Monday, 21 December 2009

The cattle are blowing the baby away.....*

So it turns out that attending church for the first time in years make you re-think your choice of underwear.
I normally wear thongs, and have done for years, because they are so comfortable and wash and dry faster than normal nana-knicks, but last night whilst getting ready for the Carol Service at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell, I had a re-think. I can’t go to CHURCH wearing a THONG. God will judge me.
And this is odd, because I don’t believe in God. However, I LOVE a good singalong, and other than getting blottoed at the pub and singing karaoke, church is about the only place you can exercise your pipes.
I went to a school that was very Christian, and we attended chapel every day at 8.10 to 8.30. We would sing a hymn, listen to a reading, someone would give a talk, then we’d receive a blessing and be off to start our day. At the time, chapel was a place where you’d slowly wake up, mumble the Lord’s Prayer, get in trouble by eagle-eyed prefects for laughing (I’d always get an attack of the giggles at inopportune moments). However, as much of a drag it was to attend chapel every day, how lame, OMG God doesn’t exist, etc., everyone always perked up when we began practicing for the end of year carol service. Who doesn’t love a good carol, I say. It means the end of the year, summer, exams over, and some truly beautiful singing.
So last week I saw the cathedral advertising its carol service for 2009, and I raved about it to Richard. Being Richard, he agreed to come along even though he can’t sing a note and disliked having to wear suit pants on a Sunday. I love him. We willingly set foot inside a church for the first time in years, save weddings and tourist larks.
And it was truly beautiful. The cathedral is light and airy, and quite modern with a high soaring roof to gaze up at. We chose a seat that was near a seeing-eye dog, because I love animals as you may be aware. As we sat down, a ray of light hit Richard in the face. Smugly, he said “that’s God giving me a sign I’m going to get a job soon.” Choosing to believe in God for that reason, I agreed.
We were surrounded by nodding white/purple heads, hearing aids, God-Squadders, and farmers that had brushed off the tweed coat and driven hours to come into town because it was the traditional thing to do.
As soon as the choir started singing Once In Royal David’s City, I got tears in my eyes. It was so beautiful. I felt like I was in an episode of the Vicar of Dibley. I got over it soon and was singing my lungs out on all my favourites, Hark the Herald, O Little Town of Bethlehem, O Come All Ye Faithful. We even gave $10.00 to the collection plate, it was that good.
We left feeling cleansed and I was glad I could still hit the high notes. I’ll definitely be doing this again.

*this is what my Uncle John apparently thought the words were when he was young.

Friday, 18 December 2009

FYI, it's my birthday soon.

I just like to remind people of that fact, because my birthday is on the 28th, and everyone - EVERYONE - says, oh that must suck. So close to Christmas! Yes it does suck, because people are shopped out and have a thousand things on, and therefore usually completely forget about my birthday. My own father once played a round of golf on my birthday and forgot to call me. WTF! He called the next day. To be honest, I hadn't noticed that he didn't call, but I still made him feel reallllly guilty. I'm awesome like that.

So because I am selfish and all-about-me, I remind everyone I've ever met about my birthday a long time in advance. You're also not allowed to combine Xmas and Birthday in one present. That's just lazy. Yes, greedy, selfish, rude, I am all these things. But I am also very cuddly.

So I have 2 more days of work left. This last week, if I had to pick one movie title to sum up the mood in the office, I would pick "Kill Bill" in which "Bill" stands for "Everyone in the Entire Office."
Everyone's trying to get things done that should have been done in September, and because we have an enormous long break - 19 DAYS - we're trying to figure out how we can hit the ground running when we get back. When really, all we want to do is listen to carols and eat chocolate and buy last minute presents online.

I have a bit of an escape that I use when the office tension is so thick you could drown in it and the hairs on your arms stand up. Voices, printer, phones, people screaming at each other, idiots giggling over cat pictures (okay that's me) - it all fades away when you listen to this:

Birdies chirping, ocean waves, and a gurgling stream. Yes it's very new-agey, but man alive I can feel all the tension leave my shoulders when listening to it. Similar to a white noise machine I guess.

This is my sister's Christmas card this year showing my 2 beautiful nieces and their brand new playhouse. My sister made the bunting and also appliqued the girls clothes. My mother is hugely impressed, as she prides herself on "not being able to sew on a button" which is a lie, because I've seen her do it many times, but I think she was rebelling against her own mother who was a total genius when it came to making our clothes. Although, because Nana was a chain smoker, when the parcel of clothes arrived, Mum would have to open it outside, then wash all the clothes before we could try them on, because they reeked of Rothmans. Funny huh?

Tonight my friend is hosting a BBQ on the deck of her apartment that overlooks the Harbour here in Auckland. We're bringing a green salad consisting of lettuce, cucumber, green capsicum and feta cheese (Rich - feta isn't green! Me - no-one is marking us out of ten for salads). We're taking a bottle of bubbly and looking forward to a nice relaxing night of getting smashed and singing to 80's tunes. Tomorrow - beach, book (reading The Dome by Stephen King - not as good as the Stand but it'll do) and naps in the sun. God I love summer.

PS birthday in 10 days.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Why I Avoid Shopping When I Can.

Scene: The interior of insane high-end women’s clothing shop. Think pink, frills, ribbons, gilt, faux-boudoir furniture and Lady GaGa singing about disco sticks at half a billion decibels.

Enter: Me (30, casually dressed) my Mother (60, casually dressed).


Me: Uh, thanks! (heads over to racks on far side of room).


Me: Wow, thanks. I’m actually looking for a 50’s style sundress to wear to my step-sister’s wedding in January.


Me: Five hundred.

Mum: THREE hundred.

Me: (feels like a teenager).


Me: Uh, I’m not sure we can spend that much...

SF 2: JUST TRY THEM ON ANYWAY! SRSLY! GET AN IDEA! (manhandles us towards changing room area that is surrounded by stick-thin collagen enhanced cougars and more sales freaks).


Mum: *speechless*

Sparkly sequinned cocktail style dress – nothing like a 50’s style sundress – is manoeuvred on. It doesn’t fit very well over the “girls”.


Me: Well I’d hate to upstage....


Me: Yeah, I think it makes me look fat.


Me: ........I’m going to try the other one.

Cream tunic dress that actually looks passable is donned.

Me: I don’t mind this. Mum, what do you think?

Mum: *says something but no-one can hear a thing over Britney telling us how she likes threesomes*


Me: Why does the hem hang down at the back?


Me, thinking: WTF?


Mum: As I said before, it’s my step-daughter.


Mum, drawing herself up to her full 5 feet 3: I don’t LIKE that dress.


Me: Mum, what do you think about this one?

Mum: I think we should go away and think about it.


Me: Well, that’s a risk I’m willing to take. There are a couple of others we’ve seen around town.


Me: *names well known NZ designer*


The other dress is SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS and a beautiful 50’s style sundress. Nail in the coffin.

(inside the changing room) Me: Mumthisplaceisscaryandineedtogetoutnow!!!

Mum: Thatwomanisthemosthorriblepersoni’veevermet! Andthezipiscrookedonthatdress!

(outside changing room) Me, smiling thinly: Well, thank you for your help.



Outside, in the rain – Me: I’m shaking. That was the most awful shopping experience of my life.

Mum: I saw a dress that I quite liked. But I purposely didn’t buy it because she was so awful.

Me: Shall we go back to Andrea Moore and buy that other beautiful dress?

Mum: Definitely.


I won’t name names, but this awful store’s designer is Australian, and her name rhymes with SchmAllanah SchmHill.

Monday, 7 December 2009

My girls

This is me with wee Stella-bella in the weekend. She's 8 months and is so sweet. She's a bit shy so to get this shot of her smiling with me was a real bonus over a mad mad mad weekend.

My partner lost his job on Thursday. Basically it's a year since I'd also lost my job. So I know what he's going through. It's very exhausting and he's taken it very hard (who doesn't). So cuddles with the nieces are the best therapy you can get.

I was putting Stella into her car seat when I notice Amelie staring at me intently.

"Have you got a baby?" she asks, no doubt looking at my less-than-trim stomach.
"No, but I'd like one," I say.

She keeps studying me.

"What are you looking at?" I ask her.
"Boobies," she shoots back.

As you do.

