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Thursday, 19 December 2013

i smell like

cigars (not mine) and regrets (mine, all mine).  A very merry Thursday afternoon, evening, night was had by A.

I hope you all have merry holidays as well, though I don't recommend dropping a hundred bucks on bottles of cava for your team/family/friends when the lot of you are already loaded.  That is not merry; that is insane.  It is not very merry to get in a fight with your taxi driver, either.  Or retching at 8am on the side of a very busy arterial route.  BUT, singing/dancing/chatting  - these things are all very merry and I wholeheartedly recommend them!
See you in 2014!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

2013, a retrospective.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?
Bought a house.  A purple one.  I've never lived in a purple house before, so I guess that's a first too.

Visited Melbourne.

Identified multiple gray hairs on my husband.

Bought a car.  I've never had my own before!

Bit of a boring old list of new things, isn't it? 

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Eh.  I don't really do resolutions because I don't need another stick with which to beat myself.  There's usually a vague thought about getting fit, losing weight, blahblah but I know in my heart of hearts I'm quite happy to truck along eating a wheel of cheese and watching the development of my bingo wings.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Depends how you define close, I suppose.  I define it pretty tightly, so nope.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. (Insert grateful sentiment here)

5. What countries did you visit?
After last year's extravaganza, this year we confined ourselves to a couple of quick visits to Australia. 

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Still would like a cat, much as I wanted last year.  Hmmm. Otherwise? I'm embarrassed by putting a list of material desires and 2013 weren't too lacking really, so nothing, really.  Oh WAIT.  Patience!

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
1 July 2013: Taking possession of our first home.  Eating pizza on the floor and thinking 'this place is a cold shithole.  What the hell have we done?' I love it now, though. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finding the finance to purchase said home and actually winning a fucking auction.  Some worky stuff.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Wishing away the passage of time, sometimes.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was fairly healthy in 2013.  P, however: P chunked his thumb, had intestinal issues, suffered innumerable colds - I really felt for the poor bugger, when I wasn't monumentally pissed off at having to play Florence Nightingale.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The house.  Followed closely by some insulation and a heat pump for the house.  P would no doubt vote for all the $$$ we've spent at Mitre 10 on DIY shit we've barely used. 

12. Where did most of your money go?

House! Also getting piffled away on food and booze; we're just so GOOD at spending on that.
13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Not having to go to open homes every weekend anymore! When we won the auction on June 9, we cracked a bottle of something tasty and basically danced around the living room celebrating the fact that the house hunt of 2013 was finally over.

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Royals - Lorde.  Ubiquitous in 2013, everywhere, all the time.  Still don't hate it, miraculously.  That song is also vividly associated with driving near Matamata, of all places, as P and I meandered home from a lovely long weekend in the Bay of Plenty.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Happier or sadder? Happier.  I think?  I was pretty happy last year too, so maybe the same (this post notwithstanding).
b) Thinner or fatter? Fatty fatty boom boom BOOM.
c) Richer or poorer? Depends how you quantify this.  Probably richer, even though I feel poorer - we may be paying a mortgage and interest etc but we own equity now, I guess.
16. What do you wish you'd done more of?

I wish I'd taken more leave.  This year was a little tight on the leave front, though I guess I'm only feeling it now.  Also: done more of mortgage-paying.
17. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Wasting mah dollarz and waistline on food. 

18. How will you be spending Christmas?
Stewart Island, fighting off sea lions and stalking kiwi - as well as hanging with the fandam. 

19. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Little bit with the house (WOULD YOU STOP TALKING ABOUT THE HOUSE ALREADY, EYEROLL, GEEZ).

Fell a bit more in love with P, as I do most years.  This year it was the realisation he takes so much administrative hassle out of my life.  What, is handling the spreadsheets not romantic to you?  I feel sick thinking that I didn't kiss him goodbye this morning and that we haven't emailed today.  We always kiss goodbye and there's usually something sent to make the other laugh.  The wear and tear of a long year has frayed our edges - it lead to a serious degree of miffedness last night on my part, and this morning on his when I stonily endured his cuddle.   I think we need a bit of time out to reconnect properly, but I do love him more each day, I promise.  Maybe 2013 was the year of domestic discontent?

20. What was your favourite TV programme?
Ummmm, I'm having a bit of a Survivor renaissance which is shameful.  Either that or Top Chef or Breaking Bad or something.  Oh wait, no! Homeland.  That's it - but I can't have liked it excessively or it would have sprung straight to mind?

21. What was the best book you read?
Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel.  So. Good.  I gave them to my mother and while she occasionally raises an eyebrow at my choice in fiction, she also devoured them whole.  Screw the Man Booker, mah mum's praize is all the accolades required, right there! *ahem*

22. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Um, pass?  I discovered nothing new, really.  I like the newish Ladi 6 album, if that counts?

Sidenote: you know people on Idol-type television shows are all 'music's my life' and every conversation with a new person you had in high school started with 'what sort of music are you into?' and people now discuss their top-25 lists on their iPod?  Yeah, music isn't the necessary art for me.  I need words to survive.  I am loathe to admit it but I don't even have my own iTunes and music selection - P has pretty good taste and he'll upload anything I've purchased, within reason.  I do still buy and enjoy music, but often, when at home alone, I prefer silence.  A: enjoys the mute button.

23. What did you want and get?
A home.  YAY for that.  Love, time with family.   

24. What did you want and not get?


Patience! A better work ethic! These are things I can work on by myself and not gifts from Santa, I'm guessing, but if Santa's handing them out...

25. What was your favourite film of this year?
Eh, pass.  Nothing has sprung to mind so they can't have been that good.  Oh wait, I freaked out about space for a solid two days after seeing Gravity.  I don't think it's the best movie of the year, but MY GOD I am obsessed with space / space disasters.  This movie sits on a par with Apollo 13.

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

On my 31st birthday I was at work, slogging it out on a big thing and ... wait, I just checked my calendar.  I've got total false sorry-for-self memories.  It was a Saturday and I ate brunch with my sister which was excellent and then I think P and I went somewhere?  Hopeless.

27. What kept you sane?
Diet coke.  My colleagues.  P.  Taking wee breaks.  Going to visit my Mum.  TEA.

28. What political issue stirred you the most?
Roast Busters and rape culture, for sure. 

29. Who did you miss?
Missed all me friends in the northern hemisphere, particularly V.  V had a baby at the end of 2012 and I still haven't met the wee blighter.  J too, but I get to see her before year's end (YAY). 

Missed my grandmother.

30. Who was the best new person you met?
I very much enjoyed meeting and getting to know C, a friend of some friends this year.  She's got a total potty mouth and I love it.  She taught me the entirely crude phrase 'Cunt Scarf' by using it in reference to Hat Friend's skirt at the Beyonce concert.

31. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
True: try to stay even tempered, it's better for your relationships in the long run.  

Facetious: use discretion when considering whether dry-clean only really means dry-clean only.  It's surprising what can go through the wash on a cold cycle, but devastating when you get it wrong.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

woeful afflictions, part gazillion

Wait! Stop press! Forgot to tell you:

Last weekend's mosquito bite count sits at over 20.  So many are on my feet I can't wear shoes as they're too itchy and swollen.*  BUT THE WORST BIT:

THEY'RE ALL OVER THE BACKS OF MY THIGHS.

I wore a dress to a 60th bday party this weekend.**  We sat outdoors, beside a swimming pool.  I didn't think to take repellent.  Perched on the edge of the seat, the dress was swirly so it fell away from the backs  of my thighs.  All the mosquitos in creation thought 'JACKPOT' and feasted with a VENGEANCE.  Now I'm inappropriately scratching all over creation and am too embarrased to be seen naked-legged by my husband.  The very husband who has kindly taken pictures while I was passed out mostly naked on the floor of our bedroom, who obviously does not give a shit about the manky state of his wife (did I not tell you about that?  One of the nights I lost my phone this year.  2013 was the year I revisited being 18 only fatter and with glasses, apparently). 

I have subsequently bought two new bottles of insect repellent and will be inhaling toxins for the next three weeks solid.  If on my return my typing gets any worse or if I get even more parenthetical (assuming such a thing is possible!) you'll know the reason why, I intone darkly.  But I won't be scratchy, at least.

* I kid you not, today I got asked by the most direct colleague: 'Are you pregnant?  Is that why you're wearing sandals and have swollen feet?'

**Why yes, I have friends who are 60! Actually, it was a good friend's father's party but I felt v grown up while schmoozing the tennis club ladies.

three weeks off is just so....punishing, you know?!

Ahhh, the rest and relaxation of the summer break. 

