAND they’re so friendly, but I was scared, so there. 2 dead grey eyes and those awful gills made me walk on water to get out, that’s for sure. *shudder*.
Mum and I having a giggle and enjoying the sunset.

Each night the staff would do a beautiful singalong and it was wonderful to watch, drinking $70 a bottle wine, that if we had bought in the supermarket back home, would have been $11. Luckily, they were doing up the pool complex while we were there, and we all got $300 credit on our rooms. Even with $70 a bottle wines, we didn’t go over our credits, so we almost made a profit on the holiday. Now that’s service.
Where was I. Oh yes the singing. They were all beautiful singers and dancers, except for this one guy, who we called Easter Island guy because his face was an exact match to those spooky rock statues. He was our firm favourite and we cheered him on as he clapped in the wrong places and mumbled the words. Brilliant.
Easter Island guy in the yellow lavalava. I'm clapping...why aren't you?

Amelie was a perfect angel on her trip and gave her Mum and Dad some time to relax even. Here she is cruising around in her cute little romper suit. The staff adored her and she was high-fiving everyone who would stop.
Loving the hammocks that were dotted around everywhere.

The whole crew.

So it was 6 weeks ago now, and Winter hadn’t really started when we left to be fully able to appreciate the heat, and lack of clothes. It bloody has now though, and I look at my photos and get some sense of the caressing warm breeze and silken cool water. Ahhhh. Luckily I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t really noticed the mornings being darker and the nights coming earlier. Last week though we had 4 frosts in a row – Tauranga doesn’t get frosts so this was serious news people – stop sniggering if you’re the owner of a snow plough. My hibiscus and tamarillo tree were severely damaged and the leaves all frost burned so I’ve mulched them and patted them lovingly and here’s hoping they stage a comeback come Spring…only 5 more weeks! Weee!

In other news, the house is 90% there. I was all gung-ho about painting, and even managed to get through the spare room, the office and the hallway, which LOOK OKAY if you squint and pull the blinds. However due to work being CRAP and winter nearly over, Mum came to the rescue and organised a painter guy to finish it off. 4 days later, zip zap zip, and he’s done. Looks AMAZING. A few days after that, the carpet goes down. I haven’t sat on my couch all week. The carpet makes the house so much warmer and smarter. I know, you’re DYING to see photos because other people’s reno pics are always fascinating – but the curtains are going in early August and I’ll take pics then.

I have been doing some really fun art stuff for the house, using old family stuff. Dad had a big coin collection he’d amassed when he did his OE back in the sixties, so I polished those up and am going to do a big design with them and frame them. Not sure what the design will be yet. One was a Queen Vic penny from 1897 which was out of it. I don't think NZ even HAD money then. It was all about the muskets and the blankets. He also had a massive stamp collection going mouldy in his wardrobe, so I liberated that also, and found some Hungarian stamps celebrating the first man on the moon, and Romania celebrating the Innsbruck Winter Olympics and so on. They’re gorgeous and bright, so have put into square white frames. Will post pics next time. Also have framed this jigsaw of lolly jars that my sister and I used to to when we were very young, so it’s nostalgic AND cute to look at. Am very proud of myself as I am not a very creative person.

For those of you who are Basil fans: cute things he has done lately.
I have my goldfish back from a friend who was looking after him – long story – and he’s in a lovely glass bowl on my coffee table. When I got home from work one day I noticed paw prints on the coffee table, and Basil sitting on his favourite arm chair, laser eyes locked onto the bowl. Leaving the room, I hear a thud, and Basil’s jumped back onto the coffee table and is DRINKING THE FISH WATER. I could put the bowl in a high place or with a mat over it but he doesn’t seem that interested in catching the fish – just watching it. Which no doubt makes the fish really un-stressed out. His name’s Hot Dog by the way….a lovely wee goldfish with a very pretty floaty tail.
Basil also loves the new carpet – so much so that he is now sleeping on the floor instead of my bed. He lay on it while the carpet guys were trying to lay it, which was cute. Well I thought it was. He’s very fluffy and round at the moment, due to massive bikkie bowls and Terrine of Duck, and a big thick winter coat. He’s really very sweet.

So anyway, longest post in the world, that is what I’ve been doing for the past 6 weeks – what about you?

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Grassroots NZ

So flying into Blenheim last night was great fun. We were in one of the pencil-planes – no trolley-dollies, one seat either side, 2 pilots in the front with no curtain shielding them from our view.
I was sitting right up the front and was enthralled throughout the 25 minute flight – man there are a lot of buttons and knobs and hand signals and levers. My favourite thing was the altimeter spinning round and round as we cruised up to an enormous 6000 feet. Me being me, I felt like I could climb in the fly the thing after watching just once. Awesome. Plus, the pilots were young hotties. Excellent.
Arriving at Blenheim airport on a cold, wintry night, I’m dismayed to see no gleaming line of taxis. Instead, there’s one rattly shuttle van, that’s been booked by a well-to-do couple heading home after an overseas holiday. I ask the driver if he can drop me off too. “No worries,” says he.
Driving out of the airport, he’s chatting away to the other passengers. I see, out of the corner of my eye, some headlights approaching us from the left. We go through a roundabout, with the headlights zooming ever closer. They don’t slow down although we have right of way. We’re on a collision course, and I squeal out something along the lines of “SHITFUCKSHIT!”
No-one else says a word. The driver slams on his brakes and a farmer in a flash ute just misses us and continues speeding up the road. Doesn’t slow down.
My fellow passenger says nonchalantly, “I think he might have wanted to give way there.”
The driver starts to accelerate slowly. “I think he may have too.”
No-one says a word.
Later, I get out of the shuttle and ask the driver how much I owe him. He says eighteen dollars.
Crap. I’ve only got ten in cash.
No worries, he says. You saved me $1000 excess by squealing before. Sorry about that by the way.
Kiwis. I love them.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Apologies

Sorry peeps for the long pause between updates. There are many excuses:

Blogging at work has been jammed and my computer at home is slower than a wet week
I’m back travelling around the country for work and at the end of the day it’s hard enough to spoon food into my mouth, let alone write something
Nothing interesting has happened. Oh yeah, except for our trip to Fiji. I’ll post some photos soon…you know, Soon.

I am back in the land of the living in about 2 weeks, so hopefully you’ll hear more from me then, but in the meantime, feel free to check out other blogs I like on my Link List

Thursday, 15 May 2008

The Uniqueness that is my Father

Having written about my father before and decided it was great material, I went to dinner at his place on Saturday anticpating further excellent blog fodder. And I wasn't disappointed.

Dad: This oven. These potatoes are taking forever! And last nights meatballs were the same! GRRR! BLOODY OVEN!!!
Me: You've got it turned to Grill, you big twat.

Dad: The English Patient. What was it about again?
Me (slightly in my cups) : *talks for 10 minutes about the English Patient ending with* and then all this shit went down.
Dad: And then all this shit went down. I'm sure Anthony Minghella would love to hear it described thus?