In other news, I've only 12 working days left this year. This is so much awesomeness, but so much to do up until then. I cannot wait until our holiday this year. We are spending Xmas again in Tauranga with my step-sister's family and my step-dad and Mum. All the other sisters are having away games at their in-laws. We'll be doing the usual bedlam present opening, and crayfish and champers around the new pool at Kathryn's house.
Then we're going to be heading to Richard's parents who live nearby for Xmas dins. They're British, and do a proper turkey with all the trimmings. It's AWESOME. Even if it's 30 deg outside and we're all wishing we could go for a swim, the turkey gets mown. Can't wait.
After Tauranga we're heading to Napier to my parents for my birthday (the 28th). It's a nothing special birthday - 31 - but I always make a fuss because it's so close to Xmas. I'm thinking cucumber sandwiches, cupcakes and bubbles around the pool.
Then on about the 30th we're heading to Mahia, where we went last year. It's a tiny coastal settlement north of Hawkes Bay. Unspoilt beach, one pub, one shop, and lots of surfers dudes and fishermen. The best thing? NO CELL PHONE RECEPTION. Ahh....peace. We'll be camping under pine trees and showering in cold rain water. It's brilliant.

So that's our summer plans. I don't have to be back in the office until the 11th. Brilliant. Hopefully at some stage Richard will get a look in at some jobs, but right now, it's a big black hole of nothing and we're both fighting to stay positive.

I will appreciate jokes and pictures of babies and/or cats.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A Bereavement

All two or three of my long-time readers will recall my posts about my Dad and his idiosyncracies. Well, on Sunday he let loose with another zinger.

"Hey Dad! I missed your call?"
"Hey Aims! How are you? Good weekend?"
"Great thanks! Just been at a BBQ with pals."
"Oh lovely. Listen, Mum died last night. Do you want to come over for dinner?"

By Mum, he means my Grandmother, who I wrote about a while ago, after she broke her hip in a fall. She was 93.

All joking aside, this is very much The Family Way. We don't show emotion and we don't cry or, God forbid, talk about our feelings. Funnily enough I feel like I've been adopted at birth, because I love a good cry, and am always analysing things and talking about how I feel with friends. My mother just worries that my workplace will get mad because I'll be taking the day off to go to Grandma's funeral. At her own mother's funeral she watched my Aunt go to touch the coffin and break down in tears, so she refused to go. I was all, Mum, it's OKAY TO CRY. But, it's her way. And Dad and his brother are the same.

So getting to Grandma's house on Sunday and seeing Dad in tears for a wee bit was very hard. We sat around and looked at photo albums and cuttings that she'd collected, and I cried a bit over finding an envelope of my late Aunt's hair, collected at her first ever haircut. She died in her early 40's of cancer.

Our family on Dad's side is very small, with my Uncle and Aunt never marrying, and Dad only producing my sister and me. So the arrangements have fallen to Dad and my Uncle. Being men, they don't realise that neighbours WANT to come around and drop off food and stay for a natter and tell you about their stories with Grandma. That they are grieving too. So yesterday I took myself around there and got rid of all the "sick" things - her walker, the awful toilet chair contraption, her boxes of tissues and masses of pills. I made the house look like Grandma again and did a heck of a lot of cleaning. 93 year old eyes miss things. It was very cathartic. I found a prayer book belonging to my namesake, Grandma's mother, that had been presented to her "by the Church of England upon the occasion of her marriage, 1915." I found my Aunt's photos and slides of her travels in the 60's, where she looks like a fashion icon. I found photos of my Grandmother done up to the nines off to war-time dances and dinners. I felt like I had never known this person. The Grandma I knew wore trousers and jackets and awful sun hats and had a bit of a temper.

We're hosting a wake there after the funeral so I'll make sure everyone has a napkin and there's some nice music on and enough loo paper and all those things that simply don't occur to men. I'm going to display all the lovely old photos around the room so those who also met her later in her life can see what she was really like.

What was bizarre was me checking my messages this morning after a hectic weekend. First to come up was from Friday night, and it was from Grandma. She wanted to talk to someone "who was out there and living life. Someone young!" she said. I didn't even notice the missed call and rarely check my voicemail, preferring to just call the person back. But this time, I didn't. Am finding it very hard to come to terms with the sadness and disappointment in her voice. Mum says there's nothing I can do about it now and don't beat myself up.

Easier said than done.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Boredom Busters

We're off on yet another long road trip tonight, back to the Hawkes Bay. Given that we're leaving Auckland right on rush hour, the entire trip will probably take about 6.5 hours.
Now some people quite enjoy car trips, in fact I don't mind them during the day if there's some good tunes on the radio and some lovely scenery, which there usually is in good old NZ. But when it's 10pm, pitch black and you're stuck behind a stinky sheep truck doing 10 km/h around the twisty bends of the Napier Taupo Road and you JUST WANT TO GET THERE, God, the allure of the car isn't so beguiling. Plus, because I am so bored, I tend to get reallllllllly hungry. Last car trip we broke our healthy eating run and had Burgerings, Maccas, lollies, and an icecream. So. This time I am planning.
To avoid the binge eating, I'm going to the supermarket and preparing a wee picnic. Rice crackers, ready-popped popcorn, dried fruit, and as a treat, some lollies. Dinner will be filled rolls with cottage cheese, ham and tomato. Will throw in a 4 pack of sugar-free Red Bull to keep our eyes open. I may buy a chocolate bar for Richard to keep him quiet.
To get the conversation going, as we're both so tired this week and have just about had enough of everything, I'm writing a good thorough list of conversation-starters. Things like:
  • What was your favourite TV show when you were a kid?
  • Who was your favourite teacher and why?
  • What's your dream home or holiday?
  • What's your opinion on global warming? (Not).

These should avoid those conversations that degenerate into "but you're not even listening to what I'm saying. No, you're not. You're changing everything I'm saying. So much for MY opinion then.." etc.

Am also going to bring out those brilliant car-trip games from my childhood. My favourite was going through the alphabet listing towns in NZ. A was Auckland. B was Bulls. Etc. P was the best one to get because of all the P Towns on the Kapiti Coast. Paraparaumu, Plimmerton, Paekakariki....Eye Spy was another good one. I would always pick something totally random, like the cigarette lighter in the car itself. Although because no-one could pick it, everyone got bored and would move onto something else. The other good ones were car cricket, which was something like you scored a 6 for every red car, a truck was out, white car was 1 run. Of course travelling with my Dad meant we had to listen to the news every 15 minutes UP FULL BLAST, and not the fun news either that went for 30 seconds, it was the full Newstalk ZB read by a very British sounding lady who talked about countries I'd never even heard of. Then Dad would smoke a stinky Benson and Hedges cigarette and drive too fast around corners. We'd be feeling ill in the back seat surrounded by beach towels and buckets and shovels and BBQs, and Mum would be passing us warm Orange and Mango Just Juice. Combination of all this meant we would need to stop to throw up and Dad would refuse because there was NOWHERE SAFE TO PULL OVER so he and Mum pretty much ended up wearing most of it.

Aaaah family life. Nothing like a good tangent to get you reminiscing.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The Wit.

Colleague: My computer just crashed again.

Me: Did it forget to give way?

See me later on the Comedy Channel.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Close encounters of the neighbourly kind

This morning, as I rolled over and hit the snooze button for the 8th time, preparing to burrow down for another nine minutes, a sound made my eyes pop open.
It was a fart.
Rich had already gone to work. Basil was on his armchair. And it sure as heck wasn’t me. It was our neighbour.
You see, we share a driveway with our neighbour, and it goes directly along the side of our house. The side where our bedrooms are. The house is not known for its solidness – in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if the walls were made of MDF – hence if you walk along the driveway while we’re in bed, we’re going to hear you. You are not all alone, humming a tune, enjoying the birdsong. We’re listening. So when you drop a bomb while you’re getting something out of your car, we’re going to hear it.
A lovely way to start the day.
When Rich and I discuss what we want from life, the first thing – always the first thing – is a big house set in the middle of ten acres, with no other houses to be seen. The joy of being able to sing really loudly to a bad song. To be able to jump around the house doing aerobics without having to pull the curtains. To sit on the deck staring at the stars and smelling the night-scented flowers without being slammed by a wave of cigarette smoke from next door. City life – it’s not for me.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Another reason to move to Australia

If you can see that, it's disgusting here this week, and gorgeous in Aus. And only 3.5 hours flight away!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The scary thing is, I'm half him

Just had the following conversation with my Dad, who as you'll know, is....unique.

"Hey Dad! Just letting you know we're down in the Mount this weekend, so are you keen for a catch up?"

"What? I'm working. Flat out. No I'm in Auckland this weekend - Grandma's in hospital."

This is my 93 year old Grandmother who lives 15 mins away from me. How many times have I visited her? Not once. Yes I am bad.

"What? What's she in hospital for?"

"A broken pelvis. It happened two weeks ago."

"Two weeks! Why did you tell me?"

My Dad - being a male - replies thus:

"I've been WORKING!"

Having heard him pull this excuse for most of my childhood I realise that he's under huge stress and is about to blow a gasket.

"Fine. I'll call the hospital and figure out where she is and explain to them why her granddaughter who lives in the same city has not yet been to visit her."