Touch of sarcasm (TM).*

I love my family.  Really! However, I find the start of my summer holidays in New Zealand completely batshit crazy and family time is not always particularly relaxing.  First world problems BLAH BLAH let me tell you them.
  • I finish work in December under a complete cloud of crazy.  I'm frantic, as the office is closing down for three weeks and of course the clients want everything done yesterday before Christmas.  At least 50% of them will be working through the summer, so they don't give a rats about the holiday.  Besides which, I've been out and about on company entertaining and personal social catch up missions throughout the month, not to mention a weekend out of the country (boo hoo, what a punishment! you say.  Yeah, that's fair I guess.)
  • Then, once I'm finally done in the office for the year (by done, I mean I've walked out at the end with a giant 'deal with it later' pile in the corner), we immediately have P's family pseudo-Christmas dinner.  At our house.  We're catering.  There will be fewer than 10 people this year (thank Oscar the Grouch) but there's still a lot to do.  Oh, and my best friend is in town from London so I am having her around for lunch first (can't not! It's been over 18 months since I've seen her face! And having her to our place allows me to prep meals and gasbag at the same time!)
  • 8am the next morning, on a plane with my sister K.  We meet Mum and Dad, then enjoy a three hour drive even further south, followed by a meal with some of P's paternal family.
  • Next morning, ferry over to the island.  We're there for a week, plus a night in the Catlins on the way back.  Poor old P is stuck on a frigid wee island in the Roaring 40s in a bach with his in-laws for a week.  I pity the fool.
  • P and I arrive home at approx 9.30pm on the 30th.
  • We get up the next morning, and drive three hours to the beach to meet friends.  Goodness only knows how many of us will be jammed into a wee place looking for a good time, but it will be mental.  MENTAL. 
Now, don't get me wrong, there will be plenty of rest and relaxation time on the island.  It's just that we'll be in close proximity with family for over a week on the back of one of the maddest Decembers I can remember, in a year when I didn't take more than two days off at a time. 

Oh, and P has decided he wants us to go swimming with great white sharks while we're on the island.  GREAT STRESS RELIEVER, P. 

Call me Moaning Milly.  Really, it's not so bad.  In fact, all of the above sounds pretty good, sans a bit of actually having to work.  Well, now you know the basic facts of my summer schedule anyway.  I've got an end of year thingo to come and will no doubt feel the urge to worddump all over my blog again before Xmas, but I wouldn't be checking back again much before mid-January.  For those of you I'm not seeing this Xmas, I miss and love you all.


*Touch of Grey, anyone?  Best ad I saw during my tenure in the US.  Young dudes giving themselves grey wings (literal, not figurative you dirty bastards) in order to seem more distinguished, trustworthy etc.  Brilliant!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

grey christmas?

The ten day forecast is looking particularly dire.  Metservice doesn't offer the weather on Stewart Island, it appears (or perhaps I can't work the website, either seems likely) but the projected high in Invercargill for the day of our arrival is 15 degrees, with lashings of rain.  The mental projection of lovely, 23 degree-ish sunshine on an isolated island in the deep south is starting to fragment.  My focus is now getting enough books to last me a week, packing the cards, and wondering whether I can fit anything else in my pack once it is holding the enormous rip-off North Face jacket my father purchased for me in China, circa 2001.   Don't worry, we've sorted the duty free booze and that'll be travelling with us in the precious, precious hand luggage.

My sister K has been sending messages predicting bulk barf on the ferry.  The Foveaux Strait is no joke, I'm lead to believe. 

THIS PHOTO IS FROM HERE. THE CAPTION READS:
'Rakiura is the Maori name for Stewart Island, the 'third island' of New Zealand. This summer view is taken from the summit of Bluff Hill, on the far southern tip of the South Island. Foveaux Strait is right in the middle of the Roaring Forties, and is very rarely this calm.'
OH SHIT.



Tuesday, 10 December 2013

wait! I forgot to tell you about my seasonal binge

After all that earlier Christmas tree wankery, I have completely failed to get and decorate a tree.  Instead:
  • I purchased some cheap ornaments at the supermarket.  The boxes of those bastards then scratched gouges in my legs as I lugged them home.
  • They sat in their boxes on the dining room table for a week. 
  • Last night, P was home so instead of ignoring it for another night, I made him get down the box labelled '[Last Name] Christmas' and decorated with a jaunty sprig of holly.
  • It contained one (1) German christmas light thing and one (1) ornament purchased at the Cologne Christmas Markets without a string and eight (8) festive placemats we were gifted at our wedding by a great aunt (who, bless her, also grew, cut and arranged all the flowers.  What a wonderful, kind woman).  Hardly the Xmas haul I was hoping resided in that box, despite having been the person to pack it lo, these five months ago.
  • SO. Placemats and ornaments went on the table, baubles into the decorative salad bowl and vase situation.
  • German Xmas light into the window with some shoddy electrical cord arrangement.
  • I then made P source the fairy lights purchased for our wedding.
  • Half the fuckers on each of the strings didn't work, despite being less than two years old.  So to hide their deficiencies, we decorated the pear and bay trees out the front instead of the house.
The whole thing is frankly somewhat less that Christmas Chic, but OH WELL.  It is done and twinkly lights make me happy, even if they look rubbish.  OH LOOK, I VISUALLY DOCUMENTED IT BADLY FOR YOU:
GERMAN XMAS LIGHT.  FESTIVE, NO?

FESTIVE TABLESCAPE, I AM A SMUG DOMESTIC GODDESS WHO CAN PLACE TABLEMATS.  ALSO THE NEIGHBOUR'S GUTTER OUT THE WINDOW.  ATTRACTIVE, HEIN?

THE FIRST ABORTIVE ATTEMPT AT HANGING SOME GODDAMN LIGHTS.  SOMEONE OUGHT TO SEND THIS TO THAT PINTEREST FAIL BLOG.  I SHAN'T SHOW YOU THE PICTURE OF THE FINAL TREE DECORATION EFFORT BECAUSE IT'S SO UNDERWHELMING.  STILL, FAIRY LIGHTS ARE AWESOME.  P.S. GERMAN XMAS LIGHT IN SITU.  MASSIVELY DISPROPORTIONATE, WHAT? BONUS POINTS FOR SPOTTING THE MYSTERIOUS P WHOSE LEGS ALSO LOOK VERY DISPROPORTIONATE.  YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE ME AT MY WORD THAT HE'S A SMOKING HOT SEX GOD.
 

relief

This apologist is massively relieved - the Mandela thing was a hoax (you probably already heard). Yup, I'm a sucker.  Still not apologised for the airbrushed nipples though.  ART, MOTHERFUCKERS. 

Monday, 9 December 2013

disturbing thought that had to be shared

I think I've become a Kanye apologist.  I feel the need to defend him at every turn (it is art even if it's nippleless on a motorcycle! the mandela thing must be a metaphor of some sort!).

I don't even know where to start with decoding that shit.  Had to record it as it occurred to me for the purpose of further rumination.  I'm pretty sure it says something about me...I'm just not sure what, yet. 

did you know there is a stop on a sydney train line called 'zig zag'?

Am back from Sydney where I saw a very big spider and a very big cockroach.  Those are not trip highlights, per se, but were certainly memorable.  I also saw a baby, some tourist type sights, drank Green Juice in Bondi like a good hipster (freaking delicious, who'd've thought?), boozed it up in Enmore, ate slightly more genteely in Crowsnest, tried shopping and failed (Zara, WTH? You used to be SO. GOOD. and now you are mostly rubbish) and did some other things, too. 

I am become more middle-aged by the minute.  I am freaking about about the state of the great pile of unwashed things at my home, the invasion of Daddy Long Legs in our absence (why yes, I do have a thing about spiders, whatever made you ask?), the emptiness of my cupboards, the emptiness of my bank account and the need to catch up at work so this is a brief placeholder (postholder?)  Just had to write briefly as I feel I haven't used my weekly parenthesis quota (yet) (working on it) (obv.)  Will no doubt circle back round to the trip later, in case you were worried (HAHAHAHA!)

Summed up? Sydney: Great, Aggressive (all the shoulder charging!), Lovely and Warm.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

wrong side of the bed

I had a serious case of rage yesterday.  Here are some of the assorted items that triggered my ire, trivial as they may seem:
  • The ironing board.  It was all in my living room, up in my face.
  • P asking if I was going to continue with ironing his shirts.  While my hands were plunged in a sinkful of dirty dishes.
  • Dishes.
  • P's thumb, preventing him from doing dishes.
  • P's thumb, making him moan about ironing his shirts.
  • P asking for help with his buttons.
  • P's shoes, on the floor.  EXISTING.
  • P insisting he could use his suitcase if he wanted to, contrary to my wishes.
  • P's face.
  • P.
  • The television remote controls. PLURAL.
  • Eating crap food.
  • Running out of breath mints.
  • People in the lift inconsiderately getting out at floors that weren't mine.
  • People in the lift with halitosis.
  • People on the street dawdling.
  • People.
  • The window decorations at Smith + Caugheys (annoying songs + dopey, creepy puppets)
  • Picking P up from getting his wound redressed.
  • Traffic.
  • Parking.
  • Getting attitude from P about how far away I parked.
  • My pizza getting cold.
  • OH FUCK IT BASICALLY EVERYTHING.
I can see now how *rational* I was.  Nothing like the Christmas spirit, aye? 


