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Friday, 27 January 2012

the sun is out


It's my last day at work for a month.

ON MY WAY TO WORK THIS MORNING.  GLORIOUS

My stomach is churning (can I get it all finished today? What crises will develop in my absence?  Will they all realise I was a waste of space?). 

In three days, I'll be in San Francisco, drinking filter coffee and sniffing gently, trying to capture the smells of America (the strongest nostalgia is for the sweet, rotting fugue of New York or the damp, vegetative odour of New Orleans).

In less than a week, I'll be in Aotearoa, raising my eyebrows at people on the street in greeting, kia ora-ing and ka kite-ing, being welcomed back into the bosom of my family (oh god, I'm sick of you already, my mother will say.  I will grin because it's true and also because we both know we'll cry at the airport when I leave.  We always do).  I'll be smelling sea-salt and dry grass wafting off a hot breeze.  I'll stick my hand out the car window to feel the shape of it. 

England has put on a show for me today (don’t go A, remember the springtime, I have green leaves and twisty lanes and daffodils, I'm fecund for godssake). 

The bulbs outside my front door are budding.  Where has winter gone?  It never really arrived this year.

Don't worry London, I'll be back soon.  Thank you for making it easy for me to return.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

literary admissions


London suburbs are sweetened by little lumps of opportunity shops.  These shops tend to run in packs - two or three together - at the end of a high street, or just round a corner.  We suburb-hop of a weekend in London and my heart swells when I find the op-shop stores in a new suburb.  I give a cursory glance at the glassware collections (vintage champagne glasses can be identified in an easy ocular sweep of a shelf), run my fingers through the plastic ropes of beads, and then swoop on the inevitable, wonderful stacks of plyboard holding up a treasure chest of pre-loved books.

In bookstores and libraries, op-shops and other people's homes, I have a distinctive spine-reading head tilt.  Left to right across a shelf, then right to left on the shelf above or below, eyes angled to run like fingertips across the angular undulations of a row of books. 

SPINES

Like the black jellybean in a packet, some literary collections in an op-shop are an acquired taste.  I don't often select tomes from the extensive collections of chick-lit and romance novels, but I do love to compare the pictures on the front (a Mills & Boon aficionado friend, at 18: "avoid anything with a baby on the cover.  Always unsatisfying.").  Do these books make their way in droves to the second hand stores because, once read, their previous owners are ashamed to let them grace the bookcase? 

I recall a guest - a boyfriend of P's friend - commenting on my bookshelf some years ago.  He didn't realise I was in earshot and called us wanky for having a dictionary.  Didn't he know it was a gift? I thought.  Didn't he realise how supremely useful a dictionary could be?  I think it was the first conscious realisation that someone's taste in books was akin to a taste in art and was subject to the judgement of others.  The guest went on to insult P's CD collection and choice of music to P's face and, unsurprisingly, never graced our apartment again. ("Oh that dick", we said, on learning P's friend was seeing him again).  Challenge me, yes.  Mock me gently to my face, I'll blush and try to serve it back.  But nobody, bar nobody, who wants to drink my wine bags my dictionary.  Now there's a line in the sand for you.

There is always a Stephenie Meyer book at the op-shop these days.  I think there are a multitude of women who have secretly tried Edward Cullen on for size and clearly, for some, he's been found wanting.

But you never know when there will be a dog eared copy of Dickens, a scraggly paged travel guide of Spain (the best sights in foreign places never go out of date like an old edition.  Who needs the hostel recommendations when you've got 5 words of the language and a map?) or, my favourite find to date, a beautiful red and gold leather bound Austen, pages crisped to a faded yellow. 

£1.50. 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

medication and more about underwear

I stopped in at the pharmacy on the way to work this morning.  I purchased all the essentials: wax, condoms, birth control pills, UTI drugs and hayfever tablets.  Doesn't that make me sound like a feral hussy with a drippy nose? 

Actually, I'm just a feral hussy; the hayfever tablets were for my sister.  P and I depart for the Southern Hemisphere on Sunday, so I recently received an email from K asking me to stock up on hayfever meds as they're cheaper here. 

I have not yet checked customs regs through the States and NZ yet so I'm hoping that travelling through with 7 different packets comprised of 4 different flavours of meds isn't going to make me look like some kind of low grade lackey in an amateur drug operation.  I'm sure a strip search isn't quite as exciting as it sounds…plz to tell me if it is. 

Sister K formerly lived just outside London but found her job there a bit restrictive ("They made me wear shoes") so she migrated back to the greater Auckland metropolis at the end of 2009.  She does miss some aspects of British life though ("the awesome ready meals at Marks & Sparks" for example WHAT AN EFFING HIGHLIGHT).

K also misses the fine range of underwear here in the UK.  I'm inclined to agree.  As fantastic as the Bendon seconds shop at the Auckland airport is, it's got nothing on the UK department stores.  This weekend, I went in to John Lewis to get officially fitted for a bra. 

That's right, I decided that these puppies should be properly slung.  It's not that I have been letting them roam free, but I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship with my bras, in that while I like having a good one, my boobage has difficulty with the bras I like (i.e. ones made of frilly bits in pretty colours).  Jeebers H., 3rd person boobs, sorry about that. 