"Thanks honey."

So there you go. What do you take a 93 year old who has never been sick in her life, but is nearly blind?

Monday, 21 September 2009

Australians all let us rejoice......

So we got back from Australia a whole 2 weeks ago, I know, and only now I'm putting fingertips to keyboard to tell you about it.
Basically it was a delicious warm blur of sand, sunscreen, seafood and many delicious frosty beers. It almost didn't happen however when we stumbled at the first hurdle.
Imagine this. I am checking our passports for the last time. Rich takes a last toilet stop. Reappearing in the hall, he says, I wonder if I need a Visa to enter Australia? (Rich was born in the UK and has never got around to becoming a NZ citizen). I stare at him. I've done things like research ticket prices of theme parks, rental cars, the movies onboard the plane, the distance from our apartment to the centre of town (walking AND driving!) and he hasn't even checked whether he can enter the goddam country. And there, my friends, is the difference between men and women.
I call our travel agent on the way to the airport. He confirms our fears. Rich does need a visa.
In my job, I make sure people from all over the Pacific are in the right place at the right time. Mostly this involves negotiating Visas for various countries. The rule is - you apply about 2 months before you travel, because these things take time.
With this in mind, we drive on. Rich looks as though he wishes he was being run over by the car, not driving it. Brainwave. I call Air New Zealand and explain the situation. The relief was palpable when the helpful lady says we can apply over the phone and it's instant. (Just between you and me, this is about the only logical thing I have heard about airlines for ages. If they can put a pointless 48 hour deadline onto something, they do). We get sorted, and I share a joke about men and their uselessness in certain situations with her.
Rich looks very sheepish. I say YOU WERE LUCKY. Good thing is, he buys me my Ange ou Demon perfume to make up for the extra grey hairs I now have/will have.
Arriving in Australia at dusk, the humidity and warmth is gorgeous. I had forgotten how big everything is. The cars, the streets, the expanse of sky.
We hit Surfers Paradise, and head out for dinner at Main Beach. We're staying in a fancy part of town, and our humble rental car is out of place amongst the Lambos, Ferraris and Porsches. Our neighbours at dinner could be directly out of Underbelly. It's brilliant.

Me eating oysters and drinking champagne. I know, I want to punch me too.

We spend our days eating, snoozing, shopping and drinking. We laugh when, having spent the morning on the beach, we present ourselves at a restaurant advertising a 2 for 1 Winter Special. We are wearing our togs with singlets, jandals and sunglasses, covered in sand and sunscreen. Brilliant. Admittedly, other Aussies probably think we're mad, but it's a good 10 deg hotter than at home, and we're going to take all we can get.

We head to Dreamworld the next day. It's not nearly as exciting as I remember it, but maybe that's because I was 15 last time we went. I endure the log flume, canyon ride, and a couple of rollercoasters. Unfortunately, my motion sickness gets the better of me, and I have to rush to the loo. See you later breakfast. The vertigo does not pass and I visit the loo in Wiggles World, which is batshit enough to make anyone dizzy. We leave Dreamworld early and I have to stop on the side of the road. Rollercoasters? Never again.

The pool at our apartment.

Me and a pal

After a few days of sun, beach, tanning and reading, we head off to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. It's enormous, with acres of natural bush and lots of cute things to coo over. There are tiny lizards scurrying everywhere. Rich is terrified of these lizards. I milk this at every opportunity. Even when we get back to the hotel. *rustle rustle* "STOP IT!"

Apparently, it is NOT funny to pretend there's one of these on your back.

We leave on another beautiful Australian evening, and get back to an 8 deg Auckland night, where the shuttle is 30 mins late, and the house is an icebox. No matter. We are way browner than everyone else.

Some stats from our holiday:

Pairs of shorts bought by Richard: 5
T-shirts bought by Richard: 4
Pairs of shoes bought by Amy: 3
Money pit owned by Richard and Amy to pay for said items: Non-existent
Nails painted by crazy Thai manicurist: 20
Decibels of Thai conversation at nail bar: 7,000,000
Times I said I would never eat fries again: 6
Times I then ate fries: 7
Pairs of sunglasses lost while puking, listening to Big Red Car: 1
Amount of dollars said sunglasses worth: 550
Tears shed upon realisation of such: A lot
Amount of weight gained whilst on holdiay: 1 kg
Amount of weight shed after one week back: 1.1 kg (snoopy dance!)
Times we have dropped our holiday into the general conversation upon our return: Numerous (so our friends say)
Koalas cuddled: 1
Kangaroos fed: 3
Snakes held: 1
Icecreams eaten (Baskin Robbins Chocolate/Peanut Butter OMG): Not enough
Tooheys Extra Dry consumed: Too much
Great holidays had by all: 1

Johnny Depp was in that movie?

A large football field lies outside our offices, and when it’s been recently mown, birds like to hang out there to munch on the displaced bugs. One of the birds usually gets a fright, and the entire flock flies to high ground. Sometimes this high ground will be our roof, which means we have a thousand or so sparrows zooming towards our windows.
“It looks like The Birds,” I commented one day, not that I’ve ever seen it, but I imagine there would be a lot of bird scenes in a movie called The Birds. Yes I’m a logical person.
“That was scary,” says my boss, who was actually alive when the movie came out.
“The Omen. THAT was scary. That freaked my shit out,” colleague 1 says.
“The Ring was bad. I didn’t like that one,” says my boss.
“The Grudge! Hated it!” colleague 1.
I do the croaky noise that the scary kid in The Grudge does.
“Yes! Stop it!” he says.
“Mine was Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy Krueger. I had to take all my mirrors down,” I say, referring to the bit where Freddy comes leaping out of a mirror, knives akimbo.
Seriously, Freddy Krueger shaped my childhood. That scarred face, those awful knives, and the red and black striped jersey. Seared into my memory. I think if I watched that movie now, the original Nightmare on Elm Street, I think I’d find it hilarious.
What was your worst horror movie?

PS and yes, I’ll be writing about our trip soon!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Office space

Me. "If you had to describe what Coke tastes like, what would you say?"

Colleague 1. "Coke."

Me. "......"

Colleague 2. "Paper."

Colleague 1. "Oooh I know. It tastes like those Coke bottle lollies."

Colleague 2. "Paper, with sugar sprinkled on it."

Me. "Did you guys used to get the Coke lollies and bite the tops off and then suck really hard to get at the Coke inside? Except there was no Coke inside?"

Both are nodding.

Me. "I think it tastes like lemon."

Monday, 24 August 2009

Crossing the ditch

I am in countdown mode this week, as we're off to Surfers Paradise on Saturday morning. Rich and I have both been struck down with the flu, for which I am thankful, because how often do you hear of people getting sick on their holiday? At least we're getting it now.
So after what seems to have been an exceptionally long and dismal winter, we're super excited about getting our pins out and wearing our jandals again. I have even bought a new nail polish to celebrate. I know. It's called Suzi and the Lifeguard and is an OPI polish. It's a lovely pale pink with a slight shimmer to it.
We also are feeling pretty smirky because we have a Thing where, if we have coins in our pockets/wallets/back of the couch, we put them into a money box. I hauled the contents into the bank today and the sum total will pay for a new fragrance for us both and should stock up the booze cabinet also from Duty Free. I absolutely love Duty Free shops...I know it's only a bit cheaper than normal, and you can probably find better prices online...but there's something about knowing that you're getting a bargain and everything smells delicious and everyone's happy because they're going on holiday. Brilliant. Fragrance-wise, I'm going to get Ange ou Demon by Givenchy, because it's the first perfume in a long time that I've actually been able to single out from the myriad of others on the market these days. Rich is getting Fahrenheit, which I adore. Mmmm.
So while we're in Surfers we're going to visit some theme parks - Rich is DYING for Wet n Wild, but being a lady and terrified of heights, I might need to talk him out of this one. We're going to Dreamworld too, but what I most want to do is lie on the beach in the sun. It was 31 degrees there in the weekend - and 16 here. Ahhhhhhh.
Basil has also been in the wars this week. He's very....licky. Like, his fur is sticky, he's so licky. I sound like Run DMC. So he's off to the vet tomorrow before his trip to Karakakats this weekend. Poor wee button.
Our weekend was lovely. We had drinks at ours with some friends on Friday night. We made the most delicious nibbles platter. It had wasabi peas, pistachios, havarti cheese, pate, grapes, feta dip, rice crackers and normal crackers. We mowed it. We also mowed a heck of a lot of wine. We then toddled off up the road to a very small and casual pizza place where we terrorized the owner into having a wine with us and giving him all sorts of advice on how he should do his pizzas. We were awful. It was great though. Hangover the next day - not so great.
Last week I had a tiny operation.... I had a neuroma in my leg. It's this thing. This big hurty thing. So the doctor cut it looked like a cooked lentil. Amazing that something so tiny could cause me soooo much pain. Anyhoo, I now have 3 stitches on the back of my thigh, and an excuse to get out of doing pretty much anything. The word "stitches" opens a lot of doors. Thankfully, it's not a tumour. Well, probably not.
I bought a pair of jeans yesterday. This is only because I have lost 4kgs. Me and jeans shopping do not have a happy relationship. Because I am apple shaped, and short, I have a battle of a time finding a pair of jeans that fits around my tummy, and doesn't make my ass look like the saggy baggy elephant. But, minus 4kgs and nothing to eat for breakfast = success! 3 inches of hem are being removed as we speak, so I can finally throw away my old pair of jeans that I've had for 3 whole years. Madness.
Summer is on the way here......the entire neighbourhood has caught the gardening bug. All we can hear is leaf blowers. In my day, we used a broom. It seems that spending 2 hours chasing leaves all over the place with a roaring, stinking piece of plastic is what you do in the affluent suburb where we are renting. The neighbours also chopped down an enormous lovely pine tree near to our backyard, where tui and keruru would play. I think it annoyed them because every so often, a pine needle would fall off, and land on their Audi, possibly scratching the paintwork and necessitating in an upgrade to the newer model. Thankfully, the tui have now adopted the puriri tree in our backyard, so we are treated to their beautiful song day in and day out. Luckily Basil only shows interest in sparrows, of which there are billions, because they are smaller than him and have ninety million feathers for him to distribute around our hallway and under the furniture. Richard and I have a pact - I do poos and spews, he does dead things. We both think the other got a better deal.
So, back to our Australia trip. We're planning on doing a lot of eating, drinking, lazing about, and spending of money. We finagled really good costs for tickets, and accommodation, thanks to knowing people in the right places. So we're going to spoil ourselves, because we have both had such a difficult year - not with each other, but money-wise, job-wise, living-wise, it's been rough. Here's to a well-deserved rest and celebration time, and what a way to bring in Summer by getting a tan ahead of everyone else. Yessssssss!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Foot in mouth disease on the rise