Sunday, 1 December 2013

a+e

P lost a chunk of his thumb this weekend, thanks to injudicious use of a mandolin (instrument of the kitchen variety, as opposed to a stringed instrument, though that would also have been a sight to see - I feel confident gouts of blood don't often come of a serenade).  I wasn't there when the injury was sustained, for which I think we're all grateful,* but I was the one who hauled his mangled carcass to the A&E yesterday. 

Can we just sing a round of Hallelujah for a Christmas miracle?  There was not one other person aside from medical staff in the entire emergency clinic.  Unbelievable.  The only delay in obtaining speedy and efficient treatment was me filling out P's form and narrating it back to him (it's his right thumb).  P was not so keen on my description of how the injury occurred - I wanted to write: 'Potatoes Dauphinoise and a Sharp Thing - Need I Say More?' but my suggestion made him all huffy.  We went with: 'preparing dinner', which I think you'll agree is terribly boring. 

P was seen quickly and I stayed put in the waiting room, reading my fill of mimi smartypants (terrible choice for a medical centre, given mimi kept making me snicker.)**  I could vaguely hear P talking to the nurses though and asking for a spot to lie down when they took off the dressing, poor love. At one point, a nurse appeared and asked whether I was the girlfriend.  This made me a bit huffy, as she asked with a spot of incredulity.  I composed myself, trying to believe that P's babyface probably had more to do with it that me looking like a decrepit cradlesnatcher or an uncaring witch who deserts her one-and-only, and replied in the affirmative, resisting the bizarre temptation to wave my left hand and cry 'wife, actually'.

He spent the rest of the afternoon and evening prone on the couch with the thumb elevated, as removing the original dressing had caused further bleeding.  I think it was quite sore too.  However, because I'm awful I kept veering between laughter (he looks so funny, giving the entire world a bulky thumbs up) and edging away from him (because ew, I missed you while you were gone but I cannot handle that thing touching my body).  What a magnificent nurse I'd make. I think I've really missed my calling. 

*I am NOT. GOOD. in an emergency.  Think faint, freak out-y.  I'm not proud of this, but at least I'm honest with myself.  Oh god, I'm feeling vaguely squirmy and nauseous just thinking about it.

**Given my emergency response-mode, I couldn't deal with seeing the injury in the flesh, as it were.  Poor P was therefore deprived of the soothing balm of my company in the emergency room.  I'm sure he desperately missed having my hand to hold.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

o christmas tree

TRALALALALALA let us pretend I didn't just angsty word-vomit all over my blog, shall we?

Let's focus on my happy homemaker project of the week instead!

CHRISTMAS TREE.  My house will smell like Christmas this year or bust!
First, reminiscence of Xmas trees past (because what is a post from A without a self indulgent diversion into her FASCINATING personal history)

1986: I produce my first tree decorations, including a paper chain that got me into serious trouble at kindy when I tried to teach the other kids how to use the scissors in order to make them. 

1987: Milk carton Santa Claus produced.  I made my mother sit him at the bottom of the tree EVERY year thereafter until well into my 20s when he mysteriously 'vanished'.  I still ask about whether he's turned up again.  Mum dodges the reply. 

1988: Ugly wax crayon angels made at school with my sister.

1989-1995: Fight over whose ugly wax crayon angel got to top the tree that year (and, incidentally, whose was whose).  Constant fights between Mum and Dad over leaving the tree lights on all night (i.e. woman who likes twinkling versus man who cannot leave a room without turning off all switches).

1996: The Giant Tree that we could decorate only half way up.  The top of it looked very, very lonely.

Late Nineties: Who knows?  I clearly could have cared less, while wrapped up in teenage angst.

2000: I work in the Farmer's Christmas Store AFTER CHRISTMAS and swear off any decorating ever again EVER IN MY LIFE while listening to the same 7 jazzed up carols on a loop over 13 hour shifts, perpetually hungover. 

2003: Bangkok's answer to a Christmas Tree: an enormous recycled bottle tree.

2006-2008: Are you kidding me?  Like we're going to get a tree into this 46m2 apartment crammed full of our crap.

2009: I decorate a standing lamp as a Christmas tree using tinsel in New York, as we are too broke for a tree.

2010: We live with P's brother, who goes nuts over the tree and buys expensive decorations at the Cologne Christmas markets.  We purchase one measly decoration for ourselves, and it has sat in a box ever since. 

2011: We work our faces off and never see the inside of our flat anyway, so why bother?

2012: See 2006-2008.  Where the fuck would we put it?

2013: WE WILL HAVE A TREE GODDAMMIT IF IT KILLS ME.

I am determined to enjoy the lead up to Christmas this year.  We have struck no presents deals with just about every relative in creation, so I needn't panic even over getting pressies under the tree - I'm just going to have a tree and sniff it regularly, for my hit of Xmas spirit.  Along with an actual hit of Xmas spirits because you don't think I'm missing out on opportunities for those, do you?  Last year's Xmas drink of the year was the negroni, what shall we do this year?  I'm thinking something whiskey based.  This is a bizarre tradition concocted as adults with my parents, who one year decided margarita slushies were the way of the future at Christmas time.   

the elephant in my room

I have been studiously avoiding writing about what's on my mind.  Partly, the avoidance stems from the lack of cohesion in my thinking on the topic, though, when has that ever stopped me before?  Partly, its because at least one or two of you who check in here know me in real life and this is not something I've discussed with anyone but P.  Not my mum, not Fat Harry the cat from next door.  I don't intend to discuss it with anyone else, either, so please please please, let it lie where it falls and don't say anything.  Partly, it's also because it is a tough, personal, emotional topic to write about, particularly when people you know are struggling to get or stay pregnant. 

Yep, it's the one where I process my feelings on children.  Mine, specifically.  I've been burning to put it in words and now that I write I've given licence to the thoughts to lick into flame, sucking up the oxygen in the room. 

Here are the facts pertaining to me, children and pregnancy, as I know them:

I am 31.  I am not a spring chicken, but neither am I over the hill.  I am in a stable relationship.  I have a home with space.  We are not pressed financially (aside from this week when rates, mortgage, water bills, you name it I paid it and I cursed the god of outgoings copiously).  I have always believed my future involved children. 

I like achieving [but oh fuck me I cannot find a way to talk about ambition that leaves me comfortable that I haven't fried my chicken in my career space].  Fundamentally, I don't know how compatible my job is with parenthood.  Excuse me, how compatible it is with motherhood because god knows having a baby doesn't seem to affect the careers of many men, does it? 

I am good at entertaining babies.  I like to sniff and squeeze them.  Toddlers leave me pretty cold.  They want so much of you.  I don't really know any other children of other ages. 

I love my husband: desperately, calmly, furiously, wholly, every which way.  I want my children to have him as a father.  I watch him with our nephews and godchildren and something inside me squeezes very, very tight.  Yet I love our relationship as it is: lazy days, busy days, uninterrupted time for one another on the weekend.  Travel with him.  Restaurants with him.

Lots of my friends are having babies.  Birth announcements pop up on Facebook as regularly as birthday wishes, it seems.  I was shown non-alcoholic beer in the pantry this weekend, and I squealed with delight.  If it sticks, she said, it's only four weeks.  Friends have suffered because of pregnancy: loss thereof, lack thereof. 

We are warned: your life will change so much.  Enjoy it now, or don't do it at all.  No one speaks about how children have enriched their lives, really.  I want to know why they love it so much, despite the aching and the groaning and the hollow envy they express at my life (having all that time to yourself! they say.  And I feel a stab of unworthiness at being a double income, no kid person, not the smug sense of self satisfaction that is intimated by the childbearer.  And then I feel a pang of irritation: like you fucking know how I spend my hours.)  But wouldn't seeing our children grow, loving someone like my mother loves me - wouldn't that be worth it? 

I want to experience pregnancy.  But I don't want to hate my body more than I do now. 

I will be the only child in my immediate family to have children.  That's pressure.  Yet there's no pressure coming from my immediate family, other than that bald fact.  My mother and father intimated recently that they daren't ask us about kids, but have not expressed a preference either way.  Watching my mother and father with children induces that same internal squeeze, seizing my organs and constricting my breathing.

Biology. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Those are my facts.  'Facts', I say, hiding feelings of inner squeeze and angst and desire and concern behind language that seeks to make it all a scientific calculation. 