Me: Can we listen to your mixed tapes that accompanied all our car trips when we were kids?
Dad: *happily trundles off and puts one on*
Me: I can't believe we had to listen to Leonard Cohen. Most families have to endure the Wiggles.
Dad: But now you've got great taste in music!
Me: Touche.
Dad: Let's put on Godley and Creme - Cry.
Me: I love that song!
Dad's girlfriend: Can we listen to the Rose?
Us: *ignore*

Me: I'm going to do our family tree. Who were Grandpa's parents?
Dad: ....
Me: okay....how did Grandpa spell his name? Alasta-i-r? or Alist-e-r?
Dad: .....
Me: Should I be asking Grandma? (who is 92 and sometimes thinks I'm her daughter)
Dad: Yes.

Me: Did you know that you have sunscreen in your bathroom cupboard that expired in 1997?
Dad: I don’t use sunscreen. I have natural oils that protect me (Dad comes from Scottish heritage).
Me: No wonder I’m addicted to tanning. It’s your fault if I get a melanoma.
Dad: *shrug*

Me: Did you get the Sunday paper?
Dad: No. I already know most of what’s in there, and everything else isn’t worth knowing.


Vintage Dad. It was fun.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Things I thought about on my sunbed today

1:00pm. God this is nice. So rainy and yuk outside.
1:01pm. Survivor Micronesia: who's going to take it out? I'm betting on Parvati. I think the final two will be her and Eric, and Eric has crossed too many people to win. James...he was one built speciman. I felt really bad when they voted that he was most unlikely to be invited to a family dinner. I'd invite him....and get him to do some much needed heavy lifting around the house.
1:10pm. Have I really just been thinking about Survivor for 10 minutes? I am sad.
1:11pm. How could Jen make her kids tidy their rooms? What did Mum make me do? I think she just said if you don't, you can't go play at Natalie's house today. But funnily enough, I can't recall ever tidying, and I can recall playing at Natalie's lots. I have a feeling she bit the bullet and did it herself. Sorry Jen.
1:15pm. I feel bad that Antonia is trying to make friends in her baby group when if all the people there just knew how hilarious and awesome she was they would all be falling over themselves to hang out with her and drink tea. Must suggest to her to hand out a card with her website on it. Guaranteed buddies.
1:20pm. Realise I am a true child of pop culture, using my relaxation time to think about blogs and reality TV.
1:22pm. Dreading going back to the office and having to listen to my co-worker discuss the weather for 10 minutes, and how cold it may or may not be, and ask everyone in the room if it's cold, before venturing outside for lunch. We have floor to ceiling windows which funnily enough, I use to judge the weather from WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE and what pedestrians wandering past are wearing. Try it. And shut up.
1:25pm. Oof. It's getting rather warm in here and my back is all squidgy. I'm kinda wishing the beeps would happen....
1:26pm. Damn beeps.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Warning: medical content may disturb

Poor old Bazzy. Over the weekend I’d noticed he’d been in the wars from rumbling with the neighbourhood cats. I think they don’t like him because he’s black.
Yesterday I get home from work and notice his wee face is all lopsided. On closer inspection, I see that the whole of one side of his face is swollen with the world’s grossest abscess. It’s stretched his skin so tight that I can almost see the ooze gurgling around inside.
Frantically calling all the vets (they’re all closed) I watch Basil like he’s a landmine. He doesn’t seem fazed, although is not keen on eating. Hardly surprising when most of your face is swimming in pus. He chases flies and jumps onto the couch and rubs against my legs but only on his good side. I have an Uncontrollable, Irresistable urge to stick a pin in it. The emergency vet I called said, don’t play with it. I poke it a bit. Basil leaps away. I put towels and sheets on all his favourite sleeping places and shut him out of my room. Of course when I get up in the morning he’s sleeping on the one place I didn’t put a sheet on but thankfully, it hasn’t popped. In fact, it’s twice the size. Basil now looks like a bulldog who’s chewing on a massive wad of tobacco. Or, the Elephant Man. I notice the abscess has developed a small leak and is oozing down his face. Gagging quietly, I stuff him into his cat cage and we pootle off to the vet, Basil questioning why the whole way. The vet goes, oooh that’s a good one! Normally they pop before they get this big! I feel proud. Then the vet ruins my day by saying he’s going to have to keep Basil in and drain it later on. But I want to seeeeeee! Repressing my urge to ask him to take photos I leave Basil whingeing in his cage and head off to work. Poor little guy. I pick him up at lunchtime so will let you know how he is.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Meme-licious

Here are the rules:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Done.
2. Each player answers the questions about her or himself. Done.
3. At the end of the post, tag 5-6 people and post their names, then go to their blogs and leave them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Because my blog is read by lovely lurkers, except for Jen (hi Jen!) I don’t know anyone to tag. Maybe I’ll tag Dooce. She’ll respond huh?
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer. She’ll know when she reads it!

#1 — What was I doing ten years ago?
10 years ago was my first year at University in Dunedin. I was more than likely busy with smoking a cigarette, watching after-school telly and defrosting chicken on the heater.

#2 — What are five things on my “to do” list today?
1)Give the spare room another coat of paint. Red paint is scary people. It is impossible to get right. Painting rather reminds me of learning to do manicures in beauty therapy school. We always had to do red because it was the hardest to get right. We then strutted around Christchurch in our sack-uniforms with over-waxed eyebrows, panda-tinted eyelashes and stuck-pig fingernails. Mmm.
2)Wash my hair.
3) Make lamb chops for dinner. YUM!
4) Get to bed early and don’t stay up so late reading Graham Norton’s susprisingly addictive autobiography.
5) Call my Mum.

#3 — Snacks I enjoy:
Bhuja mix. But it’s bad for me so I enjoy it on a hardly-ever basis. Rice crackers and muesli bars are my work staple, but if we’re talking pre-dinner snacks then cracked pepper pate on water crackers or toast is my Numero Uno. Or blue cheese with quince paste. Cashew nuts. Salt and vinegar crisps. Stop me now.

#4 — Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Quit my job, pay my mortgage, pay my sister’s mortgage etc. All the usual. Buy a ridiculously cool car. Dodge Viper or that one that Simon Cowell drives around would do. I think it’s a Bugatti.
I would open a super cool cattery/ cat shelter/ animal hospital and I would play with them all day.
Give a lot of money to struggling University students, but only if they pass.
Have a LOT of liposuction but no face stuff….I think your features make who you are as a person. Get my hair blowdried every day. I NEVER touch my hair. I hardly even brush it. Gross huh?
I can’t really think of anything else. I’m easily pleased.

#5: Places I have lived:
Napier NZ, Windermere UK, Dunedin NZ, Christchurch NZ, Perth AUS, Wellington NZ, Auckland NZ, Tauranga NZ. I’m trying to live in every NZ city before I kick it. Next on my list – Eketahuna!

#6 — Bad Habits:
Laziness. I always leave stuff until tomorrow.
Lack of empathy – I couldn’t care less about those that are “hard done by”. I believe that everyone makes their own fate. If something goes wrong with me it’s my fault..no-one else’s. Not really a bad habit but it’s hugely socially unacceptable to admit to.
Gluttony – I love food too much.

#7: Jobs I have had :
Fruit picker. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t last long. Shop assistant in a jewellers. Beauty therapist. Law firm receptionist. Law firm accounts clerk. PA to Director of Architecture Company. PA to Sharebrokers. And now…….Advisor Platform System Administrator at a Sharebroking firm! I know…I love my job title too.