I now have the overshoulderboulderholders to RULE THEM ALL.  They dropped me about 3 band sizes which blew my mind, and my ribcage is having to get used to the boa constrictor elastic that these badboys are reliant on.  Dropping band sizes means an increase in cup size for those of you who are undergarment-challenged…so now it sounds like I have extreme norks. 

VIA CLUSTERFLOCK.  JANE RUSSELL: EXCELLENT CANS.  NEW BOOBROLE MODEL

You can learn a lot about your boobs by having some bird bend you over to drop them in about 17 different pieces of nylon and elastane.  For instance, I learnt that when it comes to looking good under a t-shirt, I have no shame in parading marginally see through underwear for two different women whose names I don't even know and announcing "wow, these boys are ROUNDER than I thought" (they agreed).    

I also learnt that having strangers see my boobs causes me less concern than having strangers see my muffin top.  Weird.

Monday, 23 January 2012

rant o'clock

Lest I seem too rational from what you read so far (god, it's so obvious that I live in hope of a following of a thousand readers who think I'm the personification of CHRISTMAS), I have a rant for you to even up the balance a bit.  Day to day considerations; the state of the nation gets me worked up too but frankly, I've got to split my rants up a bit. 

·         Slow pedestrians with few navigation skills should be forcibly removed from normal-people footpaths.  SRSLY.  These people drive me bananas and Mum, don't scoff, I know I'm practically drunk-in-charge of a trolley at the supermarket but that doesn't count;

·         WHY OH GOD WHY has work started stocking Red Bull in the vending machine?  They are already punishing me with the Twirl bars and you know I'm picking one of those over almonds. 

·         People who smell funky on buses.  I know I know - you take the bus; you take the consequences - but I am sick to death of sitting near someone who has either (a) not washed in a month of Sundays or (b) laced themselves with vile body spray that appears to enhance the underlying body odour.  I would rather sit next to the guy who wanted to share my earphones and was seriously cross when I had no Duffy on my playlist and selfishly wouldn't share things I place inside holes in my head (I exaggerate.  He freaked me the eff out but it did weigh in his favour that he wasn't emitting any noxious fumes).

·         Orange and mandarin pith under my fingernails.  It just plain pisses me off.

I was going to continue, then I remembered that come Friday I'm on leave for a WHOLE MONTH.  This pretty much makes me the luckiest girl in the world so I now feel (vaguely) guilty for bitching.  Soz. 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

san sebastian

Hi guys.

LUCKY LUCKY you.  Today I am going to tell you all about my long weekend in San Sebastian.  This happened in October but I felt like reminiscing.  Plus this long weekend thing is the single best thing about living in London.  I mean, when I take an hour and a half flight from Auckland I either end up in Dunedin (sorry Dunedin, I love you but you're no sexy exotic foreign food mecca) or somewhere in the Tasman Sea. An hour and a half from Gatwick gets you awesome. 

P and I spent four days in San Sebastian and pretty much ruined eating for the next month.  IT WAS WORTH IT.  San Sebastian (or Donostia, if you prefer) is also very pretty.  Sometimes we had to go for walks to burn off the food and we saw things like this:

AUTUMN SKY (I SWEAR I HAVE NOT FRIGGED WITH THE FILTERS) AND BOATS AND JEEBERS ON THE HILL.


RIVER RUNNING THROUGH TOWN, ABOUT 1 KM FROM THE SEA.  NO DEAD THINGS IN IT (c.f. MY WEE FRIEND THE THAMES)

P organised us accommodation in the Old Quarter of town and I was designated as chief map reader/understander of Mandy, our sat nav (Mandy's a Garmin and bought solely because of those effing awesome ads featuring giant Swedish hands and tiny mandolins.  It is just about the only ad that does not aggravate P's early on-set oldmanrage - he has VERY strong feelings about advertisements).  Sadly this ended up fairly stabby because the Old Quarter is not intended for vehicles other than tiny scooters and odd tiny fish delivery vans.  We almost totalled the rental car on a bollard and effed any chance we had at marital harmony. 



Apart from being a serious cause of relationship angst, the Old Quarter is awesome.  It is full of tasty, tasty pintxos bars with delicious things on sticks in bars with plenty of old dudes.  My thrifted 50p Spanish phrasebook was not quite as useful as we thought it would be, given the Basque speak Basque which is very LOGICAL.  That's some good travel homework right there, no? And demonstrates a stunning lack of current-ish affairs knowledge.  Once you get the 'tx' pronounciation only slightly mangled (we think it's 'ch' which seemed to generally work), you're good to go to eat things.  Pintxos are effing awesome. 




San Sebastian is also a wankery paradise because allegedly it has the most Michelin stars per head of population.  I mean that in the nicest way possible because we ate at some nice places that did not feel like they were patronised solely by tossers (London, I'm looking at you: there seems to be a direct correlation between Michelin stars and wanky patrons there).  Like I've said before, I don't do food blogging because it makes me feel like an asshole so apply within to discover the restaurants we sampled.*
NOT A RESTAURANT.  MORE BOATS.

We drove along the salty, surprisingly green coastline to get back to the airport at Santander and stopped in Bilbao on the way.  Bilbao has unbelievable architecture and the Guggenheim was mindblowing just from the outside.