I'm not, by the by. Conception has not occured, immaculate or filthy or happy or terrifying or otherwise.   I haven't thrown birth control to the wind to see where the breeze or my uterus takes us. 

What if I can't?

What if I can?


Monday, 25 November 2013

in which i am sweaty and hairy

So, this weekend was amazing weatherwise (26 degrees! and higher! in Auckland in November!) and you will be pleased to know, no doubt, that I came away sunburn-free.  I may not be able to keep resolutions relating to the consumption of crap from the Daily Mail (though I must say, my consumption has dropped considerably since resolving that it's a misogynistic piece of shit tabloid rag) but I am two weeks down with no sunburn.  That, my dear readers, counts as a success.

Yes, awesome weather.  Not so awesome?  Pushing the mower at 11.45am on Saturday, sweating up a righteous storm, then realising I'm due at the hairdresser by noon.  I changed my t-shirt but continued to sweat profusely in the car en route (despite windows down + arms raised to encourage the flow of air) and then again in the chair.  Poor old M, my hairdresser, must have been revolted.  However, he managed to keep a straight face and didn't even punish me too much with the hairdryer, which was kind of him.  I had to run straight to a bbq following the hair cut...I may have been vaguely, um, glowing, but at least I had good hair, right?

(Well, I've had it cut to what I believe is known as clavicle length in bloggy circles. So hot right now.  However, because I'm cursed blessed with a great deal of hair, M added some 'long layers'.  I'm not convinced I don't look like Rachel circa '98...which, you know, is a mixed blessing because I would have LOVED that haircut at the time.  Not so sure about it all these years later.  I am definitely a member of the generation for which everything in life is referable to Friends.)

There are three Mondays left, after today, until the Christmas holidays.  I am unbelievably stoked about that fact.  I am absolutely desperate for a proper break.  Not that I deserve it, per se, but I want it very, very much.  Cannot wait.  Having all that about undeserving and desperation, I'm taking next Friday off too for a jaunt to Sydney.  Watch out Australia, I want to be in you.  NAOW.  I am going to have one of those terribly cliched weekend city breaks in which one takes in basically none of the cultural life but trashes their credit card and eats/drinks/drops etc.  We have a few friends in Sydney, so there'll be a spot of visiting and hopefully some beach time too.  Ha, poor Sydney, looking at this pasty bum!

So.  That's te karere for today.  Fin.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

the lead up to xmas begins

Remember the time I wore a white dress to a charity ball and nearly bled all over it?  Well folks, it's that time of year again! Not the inappropriate bleeding, but the charity ball part.  Which? UGH. 

I go to these things as P's +1, ostensibly to make sparkling conversation.  It's not obligatory but it's a nice thing to do to support P and his career and his workplace's desire to contribute to a worthy charity. 

Charitable giving is good.  I approve of charitable giving.  Over the past year, I have sipped wine from the glasses I purchased in the blind auction at last year's ball with a smug glow.  P has taken the signed, framed Kiwis' Rugby League jersey to work, so I never have to look at it again (honestly.  Let's just take a moment to let that sink in.  He purchased sporting memorabilia and let me pick it up as a 'surprise'.  I utterly abhor all sporting memorabilia - that ugly, ugly sponsor's shirt from some car racing thingo has only escaped my matches by virtue of being pit-lane-inflammable, the motherfucker.  Oh, and the All Blacks jersey because torching that would lead to divorce, not to mention revocation of my citizenship.  AND P KNOWS THIS HATRED.  He thought it was hilarious.  It wasn't.  It was pushing my buttons for the sake of it and I just about throttled him.  I certainly unleashed my patented Look of Disdain and Contempt.  Whoa, digression + a rant, you lucky things.)

Aaaaanyway, despite my approval of charitable giving and my appreciation for one of last year's charitable purchases, I still don't fancy going tonight.  (a) I still don't approve of the excessive spending that goes into these charity ball things, (b) I don't fancy making small talk just now, and (c) I think I'll look fat in my lovely Juliette Hogan dress.  It's not the dress's fault, it's mine.  Vanity and social insecurities, just wonderful.  I'm really pushing myself for improvement, hey? 

JULIETTE HOGAN.  SEE? NOT THE DRESS'S FAULT.  I AM WEARING IT WITH MORE SLIP AND MORE PUDGE.

Monday, 18 November 2013

it's not so bad

I had a lovely weekend with my family, thanks.  No drama, just sunshine and laughter and chasing cows and pink wine and homemade bread and flights that were on time, thank goodness.  Weekends like that make me wish that everyone could enjoy a relationship with their immediate family that is as fundamentally happy as mine.  Don't get me wrong; we have/had our moments, but I love them very much and they're very, very good to me.

I thought I ought to write that down, in the spirit of avoiding this blog's usual fodder, the commemoration of bad.  Another Damn Life wrote about the 'perpetually escalating competition to prove who among us is the biggest disaster'.  I read that and cringed, physically backing off the monitor.  Yes, the name of this blog is Hopeless.  Yes, I record for my own (& others?) amusement the dopey goings-on at Chez A.  It's not about competing though, I promise.  I'm quite proud of my own adulthood, really.  This blog does contain allusions to my overall contendedness in the grand scheme of things.  However, it is devoted in the main to recording silly minutiae.  No one reads my archives more than me (no one really reads my blog, which is fine with me.  I don't go out of my way to advertise it; no comments really on the blogs of others, no facebook or twitter 'new post up nows!')  I write this for me.  For the need to memorialise. It so happens that I record something that makes me feel close to my family, who have been teasing me for years about that very thing - being impractical. 

In all honesty, I find that writing about the good is hard.  Writing about the bad is cathartic - whether the bad be silly or terrible.  I shake screeds of words about the bad out of my keyboard, but I find the good is usually stuck in there, with the crumbs and moulted eyelashes.  My Kiwi sense of cultural cringe - that anything I say about the good will be seen as a terrible boast, qualified six ways from Sunday or no - heavily edits anything I wish to say about the good. 

All of that is by way of justification, but also in saying I that I agree with Another Damn Life.  We shouldn't compete amongst ourselves to find the biggest klutz/cereal-for-dinner-eater/etc.  That smacks of laying claim to an 'adorable & endearing trait' that writers try to give humanity to their thinly-veiled idealistic female characters (oh you know you could name about a zillion examples from rom-coms, chick lit and young adult fiction.  Not to say those characters don't fulfill a need, certainly).  Anyway, I really like what Lyn had to say about it.

Now, regarding the comment Lyn made in an earlier post about borrowing Amalah-style OMG CAPS LOCK writing...guilty as charged.  Hah. I really need to find my own style and niche, which will no doubt involve tonnes more ill-judged parenthesis and dashes and semi-colons.  I enjoy that, clearly.

So, yes.  Today I stumbled across a blog that hit all of my insecurity buttons in a manner I admire.  And things are generally pretty good, here.

(I found Lyn through Kirsty of A Safe Mooring, whose writing I also very much enjoy.  I am indebted to them both.) 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

why I shouldn't live alone

Alllllll by myyyyyself last night so I ate chips and some dip for dinner.  I drank half a beer in the spirit of rebellion but it just wasn't that tasty* so I gave it up as a bad job.  I then hid all the evidence from P in the rubbish bin.  I shouldn't have been so worried about his judgment of my food choices because he turned up at some ungodly hour muttering about chicken gizzards, yakitori, the BIG sake bottle and how susceptible he is to peer pressure / FOMO.**  I had understood he was going to 'drop in to' a goodbye party for a colleague.  Hah!***

Instead of taking a bath, which was seriously considered, I flicked channels between:
  • Extreme Makeover Weight Loss edition
  • Keeping Up With the Kardashians
  • XFactor US
Yup, a good night had by all.  I am a walking, talking cliche, people.  That's just embarrasing, really, and yet I just don't care.  Sometimes a bit of escapism is just what the doctor ordered, though I do have sneaking guilt about supporting objectification etc (I am also trying to wean myself from the Daily Mail, that stupendous hate-read that I know I should avoid and yet find myself killing time on.  God it's terrible, I shan't support that misogyny any more! You read it here, let's see if I can stick to my resolutions.)

I was glad P was out last night, not just because I could indulge in all sorts of ridiculous behaviours, but also because the facial peeling reached its zenith.  I was shedding so much, it kept falling into my eyelashes.  Disgusting. 

*Friend (male, believe it or not) recently pooh-poohed the craft beer trend.  'I like my beer to taste of...nothing', he said.  After drinking some revolting, hoppy IPA last night I have some sympathy for his point of view but having said that, the most tasteless beer around is like Miller or some shit and that's a bridge too far for me.  Nothing like a cold Heineken, or an Export Gold shandy (there's my upper North Island roots! Shandies with Dad after he'd finished DIYing something that you held the level or string for was like the pinnacle of father-daughter quality time!).  Love me some Brooklyn Lager too, in the spirit of eating crappy tex-mex on campus rooftop in NYC. 