#8 — Peeps I want to know more about (or at least peeps I think may be interested in responding): All of you! Or, just say Hello.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Painting - it's the new black

So the house is slowly getting there...very slowly in fact.....I have done the hallway and 99% done the office. What was awesome about the office was that once I did the wooden trim, I pulled the masking tape off the wall and took heaps of brand new paint with it! I swore lots!
Have started on the spare room which is going to be bright red, or Resene Hot Chile if you're interested. We did one coat on Saturday and it already looks super cool, but it's mega streaky. I'm hoping that another coat will even everything out.
Poor old Basil doesn't know what's going on, what with me screaming at him every time he goes near the freshly painted wall, and him having to tip-toe daintily over piles of brushes, plastic drop sheets and open paint tins.
Speaking of Baz he's been in the wars lately. We were having a lovely snooze last night when I heard a scritching at the cat door. Hm Basil's coming in I thought. Then I felt him leap off the bed and go a-chasing. That's right, the neighbourhood cats have discovered that there's bikkies on tap at Amy's house, and have started using the cat door like it's their own. Now Basil is not, at the best of times, a Tough Cat, but he's obviously been holding his own. He has a big gouge out of his face above his eye, and I can feel healing scabs all over his back. It makes me feel sad that I can't protect him. I rinsed out his face with warm salty water which he loved and yesterday he even lay on me while I watched telly, which he NEVER does. So hopefully he'll heal quickly and be happy again. If I ever catch the cat that did that to him it will be getting a big kick up the bum, but so far, I haven't seen any hanging around the house.
But anyway. More painting to do this week - will finish the spare room - what's gross about red paint is that is seriously looks like congealed blood. Thankfully all my other colours are pretty neutral. I can't wait till it's all done.
In other news we had Amelie's first birthday party the other weekend. The littlest one was happy to show off her new mad walking skillz - she did 7 steps! And I did lots of cooking. It was a lunch and lots of people were coming and going, so we just had rolls and cold cuts. I got the most awesome cube roll of beef from the butcher and seared it, then cooked it at 170 for about 75 minutes. I poured over melted honey, mustard and garlic with a little red wine and it was perfect for the buns. Amelie even ate some which pleased her Mum, who stresses out a fair bit that she doesn't get enough iron. What have some of you out there done to make sure your toddler gets their iron needs?
Moving right along, our trip to Fiji is only 19 days away. I have been sunbedding and exfoliating, because the last time we went on a family holiday somewhere hot (Malaysia) I got totally fried on the first day and looked like I'd run away from an institute for serious and contagious skin diseases. It made for really pretty photos.
Oh yes, I watched Running with Scissors in the weekend, which I have been meaning to see for ages, since Augusten is one of my heroes. His new book is out, and I read the chapter extract which is so horrible I almost dithered whether to buy it or not. But I know that I will, but maybe not for holiday reading. I think for that I'm going to get Dooce's book (no need to link!!) or AJ Jacobs, the Year of Living Biblically. I just finished his "The Know It All" and it was perfect. He's now my friend on Facebook.
Forgot to say that R with S was not that great with Gwyneth Paltrow absolutely fucking awful in the role, Annette Bening however was wonderful. Of course, nothing is ever better than the book, notable exception The Notebook.
Finally to the weather, you Northerners will be happy to know that it was farking freezing here in the weekend and there is now snow on the hills. I wore my jacket to work for the first time today and had the heater on all day yesterday. Summer - it's been great. Please return early like you did last year. Thanks.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

My new favourite person

This guy is my total hero. I would be a blubbering wreck.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Weather. It's an interesting topic.

Body clocks are a strange thing - they tell you when to get up, when to go to bed, when to eat, when to start dreaming about babies. They also tell you what to wear.
Yesterday my body clock said hey Aims, it's the end of April and it's dark outside by 6:30 pm. Put on a wool jersey and socks and boots. You're the boss, I said, and dressed as instructed. Going outside, it was drizzling and foggy and generally miserable. A good day to be stuck in the bright office looking at the gloom outside.
But no. 2 hours later, the sun comes out and the temperature outside goes to 23 degrees. The aircon in our building can't handle the low sun burning into our windows, and craps out. It's 27 in the office.
I resemble a tomato with hair, and have taken my boots off and pushed my sleeves up. People are walking past my window in singlets and shorts. Chugging back a cold L&P, I dream of going home and having a cold shower. Which is just what I do. Shoving on a pair of shorts and a hoodie I head round to R's for dinner, and stand out on his balcony having a ciggie and a glass of wine. At the end of April. And I didn't even shiver.
Seriously, I love my summers, but poor Basil is panting away in his big fur coat, and my plum tree doesn't know whether to bloom or lose its leaves.
Today we're due a whole lot of thunderstorms and high winds and the whole country is battening down the hatches. It's still 20 degrees though, so not so bad.
I want it to get really really cold and horrible so that I appreciate Fiji more....only 25 days to go!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

This sums up Kiwi mentality nicely

This article is unintentionally hilarious. These guys will be heroes at the rugby club.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Fight the recession!

As our economy heads for some doom and gloom to match the weather, I have decided to curb my hedonistic ways and put a short leash on my spending.

Here's how I'm going to ride this thing out:
  • Grow my own veggies. Tomatoes just went up to $8.00 a kilo. I have broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and bok choy in my garden. I'm going to see if I can turn my sun trap of a potting shed into a quasi-glasshouse, and grow some tommies and capsicum in there.
  • Make my lunch every day. While not good for recession as a whole as the local businesses will find themselves $10 a day shortchanged, it's good for my wallet, and my tummy.
  • Leave my EFTPOS and Visa at home. It's just an excuse to buy a magazine/can of Coke Zero/the latest Marian Keyes. (Seriously...I am dying to buy this. Anyone read it yet? On another tangent, sign up for her monthly newsletter. It's pants-wettingly funny).
  • Re-create restaurant meals at home instead of going out for dinner. See: pizza made with pesto, blue cheese, mushrooms and caramelized onions on our weekend away. Was pretty good, although the yeast had gone off in 2006. Cue a base you could frisbee.
  • Buy things using only notes, and put all coins into my brand new money box (a red leather elephant made in India, bought at the local Trade Aid store. It's gorgeous). I have done this before and it's amazing how quickly I'll amass $100 or so. Yes I do see the irony in spending money for a receptacle to save money in - but it was only $25.00 and it looks super cute on my coffee table.
  • Shop at Pak n Slave, even though it's messy, dirty, and stacks the breadcrumbs next to the Tampax and the lightbulbs. It really is that much cheaper.

Things I am not going to scrimp on - Bazzy's cat food, because why should he suffer for my high rolling past life? Good wine - sometimes a $20 bottle of bubbly can make everything all better. Good haircuts - again - worth a million bucks.

How about the rest of you?

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Amelie's first birthday

For our wee little girl

Starfish hands that grip a proffered pinky with surprising strength

A great shock of gravity defying hair peeking out of a white blanket

The tiniest, smallest, eensiest little body, that fits perfectly into the crook of my arm

Your bright eyes, watching us move around the room, entertaining us with your Chewbacca gurgles

The utter frustration of being on your hands and knees yet just Not Quite Able to make that connection to go forward….. “oohhhuURURUGRHGHHGHHROAR!!!”

Your obsession with my kitty necklace that I’ll happily let you strangle me with, if only because I get to snuggle your warm little sack o’potatoes body for just a few more precious seconds.