BUILDING AND SKY, BILBAO. MOST OBVIOUS CAPTION EVAR. 

BALLS OUTSIDE THE FRANK GEHRY DESIGNED GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, BILBAO. IN MY *cough* EXTENSIVE SEARCH I CANNOT FIND THE CORRECT CREDIT FOR THIS PIECE, BUT THE PHOTO IS MINE. PLZ TO SAY IF YOU KNOW IT.

ME AND JEFF KOONS' PUPPY.  I THOUGHT IT WAS A CAT, I LIKED IT ANYWAY
Wiki just told me an awesome story about the Puppy - apparently, it was the subject of a explosives plot involving flower pots by Basque separatists.  What was not so awesome was the shooting of the Basque police officer who foiled the plan.  I love a good backstory to art but it's hard to reconcile a piece that just made me smile with a convergence of politics, crime and loss.  DEEP THOUGHTS for the day, right there.

So we ate and drank and saw a whole lotta other stuff in San Sebastian too.  Seriously, if you get the chance, go there.  You won't be disappointed.

*Clearly, I prefer to sound like an asshole on other topics. 

Friday, 20 January 2012

owning it


 
The most accurate insult ever levelled at me was circa 1996.  I was at (*whispered voice*) Pony Club, and one of the girls told me that another had called my sister and I try-hards. 

PONIES!!!!!!! EVERYBODY LOVES PONIES!!!!!

SADLY NOT EVERYBODY LOVES PONY CLUB.  BUT *THIS* PONY CLUB HAS SECRETS! UM YOU, YEAH YOU FROM 1994.  YOU READ THIS SHIT ONCE YOU'D FINISHED THE LATEST BABYSITTER'S CLUB BOOK.

I don't recall being too cut up about the insult, other than worrying that people were talking about me behind my back which was always a massive teenage cause of concern for me.  I can't recall how my sister felt either; I don't think we ever discussed our reaction, though it does seem likely we would have had a bit of a bitch session about it (aged roughly 13 and 12 with raging hormones we had already acquired a savage ability to bitch, occasionally as kindred spirits about some third party but more often than not just about each other). 

Was the insult 'try-hard' a thing elsewhere than 1990s NZ?  A try-hard was someone who literally did just that - tried too hard, with overtones of attempting (and failing) to be cool or fit in.  I think the girl that called my sister and I try-hards thought we were amateur competitors who didn't fit in with the cool horsey-girls who spent all their spare time thinking and obsessing about becoming Olympic grade competitors and/or which boys they were going to pash at the next show (boys who rode got around - slim pickings in the teenmale horse community). 

As an aside, I'm not sure the offender appreciated the view that people had of the horsey-girls.  It paid to keep fairly low-key about riding because once discovered, there was an inevitable accusation of being privileged or spoilt.  I was certainly the former (see: bed to sleep in, two parents, no domestic violence and money to spend on extra-curricular pursuits) and probably the latter (see: teenage attitude) but at my high school either could be the kiss of death to your social life.

NOT SURE THIS IS THE HORSEY GIRL MY PEERS circa 1996 HAD IN MIND.  STILL, TOO GOOD NOT TO INCLUDE.  YOU'RE WELCOME. 

The thing is, she was probably right.  I have tried my hand at all sorts of things because other people were doing them and I thought it was cool and I SO DESPERATELY WANTED TO BE COOL.  Often the results were less than stirling (see for e.g. my career as the single most uncoordinated hockey player of all time, my attempts to do a keg stand but inhaling beer by accident, the time I bought a pleather jacket because that's what the kids were wearing then couldn't take it off on school mufti day because of the sweat patches). 

But I look back now and it really doesn't bother me that I was a bit of a try-hard.  Isn't that just part and parcel of working out who you really are?  I still do it I guess, but I'd like to think I've moderated it a bit (i.e. I know that you do not have to go out and get wankered with your colleagues in order to have friends at the office.  You just have to get marginally pissed.  Completely pissed is for mugs). 

I don't wish to sound all woe-is-me and I-now-appreciate-me-for-me because I think I've never really suffered from any self-esteem issues that went beyond the pale (you're probably thinking Jesus H, her head's stuffed way far up her own ass and she's still a GD try-hard but fuck me, I'm just comparing my general self esteem issues with the crap that some women are tortured with, so, well, yeah).  What I do wish to acknowledge is that criticism can suck but sometimes, you can own it. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

narcissism extravaganza


So, I promised photos.  Well here you have it kids, a blogdump of crap pictures taken with wanky filters on my phone. 

I am a blonde.  On a good day.  I have WAY too much hair.  I generally wear oversize sunglasses because they hide terrible squinty eyes.  And they anonymise me (a little, I hope?). 

ME.  HIDING SQUINTY EYES AND BAD HAIR.  SOME KIND OF OBNOXIOUS SELF TAKE.  NOTE ALSO: FRECKLEZZZZ, ENORMOUS EARLOBES. 

This is what I see on the way to work on a good day:


THE THAMES FROM TOWER BRIDGE.  LOOKS CLEAN FOR A CHANGE I.E NO FLOATERS

But on a bad day I see this:

SADS.  GREYGREYGREYGREY.  YEAH VERY DICKENSIAN LONDON OR WHATEVS.  BUT 6 MONTHS OF THIS A YEAR?  THANK GOD FOR THE PUBS.