** FOMO = fear of missing out, for those who have been living under a rock. 

*** He also woke me up with a jerking shoulder blade to the face.  In his words "but I was getting the basketball back off someone".  We continue the nighttime shenanigans almost unabated, since my nose-breaking night terrors.  I'm seriously concerned about what's next.  I mean, we've broken the blood barrier already. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

views and my husband

It occurred to me two or three nights ago that it can't be easy living with a person with such, ah, vehement opinions.

Well, it either occurred to me or was pointed out.  P hissed 'I swear there's just no pleasing you, A', as I launched what I thought was quite an incisive take-down on a terribly retrograde opinion he expressed. 

I'm full of opinions and I just want to share them with P, my nearest and dearest.  'Share'; 'brainwash' - basically the same thing.  I desperately want him to agree with me in all things and I use rhetoric to such devastating effect that he can't help but come round, right? 

Well, no.  Wrong, actually.  I have thought about all of this further while picking lint out of my belly button or something similarly productive, and I have realised:
  • When P ventures an opinion on a topic I feel strongly about, I either agree vehemently or disagree with, well, malice.  What I have been believing are 'spirited discussions' may in fact be just me working on my manifesto, while P tries to interject.
  • When P ventures an opinion or poses an argument on a subject I am more ambivalent about, I am just as likely to say 'I can't be bothered right now'.
  • If I am concerned that I'm going to find P's opinion on any given topic offensive, I either launch an offensive or shut the conversation down entirely.
Hmmm.  Sophisticated reactions, no?  I probably ought to work on this.  It *might* just be possible that I'm not the be all and end when it comes to having views on things.  I don't know everything, much as it pains me to admit it (AND IT DOES. It hurts so bad.)

Don't ask me if I've apologised.  I'm afraid the answer might embarrass us both. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

crispity (a promise)

Seriously, if you ever visit New Zealand, please, please, please wear sunscreen.  You should wear it anyway everywhere else, but the burn time here is horrendous. I cannot emphasise enough how crucial sunscreen is.  A burn in NZ is more than just a gentle glow or a tan line.  You don't just go brown the next day. 

After a childhood and youth of sun stupidity, I finally got the message.  As you may remember, P and I burned ourselves terribly on our honeymoon and I swore I would be more careful.  Aside from some ill-judged swipes with the sunscreen leaving the occasional exposed bit of back fat, I've been quite conscientious, applying SPF in my moisturiser and squirting the good stuff all over my body before any prolonged exposure. 

I can't believe I was so stupid on Sunday that I stepped out without it.  It was overcast when I left but that's no excuse.  I should have had it in my bag and it should have been on my face.  I am a glowing red ember from the decolletage up, with a toasty, roasty, crackling nose. 

This is not vanity (though a shiny red forehead does show up every crease).  This is not just because my face is hot with burn and embarrasment right now.  This is long term health. 

I'm not doing this again.  I'm keeping out of the sun or keeping sunscreen on, end of story.  That's that.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

a litany of useless behaviours

I worked out my ideal career this morning, trudging to work under my own personal black cloud:

Professional, Work From Home, Dumpling Taster.

I am uniquely qualified for this role:
  • I love dumplings
  • I eat a lot of dumplings
  • I'm very good at staying in bed
  • I have opinions on things, like dumplings
  • etc
Sadly, I'm not sure where to apply for this role.  Please to tell, if you know.

So, yes, I was feeling a bit dark about being all contractually required to turn up to my place of employment and be employed, today.  That's because I had a completely hopeless weekend, in classic A style:
  • Lost my phone.  Again.  That's the phone twice and wallet once in 6 weeks.  On the bright side, it turned up 24 hours later.  On the dim side, I lost it at the same bar as last time. 
  • Lost my dignity attempting to dance with P on Friday night.  Managed to push him over on the dance floor.
  • Broke the button off P's pants when we got home.  Don't ask me how / why - I'm not even sure myself.
  • Crushed my thumb as I was closing up the ladder. 
  • Got heinously sunburnt in the Domain (when I left the house there was no need for sunscreen - I wasn't intentionally stupid!  I promise!)
  • Could barely move during the Hollie Smith concert due to hangover from previous evening's...festivities (verdict = she was fab, loved the new stuff, technical difficulties aside a great show.)
  • Scared myself shitless - from noticing a spider.
  • Killed the romance in my relationship with a gastro issue...followed by falling asleep flat on my back with my mouth open, snoring.  SO sexy.
Just lovely. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

bookish

Ugh, all that crap about my urinary tract and peeing in leaky cups has got to get off the top of the blog. 

Um.  Um.  How do you follow a diatribe like that up?

[I've sat on the above sentences for 24 hours now.  Following it up was really, really stinking hard]

OK.  OK.  Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood.  Bought this last Friday as a wee treat, finished by Sunday.  Enjoyed is probably the wrong word - there's some very disturbing content, but I think it's a wonderful, thought-provoking commentary on modern day issues set in a dystopian future.  I'm still not sure I get the ending; going to have a bit of a re-read and then plunge on with the next in the series.  I really want to recommend it to P, but I think he'll reach the child exploitation bits and freak with horror. 

I also picked up a copy of I, Claudius by Robert Graves.  I have listened to this on audiobook before - I forget who narrated it but he has a very distinctive tone and I'm very much enjoying him as my mental narrator as I slurp up the words on the page.  It's just interesting, that's what it is.  I haven't read that much about the Roman Empire post-Caesar and I love a bit of intrigue and scheming so this is perfect for 10 minutes pre-sleep reading.  Livia is a nasty firecracker and I love it. 

What else, culture-wise?  I'm going to see Hollie Smith perform this Saturday.  Yup.  That's probably about it. 

That's right - I have had Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (Susanna Clarke) sitting on my bedside table for an aeon.  I was reading Julia's archives the other day and she mentioned that while she felt like she should enjoy it, she just couldn't get through it.  I have had this exact experience with Jonathan Strange.  I even took it to the bath a few weeks ago and, well, gave up again afterwards.  If I can't get into a book in the bath then there's something seriously wrong.  To be fair, when a book is that hefty it isn't ideal tub material...but I'm usually still willing to cut it a break. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

far, far too much information. you were warned

I have been so stressed the past two days I think I've given myself a urinary tract infection.  Charming, hein? 

The stress is worky (when isn't it?) and it's sort of done with now (at least, in part) so here's hoping I can neutralise those bad bacteria with a sousing in cranberry juice and let my body regain its natural equilibrium (HIPPY ALERT).  To be completely fair, my body has always seemed to have some kind of bizarre preference for making me feel like I'm peeing razor blades so perhaps 'natural equilibrium' is going too far.  Detente, perhaps.  I would call my tendency to develop UTIs at the drop of a hat a traitorous body habit but I do have to note that it worsens in times of change, stress or general self abuse (2001-2005, the University Years, aka the Wasted Years in a Manky Pub or At Student Health Begging for the Good Stuff).  And yes, before you ask, I'm very good at wiping my own bum so that's not it, ladies and gentlemen.

I find I am generally able to treat UTIs by drinking cranberry juice (the real deal that is - anything drink below 15% actual cranberry juice means I have to drink enough to be peeing like a racehorse AND I get the joy of wondering what the fuckity fuck the rest of it contains), rather than antibiotics.  I found myself scanning packets in Hong Kong one time wondering whether the miscellaneous fruit pictured was, in fact, a cranberry or some kind of warped blueberry (have I told you this story before?  I feel like I probably have.  OH WELL, SOZ BOUT THAT!) 

Drinking the juice is far preferable to the antibiotics - don't want 'em if I can avoid 'em, they don't always work, their lead-in time for relief is slower and you have to go to the doctor and pee in a cup.  No thanks, I'm a TERRIBLE cup pee-er.  I find myself nervous with the collection devices at the doctors and that generally leads to pee on the hand.  Not my favourite.  During the pregnancy scare of about '07 I found myself peeing in the lid of a hairspray can in desperation as I needed a vessel in my own bathroom, only to discover the tiny hole in the cap, which WHAT? So there was pee all over the sink.

So, you should know I sat down at the computer to just write about, well, whatever came to mind.  And this is it.  I'm sorry.  Journal = posterity = truth? Or something, anyway.  I'm vile, but you knew that. 

Monday, 4 November 2013

i want to help, goddammit

Can you believe I berated my husband for "doing too much" yesterday?  As we prepared to host dinner for 10 adults, one teenager and two children most of whom are related to him by blood?  Neither can I.

As nuts as it seems, he is so capable that I found myself stamping my foot at him.  "I SAID I would do the potatoes".  Poor man; he handed me stalks of mint to mollify me - 'can you please rinse and strip these, that'd be very, um, helpful'.  Hymph. 