Did somebody say cheese slices? Apparently you’re rather fond of them. These do not get dropped disdainfully onto the floor.

The fierce pride and love that’s shown on Mum and Dad’s face whenever you’re in the room, doing anything: sitting, babbling, wobbling along after your wee little trolley – it makes my heart fizz

I asked Mum if it ever gets less wonderful to wake you up and be greeted by your biggest gummy grin. “No,” she said, reaching down to tickle your little tummy. “Never.”



For my little bunny on her first ever birthday. 22.04.08

Monday, 21 April 2008

My heaven

So am back at work after the most awesomest weekend ever. Yes it was even more awesome than expected. Totally awesome.
We went for a lovely long walk past the Huka Falls overlooking the Waikato River, which was so clear we could see the bottom, and all the beautiful autumn colours reflected on the surface. One of the nicest walks there is, and if you're in Taupo, it's over the Huka Falls bridge, turn right and the track starts there. There's some nice hills to make you feel like you're doing something but it's pretty easy. It ends up at those natural hot pools by the carpark and to do a there-and-back takes about 1.15.
We then headed to the hot pools at deBretts which were totally glorious, and I got to show off my new one-piece which is Fifties-style and has a great halter neck and excellent shelfing for the girls. We got bored of local kids doing bombs and blowing their noses into the pool though pretty quickly. Seriously....everyone's afraid to tell kids off these days.
I made a great roast lamb and even cooked brussel sprouts, which I hate, and still hate, but maybe because I didn't cook them long enough so it was like eating .....raw brussel sprouts. We were asleep by 9:00 and up at 10:00 the next day which was fully necessary. Feeling sweet today - been to the Gym! Doing lots of work! Have a spreadsheet of groceries I need to get!
It's my little niece's very first birthday on Tuesday - I will post photos from her party this weekend! I'll be the crazy one covered in fairy bread and cheerios.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

I approve of your choice.

The house is a pig sty at the moment, what with the painting and testpots and carpet samples and dust and furballs and washing that hasn't been done all week because it has been raining solidly for 72 hours. I am not exaggerating. The concrete footpaths squelch. It's good news for the farmers who were suffering from a TERRIBLE drought, WORST in a hundred years, we're ALL going to die and lose our farms etc. Now that it's raining it's all, our topsoil has been DESTROYED....our feed has turned to MUSH and we're all going to die and lose our farms. Seriously. The only thing that makes a farmer happy is a hot meal and a whiskey.

Anyhoo. I have nearly finished the painting of my office, and it looks seriously cute already. Basil follows me around, gingerly high-stepping through the plastic drop sheets and getting a good sniff of paint fumes.


He also has approved of my decision on carpet, by taking his pick of 9 or so different samples lying around the lounge, and sprawling on the very one I chose.



I luff him. The carpet is a sisal pattern with pale/dark grey bits. It looks very smart under my awesome armchair and couch.

In other news, I'm off to Taupo this weekend for some R&R with R, and I have sorted out the worlds best menu. All this painting means I've been eating some terrible meals on the run.

So this is what we're having over the weekend:

Friday night: Home made pizza, with wild mushrooms, blue cheese, caramelised onion and crispy sage (lifted shamelessly from SPQR's gorgeous pizza menu) with a fresh green salad

Saturday brunch: Eggs benedict on split muffins with wilted spinach and home made hollandaise

Saturday dinner: Roast lamb with all the trimmings. I have just read Eating for England by Nigel Slater and have been craving a good roast ever since. Excellent book. This will be followed by feijoa crumble and, I'm guessing, a lot of Central Otago Pinot Noir.

Sunday brunch: There's a gorgeous cafe up the road in Acacia Bay - I can't remember the name of it - but it's fantastic. I'm thinking the newspaper, strong coffee, and something with bacon.

At the same time we're going to do a big walk around Huka Falls, then go to the hot pools at DeBretts. Maybe some golf at Wairakei. Or maybe, I'll lie on the couch and read my Florence Broadhurst biography and have my head patted. Bliss.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Two halves of a whole

I'm not sure why, but the tragedy of Mark Speight's death has really hit me hard. Maybe it's because it says something about how although your family and friends can be there for you, and you can be in therapy, sometimes things happen that are just so awful you can't deal with life any longer.
I cannot imagine what was going through his mind every day, just as I shudder to think of the sick horror he felt when discovering his fiancee's lifeless body in their bathroom. When I read in the Mail that he had gone missing, I really dreaded the final outcome. But if someone ever needs a good reason to commit suicide, I guess the guilt he felt, along with the searing loss of his lover, would be as good as any. I just REALLY hate the idea of how bloody awful he must have been feeling in the last few weeks. Although I often feel bad, I haven't been hit by tragedy yet (wood being touched) and I am a little bit scared of how Bad bad must feel.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Rib-sticker

I am making the following meal tonight because it's pissing with rain, cold, and windy, and the sausage is the equivalent of listening to some classical station down low, with the fire crackling nearby, the cat at your feet and knitting on your lap.

Devilled Sausages

One onion, sliced into rings
Olive oil for frying
Sausages (I am using Heller's London Pride)
Tin of tomatoes
Chopped, peeled apple
Dollop of Worcestershire sauce
Heaped spoon of whole grain mustard
Squirt of tomato ketchup or tomato paste
Optional - a few shakes of Tobasco, depending on how cold that howling wind really is.

Fry up the onion and the pre-cooked sausages - add everything else and let simmer. Season with salt and peps and serve with cheesey mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. God I'm hungry.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Roy G. Biv

So picking colours for the house was promised to me as being "the fun part". If so, I am dreading the rest of the process.

Not having an eye for things like this, in fact I tend to just find one I like and go Awesome! Regardless of whether it actually matches the furniture, bedding, curtains, light etc. Seriously though, who cares, so long as it makes you happy. I LIKED the idea of a bright orange hallway and so did Basil.
But my mother and sister have said "Resale value" so many times I think it's sunk in.

So these are the colours I am going for:
Resene Hot Chile, Gull Grey, Half Delta and Black White. It looks gorgeous all together and my sister found some fabric from James Dunlop that ties in beautifully. She has a great eye for this kind of thing, but I got the boobs, so it all evens out.


The circle fabric is going in my spare room, which is going to be painted in Hot Chile (the red on the left), and also into the office, which is going to be Gull Grey (bottom left).


Stripes are going into the lounge, which is going to be Black White (bottom right). Half Delta is going into my bedroom, along with a roll of Florence Broadhurst wallpaper which is going to be a gift from me to me for being so awesome, and some kind of curtain fabric that I just haven't found yet. Oh yeah, and I'm carpeting most of the house too.

You know how I have a great garden that can grow anything, well I planted a dollar coin and it produced this awesome money tree, which is how I can pay for all of this. Sweet huh?

So with all of this going on, you'd think I'd be walking and talking paint, but no, last night I had a dream that Danny deVito beat me up. WTF??