P has dark hair and very tiny earlobes (small but perfectly formed).  His ears are almost EXACTLY identical to those on Brad Pitt, who also has freakishly small ears.  Seriously, we freeze framed those bad boys during Seven Years in Tibet or whatever GD movie of his that got boring was for closer inspection.  Serious research (OK, so maybe the first page of google images) has not given me a close up, but:

HEAD TO EAR RATIO: RIDICULOUS.


I haven't discussed the use of P's images on the blog with him yet, so you'll have to content yourselves with Brad, prior to the facial hair debacle.  I haven't yet discussed the appropriation/desecration of P's opinions etc with him either...that will be FUN, I've no doubt. 

So, feast your eyes on me giving gam-face/arm to the camera again you lucky puppies:

SOMEWHERE IN SOUTHERN ITALY, BESIDE THE MED.  CLEARLY MID DISCUSSION/RANT.  BEST OF A BAD BUNCH, I'M AFRAID.  EFF IT, WHAT DO I CARE, NO ONE SEES THIS SHIT ANYWAY.


Actually, posting this has proved much harder than anticipated - "but I've lost weight since then!" or "eff me, A, let's talk about those CANS".  I'm narcissistic AND neurotic it seems, what a fine combo. Hymph. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

cultural


I think you, my dear imaginary readers, deserve more than just a rant about my underwear.  So today, I'm presenting to you the awesome London-based things I got up to last weekend which were really, really worthwhile. 

SUNDAY, LIVERPOOL STREET. GLORIOUSY EMPTY OF COMMUTERS. BLUE SKY IN JANUARY - A FREAKING MIRACLE. 


I'm probably not supposed to advertise it, the tagline being "Tell No One", but OH WELL the Secret Cinema was one of the best events I have been to in London.  The premise is that you won't know what movie you're going to see, or where you're going to see it, but that you will know what to wear and who to approach. 

My girlfriend and I spent a couple of hours prior to the movie with the other patrons in an old building decked out in the mode of a particular location in a particular era (I won't give it away), eating, drinking and investigating to our heart's content.  A completely fabulous experience with atmosphere; we laughed, screamed and interacted with staff, actors and other guests before watching a great film.


Friends we hadn't seen for a while suggested a catch up meal and drink at the Pear Tree in Baron's Court.  P and I don't often venture West because we're pretty lazy and our hearts are in the SE1, but the Pear Tree was well worth the trip.  Open fire places with lovely service and reasonably priced and tasty food.  I sat next to tall candles burning in the window and nearly lit my hair on fire, while we yarned and drank. 

The Pear Tree has a real community scene: people were passing a baby around (it wasn't squawking so it gets the seal of approval) and there were several generations in the pub without having that feel of being a place where people come to die or entertain little Timmy (I am not ageist I swear, but I hate it when it feels like there are only the elderly or families with children in a pub - a real mix is where it's at). 

Best beans, tastiest coffee, lovely brunch.  The Allpress roastery in Shoreditch was pretty packed when we arrived on Sunday at about midday, but it was still possible to grab a seat and a copy of the paper.  They don't really do hot brunch food (as in eggs benedict or a fry up) but we love their simple menu.  P and I shared soft boiled eggs (fresh!) with soldiers and a breakfast plate featuring avocado, tomato, prosciutto and cheese with lovely foccacia.  

P and I finished brunch and wandered the streets of Shoreditch with our best nonchalant hipster faces on (we’re SUCH frauds.  The noveau-chic-East-Londoner can smell that we weren't cool before it was not cool to be cool or whatnot).  We bought cheap t-shirts with gaudy prints and ogled the street art.  And then bought a half doz champagne from Majestic because that's we're lushes EVERY day of the week and specials are nothing to be sniffed at. 

{Apologies for the lack of photos - more to come next post, I promise!}

Monday, 16 January 2012

knickers

Today is a big day.  I'm heading out of work early, going to the bridal store and trying on my dress for what should be the last time before I take it home.  This is not the big news in itself.  Do not panic; this will not become a wedding asshat blog just yet, it is still just a general asshat blog with appearances by my alter-bridezilla-ego.

The big news is that in preparation for this final dress rehearsal I am wearing the spanx.  OMFG.  It's probably more accurate to say the Spanx are wearing me - my mid section is like a cuddly toy being gripped by a 14 year old whose first boyfriend has just won it by feeding a clown's face with balls or somesuch (i.e. I am being squeezed tightly by something kinda sweaty). 

I look pretty GD slamming in a basic wrap dress for work that usually has my tum hanging out the front but I AM NOT SURE THIS IS WORTH IT.  OK OK, I'm vain, it's worth it, but holy hell these things make you pay for the glory of having no knicker line.  Though I don't think I'll be wearing them to work again; it ruined lunchtime aka the best part of the day (I spend all morning deciding what to have for lunch; then spend all afternoon working out what to do better next time.  What can I say, I strive for perfection). 