So today I am happy, because Richard is back from a week’s travel away with work. Basil and I have enjoyed having the house to ourselves, getting those annoying things done like sorting out the undie drawer and doing all my handwashing – the laundry basket is actually empty for once – but I am getting lonely.
So I’ve put the special bottle of Pol Roger that I got for my 30th in the fridge, and I’m going to make lamb pita pockets on couscous. Super easy and delicious.
In other news, last night I dyed my hair. I went a bit darker than I normally do, because it’s been looking a bit red lately, which I don’t like. When I say darker, I mean black as a raven’s wing. The box said Darkest Brown. It should have said Darkest Brown, if by Brown you mean Black and if by Darkest you mean Mega. Anyway I quite like it as it’s made my hair really shiny, and my eyes look greener. It’s funny how in books people with green eyes are always supposed to be extraordinarily beautiful, or slightly mystical, or in the very least, bitchy. I’ve had green eyes ever since I remember, and only once in my whole entire life has someone commented on their greenness.
So I turn up to work with my new black hair all blow dried and I’m actually wearing proper makeup (boyfriend’s home tonight makeup). Everyone notices my hair. They are all complimentary. Until one of the girls arrives. Whoa. Goth! she says. I stare. It’s really dark! she continues. I continue to stare. I mean, one of my friends dyed her hair that dark, and really hated it.....but.... I cut her off and say well, happy Friday!
I mean honestly. A little thinking before speaking people!

Friday, 7 August 2009

Girl's night in

So this week Rich backed away from me and said, "I've been invited to a boy's night out on Friday...and I've said I'd go," while ducking. I have no idea where he got the idea that I'd be mad if he went out without me. No idea at all.
So I have asked my friend to join me for a girl's night in. We're borrowing my parent's apartment in the city (because my house is just too cold and you can't hang around in PJ's in the COLD!) and we're going to do the following:
  • Arrive
  • Make fruit platter
  • Open champagne
  • Drink champagne
  • Eat fruit platter
  • Get into (horror) togs, robes and slippers
  • Avail ourselves of the sauna, spa and lap pool
  • Return to room
  • Make nibbles platter of crudites, pita bread, dips, chicken kebabs and chorizo
  • Eat said platter, washing down with more champagne
  • Do face masks, hair masks, pedicures, and manicures
  • Watch Twilight (I read the book - the first one - and didn't like it. Another friend of mine who is obsessed with Twilight said I have to watch the movie just to make sure I don't like it. So we are).
  • Finish off champers and drink lots of water before going nigh-nighs.

If I were doing this properly, each bullet point would be interspersed with another: Gossip. Because that's what girl's nights in are really all about aren't they?

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

More Cooking with Moi

Tonight Richard and I are both super excited as it’s that time again. No, not business time...although it is’s home made hamburgers and wedges night!
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like these, in all their juicy, drippy, crunchy goodness. Ahhhhh.
Here’s how I do it.
Chop up an onion really finely. Or, grate it. Mix with about 500 g mince (we have lots leftover after!). Stir an egg through, and if the mixture is quite dry, bind with some breadcrumbs. Season with salt and peps.
Have some fun with flavourings – Wattie’s Tomato Sauce is my favourite because I am a Kiwi Kid; mixed herbs, BBQ sauce, tobasco, gherkin pieces...the list goes on – experiment!
Shape the patties into fairly large rounds about 3 cm thick. Refrigerate if needed.
Fry on medium heat until juices run clear. Don’t have the pan too hot as they’ll be black on the outside and raw in the middle. Not cool. No matter what I do, my patties always fall apart. I have tried everything. It’s my Waterloo. They look fine once squished into the bun, but I wish you better luck than me.
While they’re cooking, assemble your extras. I like cheese, cheese, and more cheese, along with tinned beetroot. But I bow to nutrition guidelines, and have lettuce, sliced tomatoes, gherkins, and avocado if it’s around.
Lightly grill both ends of the bun, and layer with a sauce of your choice. We like Smoked Hickory, or good old Watties, and a good tangy mustard. Mmmmmmm. Slap it all together, roll your sleeves up, and get stuck in.
Oh yeah – wedges. Slice some nice Agria spuds (or Kumara) into thin wedges. Spray with olive oil and dust some garlic salt or whatever over the top. Bake until nice and golden at about 230 Celsius.
My mouth is watering.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Little Bunny and Mrs Tiggywinkle

My beautiful nieces. I miss them so much! Stella's hair has started to lie down flat, more's the pity. Sigh.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Family Guy on You Tube.

“....was there really a movie called Mannequin?”
“It’s manne-kin.”
“Dude, it’s manna-qwin.”
“Manna-kin. It’s French.”
“Why do they use Q-U then? Instead of k?”
“Nobody says QWEEN...oh hang on.”

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Different strokes for different folks

So yesterday my colleague and I were driving back from a meeting, and were shooting the shit as usual. Somehow we get onto the topic of weird things we missed doing as kids. I should point out here that my colleague's childhood was spent in the Solomon Islands.
So I'm telling him about how we used to go docking up at various farms around Hawkes Bay. He doesn't know what docking is. So I explain how all the cute little lambies have to go down a chute, meeting a hot pair of scissors at the end to lop off their tails, and if they're a boy, have their nuts squeezed off too. I tell him how us kids would be running around collecting all the tails and chasing lambs and contributing to the general mayhem.
Part of this yearly ritual was to then build a small fire and roast the lambs tails on it. The smell was disgusting....burnt hair and melting fat. For those of you who don't know, a lambs tails is basically a strip of cartilage surrounded by fat and wool. The taste, after a long day stomping around in gumboots in the cold spring air? Nectar of the Gods.
After I finish happily recounting this story, I realise my colleague is looking at me with horror. It turns out that to him, this is really gross and weird.
So he comes out with a story of his own.
When a melon tree is ripening, it attracts fruit bats, who will roost in their hundreds on the tree. Hurl a stone at the tree somewhere, he says, and you're guaranteed one dead bat. Roast it over the fire - manna from heaven.
It's my turn to be horrified. What about the rabies? These bats don't carry rabies. What about the awful leathery wings? Oooh, that's the best part. Like eating a chicken wing!
Barf. What culinary delights do you remember from childhood that you can share?

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Winter whinges

It’s so cold right now that.....