Monday, 7 April 2008

Things I did in the weekend

Had lunch in the sun with a workmate…eye fillet sandwich with chips for $22. That’s a bargain.
Drinks in town that weren’t that bad. I made myself have a hiatus from the Strand in Tauranga because it is Always The Same so first night back – okay.
Caught a surprise episode of Little Britain… “shut up! Don’t go giving me evils!”
Had a fun hour at Mega Mitre Ten where I bought buckets and plants and damp-rid stuff and a BBQ cover. Sometimes I think I should have been a guy. I even stood with my feet wide apart and my arms crossed.
Did 4 loads of washing and cleaned the BBQ and popped it into its smart new cover.
Tidied out all the wardrobes and changed the sheets on my bed. Is there anything more annoying than stuffing a duvet into a new cover? All of a sudden it seems to have 39 corners and the fabric is made of velcro and refuses to move and after ten minutes of swearing and getting all red in the face it’s just in one big ball in the far corner. Bed making knack: I don’t have one.
Went to the paint shop where I was helped by a very sweet but dim assistant.
“I kinda like red, but also green. What would you suggest?”
“Um, I’m not sure…..um…..”
“Look I want to spend money here. I’m thinking I like this green. What goes with it?”
“Let me just flick through an enormous file of paint colours and not say anything for ten minutes in the hope you’ll go away.”
Then went and found a cute little Asian supermarket tucked away not far from me, and bought some kaffir lime leaves, galangal and lemon grass, and along with a few other things made R and me Tom Kha Gai for dinner. Then we took a couple of bottles of wine down to the beach, in the dark, wearing a sheepskin jacket, and we watched the surf by moonlight. It was cool.
Dayligh savings went back overnight so it was another early start on Sunday, with a trip to my sister’s and a special cuddle with Amelie who has started to walk with the aid of a little trolley…she’s very happy with herself. I miss the tiny baby though! It’s her very first birthday on the 22nd – what’s good for a one year old? She tends to grow out of any clothes I get her so I’m thinking toys. So far she likes cat biscuits, wallets, handbags and my jandals, so I could just give her a purse stuffed with Whiskas.
Megs had lots of awesome fabric samples from Freedom so she sorted me out with a colour scheme and sent me back to Resene where I bought 9 pots of light greys, blue greys, deep reds and whites. Looks very cool.
I then swept and dusted and re-organised the potting shed, sorted out my crazy yuccas around the house – I hate them and if anyone wants them please come get them – then I painted some sheets of newspaper with the test pots and blu-tacked them around the house. Am battling with finding the right red.
Then R brought round some fresh fish which I put with some roasties and we watched the Simpsons. I fell asleep at 10 to 8. So you know, I didn’t do much.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Back in the house

Oh hi. Hi there! Who me? Ignoring you? Never. I always have time for a blog post, except for the last couple of weeks.

Having travelled more of rural New Zealand (Gisborne, Rotorua) and stayed in more motel beds (note: take earplugs. Always, always take ear plugs) and been to many many social events, much more than a hermit like me is used to, I finally am back into my nice routine of work, home, cat-time and playing with my niece. Life is good.

So my little red VW got a work out and a half last week, doing day trips to Hamiltron and Rotovegas. A discourse on discourteous driving to entertain you:

Do drivers that are doing 80 along a straight busy road not SEE all the cars piling up behind them? Why do they then ALWAYS speed up to over 100 on the passing lanes? Why are they always driven by people who look as though they've mainlined temazepam? Why do they look offended when you finally manage to pass them? (Maybe because I give them the Stare of Evil). I get a complex if any car is following me, even if I'm doing 110, and often will pull over so they can pass (and no doubt get a ticket, but hey, not my problem). I've always thought that it's the slow drivers who hold everyone up, and make everyone impatient and therefore take enormous risks to get past them, who cause the accidents. PULL OVER.
Ahem. My father would be proud.
So the driving wasn't so bad, because I got to go on some of the most beautiful roads I have ever seen. Now I've driven in Australia (straight, red, scrub bush), England (8 lane highways, lorries, and McDonald's) and Argentina (flat, unkempt farms) and I have to say that a road trip in NZ is almost better than getting to your destination.
To wit:
This is the coastline heading towards Opotiki towards Gisborne, taken very early in the morning (FROM THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!!). I hadn't been this way since I was a kid accompanying Dad on one of his many business trips and I'm pretty sure I would have complained the whole time about being car sick. This time however I was blown away by the beauty. Made a mental note to go camping here before winter kicks in.
This is Lake Tutira, in between Gisborne and Napier, where we used to drive to have Mother's Day picnics with family friends. Photos of these show all the adults sunbathing, cooking sausages over a charcoal BBQ and drinking cask wine. The kids are usually toasting marshmallows over a bonfire or asleep on their Mum's laps. The road from Gizzy to Napes is even more windy, and we probably barfed up most of the picnic on the road verge.
Now in between all these road trips I had March the Month o' Weddings. It was gorgeous. First up was Lizzie, one of my oldest friends (since Kindy!). She had a very simple informal ceremony at her parents house in Taupo and it was a gorgeous afternoon. She designed her own dress and partied longer than I did.


Lizzie and Jake with the little ring bearers.

Now a funny thing happened before this wedding. I had about, ooh, ten minutes to pack, having had an away game the night before, and got on the road and drove the 2 hours to Taupo (bloody 80 k'ers!!! FUCK OFF!), when I suddenly went oh fuck. I had left my brand new, one off, fine Italian wool, $250 dress hanging in my wardrobe. There was 1.5 hours left before I had to leave for the wedding. I know. I shot into Taupo township and desperately started looking for decent clothes shops. Now I have nothing against Taupo and its lack of citizens who demand high fashion for $10 as I do, but the only shop I could come up with was Annah S. Nothing against Annah S either, but seriously, how many different fabrics could you put on a dress. I moped around the shop while the assistants fluttered around knowing I had to buy something, when I found a somewhat suitable dress, threw it on, threw it off, chucked over my Visa ($200!!!) and stalked out. It was far too big for me so I spent the last 15 minutes safety-pinning the seams. The dress isn't that bad, but I was so angry at myself that I can't bring myself to look at it. I think Basil will have a silk/polyester/velvet/beaded lining to his cat basket this winter.

Next up was a Hen's night EXTRAVAGANZA!!! the invitation said, again in Taupo. We met up at the Hen's house for champers and games (ever seen a bride in a 90's dress whack the hell out of a pinata shaped like giant testicles?) then we jumped onto a boat and zoomed around Lake Taupo for a couple of hours. We all got plastered and enjoyed the sunset.



We're drinking out of straws shaped like penises...and Penny the hen ended up dancing on the tables in high heels drinking straight from the bottle without falling over. Kudos to her. My party trick was blowing up condoms into balloons and sending them around the nightclub. Mum is so proud.
The wedding was the weekend after:


and it was absolutely stunning. It was in our home town of Hawkes Bay, at Black Barn vineyard. If you're ever in this area, go there. It is gorgeous. The wedding was very moving and Penny and her Dad cried the whole time which was so sweet. I remembered my dress this time thank god, and hosted pre-drinks at ours for the girls beforehand. Mum looked after me all weekend and was, at one stage, in her dripping wet togs in the kitchen frantically making asparagus rolls and sticking pineapple and cheese onto toothpicks before pinning them onto a grapefruit half. We went for retro nibbles.

Don't we clean up well.

So in amongst all this busy busy time, I also had the worlds most horrible exam to study for. The exam was yesterday, and I have never been so relieved in all my life for something to be over. Note to self: Never, ever, decide to further your learning again. You do not have the time/patience/motivation.