I love his capability - it's a very nice counterpoint to my laziness and general lack of common sense - but when it comes to the crunch, I'm embarrassed that all my family and friends know he's the wonderful driving force of this unit.  They're all extremely admiring of his skills.  By contrast, my immediate family appear to be convinced that I never 'cook' more than opening a bag of chips and lord only knows his family must think I'm a special case (the one time I made meringues I received such praise I waited to be handed a dog treat, to reinforce the trick.  Kindly and genuinely meant praise, of course - issues entirely my own.) 

P always wins.  He let me pour drinks and top-ups, with only gentle directive nods at empty glasses when I was slacking.  I found myself on dishes duty.  (Ha - his cousin came in to help, looked around with dawning horror on her face and said 'you don't have a dishwasher?!', which, fair enough.  Dark ages in these parts, I tell you.)  Bizarrely, I felt so grateful to him for handing over these chores - I mean, honestly?  That's ridiculous.  He's such a good host - I want to be more like him, I guess. 

In other news, do make sure you wear close-toed shoes when operating machinery.  I very nearly made the decision to mow and strim in jandals yesterday; very grateful I didn't, as I strimmed the toes of P's old hi-top kicks.  Hopeless 4 Eva.  Apparently. 
 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

heroes?

We saved a guy this morning, you guys. 

(Sort of.  Not really. But that sounds so good, right?!)

Picture this: Tweedledum and Tweedledee merrily chatting on their way to work, approaching the motorway overpass.  Ahead: Striding Gym Girl.  Also Ahead: Bicycle Guy, chaining his bike to the overpass railing.  We look up; BG is collapsing onto the pavement.

It was a real slow-mo, boneless sort of collapse.  At first, I thought it was a joke.  But P & I must have registered what was really happening at the same time; we raced towards him past Striding Gym Girl.  P took the lead and I was fumbling for my phone to call the ambulance.  It must have been a faint; BG came round when P started speaking to him and we nixed the call to the ambos.  We gave him some water and SGG offered him some nuts if his blood sugar was low.  Poor guy lay out on the pavement for a bit - he eventually got up and shook us off.  I think he was terribly embarrassed.  After assuring us it was all downhill and not far to go for him, we left him removing his helmet and finishing locking his bike.  I gave him surreptitious glances over my shoulder for a while, until he was out of view.

I hope he's ok - must have been a hard cycle that morning.  He was about 30ish and otherwise healthy looking (my first thought was 'ooooooohhhhh no heart attack' when I registered that the collapse was real, thank god it wasn't that).

Lots of people stopped to help if they could - it made me feel good about our community / humanity etc, I suppose.  Much like the time we came across a bike crash in London, most people just stood around feeling helpless until they realised the issue was being dealt with, but I love to see that people cared (certainly wasn't just voyeuristic watching, we were asked if BG was ok as P had clearly taken control of the situation). SGG said to me that she'd been in her own world with headphones on when he collapsed - she was very confused as to why we ran past her until she clicked what was happening.  She felt really guilty, I think, though she needn't have.  We all just wanted to help.  I liked that. 

Note also: P & I immediately divided tasks by our strengths without discussion - he went to help the guy into the recovery position, I pulled out the phone as I am much, much better with street names and descriptions, not so good with people and crises etc.

So.  There's some excitement for you.  I felt the adrenaline for a bit, afterwards. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

this post just made the list, too

I think I saw the Coolest Guy in the World on the way to work this morning. 

He powered past me in in a shirt, suit pants, converse (hey, no judging the commuting converse.  I maintain my right to silence regarding what supremely comfortable shoes I wore to work this morning.  BITE ME), backpack complete with 1L water bottle, blaring his music at top volume out of his cellphone.  He was clearly getting pumped for the day (some kind of late 90s gym music, it would seem).  He was moving pretty fast.  Perhaps my dawdle would become a brisk, efficient pace if I picked the right tune to play in the morning?  Might stick with headphones, however.

My, I've got my cranky/judgy pants back on today!  Other things what have not passed muster today:

- Colleague who only filled the kettle enough for ONE MEASLY CUP. 
- Failure of workplace to install a zip so I needn't fret about colleagues and their miserliness with the jug filling
- People who dawdled over their sushi choices at lunchtime (if in doubt, salmon/avocado!  If you don't eat salmon/avo, just get the teriyaki chicken CHOP CHOP you know that's what you want anyway!)
- All of my shoes. 
- My breakfast.  When I found some of it on my skirt.
- The weather.

OH EVERYTHING, BASICALLY. 

(PS I have become sadly addicted to The Block, NZ's most effective advertorial for DIY masquerading as a television show.  I know, I pity me too.  Live auctions tonight though people! WHAT A HIGHLIGHT, A)

Monday, 28 October 2013

aka oscar?

Oh hi blog.  How are you?  I'd like to say I've been off doing all manner of interesting and exciting things, but truth of the matter is I've:

- been sanding windows; and
- been avoiding sanding windows.

It's all very dull.  On the plus side, my finger pads now feel rough enough to do all the sanding for me.  Who needs sandpaper when the mere action of running a finger lovingly down my husband's five day old stubble causes HIM to yelp?  I attempted to remedy the situation by the regular application of moisturiser.  This was all going swimmingly UNTIL...I realised I'd been applying the Holiday Skin fake tan tinted moisturiser compulsively and my palms were stained a lovely shade of burnished orange.  Just charming.  I have now lost a further 20 layers of skin trying to re-achieve a natural color on my digits, with only slight success.  I look like I've been prepped with iodine for a serious bout of hand surgery, only without the added benefit of actually getting rid of that weird lump on the back of my hand.

I have also been looking at paint samples this weekend.  The Lavender Love Nest (Purple Palace?) is having a make-over this summer and it's kind of like she's entered her golden years: we're going with something sensible.  We think.  Shade of grey, most likely.  Har har, I said, when the inevitable 50 Shades joke was made about the test patch situation out the back.  It's possible I no longer have a sense of humour about it, though.  I found myself squinting at the patches and at the colour swatches muttering about "blue tones" and "half Rakaia, no, quarter?" and seriously debating the merits of different shades of white for the accent.  I think I need a hobby.  I shall be rainbow-arraying my skeins of yarn until further notice, OK?

So, yes, home improvement proceeds slowly at the Mauve Manner.  It is quite clear as I type this that I'm in a terrible mood - I tried to think of something else that stood out from the long holiday weekend and the first thing that sprang to mind was the time I busted that cat scratching up my radishes.  I gave the neighbouring dogs a run for their money in the feline-terrorising stakes, I can tell you.  I'm so....curmudgeonly (ish?) at the moment.  I suppose that's what you get at the grand old age of one-and-thirty (!)

I'll cut my losses and end this here given how sneery I'm being - nicer, positive A next time, I promise!




Monday, 21 October 2013

deluded

I wasn't feeling particularly glamorous this morning.  In fact, I was feeling washed out, a bit frizzy and frumpish.  'I know what will solve this problem', I thought.  I reached into the depths of my make up bag (comprising: offcasts from my mother circa 1987, some crappy mascara and pharmacy specials) and pulled out Boots' finest red lipstick.  I plastered it on, thought "self, problem solved!" and headed for the door.

My husband looked at me a little oddly, but recovered to smile and said "You've made an effort today".  He gently reached up and thumb-smeared the corner of my mouth to remove some excess outside the lip line.  He walked with me to work and even held my hand for a bit.

I reached work.  ('Love is A Battlefield', 8am at the cafe today.) Got in the elevator.  There's a mirror in the elevator, unsteamed and under fluorescent light.  I look like Chuckles the Fucking Clown, guys.  It's not good. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

plagiarised bits

You know, I find a new good blog and I'm immediately composing posts in my head completely bastardizing the author's voice.  I think it's a hang up from reading Bridget Jones, oh about 50 years ago, and writing forevermorethereafter: 'v. good'.  (Helen Fielding may not have been the first person to abbreviate 'very' to 'v.' but god, she did it so effectively.  Almost all of my most 'London' moments while living there were based on feeling like I was living just like Bridget - WWBD, if you will.  Except with less crotch-cam-on-a-fireman's-pole.)

Today's find was Bend it Like Becker who made me giggle.  Rigging up a system to get the rubbish into the bin from the second storey deck to avoid having to go downstairs is actually frigging genius but having the commitment to buy carabiners to achieve said goal? I've got nothing but snorts and applause.  Brilliant.  I immediately wanted to rip her off which must be the highest accolade I've got in my (admittedly limited) Positive Praise Bank.  (What I've got stored in my Disdain and Contempt Bank is extensive.  I don't even save it for special, I apply it liberally). Anyway, Sarah has a thingo she calls 'blurbs' which appears to be a conglomeration post of bits and pieces and I'm totally ripping that off today.  Credit where credit's due and all (um, assuming this counts as credit?)

