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


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……..”
“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?