.....I put a hot water bottle under Basil’s blanket on his chair. Rolled eyes from Richard.
.....I’ve stopped shaving my legs to get extra warmth.
.....I can see my breath when I’m lying in bed.
.....Meat defrosts faster if I put it in the fridge instead of on the bench.
.....I prefer being at work, because of the central heating.
.....I haven’t seen my body for days, apart from brief glimpses when I dart from dressing gown to steamy shower and back again
.....the fireplace is judged, poked, fed, watched over and hugged, all to obtain maximum hotness.
.....the three of us take up 50% of the bed due to the amount of burrowing into each other.
.....I count it as a warm day if I’m only wearing 3 layers UNDER the actual outfit.

It’s really cold.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

All my ladies

In the last couple of weeks I've been contributing to a friend's new beauty website, My background in Beauty Therapy and general obsession with all things makeup have helped me here, and I love writing for it.
In saying that, we're always looking for new topics to write about, so if you want to know about something, let me know!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Cooking with Moi!

Thai Green Curry – my way
In the thick of chilly winter nights, comfort food, blankets and slippers, I often get the urge for a sharp, spicy meal to wake up my taste buds. Thai Green Curry is quick, easy and is one of my favourite dishes.
Dice an onion and sauté in a hot pan. Add a big dollop of Thai Green Curry paste (I use pastes because I am far too lazy to make my own. We also have a fantastic range of Thai food in NZ). Stir until fragrant.
Add diced chicken – either breast or thigh. I prefer thigh for flavour, but it’s pretty fatty and rich, so it’s for special treats only.
Add chopped veggies. I like to match the colour of the paste – green beans, zucchini, green capsicum, peas, mushrooms for bulk. Stir a bit to take on the flavours. Add a couple of shakes of fish sauce.
Add a tin of light coconut milk. This stuff is pure poison to the hips – even when you use light milk. But nothing comes close – that Evaporated Milk in Coconut “flavour” is awful. Don’t use it!
Simmer away until the sauce has thickened and the veggies are tender.
Serve with Jasmine or Basmati rice and, I know I’m mixing my cultures here, freshly made pappadums.

As promised.....

There was lunch at the table.....

Dress ups with new pigtails and Karen Walker jewellery

Playing in Basil's cat tunnel.....with fist stuffed in mouth to stop laughing....

Chasing of ducks.....

and feeding of ducks.

It was a smashing day all round.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Toddler fun

I'm baby sitting Amelie tomorrow morning and as usual am worried about all the things she could kill herself on in our non-baby-proofed house. Do I light the fire? Or will she faceplant into it? What about the gas heater? Or just strap her to a hot water bottle?
Luckily when Amelie was born my sister made me an Amelie fun kit, which basically has all the toys she didn't have room for in it, along with some of my old books from when I was a wee tacker, like The Nickle Nackle Tree and Amy's Place, or Kimi and the Watermelon.
However, Amelie's attention span is short, being 2 years old and all, so I'm going to have to come up with games and toys of my own.
First on the list is the fluffy toy that's alive! Basil the cat will be roped into a game of chase. Thankfully, Basil is very good around children. He tolerates, but never scratches. Thank god. Basil may even get a brushing if he is very good.
Second is that old favourite, musical kitchen utensils. Pots and pans will be assembled into a kit Lars Ulrich would admire, and we'll wake up the neighbours.
Third is dressups. I have a jewellery and makeup collection that makes many kids' dreams come true. I just know that Amelie can pull off bright red lippie with some feathered earrings and Karen Walker necklaces.
If she's not tired by this time, we'll go for a stroll down by the creek where many ducks are hiding out from the hunters during the season. A loaf of bread, mittens and a jacket = good photo opportunities.
After this, it's on with the Disney Channel while Aunty Amy has a rest and a cuppa.
A couple of rounds of Row Row Row Your Boat might be in order, or as Amelie calls it, "Wo Wo" followed by some dancing around to the Ministry of Sound.
Her parents will no doubt be back by this time so I'll tearfully hand her back and clean up the chaos. God I can't wait to have one of my own.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Introducing Stella Kate

I've just realised - having gone over my archives for the first time in ages - that I've not posted any photos of Stella-Bella yet. My humble apologies.

Stella was born a very hairy baby, no bones about it, with very light dark hair on her arms, face and ears (it was seriously SO cute, she looked like we could have found her snoozing in a forest being looked after by a unicorn and a wood nymph). Her hair was already a couple of inches long.

This is her at about a week old. You could PERM that if you wanted.
The lanugo hair all fell out as is normal, but to make up for it, the hair on her head has decided to go no-holds-barred, and do this:

Isn't it hilarious? They haven't done anything to it here - funnily enough Amelie's hair did the same - just stuck straight out - but not nearly as thick. Amelie now has beautiful thick straight hair so no doubt Stella's will do the same. Both their parents have got exceptionally thick hair. Unlike Rich and me, who are both non-hirsute, except in parts where we don't wish to be.
I'm getting a visit from the girls this weekend which I can't wait for - have only met Stella when she was first born. Cuddles galore are in order.

Recipe time

Lamb shanks – cooked my way
Get 4 big ass lamb shanks – big meaty ones, not those ones that came off a lamb more interested in gambolling around the fields than munching on grass. Dust in seasoned flour.
Brown them in some very hot oil quickly. Set aside.
Chop up 2 onions and halve some cocktail onions. Use the frypan that browned the lamb, but make sure it’s cooled right down. Caramelize slowly until tender (may take up to 20 minutes. For god’s sake be patient and don’t burn them).
Towards the end, throw in some diced celery and carrot chunks so that they can brown a bit.
Assemble the shanks and veggies in a crockpot, or large heavy-based sauce pan.
Add a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary, thyme and sage (or any combination of these).
Throw in a can of chopped tomatoes. I love tinned tomatoes...add them to everything. Did you know tomatoes are better for you when cooked?
Add a couple of cups of red wine. Good wine, not the bollocks you get in a cardboard box. Save enough for yourself.
If necessary, top up the pot with good beef stock. Or a trusty Oxo cube. I can never tell the difference.
Couple of shakes of salt and pepper and you’re set.
Bring all to a light boil, then turn right down and forget about it for a day. I always make these the night before.
Let cool, and scoop off the fat. Then, an hour before serving, bring back to a simmer.
I serve with a potato/kumara (sweet potato) mash, made with milk, whole grain mustard and cheese if I’m feeling adventurous, and steamed veg, usually broccoli, or beans, or both.
This is one meal you need to be patient over – even though it’s easy, it’s the time taken to do perfect onions, and the long slow cooking that makes it a wonderful meal. Mmm.

Monday, 15 June 2009

You heard it here first

Tapas bars. Are they not just the 00's answer to Fondue restaurants? Here today, laughed at tomorrow?
I had the pleasure of being taken out for dinner on Saturday by the parentals, and Mum chose Bellota, a Tapas bar on the Sky City complex. Bellota is by Peter Gordon, Mr Chef du Jour. We had both read reviews about Bellota, and they were ALL good. Auckland restaurant reviewers can be notoriously nasty, so we went along, expecting glory.
Unfortunately, like the All Blacks' same night defeat to the cheese-eaters, it was a disappointment.
Firstly - the wait staff looked THROUGH you, not at you. There is a difference. It was as if they did not like us being in their space. Now, it wasn't busy. Humming, but not busy.
Then, the menu stated how you should pronounce Bellota. I have a THING about signs, or menus, that decide to state (lar-tay) on their signs (pee-no-gree) how their products are pronounced. Maybe I am a language snob, but surely if I'm going to a Spanish restaurant with a Spanish name, I'll know that the double-l is pronounced "yih".
We were "seated" inside the very dim bunker that is "Bey-otta" at a small knee level coffee table, on 4 ottomans. My mother and step-dad are young in mind, but not in body. Having nothing to lean back on, and having to bend right over to pick up their glasses was annoying. Proper tables - yes please. The table was promptly laden in water glasses, our glasses, a large cutlery holder, salt and pepper grinders and a bowl of anchovy-stuffed olives (gross). This left a 1cm square area for the tapas that we ended up ordering.
While we read the menu, around us the space was filling up with exceptionally drunk young persons. With a sinking feeling, we realised that Bellota wasn't a Tapas Bar at was a hip groovy too cool for school piss-up joint, that happened to serve food. Being too late to pull out, we forged ahead with ordering.
It was the usual Spanish stuff - chorizo, jambon, pate, calamari, meatballs, something else I can't went on and on. Each plate was okay. There was not one thing that I went, OH MY GOD YUM, except for the chorizo/jambon mixed plate. But then I realised that 12 thin and small slices cost us $38!! Which is the normal price for a main meal at a good restaurant. It was here that I started thinking about getting a combo on the way home.
I was sad by this stage - sad for Mum because she felt bad that she'd picked Bellota - when all we really wanted was a quiet place for a good nosh and some delicious wine, not this pretentious, noisy as hell bar that has the misfortune of being the Place To Be Right Now. Maybe when all the bright young things head off to the next venue, it'll settle down to being more of a food destination than a place to get you up the status ladder at work on Monday.
We all decided upon leaving that while we weren't hungry anymore, we also were not satisfied. Having had so many flavours and small mouthfuls, what we all longed for was a bloody good steak. Next time - Jervois Steak House. While Tapas are "fun" and "different" they are also, in my opinion, a major rip-off and a fad. 5 years. At the outside.