So, anyway.  We're having a house warming this weekend.  (OF COURSE you're all invited, internet stalkers! Um, your invitations are in the mail! Yes, that's it!) P has purchased about half a beast (half a lamb anyway) to feed guests with and I am in that stage of concern that reads: 'well we're going to look ridiculous when only three people turn up and we've catered for the population of a medium sized town'.  Those three people aren't even a given - my Mum's not in town.  But look on the bright side: when have I ever been upset about eating leftovers for a solid week?! NEVER.  NOT EVER.  I cry when the Christmas ham runs out four weeks after the event. 

Also, I am going to see Beyonce in concert (as opposed to over tea, you know) tomorrow with a veritable gaggle of women.  One, a high school teacher, has already emailed to express concern about the reaction of a class of 15 year old girls - 'YOU listen to Beyonce?!' 'Destiny's WHO?!'.  Look, I remember 2000 clearly when Say My Name was the only thing we'd play on the high school common room stereo (which if I recall rightly was so wrecked it had to be sat on the foam cushions from the broken-ass common room couch in order to work).  I'm now however quite concerned that I will be the oldest, saddest woman at this concert because I've already ditched the idea of wearing heels in order to be more comfortable and I'm planning how to get home after.  Shit. 

On the plus side, at least we're having dinner first at quite a nice restaurant so I'm guessing it won't be like the heady days of the 2007 JT concert where we destroyed ourselves on Lindauer Fraise (exactly as classy as it sounds. EXACTLY). 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

sway

Usually I love my office.  It has a lovely northeasterly aspect with views of the harbour.  Plenty of cupboard space.  Quite a large desk.  It's near the kitchen.  It gets lots of sunshine but no glare on my computer screen. 

This morning, however, it's been horrendous.  There is a gale blowing and the building is swaying something chronic.  I tried turning my back to the window to combat the nausea (there's nothing like watching the horizon move from the 21st floor) but I still feel abysmal.

This has been compounded by the fact I accidentally drank the first half a cup of coffee I've had in about five or six months.  I gave up drinking coffee one day just because.  It was really easy for me (I'm much more partial to Earl Grey tea or Diet Coke).  I didn't need it, I decided.  Extra money on a vice I didn't really enjoy.  Well, let me tell you - half a mochaccino has made me feel like I'm recovering from 12 rounds with a bottle of vodka.  I am NEVER drinking that shite again! (coffee, not the vodka.  I know my limits.)

Sunday, 13 October 2013

fandamily gatherings

I ate meals at me new table this weekend!  How very grown up.  I also reverted to eating dinner on the couch however on Sunday because P and I were engrossed in the television.  How very sad.  I am going to have to start binge watching the rest of Breaking Bad, I've decided because SPOILERS.  Usually I don't have much pity for people who whinge about internet spoilers (don't go on the internet if you don't want to know!) but as someone who is at Season 2, Episode 9, I'm feeling very pissy about the number of headlines on magazine style sites ruining the ending for me.  We've been very slow Breaking Bad watchers because it's so intense I find I need to space it out.  Hence, we're well behind.  Bear in mind that I've decided that one of these days I should really watch the West Wing.  I'm about 10 years behind the curve on everything.

Well, that was far too many words about television. 

Big fandamily weekend with my family this weekend, rather than P's.  At least I came home with my phone and my dignity when I was with mi familia...ohhhhhhhh I hadn't told you about that.  P's cousin was turning 28 and scorned us for our age and inability to party so I proved her wrong...no I didn't.  I went to Kingsland, finished getting completely soused and then fell asleep on my bedroom floor when P played party pooper and poured me into a cab.    Some kind stranger found my phone and a friend who called me the next day picked it up for me...that, right there, gives me some serious faith in humanity.  The guy reckoned someone had done it for him - phone karma, he thought.  I love him.  So true though - I've saved someone's blackberry before (scrolled through the contacts and called 'Wifey') so maybe I was due a cosmic good phone turn?  I also thought I'd lost my glasses and spent four very squinty, bloodshot days at work last week, but they turned up on Friday. 

(Let's not even discuss the Drunk In Charge FB behaviour shall we?)

I embraced my age at my cousin's 21st this weekend, accordingly.  Safe at home by 11.30.

Friday, 11 October 2013

the shared experience

You guys!  Have you seen the #penisbeaker thread on the British site MumsNet?  I'm not linking to it from this computer but I don't think I've laughed so hard in ages.  It's totally NSFW and if you're commuting, I think you'll embarrass yourself laughing so save it for home!  By way of background, it's about post-coital cleanliness practices...consider yourself warned.  If the word 'fanjo' causes you to writhe in shame, I wouldn't go there. 

Poor old P - "I'm feeling fruity tonight darling.  FILL UP THE PENIS BEAKER" is going to become a staple pick up line in our household.  I'm not even joking! (You think I'm joking? It's like you don't EVEN KNOW ME!)

It's making me smile to think about the shared parts of the human experience that you wouldn't normally ponder.  Every day I do things that millions of others are doing and yet I never stop to think that someone might do it a little differently than I - when I brush my teeth, for example, I always start at the back left.  Do you?  I hate hate hate that P wipes his electric toothbrush handle on the handtowel after rinsing it - I find it so disgusting - yet P thinks my toothbrush handle is the grottiest thing of all time because I simply set it down after rinsing.  Do you have a mug for your toothbrush?  Isn't the grime that collects at the bottom revolting?

I love hearing about people's alternative routines - there's so much that's interesting about how other people lead their lives.  Navigating the Mothership leads a quarterly 'Day in the Life' post, where she (and others) photograph and document the course of an entire day for posterity's sake.  I haven't participated, as I'm a real online stalker and not much of a commenter, nor do I use many pictures of my life on here (at least, not recently).  But I absolutely love reading those bad boys - seeing what the day to day looks like for a pregnant mother of two in Minnesota.  I have been actively searching out diverse blogs because I love reading about other peoples lives, heavily edited or not.  When I found myself reading a review of a book entitled 'Passionate Housewives Desperate For God' the other day I had to laugh - while I vehemently disagreed with nearly every sentiment expressed by the blogger reviewing the book (& every sentiment she said the book contained), fuck me the internet has broadened my horizons.  I wish I could find it again, but I believe this is the site of one of the co-authors.  Knock yourself out obtaining Help for the Hopeful Housewife, guys.  (Oh seriously, I just read further. Don't do it.  The Lies Feminism Spreads, Y'all!)

Anyway, Penis Beaker made my day.  Read into that what you will!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

i may know what boundaries are, after all. maybe

I typed out an excessively wordy blogular thing about KiwiSaver and retirement plans this afternoon and then I realised:

(a) you're going to put all that personal financial information on the internet? and
(b) who the fuck cares?

It turns out my boundaries with the internet are finances.  I don't mind boring you all to tears with the state of my eyebrows (slightly furry - never going back to Benefit Brow Bar at Smith + Caugheys again, the face torturers, we're in recovery mode over here) but for whatever reason, I can't bear to bore you with my savings goals and retirement plans and mortgage details. 

EVEN THOUGH I would read the shit out of that if someone else wrote it on their blog.  Because NOSY. 

It did get a little bit feminist ranty when I reflected on income disparity over a lifetime and the total income cost of childrearing, so.  Even worse: political. 

Actually, I think part of my real problem in writing it up was I realised how privileged I am.  Middle class white girl problems, you know?  That's not a gloating shout of 'I'm riiiiiiiiiich', by the way.  It's more that when I worked out my biggest issues, they weren't that big.  I have access to contraception and choice regarding children, I have independent parents who probably won't require my financial assistance in their retirement, and I live in central Auckland, for fuck's sake, so my long-term financial hurdles are really up to fuck all.  Comparison is the thief of joy, I've seen bandied about on those framed quote posters that all of Pinterest appears to have a hard-on for.  I believe that was Edison, or someone like that.  But Comparison is really the Source of All Your Self-Flagellation, too.  OK, OK, you can frame that if you like. 

(I kid!)

(frame it, take a picture, stick it on Pinterest and I'll give you $20, for realsies)

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

malt biscuits and mow-lawning

I just spread butter on a malt biscuit, and smooshed another one on top.  There was fruit in the bowl next to the bikkies, but I ignored it. God that's gross. 