I even viewed the Golden Globe outfits this morning online with far more sympathy that I would otherwise usually grant that parade of the rich, famous and skinny bitches.  I spent a considerable amount of time playing an endlessly entertaining game of 'Undies, Spanx or Commando?' on the Daily Mail (Net results: I think Kelly Osborne was the only one wearing normal knickers not spanx, pretty sure Heidi Klum went sans-pants which in her case is totally legit, possibly Piper Perabo also but her entire dress appeared see-through and she looked a little, well, manic, so she had bigger issues going on than her smalls). 

WHAT?  YOU'D MAKE THIS FACE TOO IF SOME SPANDEX WAS CONTAINING YOUR HERNIA

I am ridiculously late on the bandwagon for spanx, but in all seriousness, why why WHY have people been enduring this in silence?  On my wedding day, I don't think I'm gonna receive a compliment (and there better be thousands of those) without saying "have you SEEN what it takes to achieve this perfection right here?" or "check out this bad boy" while lifting up my dress. 

Friday, 13 January 2012

*stop press* time for a ridiculous whinge

So I've been giving you the rose-tinted lens version of relationship with P.  I've been all "P is so great, I'm the luckiest girl in the world, he cooks my dinner and makes me eat meals with vegetables wah wah wah".  But I've got to face the truth people, there is an enormous blight on this happyhappy picture of domestic bliss.

He doesn't love reality TV.

I'm not sure how I'm bringing myself to marry him.

I can only watch Teen Mom when he's still at work because P considers it way too depressing.  Any programming is better than the Bachelor in his warped mind.  He'll tolerate the Biggest Loser US edition only because he thinks Bob is the Business.  He suffered through my personal highlight of 2009/2010 which was the first season of Jersey Shore.  He can't tell the Kardashians apart.  HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW WHO BETHENNY FRANKEL IS.    

Sometimes, I think we're just too far apart.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

hats are not for the faint of heart


There are two kinds of people in this world: those who look good in hats, and those who look godawful.  This is not a hair/hairless dichotomy.  I have seen bald people work a hat like they're Agyness Deyn and the hat is a lycra body stocking.  Similarly, I have seen the follicle-challenged wear beanies in scenarios where all I can think is "Surely the wool is scratching your head directly.  Surely all you want right now is to get a hand up under there and itchityscratchityscratch? But you can't scratch or EVERYONE will think you've got NITS* ew ew ew**". 

I have seen people with unprepossessing locks transformed by the application of a wee scrap of felt and feather.  But there are also girls with the glossiest manes whose hat makes said beautiful pelts look triangular by making it appear to start at roughly ear level.  I suspect that there is something important about finding the right hat, and wearing it with the right attitude.

At high school, my best friend and I had a pact.  No hats at our weddings, oh no.  We would not have a horde of middle aged ladies parading millinery matched to their twinset and pearls.*** We were not hat girls, no way no how.  She has lovely glossy hair that did not need to be covered the only types of hats we owned: winter beanies and caps with neck flaps for sun protection.  I have horrid, hateful frizzy hair which it should have been a pleasure to hide but, with it tucked up under a beanie, I look All Ears and Nose. 

Occasionally, over the years, both of us have tried to amend this position.  For example, we have tried fascinators at the races.  Mine spent all day at a wonky angle and generally looked disproportionate to the size of my hair (I can forgive my family many of the dud genes they have gifted me: giant fleshy earlobes and less than 20/20 eyesight for example.  But WHY oh WHY did I have to inherit thick, frizzy, mousy hair in the worst possible combination of hair-genes from either side of the family? SELF-INDULGENT SADFACE).  Best friend pulled it off with more aplomb, but I think we still generally feel like frauds in a hat. 

Which is why it came as a surprise to me when she sent me an email, explaining that the head wear she'd be rocking for my wedding looked much like this:



Bitch. 

*Headlice, for those challenged by the Kiwi lexicon.  Feeling a box of birds?  Got your knickers in a knot? 

** God forbid people should think you have a common childhood/close quarters complaint.  But I always feel sad for people with nits, like they're WWI soldiers facing the worst of humanity in terrifying conditions, who are about to go over the top and ON TOP of all that are suffering the indignity of itchy critters in their hair and pubes.  And if it’s a child, then I also get a case of the sads because my experience suggests that their mum is about to come after them with a bottle of the most nostril-searing, eye-stinging stuff known to mankind and they will get repeatedly dunked in the bathtub to rinse followed by a gorilla grooming session with a fine tooth comb.  Fair to say my Mum has a zero tolerance policy on nits and a love for the personal hygiene habits of the great apes. 

*** Probably relevant to point out here that she and I grew up in a pretty low-socio economic area and did not know anyone who wore twinsets and pearls or who wore any hat other than a beanie with "D---- Rugby Club" printed across the front.  I think we'd based our no hats rule on back issues of the NZ Woman's Weekly featuring Sarah Ferguson's wedding to the Duke of York.  Best friend is a ginger and role models were hard to come by in the pre-Christina Hendricks era. 

*name change update*

Urgent update for my imaginary readers: I just booked a hotel as Anna NewLastName and the booking site asked me whether I was Miss, Ms or Mrs.  YOU GUYS, in all the excitement of the surname drama I forgot there is a decision to be made about my title.