So that was March. In between all this, I managed to plant my winter veggies out, start collecting mirrors for my, um, mirror collection, and take Basil to the vet, who had started barfing up his food again. He's better now.

Stay tuned for many more April updates, where I will probably whinge about how bored I am. Am I ever satisfied?

Friday, 14 March 2008

The Caffeine Overload Tour of '08!

Last week, I slept in 6 different beds over 6 nights. That's kinda gross.

I have been travelling around the country touting our new system around our branches. So far I have done Auckland and the North Shore, then Wellington, followed by a lovely trip up to Wanganui and New Plymouth.


Having never been to the latter two cities?towns? I was quite looking forward to this and was duly rewarded. I was really impressed with Wangas, what a cute little town and all old and antiquey. They also did really good coffee. New Plymouth...not as cute, but still lovely looking out to sea, and not so good coffee...but enormous for $3.50. True to form, Wellington's coffee blew my head off.


This is reminding me of that Men Behaving Badly episode where Neil gets back from Europe and Martin goes, how was it? And Neil's all...Amsterdam was good....great chips. Rome - not so great chips. Greece - chips were fantastic.


I had one minor meltdown on my tour, heading onto the motorway after a full on day's training in Auckland to get back to Tauranga. Inching along in rush hour traffic, I hear a beep. A light goes on on my dashboard. I ring my trusty step-dad.


"CC, when the thing with the periscope looking squiggle goes beep, what do I need to do?"


"Pull over," says he, and it's lucky I do, on the Hobson Street onramp at 5:15 with the traffic not dissimilar to the Indy 500, as a whole lot of smoke starts pouring out of the bonnet.


Turns out the cooling fans had stopped working causing some part to break, causing the water to get out causing it to overheat blah blah.


1 police car, 82 pages of a good book, 3 cigarettes and 1 tow truck later, I'm staying in Auckland the night again.


A mere 12 hours later I'm tentatively driving back to Tauranga, watching the engine temp gauge like it was a live snake. Stupid new car. My sister was all, I TOLD YOU SO, only buy Japanese. I'm tempted to agree.


So this weekend I'm off! again, in my stupid new car, to Taupo for a wedding of an old school friend. I have a new dress, new shoes (see previous post), newly waxed legs, and about 5% of my brain.


Then it's off! again to Dunedin for work.


Good news though...with the autumn approaching (you wouldn't know it, it was 25 degrees last night) Basil has been growing in his winter coat, and is Extra Extra fluffy. Awww. Here is a picture of his ears in silhouette. We were reading a book together.


Friday, 29 February 2008

Cankle-free zone

I just bought a new pair of shoes...the second in 6 months, which is a bit of a miracle for me.

I have had my eye on them for aaaages, after a girl at work trotted in wearing red ones. She bought them new season, up in Auckland, and lo and behold a year later they're out in Tauranga, on sale even, because you can't get drunk and go pole dancing and spew on the pavement wearing platforms love! It's all about the jandals here in the BOP.


Anyhoodle I bought them......I call them Pony, because I look like a knock-kneed foal trying to walk in them. Or maybe that's the 2 glasses of savvy I had at lunch. Nah. It's the shoes.


That pxt gives me serious cankle, which I DO NOT HAVE....it's the one part of me I'm proud of.

Anyway, these babies are going to get a serious work out this winter with some skinny jeans and 3/4 pants. Bring it on!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

In which I discuss the trajectory of lingerie

So this weekend I am Getting out of Tauranga! finally, and pootling down to the Hawkes Bay where I am from, to attend to one of my yearly traditions.
No matter what, I always attend the concert at the Mission Estate winery. It's held around this time every year, and is always a great day out.
This year the star of the show is none other than Mr Tom Jones. While I have never been a huge fan of his, I am really looking forward to this concert because he is such a showman. I have stocked up on large granny knickers to hurl at his face with a catapult, so look out for a headline "Tom Jones suffocates on a pair of incontinence panties".
The concert day will go something like this:
  • Eat enormous breakfast
  • Cover self in sunscreen
  • Make large picnic lunch of bread rolls, chicken and coleslaw
  • Pack silly amounts of alcohol and ice into a chilly bin. (yes you can take booze in. I know. It's awesome).
  • Head to a mate's house for a pre-concert BBQ. Play Tom Jones CD, get halfway through it and put good music on instead.
  • 3pm- get to concert and spend a good 10 minutes staking out our area with cut-in-half rubbish bags which will end up in shreds by the end of the night
  • 5pm - wave arms in the air to the first support act, usually a 14 year old kid from the local highschool on a banjo
  • 6pm - go nuts to Jimmy Barnes, who is the main support act - especially to "Last Train out of Sydney". Voted best rock song ever in Aussie when I was there. Beating Queen and the Rolling Stones. Insane.
  • 8:30pm - hazily glance toward stage and realise Tom Jones has started. Try to stand up and sing along. Realise I know none of his songs. Weave my way to the loo.
  • Bump into a thousand old friends from school and have a good natter. Miss most of the concert.
  • Leave 15 minutes early and hitchhike home with a cruising boy racer to beat the crowds. I have done this every year and always get home in 10 minutes. Waiting for a cab can take up to 2 hours. Dangerous? Hey by this stage I'm invincible.
  • Have lovely cold shower and fall into bed after drinking a litre of water and chopping 2 nurofen.
  • Wake up, wish for death.

So it's going to be an awesome weekend - I shall let you know how it goes and post pics!

Monday, 25 February 2008

Sport Billy

We started a work tennis team last week, and had our first game on Thursday. We play at a lovely tennis club that has the most redeeming feature of being 1 block from my house, against other work teams from around Tauranga.
Part of my 2008 scheme, along with putting on more handcream (eek) and eating better (um) is to Get Out And DO THINGS! So when the invite for this team came along, I was the first to sign up.
Now when I was at school, I was quite a good tennis player. I am lefthanded, so had a quite a killer backhand. When it went in. My step dad used to say I'd win Wimbledon if the courts were 8 feet longer. We had to play sports 5 days a week at school, so we were playing tennis for about 8 hours a week. I have never taken anything more for granted than the fact that we HAD to play sports. It just was part of our day. Since school, because it is not structured into my day, exercise and I have not been friends.
So as tennis drew closer, and I realised that I had not seriously played since 1996, other than playing in jandals on a bumpy clay court at Lake Tarawera, I enlisted the help of a friend to get my shots looking relatively normal. One hours practice to make up for over a decade of nothing.
Surprisingly, this went well. Much like beginner's luck. I began to believe I was naturally gifted at tennis, and had wasted my 20's being a Beauty Therapist and a PA, when I could have been on the cover of mens' magazines instead of Anna Kournikova, because I would actually win stuff.
Thursday rolled around, and I rocked up to the courts in my nifty little skirt and work branded shirt, all ready to blow the competition away.
Warming up, I hit the ball into the net approximately forty times. The other girls were only getting warm by running to retrieve the ball I had hit 3 courts over. I got all stressed out and red faced and nervous and we hadn't even started.
We start playing. It's mixed doubles, and our opponents are both pretty good players, keen for a good run round and a bit of fun. I serve. Double fault. Laughing shrilly, I switch sides and double fault again. My heart sinks. Switching sides again, I double fault, and say a bad word. Game over. The other team haven't even moved. I am humbled. My confidence is in tatters, and every time they hit the ball to me I say to myself JUST GET THE BLOODY THING OVER THE NET...which I do, but still not within the realms of the court.
Anyhoo, it's about 5-0, and the perfect backhand is set up for me. I think, fuck it, and take out my frustration on the ball. It rockets over the net landing in the far right corner. Kick ass.
This is called the ego shot, and once you've done it, you can relax. Unfortunately I relaxed too much, and we lost. There is nothing worse than losing continuously. It's so boring.
So anyway I did have a lot of fun running around in the late evening sun, and having a nice cold beer with my team mates afterwards - especially when they cost $3.50 each. But tonight I am going to the courts and am going to practice practice practice. Maybe there's an Enrique Iglesias for me yet.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Procrastination 101