Straight down to business.

What bill do you hate paying the most?SKY TV. Telly should be free.

Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?At Clooney, in Auckland. A very extra special treat. Although, my mega awesome pork roast that I did last night was romantic also, but only between us and the wonderful pig who sacrificed his skin for my crackling. Damn it was good. And free-range.

What do you really want to be doing right now?Reading my new Russell Brand autobiography: “My Booky Wook”.

How many colleges did you attend?1, if by colleges you mean Uni. Otago University in Dunedin. Main memories: being freezing, ALL THE TIME, eating Maccas day in day out, fuggy warmth of bed with my boyfriend, constantly drinking beer. Afternoon TV sopoforic.

Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?It’s a wooly jersey, and it’s neutral and warm. It’s blah and cold out.

What are your thoughts on gas prices?I pay what I need to pay...everything’s relative.First thought when the alarm went off this morning?

How many snoozes can I get away with before I have to get up (turns out 2).

Last thought before going to sleep last night?I hope Rich doesn’t stay up too late.

Do you miss being a child?I miss the lack of worry about being responsible for me – but I guess I just worried about smaller things...that seemed big at the time!

What errand/chore do you despise?MAKING BEDS. I cannot make a bed. Always looks like someone’s jumped all over it when I’m done. So I just don’t make it.

Get up early or sleep in?Get up early-ish.

Have you found real love yet?Yes

Favorite lunch meat?Shredded chicken.

What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart?Herpes?

Beach or lake?Lake. NO beach. Lake. Lakes are safer. Beaches are prettier. Both.

Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?No way. I love the whole wedding thing. I am a full on Muriel.

Sopranos or Desperate Housewives?Neither. Any programme I have to watch each week – bar Hell’s Kitchen – causes me too much stress if I miss an episode. So – Simpsons re-runs it is.

What famous person would you like to have dinner with?All my favourite comedians – Eddie Izzard, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais. Graham Norton. Russell Brand. Clive James. Dawn French. Danny Wallace.

Have you ever crashed your vehicle?No, but people have crashed INTO me. Auckland is one big city playing dodgems.

Ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?Never. Quite disappointing really! I did once light a toaster on fire by wrapping a piece of cotton wool soaked in nail polish remover around a long skewer and holding it to the element – ALL TO LIGHT A CIGARETTE (couldn’t find a lighter) but when it burst into flame I just ran around in circles for a few seconds then pulled it from its socket and threw it outside (it was raining). Needed another cigarette to calm down.

Ring tone?Like a Feather – Nikka Costa (work phone) Salmon Dance – Chemical Brothers (My phone). Both adapt well to a ring tone.

Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth?In an aeroplane toilet.

Somewhere in California you've never been and would like to go?Everywhere!

Do you go to church?No, but I think Church is the new black. Good way to meet people.

At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship?New career...namely not having to work due to babies!

How old are you?30

Do you have a go to person?Yes a few actually...but mainly Mum.

Are you where you want to be in life?Not quite. When I have a baby, I shall be fulfilled. (This is what I’m hoping anyway!)

Growing up, what were your favorite cartoons?Captain Planet, City of Gold, Loony Tunes, Toxic Crusaders

What about you do you think has changed the most?I notice more what people think.

Looking back at high school were they the best years of your life?I’d have to say Yes. I was thin, fit, could concentrate for more than ten minutes, got drunk on one glass of wine and was always falling in “love”. It was pretty cool.

Are there times you still feel like a kid?TOTALLY. I baby talk the cat and my friends and I have full laughing fits over the stupidest stuff. Then we always say – were our PARENTS doing this when THEY were 30?? No, because they all had 12 kids and enormous mortgages.

Did you ever own troll dolls?No. They were spooky.

Did you have a pager?No – because I wasn’t a doctor on a US TV programme about hospitals.

Where was the hang out spot when you were a teenager?The Botanical Gardens, or the water tower in Napier. To be seen in a mall with a group of young girls meant serious recriminations from our Mums. It just wasn’t “done”. However hanging out in forgotten corners of council parks were okay. Go figure.

Were you the type of kid you would want your children to hang out with?I think so. I was a bit of a b1tch but usually pretty fun. Never did anything seriously naughty.

Who do you think impacted your life the most?
The television.

Was there a teacher or authority figure that stood out for you?No. I do not relate well to authority.

Do you tell stories that start with “when I was your age”?Not yet!

Do this to procrastinate and let me know your answers!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Work shenanigans

We have a “vice” jar in our office, which I share with my 2 male colleagues. Unfortunately, I have a terrible habit of burping. I know. It’s disgusting. However I don’t even realise I’m doing it. One day I was having a go at Colleague 1 for sniffing. He suddenly burst out “but you BURP!!” My gob was smacked. So I came up with the Vice for burping, Colleague 1 for every type of noisy bodily function (every fart is announced and discussed), and Colleague 2 for the same, even though he is far too polite to even raise his voice.
Colleague 1 and I have managed to donate to the jar the healthy amount of $11.50 between us. I still have no control over my burps, and well, he just likes to fart.
We counted the jar today, amid squabbles of the ethics of foreign currency (10c coins from the Solomon Islands DO NOT COUNT) and the fact that you must use any loose change you have (goddam the New Zealand Mint who decided to make $2 coins). Colleague 2 is, as usual, quiet amidst the bedlam, then pipes up. “You guys. Here’s 50 cents. I feel left out.”

Monday, 18 May 2009


There is nothing worse than shopping for Summer clothes when you’re well settled in to the Winter groove. My body has got used to hiding itself under wraps, stockings and big poofy jackets. So today when I tried on a cute 60’s style scoop neck, sleeveless dark orange mini dress, the sight of my cottage cheese upper arms and roly-dog knees meant that a 2 second “YUCK!” to the mirror was all I needed to whip it off.

Unfortunately I’m going to have to keep persevering because people, I am going overseas. Now when you live in New Zealand, it’s pretty easy to head overseas. Going to the South island is “overseas” in the literal sense....a 3 hour flight to Melbourne involves the full customs rigmarole. But I am going overseeeeeas....the entire Pacific Ocean to be exact. Then I’m flying over the bottom half of North America. Then it’s over the edge of the Atlantic to.....are you ready.....are you sitting down.....THE BAHAMAS.

My workplace is sending me – and a couple of other staff members – to the Bahamas. I found this out in my second week of work. Other people are jealous. Reason we’re going is for this enormous large world meeting thing that I won’t bore you with. But basically – it’s 5 days in the SUN!

To most people in New Zealand, the Bahamas is this mythical place featured in cheesy 80’s movies where everyone drinks cocktails from coconuts and wears high-cut one-piece togs with sun visors. It’s so difficult to get to – and so similar to the Pacific Islands which are not – that I can count on one hand the people I know that have been there. My parents are among them. They stayed there a couple of years ago at this insanely awesome hotel...called It’s like a textbook resort that has everything you could possibly want...but multiplied by ninety. It’s huge. Imagine my shock when my boss’ll be staying at the Atlantis. There are TWENTY-EIGHT restaurants. One is UNDER WATER. There are STINGRAYS and DOLPHINS and LOTS OF THINGS IN THE SHOPS THAT I CAN’T AFFORD.

Now I know I’ll be chasing people around and finding band-aids and currency converters and phone cards and dealing with men on a working holiday with a skinful of alcohol with no wives to chaperone them – but if I get half an hour – just half an hour on that beach with one coconut cocktail – I’ll be happy. Hell, I’m going to be happy to be somewhere that isn’t cold, wet, rainy and MISERABLE. (It’s actually quite warm and sunny today but I’m building up the juxtaposition).

The best thing about this trip to me is the flight. I can’t stand flying usually – when it’s a one hour trip between Dunedin and Wellington and it’s windy as fuck and the plane is bouncing around and my tepid cup of weak tea in a polystyrene cup that I can take home if I want! is threatening to fall in my lap and my stomach is trying to work its way out of my pores and the person next to me has a fleeting memory of soap and low-fat food. To me, that is my personal hell. On a tangent, Rich and I went to Auckland Museum in the weekend. For some reason, there was a big Perspex box full of cockroaches. I looked at it, shuddering, then commented to some old dude that it was my personal hell, right there in that box. He looked at me, and then laughed. His wife came over, said something in German, then he said to her “She said that is her personal hell,” in German. I think. It sounded cooler in German. Or he said “this girl thinks I’m English.” Anyhoo. This flight to the Bahamas will have all the bells and whistles. I may – just may – get to fly Business Class, thanks to a nifty deal with airpoints, travel agents who like me and the recession, meaning many, many empty seats on planes. Luxuriousness....ah.