I prefer Lady.  Dame will do in a pinch.  Mistress not so much.  QUEEN would be awesome.  But eff me, Mrs?  I feel another wee spell coming on…BIG SIGH.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

domesticity is overrated

BIG NEWS: last night, I cooked dinner for P and I.  I know, I know, back the truck up, what were you thinking A?  Just yesterday you were all concerned about selling out on your feminist principles and now you're cooking his dinner?  You are a fembot sell out!  You are a disgrace to the species!  And you didn't even use the opportunity for a sneaky vegetarian attack?* A, YOU EVEN MISSED THE OPPORTUNITY TO LOW-CARB THAT SHIT.  ARE YOU TRYING TO SABOTAGE YOUR OWN ASS? 

Yeah, spag bol for the family registers as a big event round these parts.  P does most of the cooking and I am the designated sous-chef.  I love this role, 'cause the sous-chef jobs I get assigned are generally along the lines of "mix the martinis, woman!" or "get out of my way", in which case I can go back to whatever Bachelor/Flavour of Love/Teen Mom/Kardashian programming I can find (I watch AWESOME television, what can I say.  Who wants to come home from work and have to use their brains in the evening?  Not this little piggy!). 

I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU SAY.  SHE'S PRETTY WITH BIG HOOHOOS THAT SHE DRESSES IN A SLUTTY CASUAL MANNER AND SHE IS MOSTLY NICE TO HER SISTERS.  I CONSIDER HER ROLE MODEL MATERIAL FOR ME.  YES I AM STILL A FEMINIST.  ONE WITH ISSUES.

P is a veritable genius in the kitchen.  He does things with beans that make me weak in the knees (read that how you will you filthy-minded imaginary readers).  The one drawback is that his cooking prowess makes him unreceptive to the some of the specialities in my repertoire, which is a constant source of disappointment to me.  P does not consider that the following foodstuffs make an acceptable evening meal:

- Toast.  Even if I go beyond Marmite and slap some avocado or tomato or *exciting day* both on that bad boy P does not consider it dinner. 

- Cereal.  Even when we had a packet of Lucky Charms so it was like eating sugary green marshmallow juice with crunchy bits P would not stomach cereal as a complete meal. 

MMM LUCKY CHARMS.
YOU GUYS ARE LUCKY WITH ALL THE EXCELLENT PICTURES ON THIS BLOG, ARE YOU NOT? JUST BE GRATEFUL I DID NOT GIVE YOU THE LEPRECHAUN THROWING UP LUCKY CHARMS WITH A FESTIVE HOLIDAY GREETING.  SAVING THAT ONE FOR MARCH. 

- Toasted sandwiches.  Apparently baked beans are only a morning/hangover food and creamed corn was only acceptable for lunch (if that) when we were impoverished students living in the slums of North Dunedin. 

- Biscuits.  Is there anything wrong with having an entrĂ©e of cheese and cracker (pickles if I'm really lashing out) followed by a main of cookie?  Sometimes I add a celery stick to ensure that I am reverse psychologizing the calories (don't tell me you've never bought into the argument that celery takes more calories to digest than it contains.  It is BRILLIANT).    

No, now that we are real people living grown up lives (allegedly) we must have a balanced evening meal that takes more than inspecting the fridge to prepare.  I really like this in theory.  It's not like we avoid take out; pizza has an important place in our lives as does quick cook fresh pasta from Sainsburys.  But I have to admit, removing toast and cereal from the repertoire has left me with very little to work with recipe-wise so spag bol remains on the menu, unexciting or no.  If there is anyone out there (echo...echo...) please know that all your 30 min meal suggestions would be gratefully received. 


*I like to 'surprise' P occasionally with a lack of meat.  I am usually caught out within about two prods of the fork, following which he mutters "would bacon have been too much to ask?" or mournfully intones "is there any chorizo in the fridge?"  On particularly strenuous work days he has been known to demand "DID AN ANIMAL DIE IN THE MAKING OF THIS MEAL? BECAUSE THAT'S MY BOTTOM LINE, RIGHT THERE".  He usually sucks it up though and has even whispered once or twice that my vego meal was tasty. 

Monday, 9 January 2012

say my name, say my name


(When no one is around you)

(Apologies Beyonce and Destiny's Child; this has become the theme tune of this internal feminist battle.)

A LastName is soon to become A SomeoneElse.  I know the name change debate is a bit old and tired but now that it's moved from theoretical to actual for me I've become a bit obsessed.  I've been terrible at expressing it to P, so externalising it here will be therapy du jour.  The Internetsy: My New Psychologist (I would say you're a cheap shrink internets, but BT is rorting me something chronic for the pleasure).  The ramblings expressed as 'views' below are mine and mine alone and apply to me personally, not the debate at large.   

My childhood romanticism focussed around getting together with Prince Charming (sweeping off feet, reciting poetry yadayada); not marrying him, probably a result of I growing up on a marginally confusing diet of 'Girls Can Do Anything!' and 'Find the Man of Your Dreams!' literature, together with seeing de facto and married relationships that were both functional and dysfunctional.  Hence, getting married is a big step for me; I didn't think I wanted or needed it.  