How to feel like you're getting your assignment done, only to realise you have a couple of lines along with a lot of "NEED TO WRITE MORE HERE."
  • Dust and tidy desk.
  • Dust and tidy office.
  • Dust and tidy entire house, including grouting in shower and de-clogging of kitchen sink.
  • Play with Basil.
  • Go back into sparkling office, with a bottle of water and a cup of tea.
  • Turn computer on, and wait 20 minutes for it to start.
  • Check all favourite blogs and Facebook and Gmail and Wikipedia and TradeMe.
  • Finish cup of tea and make another.
  • Remember to put washing on. Fuss around putting all clothes in the right way out with a dab of Frend on the most miniscule stains.
  • Play with Basil.
  • Lunchtime. Make baked bean and cheese toastie, and become engrossed in Dr Phil. The Jena 6? Never heard of them. But totally enthralling.
  • Drag self back to office. Stare at assignment question. Google the answer. Re-word it to sound like I wrote it.
  • Celebrate getting work done by pottering in the garden. May as well pull out that tomato plant, it's getting out of hand. And those grapes are about to get eaten by the birds, better get those in. That palm there is way too top heavy, better chop off some fronds. Roses - deadhead. Veggie bed - fertilise and weed. Trim the buxus hedge.
  • Collapse exhausted on the couch and congratulate self with cold Coke Zero.
  • Play with Basil, who is looking at me weirdly. All, woman, leave me alone to SLEEP!
  • Slink back to office. Research the US sub-prime mortgage crisis on Google. Learn more about it in 10 minutes via the web than I ever would have by asking someone at work. Fire off 300 words.
  • Go to kitchen and begin preparing exceptionally difficult meal, with hundreds of ingredients and at least 3 hours of preparation time. Call this "a quick healthy snack."
  • Back in the office, check blogs again, Facebook and Gmail. Check bank account for any surprise, large donations. There are none.
  • Dream about winning the lottery.
  • Look at accommodation in the Maldives and contemplate booking a trip and going.
  • Check bank account again, just in case.
  • Google some more about tax imputation credits and listing rules and OCRs and the export sector. Jot some notes down and highlight question saying "elaborate on this one."
  • Write a blog post.
  • Turn computer off and watch back to back episodes of the Simpsons.
  • Shove guilty feeling far far away with a lovely spicy Bloody Mary.
  • Hunt Basil down (hiding in the linen cupboard) and plant him on my knee. A most successful day.

Monday, 18 February 2008

It's all about ME!

Well what a hideous past week. With all my going to the gym, eating better (not like soy milk and lentils better, just less sausage rolls at 9 in the morning), being On Top Of Things, and sleeping lots, I still get knocked down by the most debilitating virus known to man.
Turns out the lip was a cold sore, and let me tell you that I have never had one of these before, and I plan to never again. My god they hurt. Is halfway healed now, and taking its time about it. I need to get some passport photos taken quicksmart for the trip to Fiji in May, but in no way am I having a cornflake lip for the next 10 years.
Anyhoodle along with the cold sore I got a nice virus to go with it and also a really lovely throat infection. I looked like I had goitres, or the mumps, or at the very least, like I had no neck. It's hott. So anyway 3 days off work (3!!! I felt so guilty) and lots of Berocca and fancy pants vitamins I'm slowly coming right. It's making me feel old, the time taken to heal.

So! That's my life in the last week. Hellalame. How was yours?

In other news, summer seems to be on a wane here in Godzone, with a certain lucidity to the light and crispness to the air that hasn't been around for months. It's still bright blue sky and gentle breezes, but for some reason this morning I had an urge to put the car heater on and wear a comfy woolly jersey to work. It's about 22 deg.
Last night we sat on the deck having a lovely BBQ of lamb chops and sausages with salad made from my garden of goodness, and I said to my friend it's nights like these that we'll reminisce about in the middle of winter. Summer has been oddly good here this year - no more whingeing about the crap Kiwi summers for some time. Of course now all the whingeing is about the serious drought, and hand held hosing only, but I couldn't give a toss.

On Saturday I went around to my sister's brand new house. They moved on Friday to a location much closer to me - 3 minute drive instead of 30 - and I spent the whole day "helping" them unpack by playing with Amelie. Man she is cute. She is now crawling and pulling herself up on anything, and she loves her cheese. She's also a real chatterbox - I'm sure I heard her say "Aunty Amy" but it may have been buh-buh-me-me. Close anyway.

So this week I am going to be finishing my assignment - did I tell you I'm doing some sharebroking papers this year? The one I am doing is titled "The New Zealand Sharemarket" and has questions like "How has the US sub-prime mortgage crisis affected the NZ markets? Explain your answer." My immediate response is "pretty badly", but then they want about 300 words. I had better pad it out. "Really, really kinda bad." I'm totally going to pass.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Fearfully grumpy

Sorry for having been gone for so long. I have not been in the greatest frame of mind due to the stress of work (see previous post) and have been doing far too much drowning of my sorrows.
It has got so bad that today I sit here with the flu, a mouth ulcer, a sore throat, cracked lips that are threatening to turn into impetigo and one great big grumpy ass mood.
I guess the fact that Valentine's Day is right around the corner also has me a bit depressed. Although I saw an ad on the telly last night for an Ink Jet printer "to surprise her with for Valentine's Day!". If someone gave me one of those for V Day they would get a punch in the mouth. What's wrong with a red rose? Honestly.
Sorry for the grumps. If anyone has a funny joke or pic, please feel free to forward.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Please hold

Weird. I am eating an apple that has been imported from the USA, and it is juicy, crunchy and sweet. Last week I bought apples from NZ, that were yellow, floury, and sour. Admittedly it's not apple season for another month or so, but you'd think that if we can get strawberries and vine ripened tomatoes all year round, we should be able to get a humble apple.

Anyhoodle, what a week it's been people, with websites being launched and the phone permanently stapled to my ear. A sample conversation:

Wonderful client: "I can't get into your website."
Guru Helper" "Okay then, what's your full name"
WC "Mr Technologically Challenged"
GH "Dad is that you?" (kidding)
GH "Okay sir, your user name is ZX978465."
WC "seven....twelve.....banana..."
GH "No sir, Z....X...."
WC "Slow down will you, I can't type very fast. Wait, I need to put the phone down."

Goes away for about 1o minutes. I can see about 20 other phone calls lining up.

WC "Okay so that's in. What's my password?"
GH "We don't keep passwords on file sir, your password is one you chose yourself."
WC "How am I supposed to remember that? Hang on I'll try some."

Puts phone down again. I can see, after four hours, that he has tried too many times and locks himself out.