One thing I’m not looking forward to is LAX. Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – has a horror story about this place. So am taking a full change of clothes on the plane in case my suitcase does a detour via Timbuktu. (Did you know this is a real place? On the border of the Sahara desert? I only found this out a few years ago. I wonder if people from Timbuktu use Auckland in a similar sense).

Anyhoo I’m off in 8 days. The timetables have changed so much regarding our travel that I’ve been afraid to start packing just in case I jinx it. But it’s too late now....the camera batteries are charging...the MP3 player is stocked (anyone got any new favourite tunes? I have an iTunes mind blank)...the legs are being waxed.

Will be Twittering while I’m away so follow me there – click the link to the right!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Happy Birthday to my little Bunny

Amelie turned 2 on the 22nd of April, and not a day goes by when I don't think of her little face and squeezable little body and smile.
She has taught me the gift of unrequited love and for that, I promise to always buy her gorgeous little polka-dotted cardigans.

Thursday, 23 April 2009


Antonia meme'd her devoted followers today, so I thought I'd put off doing some work, and meme back. Having done the meme, I've read through it, and it makes me sound like a total grumpy cow. This is entirely correct. I am very cat's-bum today. Work has been seriously full on.
So meme it is - questions and answers. Answers are supposed to be in the form of a song title, but I agree with Antonia, reading detailed personal answers are much more interesting.

1. Are you a male or female: Female. I think I have a lot of testosterone though as I am a grumpy, impatient, decisive person, with no time for shopping in large wittering groups, exclaiming over each other’s purchases.

2. Describe yourself: See above. My mother says I’m sensitive, generous and the life of the party (when she is happy with me). Rude, aggressive, and bullying (when she is not). Friends say I am funny, loyal, generous. Enemies probably say I am a bitch. Rich says I’m crazy but he loves me anyway. Basil thinks I’m God.

3. How do you feel about yourself: In the words of every teacher I ever had “Amy does not work to her full potential.” I always feel like I’m supposed to better than I am, but am too lazy to be so. There’s always tomorrow. Then tomorrow comes and you’ve got no friends, no family is talking to you and you’re living alone with 90 cats and bulk buying Lean Cuisines and family packs of icecream.

4. Describe your parents: My father and I parted company when I was 14 due to my parents’ incredibly acrimonious divorce. It’s only as I get older do I realize how much this must have affected me as a person to have to go through. My sister and I weren’t shielded from any of it. Awful. But, Dad is a great pal to have – I get my drinking genes from him AND he let me smoke inside when I was only 15. My friends were very jealous. He loves music, general knowledge and any kind of information that he can bamboozle his buddies with. He works as a Sales Rep for houseware places and his house smells of cheap scented candles and curry. His capacity for forgiveness is incredible.
My mother is tiny, with bright bird-like brown eyes, and short brown hair. She always wears trousers and red shoes. She hasn’t worked for some time, being married to my step father who was very successful after working his ass to the bone for many many years. He got yelled at in the street once for having a flash car. When he came home and told us I was so mad. He worked SO hard, and deserves that car. Grrr. Digressing. Mum loves anything French and to do with food. Our favourite thing to do together is to go to a deli and pick out some fun ingredients to play with for dinner. I can make her scream with laughter, but more often than not, I make her cry. We can be in the same house for about 2 days, but any longer and there’s friction. It’s sad. But we laugh about it. Basically, neither of us like to back down or say sorry. We are very alike.

5. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriends: They were people I liked the IDEA of. But we didn’t get on.

6. Describe your current boy/girl situation: As comforting as some fluffy slippers, worn out dressing gown, purring cat on the lap and Antiques Roadshow on the telly in front of the fire. My happy place.

7. Describe your current location: Work.

8. Describe where you want to be: Not work. Pottering in my garden at my old house. Cuddling with my new niece in her darkened bedroom, cooing at her softly. Cooking at my parents’ country cottage listening to classical music. Having a glass of wine in a funky bar with my friends.
9. Your best friend(s) is/are: people that make me laugh. That’s all you gotta do to be my friend. Oh, and also have cute babies for me to cuddle, or dogs, or cats. Ask for my opinion lots. Offer me your opinion. Don’t be offended when I don’t agree with you.

10. Your favourite colour is: Depends what we’re talking about. Clothes, it’s red. Paint colours, it’s light blue. Flowers – yellow.

11. You know that: Finding and removing an ingrown hair can make a so-so day into a really good one.

12. If your life was a television show what would it be called: I am bad at zippy names. It would probably be a sit com that would run for years and years though, following my first world dramas like what to cook for dinner when the oven is broken, and the season finale cliff hanger – is Basil going to get a younger brother/sister?

13. What is life to you: Something I have to work really hard at. I like this quote: “Each day I rush through so that I can get onto the next” or something. I’m always looking for something better around the corner. As Garth would say to Wayne, “live in the NOW!”

14. What is the best advice you have to give: It’s a bit of a downer actually. “The anticipation is usually better than the event.” Isn’t that sad? Here's a happier one: "What goes down must come up." On my crappiest days this cheers me no end.

So anyhoo. Heading home now - it's still light outside - a miracle. Going to make rack of lamb and watch hours of South Park on Comedy Central with a glass of red wine. Rich is out at football practice (that's soccer for those Yankees out there). Wishing you all a restful and happy night. x

Thursday, 26 March 2009

My brush with quasi-fame

So last night was spent celebrating the birth of wee baby Stella Kate, Amelie’s little sister. I’m heading back to Tauranga to meet her tomorrow so will take many photos to share.
We’re also celebrating Richard’s new job! After what seems like an eternity, but in reality was about 2 months, Rich has been offered a role in sales for a cool new beverage company. He is over the moon, as am I.
So last night meant many champers, brandies and whiskies (am trying to develop a taste for it. Unsure why, but I just read Peta Mathias’s Burnt Barley, her travels around Ireland, and she loooves whisky. I love Peta, so I’m trying to copy her. So far it tastes like smoky nail polish remover, so I have some way to go). My head is rather full of dust and cobwebs this morning.

BUT! As we all know, everyone is allowed a top 5, of people they’re allowed to have sex with even if they’re married or in a relationship. My list goes something like this:

1. Liam Neeson (he may not be up for it quite yet)

2. Prince Harry, or William at a pinch

3. Richard Kahui (latest All Black hero)

4. The guy in those aftershave ads who’s lying in a boat somewhere in the Greek Islands showing off a 12-pack and a well stocked lunchbox. I can’t find it anywhere. If you can, please send to me.

5. Ivan Cleary (coach of the Auckland Warriors rugby league team).

Everyone goes “WHAT????” when I mention Ivan. He’s not classically hot. Nor is he particularly famous. I only know who he is because I have a boyfriend who would watch the Pacific Petanque Championships on Sky Sport if it meant he could open a beer and park up on the couch. But I digress. Ivan and I have an electricity which I can feel through the telly screen. So anyhoo as I mentioned previously, we were out at the pub. I see this guy walk in who looks kinda familiar. I then realise that one of my Top Five is in the same room as me.
Rich immediately goes “I’ll be off home then – give you guys some time to chat.” Ivan takes a seat conveniently directly behind me, meaning I have to find all sorts of reasons to turn around and gawp. Rich kindly offers to change seats with me, having a full view of Ivan’s smouldering, eastern European-ish profile. I decline, because it would probably ruin Ivan’s night, having this half-pissed chick staring at him all night when he’s trying to have a couple of quiets with his mates.
Rich’s number one is Jessica Biel. I fully agree with this, she has to have the most perfect body in the world right now.
When I look at Justin Timberlake’s pics as a teenager, with those zits and albino styles afro, I can imagine how we must look in the mirror standing next to her and know that there is a God. But, Jessica Biel lives a million miles away, and it’s highly unlikely she’s ever going to wander into a pub in suburban Auckland. Rich lives in hope however. I hope to conduct myself with the same grace if she ever does.
So anyway Ivan finishes his second pint and leaves. I stare longingly after him. Then I turn and look into Rich’s smiling face with his lovely blue eyes and cute grin, and I don’t think any more about Ivan. My all-time top of the list number 1 is right here with me.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Fatted calf for one.....