I don't believe that marriage will change my relationship with P.  When we were considering getting married to formalise our relationship for immigration reasons (grrrrr….a whole 'nother rant, stay tuned), a very wise former colleague told me she had felt the same about marriage until she wed.   Expressing her commitment in front of family and friends had, she thought, actually been a really wonderful way of celebrating her relationship and had brought her closer to her husband.  I thought that was a bit cheesy, but when P and I became engaged I was genuinely surprised by how excited our family and friends were for us and I now understand her sentiment. 

Still, I feel as though the wedding is just expressing externally all the commitment we already felt and that the marriage is just a label for the same thing. 

Part of my previous indifference towards marriage was my distaste for the trappings.  I didn't want to be the wife part of a 'Man and Wife'.  I am an individual (hear me roar).  Let me stress that P is not a chauvinist.  He thinks a wedding and marriage is an important part of our relationship - it's not fair for me to speak for him here, but it is pertinent that P wanted me to take his last name because (1) he wants recognition of the family we've become and (2) he's proud of his heritage and loves his surname. 

I'm not bashing on P's viewpoint, because I believe that while my name is ultimately my decision, it impacts him too and his views should be given significant weight.  I kinda wish it were OUR decision in the sense that he has to decide what name he wants for our family, but his name is too important to him for the possibility of change to have occurred to him naturally (for the right reasons). 

BEYONCE CARTER? BEYONCE Z? WHERE IS B's FEMINIST DISCOURSE? OH WAIT, IT'S IN INDEPENDENT WOMAN PART II

Herein lies the rub.  I don't really want to give up my surname.  Pragmatically, I love my last name.  It is easy to spell, fairly well-known but not too common.  P's last name does have a lovely heritage, but spelling and pronouncing it is a complete pain in the ass. 

On a more abstract level, my surname is a large part of my identity.  While it comes from my father, it links me to my family (Mum dropped hers like a hot potato when she married Dad; claimed not unfairly that hers was awful and she couldn't wait to get a new one).  More importantly, I've been using my surname for quite a while now. *Ahemnearly30yearsahem*

My first name (no secret) is Anna.  Mum thought it lovely and very posh - along with every other Kiwi mum in the early 80s, apparently.  Because Anna was so common in New Zealand, my last name took a bigger role in my identity.  'Anna Initial' or 'Anna LastName' was my name right through school and as I have grown up, many colleagues and friends know me either by my firstname-lastname, last name alone or a nickname based on my last name.  It is a rare day when P refers to me as Anna.  He has promised faithfully that if I change my name, he won't stop calling me by the surname nickname he currently uses. 

Worse, I feel like I have to justify this decision every time someone asks when really, it is our/my decision and eff anyone who thinks I should justify it.  I find myself blathering "hard decision…really important to P…blahblahblah" because I instinctively feel that women think I'm selling out the cause and that men think I'm not a feminist because I'm taking his name - SO many things wrong with those assumptions but there you have it. 

Choosing to take his name makes me feel like I'm letting the team down.  I get that I'm lucky to stand on the shoulders of those feminists who came before and broke the ground for my generation.  Part of me feels like those feminists would be tutting about this more ungrateful, traditional, and arguably patriarchal decision to take P's name.  (Let's not talk about the definition of feminist shall we; let's just say for sanity's sake that I believe in equality of treatment for all and the freedom to choose and I when I speak of feminists in generations past, I do not do so in a belittling or dismissive way - I honour them for their commitment to those principles). 

I have to force myself to remember that it is now a CHOICE.  An active, positive, choice that I have because of the f-team, one which I think they would approve as long as I've got my own reasons.

Despite all of that, I'm taking his name.  I like the idea of a shared identity with P and possibly someday children.  It will no longer have professional consequences for me to switch, given I'm re-establishing a career in a different field where not known solely by my last name.  Making P happy is important to me.  Particularly so, given he sees me as his equal in all ways that matter (things that don't and where he believes himself with justification my superior: when arm-wrestling, in the kitchen, playing video games). 

So, yeah.  I should say, eff the lot of you, I don't have to justify shit.  Unless you're interested because you are thinking about the name problem too, in which case I will talk your ear off (see above, if you've got this far)!

Disclaimer: For all the bullshit and bravado in the conclusion above, I obviously had to write this to gerritoff my chest and I clearly still have issues - I still haven't told Mum and Dad which probably makes me a big fat wussy asshat (BTW America, is there a definition for asshat? Love the way it sounds).]