WC "I've locked myself out."
GH "I'll just re-set your password - it is now 34567"

Puts phone down again. I go home for the night and come back in the morning, and then wait two hours for him to finish entering his password.

WC "What's this security image? I can't read that! It's all blurry!"
GH "It's to stop automated spammers, Mr Challenged. It's added security for yourself."
WC "Can you remove it?"
GH *snorts* "No, I'm afraid I can't."
WC "Can you tell me what it says?"
GH "Sir, it's different for everyone. It's just 5 letters that you need to type in a field."
WC "This is ridiculous! I cannot see what they say! Put me through to your CEO! I am going to complain!"
GH "As you wish."

This has been my life for the last 6 days. I have never been abused so much in my life, for something I have not done. It's made me realise that although we call Help numbers and picture a thousand monkeys in a call centre room, it might just be one person trying to do a million things at once.

Of course though, on the way home I got pissed off at the COMPLETE INEPTITUDE of the supermarket check out girl.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

RIP Heath Ledger

One of my favourite actors - for Monster's Ball and Brokeback Mountain. I spent most of my 2 years in Perth constantly on the lookout for him. What a tragedy.



Monday, 21 January 2008

Get a cup of tea for this one

To say that the weekend just been was exhausting would be to gloss over how bone-crushingly tired I ended up yesterday evening, necessitating in a bedtime of 7:30pm, which, with daylight savings still going strong, meant I pulled the curtains to shut out the sun.
As previously mentioned, the weekend was spent in Auckland, and I had quite forgotten how spending money there comes as naturally as breathing. My monthly budget is now completely screwed. But! There is always an upside to spending money, you have heaps of fun doing so.
Friday night saw me fly into Aucks at the speed of ...... 120km/h - the Red Rocket performed beautifully up over the Bombay Hills and delivered me to a beautiful Italian restaurant in St Heliers where my friends and I had a hilarious dinner and much banter was delivered. Sample conversation:
"Dude, when you read the menu, do you just hand it back to the waitress and say 'I'll have it thanks'?"
We headed back to their house and spent a lovely summer's night on the deck swatting mozzies and drinking Sauvignon.
Saturday morning I was enjoying a nice sleep in, when it was GET UP! time at the unholy hour of 8am, as it was birthday present opening time for Sarah. I ran into their room screaming MERRY CHRISTMAS! We all jumped into bed together - 5 of us - and for a moment we all forgot we were nearing 30 and had 2 weddings and 2 kids between us all. Sarah loved the nail polish I got her. I'm a bit obsessed with nail polish at the moment aren't I?
Brunch took us to La Vista in St Heliers, which was super awesome, and Sarah had a birthday brekkie of mince of toast with a fried egg. I was all, hmmm, but when it came out I had plate envy something chronic. Although my french toast with the usual banana bacon maple syrup was so delicious and very very naughty. I highly recommend this cafe if you are ever in St Heliers.
It was a mega hot day so we retired back home to sit on sun loungers with mags, and glasses of bubbly. Cam and I poured Sarah one, and being without strawberries, put a cherry tomato in there. I informed her of this fact about half an hour later.
Cam had organised a surprise lunch for Sarah at a restaurant in Parnell, and here, people, is where the great day came to a crashing great halt around my ears.
We were at a lovely outdoor table munching calamari and sipping beers, and were commenting on how great the service was. We all expressed surprise at this, because this restaurant is not known for its great service. Me being me, outdoes everyone elses gripes with a tale of my own.
"I was here with Mum and Lauren, and we ordered some calamari and wine." (This all said in a voice at approximately 2000 decibels).
"We had a couple of glasses and then Mum had to leave to catch a flight. She paid for the calamari and wine, and left. Lauren and I stayed on and had a couple more wines." Everyone is nodding sagely and going, of course, you and Loz, wine quaffers from way back.
"We decided to head home, and got up to pay for our drinks to the lady owner behind the counter. Imagine our surprise when we see the calamari on the bill. I question this, and say my mother paid for this when she left. The lady disagrees with me, and I am a bit taken aback. I say, well she specifically came back to tell us so, and was dealing with that guy behind the bar. She then says, well he must have pocketed the money because it's not showing on the receipts." Indignant comments are echoing around the table, along the lines of, isn't the customer always right? and, it's not your problem if the staff are dishonest.
"I say to her well I'm not paying for it twice and I'll get my mother to call you if you like to sort it out. She humphs and lets us go. And I haven't been back since till today."
Everyone is nodding and saying good on you, yeah she's nasty etc etc when all of a sudden it happens. A lady at the next table is slowly getting up - leaving half her lunch - and walking quickly into the restaurant. One of our guys goes, oh, that's her, that's the lady. And it was. She was obviously on her day off, enjoying a lunch with friends at her restaurant. And they had all heard everything.
The ironic thing was, I had just been discussing with Sarah that morning that I thought I gossiped too much, and was going to try and stop. Talk about learning the hard way. I felt like absolute shit for a couple of hours and needed a Gloriax to stop stressing out - and am still really pissed at myself. But who knows, she may have needed a wake up call - I certainly wasn't the only one with a bad experience with her - but nobody likes overhearing gossip about themselves.
I perked up when we left the restaurant - 3 interminable hours later - and headed to Lizzie's place for a couple of drinks before the concert. We were able to walk to the concert from there, and got there as Fergie was halfway through her show. Not that we watched it, because we were too busy lining up for beers. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that they had stopped selling booze at 8:30pm (!!!!) and had also run out of water (!!!!!!!!!!). We decided that it was fate that there's no booze, meaning we won't be hungover the next day. So we arming ourselves with disgusting Pepsi we headed back to our seats. Who should we bump into but our future Prime Minister, Mr John Key. He was more than happy to listen to us rave about why we'd vote him in (namely, because we hate Helen Clark) and we watched him about 10 minutes later dancing so badly it was almost cool.
The Police got started, and man they were good. Real musicians if you know what I mean. I especially liked the drummer dude. BUT! And there's always a but. 2 songs into the concert, we're standing on our chairs, bopping away, when I realise that my arm feels a lot lighter. I then realise that my watch is gone. My brand new, Calvin Klein, arm-and-a-leg watch, is no longer on my wrist. I grab Sarah's arm and make I'm-dying, please-help-me faces. She, being Sarah, is very straight up, and says it's either under your seat, at Lizzie's house or never to be seen again.
I am on the verge of losing it entirely, having already had a shitter of an experience, so after wildly looking under our chairs in amongst the jandals and toes and chair legs and bottles, I reach into my bag to get a calming cigarette. What should I find, but my watch.
To say that I had a epiphany would be to understate it. I actually had to sit down. I am not, I repeat NOT, a lucky person. For my watch to have fallen off INTO MY OWN HANDBAG was something I could not comprehend. I babbled to Sarah that I had found God, he must be looking after me, and she's patting me on the back and laughing. I rave that even after I ruin someone's day by gossiping, someone up there still likes me enough so that I don't lose my treasured watch.
After zipping it into a pocket in my bag and tying the bag to my leg I get back into the concert and have a ball.
We headed straight home afterwards, and while everyone else went straight to bed (bloody couples!!!) I sat up on the deck looking at the moon and listening to the crickets, having a frosty cold beer. What a day. Life lessons learned, fun was had, money was spent, music was enjoyed. What more could you want?