...the Prodigal Son has returned. Basil turned up at 10:30 last night, presumably after a day's hiding and getting spooked by things. He smelled suspiciously herb-like, so either he was in a neighbour's well cultivated veggie garden, or in the student flats over the road. He was really hungry when he got back.
So thank you all for your positive thoughts..they worked! Now keep them coming for Richard...he has a second job interview today. Crossing all my fingers!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


Just to top off our most awesome week, Basil has gone missing. We were keeping him inside until he got used to his new home, which he wasn't happy about at all. He found a gap and shot through, and hasn't been seen all morning. Our new house is surrounded by bush, water, other houses and strange cats and dogs, so finding his way back will be a mission.
Times I think I'm ready to have kids, but if I feel like this for a CAT, imagine how it must be for a parent when their child is missing/sick/leaving home.
I can't concentrate and all I can think of is his little paws picking their way around unfamiliar territory. Shudder. Rich is doorknocking and I've got some fliers to put in mailboxes. Cross your fingers for us.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Lower than the Low

Note: before I continue this mega-rant, may I just say that a lot of my friends are recruitment agents, and they are all lovely, lovely people. This is not directed at anyone personally. Just those bastards who have been dealing with my man.

So. Things are going well for me. However not so for my lovely other half. Rich has been touting his wares around all the recruitment agencies in Auckland, informing of his availablity for work. Rich is one of those guys who, whenever anyone meets him, they ALWAYS come back saying wow, that is a really Good Guy. He's smiley, happy, friendly, polite and absolutely hilarious.
The amount of times he's presented at a recruitment office to be told "sorry we're busy, sorry we've got nothing right now" etc is terrible. It kills him to keep that smile pasted on, keep his positivity up.
After no contact for weeks, suddenly the Agent From Hell will call.

AFH: "OMG! I have the most perfect job in the world for you! I'm actually calling on my lunchbreak to show you how much I think you are perfect for this role!"

Rich: "Wow! Cool! What is it?"
AFH: "It's (a perfect job)"

Rich: "That's incredible - I'd be great at that !"

AFH: "I KNOW! I'm going to put you forward. In fact, I'm going to tell them you're top of the list. Richard this job comes with a car! And a phone! And all these other things I'm going to blind you with so that you believe me when I say it's the perfect job!"

Rich: "I like cars! And phones are great! This company is the best in the world!"

AFH: "You're meeting with them first thing Monday morning. I kinda have to put other people forward as well, but you're definitely first on the list."

Rich: "Thank you so much. You don't know what this means to me."

AFH: "Well, I do like to think of myself as Jesus Christ, so I'm very humble"

The interview happens, and goes okay. Rich is hesitant.

AFH: "What did you think!!!!"

Rich: "I don't think it was that good. They interrupted me a few times. It was a really tough interview."

AFH: "Are you kidding!!! They LOVED you! They wanted to see how well you'd go under pressure and they said you were brilliant!"

Rich: "REALLY? God I thought I was awful!"

AFH: "Not at all. In fact, you're top of the list. They just need to sort some things out at their end and see the other candidates. But like I of the list...."

Rich: "Awesome! Again, thank you so much! I owe you my firstborn!"

Days go by. Texts are received confirming how awesome Rich is from the AFH. They are received by the hiring company, confirming they will be back to him soon. Rich starts planning the commute to the office.

AFH: "Rich, hello."

Rich: "Oh hey! How are you? Do you have some news?"

AFH: "Uh....yeah. I'm sorry to say you didn't get the job."

Rich: "....oh. Wow. Okay. Why not?"

AFH: "*lists a hundred and one stupid reasons as to why he didn't get the job, none of them true*

Rich: "Okay. Well, thank you for your help anyway. Do you have anything else that's goin-"

AFH: "Rightsowe'llbeintouch, thanks"

Rich: deflates like a balloon.

It seriously kills me to see him like this. He's an upstanding, go-getter kind of guy who has been working Hard since he was 17 years old. The disappointment in his voice makes me want to find these recruitment agents, who built him up so much that his fall is just that much harder, and ram their stupid little cliche sayings and fake natures down their stupid little throats. Whatever happened to honesty? Here are some things they should say instead.
"We're putting you forward for the interview"
"They were happy with your presentation but please wait for a decision before getting too excited and continue with your job hunting"
"I"m sorry. I'm just a twat with a business card and really huge ego. I have no people skills and in no way I should be building you up and telling you you've got the job when it's not my decision to make. I'm going to quit and become a job-seeker Just Like You, so I can really see what it's like."

I've got to go home tonight, and instead of being all excited about moving into our great new flat in Auckland, I'll be pouring beer down Rich's throat and listening to his worries. It's what I do and I'm happy to do it. But seriously. If you work in recruiting, think about what I've said. You are messing with people's lives here.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Happy New Year!

As Chandler would say, could I BE more late? I think not.
What a crazy summer, mes amies, losing and gaining jobs, moving cities, parlez-ing le francaise, I tell you it's been mad. But am here to tell all about it.

So yes as I previously mentioned, I was made redundant. Which is veeeery common these days in NZ. So I didn't feel too bad. What was horrible, was the amount of recruitment people I had to go and see in Tauranga, who all built me up into feeling like super woman, then at the end of the interview, saying, yeah well, there's actually no jobs but hey...we'llbeintouch. Recruitment consultants: not my favourite people. The jobs I did apply for I wouldn't hear anything from, for up to two weeks after deadline. Then it would be "you are not successful. We had 200 applications for this role" etc. And that was for a lame-ass admin role. Paying diddly-squat.
Rich and I put our heads together and had a conversation that went like this.

Me: I'm NOT moving back to Auckland. I refuse and don't ask me again.
Him: But we're not going to find jobs here. You don't have to sell your house, you can rent it out.
Me: But it's Basil's HOME.
Him: *rolls eyes*
Me: And my garden. My beautiful beautiful garden!!
Him: Take the chili plant with you.

So after many, many tears and arguments, here we are in Auckland! With one chili plant. We have found a place to rent in Remuera, which is the ponciest suburb in Auckland. Every house looks like it was built for a visiting Lord back in the colonial days. How we found the place (actually Rich found it) is a miracle. Maybe someone - FINALLY - took pity on us.

Rich is looking for work - poor lamb, it's the worst - and I got a job - literally had it confirmed - in my last half hour of my old job. This meant I had a spectacular leaving do.
I'm working for a sporting organisation that is based all over Oceania. I'm expected to speak French lots - luckily I studied it at school - and I'll be doing lots of travel. Will also be organising competitions and meetings and various other things. I am fully loving it so far and it's amazing how much you realise the finance industry is insulated. There's a whole other world out there people. Put it this way - I think we had 3 Maori staff at my old office. No Asians. In my office here, I sit next to a Solomon Islander, take orders from a Tahitian and assist Samoans. It's brilliant.

So we are trucking along nicely. We're staying at an apartment in town until our flat is ready - another couple of weeks. Basil is having a fat camp holiday at KarakaKats in... Karaka. Gorgeous place, if anyone's looking for a cattery. He has his own hammock and according to the owner, "eats like a horse". Mais bien sur!

Summer has been alternatively mild, perfect, death like, and now, cooler. The death like days were caused by temperatures of 32.4 deg (hottest ever in Auckland) and 100% humidity. It was like trying to swim through dryer lint. You have a perpetual sheen of sweat. Plastic chairs become mini swimming pools. Poor Rich had to change shirts 3 times a day. However it's back down to the low 20's at the moment and everyone is much more sprightly. Autumn clothes are in the shops, shudder.

We had a very small Christmas holiday and went down to Mahia which is on a very isolated peninsula on the east coast of the North Island. It's Kiwiana to a T. Small, weatherboard baches, on scrubby lawn with no fences. Dogs running free, huge sand dunes sloping down to the most perfect smooth sandy beach, with small tubular waves cruising towards shore. Sunburnt shoulders, sticky fingers, sandy hair and cool beer were the order of the day. Most amazing of all, Mahia has a resident dolphin, Moko. She swims in most days and lazily plays with fellow bathers. We rushed down to the water whenever we saw her come in, and someone would throw a ball or a flutterboard. She would use her nose to bat it away then go diving after it. I got to stroke her twice and squealed like a little kid each time. She felt like a warm wetsuit, so smooth. Some people were muttering that you shouldn’t get too close etc, etc, but if she didn’t like it, she could swim away. She loved it. I could tell.
Rich's favourite bit that he told his teacher about on his first day of school was when he got to go with the fishermen? And catch lots of fish? Like 13 hapuku (groper)? And 10 crayfish? And we ate them? And then got really drunk for New Years Eve?
So anyhoodle that was me for the last two months. My hair has grown even more. I read lots more books. Recently finished Parky. He is totally awesome. Now reading Yes Man by Danny Wallace. Keeping Richard awake with my sniggering. As an aside, I love Danny Wallace. He's in my top five.
So, tell me your news! I'll just make a coffee then sit down and listen.