Friday, 6 January 2012

well this explains a lot

Excerpts from a skype call with my mother last night (mercifully, without the video.  Mum generally aims it somewhere above her head so I watch the wall, then supersizes the picture from my camera and asks what self-respecting damn-near 30-year-old still has spots.  THIS PERMA-ADOLESCENT, THAT'S WHO):
**************************************************
Mum: "I'm moving.  To the South Island.  But your father can't shoot the cat." 
Me: "I don't understand this conversation." 
Mum: "We had a discussion about what to do with the animals if we moved."
Me: "A hypothetical discussion about what to do with the cat if you made a hypothetical move that isn't actually that far?"
Mum: "We're definitely going to move.  Maybe.  But your father reckons he could shoot the cat if we moved.  I don't think he's got the balls." 
Me: "So it’s not that you won't let him shoot the cat? Have you even THOUGHT about the cat's feelings in all of this?"
Dad: "I could too shoot that cat.  Peow Peow". 
*****************************************
*BIG NEWS ALERT* My mother told me she had an extremely important announcement: my sister's cat is about to turn 1 and has graduated from kitten bikkies to bigboy bikkies. 
To be fair to Mum, she was laughing hysterically when she told me this earthshattering news from my sister.  I told Mum she's got to be nice to that cat because the way we're going, it could be her only grandchild. 
*****************************************
I'm trying to block this out, but if I had to hear it then you do too.  My mother tried to tell me about a family member (who shall remain unidentified) having a dirty weekend.  When I cut off this line of conversation with a "GROSS NO MORE EW EW EW"  Mum then remarked that said family member has "different networking techniques" than either her or I.  Still trying to get the taste out of my mouth. 
*****************************************
Mum has firm views on floral arrangements.
Mum: "What did you think of the description the flower lady provided you of your wedding bunch?"
Me: "Very nice."
Mum: "Well you don't want that flax shit in there.  Especially if it's stripey."
******************************************
Love my fambily, but I worry about them, I really do. 

Thursday, 5 January 2012

another lengthy exposition. soz.

I have been thinking about this personal blog a wee bit recently.  What do I want it to be?  Does it need to say anything?  Frankly, I've been having a happy little wankfest over the possibilities for the blog, wherein the world discovers that I am hilarious, deep, compelling, yadayada. 

In all seriousness, I haven't struck subject matter or tone just yet so I've hardly been telling the world HEY LOOK, A IS ON THE INTERWEBS AND SHE IS AWESOME.  People write these things so that others read them or, at the very least, in the knowledge that others will read them.  And from those that I've read, even where there is no particular subject matter the writers strike me as deliberately establishing a tone or persona.  So, for now, this is a diary with an audience where I get to try and fail at constructing a version of A, I guess.

HEAVY THINKING ROUND HERE. I ALSO DO MY BEST THINKING PANTSLESS

I can tell you that I have discovered this blog is not:*

A dating blog.  I have snared P with my feminine wiles (read: slutty casual attire and loose morals) and I will likely hold onto him, given he's put up with my morning breath for 10 years now.  Sometimes though, he takes me on dates and who knows, you may even get the opportunity to throw up in your mouth a little as I describe these romantic rendezvous(seses?).  One time, P bought me a bottle of wine for Valentine's Day with the declared intention that we share it together (hey, we were 19 and I thought any wine not packaged in a cardboard box was expensive and therefore classy).  I was busy the evening of the 14th and it was a couple of days before I turned up at his flat announcing that we could now drink it together (with visions of a romantic evening without his three flatmates).  Unfortunately, somewhere between V-day and 48 hours later, P had got thirsty…SEE? Romance, right there.

A mommy/mummy blog.  I have no kids.  My only qualification as a mum as yet is my possession of a uterus (though we're not currently on speaking terms because she was a COMPLETE BITCH recently and if things don't improve, she'll have to shape up or ship out.  Goes for you too Fallopian tubes, don't think you're getting off lightly).

A wedding blog.  Sure, I'm getting married, but I'm not interested in weddings really other than my own.  Actually, that's not entirely true because I'm pretty nosy and may have stalked every facebook photo album of friends' and acquaintances' weddings.  But I don't think I'm particularly interested in writing about weddings permanently.   

A food blog.  I like food a LOT (when the kid I sat next to in Standard 2 inscribed "I love Foodtown" on her desk I drew a little piggy on mine).  No doubt I'll tell you about it from time to time, since eating forms a very important part of my life.  But I'm not a foodie or particularly creative with recipes and, like I said, I feel like an asshole when I take pictures at a restaurant, so suck it up, you'll not be hearing from me regularly on tasty treats.

There are about a million other options for what this blog could be (reliving-my-youth blog - extremely likely, whinge blog - likely, weightloss blog - less likely, style blog NO CHANCE as I have no style!).  Anyone reading this will no doubt be thinking to themselves "WELL WHAT IS THE EFFING POINT THEN?".  A very good question!  The point is I just want to write things, and I'm thinking about it and one of these days Sonny Jim I may just surprise us all and get a purpose in bloglife.  And one day, maybe just maybe, I'll write something without parentheses. 


*At least for now.  Who knows what the future holds and I am as capable of a flipflop on what this blog as I am on my views on popcorn and icecream (FYI: before I ate it, I thought a choctop dipped in popcorn at the movies was the vilest food combination I had ever seen, excepting a friend's strawberry jam laced bolognese sauce.  And then I ate it.  Freaking genius and not to be sniffed at.)

THEY LOOK LIKE MORTAL ENEMIES BUT ARE TASTIER

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

also


What the effity eff Iowa?  Lots of you voted for Rick Santorum?  I suppose I'm not qualified to have a view on this, not being a Republican or even QUALIFIED to cast a vote in the US of A.  Oops, must formulate a coherent viewpoint on the muppet voters of Epsom electing John Banks to guard their interests in the scintillating debating chambers of the Beehive.  Or even display an interest in Boris Johnson's profligate spending of the sewerage budget on the Olympics coming soon to a town near me.   But something about the GOP race is compelling.  Possibly that the candidates' views consistently drop my jaw (disbelief, FYI.  You're gross).  Or the fact that there is, IN REALITY, a person called Newt Gingrich.