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway.  I mowed the lawns this weekend.  I even strimmed the edges and tried (for the love of god, tried) to mow in straight lines.  This was momentous because thus far in my life my lawn mowing activity has consisted of:

- watching my mother or father mow the lawn
- wathing P mow the lawn
- letting my horse mow the lawn

You will note that none of the above involved me handling a lawnmower.  My mother (and by extension my father) didn't trust me with a mower (or in the kitchen, in the tool shed, with a saw etc etc - with good reason - I am the girl who just today managed to slice her little finger on the edge of a the clip from a manila folder, for crying out loud).  It wasn't only that I was useless and couldn't be trusted not to damage myself, but Mum really has a thing for a properly mown lawn, with the edges done right and all in straight lines.  I am not very good at straight lines. 

I usually watch P mow the lawns because, well, is there anything better than sitting on your deck in late afternoon sunlight watching your husband be all domesticated and vaguely sweaty? I think not.

And Bert, well, he was GOOD at keeping the grass down.  I just had to scoop the poop afterwards.

So, yes, I did it myself this weekend (I had P trapped inside slaving over a hot stove - on a par with watching him mow the lawn, I must say).  No one lost a toe, the grass is cut and I came away with a sense of satisfaction that I have not for one day in my life received from cleaning the loo, or washing the floors, or any other indoor chore for that matter.  Not that those things can't be satisfying, because they certainly can - usually in a I-vanquished-you-lurking-germs, begone-and-darken-my-bowl-no-more-or-for-at-least-48-hours kind of way.  But I really, really liked it. 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

courgettes are the same as zucchini, right?

Sunshine! Sunshine! Hallo SPRING! You and your copious snails are here!  I'm sneezing all over the show!

If it weren't for the sunshine, I think I'd have hamster-on-a-wheel-itis right now - you know, same day, rinse, repeat thing?  Groundhog Day (never really saw that movie all the way through but Bill Murray references are always, always apt even if you're not entirely sure about whether basically everything isn't a joke that Bill Murray is subtly winking at).

Aaaaaaanyway, what I'm saying is: I feel a bit stuck in the rut right now.  It's pretty much unjustified, it won't last.  I think it's a Gen Y type symptom, maybe.  (I *think* I'm Gen Y.   Spend a lot of time thinking and talking about ME ME ME? Yep, sounds about right.)  I'm always on the lookout for the next big thing, for all the talk of being in the moment.  Some fishing recruiter sent bait to P a few weeks ago offering him the opportunity of the big time in Luxembourg.  Despite all my professed contentedness back here on the Mothership Kiwi, the rut meant I found myself writing emails to P saying things like:

- 3 hours from Paris by train
- London.  Right.  There.
- We could get tenants.
- We'd be rich!
- Oh wait, scratch that, what the hell would I do all day?
- I'D EAT BON BONS.  SOLD.
- Baguette!
- Wine!
- WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHEESE

etc, etc. 

P rationally pointed out that if we moved to Luxembourg we wouldn't be able to enjoy the fruits of our courgette plant.  A valid point; well made sir.  I've grown quite fond of the old zucchini plant, purchased hastily in a spur of the moment garden centre trip (who on earth does that? Just me, I suspect.  Young people don't go to the garden centre; old people don't do shit like that spontaneously because planning and seasonal planting in your garden is key, I hear).  I would hate to think I've battled the snails but otherwise neglected the plant for not a single ratatouille.

Plus, P continued, we've bought a fuckload of furniture recently that we'd like to enjoy (fuckload = must be an imperial measure).  We're talking a table, chairs, couch, outdoor table, benches, bbq - that's right people, when you come to our shack you're not going to have to eat squatting on the floor anymore!  ALL CLASS. 

So, let the sunshine through.  Onwards, upwards, zucchini-wards. 

Monday, 30 September 2013

exhibitionist ii

I went to the beach for a long weekend.  It was deserted (I thought).  The bach had tinted windows (I thought).  The only person, aside from P, I saw on the beach all weekend was driving past the bach on a four wheeler, looking directly in through the glass as I towelled myself off.  Not to worry, I thought, I'm safe from view.  I leisurely finished drying, then slowly anointed myself with moisturiser.

I became more uncomfortable as the four wheeler zoomed back around, and slowed right down this time as it passed.

After I dressed, I went outside and checked the tints.  Not so tinted AT ALL.

You're welcome, random farmbike enthusiast from the Bay of Plenty.

___________________________

P and I are the types who turn up at least five minutes early for every appointment.  It's important to us to be on time.  There are any number of clocks in our house: kitchen, stove, bedside tables in all bedrooms, not to mention electronic devices.  Being the time-minded lady that I am, yesterday I did the rounds adjusting all clocks forward an hour for daylight saving.  It's a real shame that P, being the time-minded gent that he is, did exactly the same thing.  We were at work extra specially early this morning. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

2.03pm

"She Drives Me Crazy" - Fine Young Cannibals

It's not your average cafe music...but I love it.  Weirdest cafe ever!

la la la, very small things

Long time, no type.  You know, caused by the usual: work, a dearth of anything valuable to say (HA. Something of value!? I'm sure you're all clamouring for a return of the "shitty cafe music updates" AMIRITE? I'm always producing kwality kontent on this 'ere blog!)

I have the next two days off - a glorious four day weekend ahead of me.  P's organised it, the destination is a surprise (who knows? He might propose! Oh, wait. We already did that.)  I cannot wait.  Our wee home is dealing surprisingly well with the stresses of four adults and two children, but my mental capacity is not.  Weekdays are fine, really, but on weekends I get pretty desperate for some quiet.  I know, says you.  How on earth will you ever be a mother? Well, that's not a given and also, I keep thinking that there must be some biological pay-off to having children of which I'm not yet aware.  I mean, the kids are pretty cute, sure, but they're so....relentless.  And grubby.  To be fair to them, my excitement is also over the desire for space from their parents, too.

So yes, I intend to souse myself in wine, whiskey and books this weekend and maybe, if he's specially lucky, I'll converse with my husband too.  No guarantees, P!

Ok, so I completely lost my train of thought (work interrupted, how rude.  Or entirely predictable).  Anyway, I hope to see you here a revitalised woman soon.  Ha.

Friday, 20 September 2013

pop quiz

This is about me, of course.  When wouldn't it be?

1. You see Three drop his bowl of porridge on the floor.  Do you:

(A) Immediately run for the cloth to wipe it up.
(B) Tell Three's parents what he's done.
(C) Huff a bit under your breath and pretend you didn't notice the problem.

2. It's the middle of the night and One is crying.  Do you:

(A) Get up and calm the child back to sleep.
(B) Go back to sleep; it's his parents' problem.
(C) Roll over and huff in your husband's ear: 'will somebody SORT THAT OUT PLEASE'.

3. You're watching the telly and Three is desperate for today's 4th viewing of some dire cartoon on DVD.  Do you:

(A) Say 'Bad luck Buster, auntie wants to watch the news.'
(B) Say 'Of course my precious, whatever your heart desires.'
(C) Say 'Go to bed.'

4. You're washing the dishes when you become aware of a funky aroma emanating from the tea towel.  Do you:

(A) Continue washing.  Ignore the problem, it'll go away.
(B) Sniff every tea towel in the drawer and find that 50% are suffering from some kind of stank issue.
(C) Fling it in the direction of the laundry and huff as you walk away from the problem.

Correct answers, if you're me, appear to be (C), (C), (A), (B).  But it would appear that there are NO RIGHT ANSWERS generally with smalls.  Especially when your tea towels have been inadequately washed with what seems to be effluvia of small child. 

Grizzle over - just one last question:

4. One wants to play a game where you pretend to share his blanky then he snatches it away.  Do you:

(A) Play once then get bored and ignore him.
(B) Snatch the blanky for a cuddle on your own.
(C) Play again and again because of the priceless smile that cracks his face every time you do it.  And because he only plays that game with you. 

(C), of course. 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

it just gets better

7.49am, Cafe, bottom of my office building: 'You Can't Hurry Love' - PHIL COLLINS, Y'ALL!

(Also, I just went to look up the lyrics for that.  Do you know I've been labouring under the delusion that it was 'you can't buy me love'.  I think that's a better message?)

Friday, 13 September 2013

theatrical

Last night P took me to the theatre - Speaking in Tongues, produced by the Silo Theatre Company.  Verdict: the first half really made me think and I wanted more of the same - Andrew Bovell's second half felt a little disjointed as a result; it had the same strong themes but I wanted to know more through the eyes of Jane, Pete and Sonja who vanished for the benefit of Sarah, Neil/John and Valerie.  Oliver Driver was excellent - as John, in particular.

However.  The takeaway from last night's performance is that I can never eat at a yakitori bar again if I don't want to end up the size of a house.  Edamame, completely justifiable.  However, chicken skins, pork belly, octopus balls and chicken livers all on their own wee sticks are entirely too much fatty deliciousness and I cannot resist.  Starving myself of yakitori is the only way - but Tanuki's Cave is on my walk home...I am doomed. 

Also, I drank far too much sake with dinner (just before the final skewer arrived I annouced to P: "I am officially impaired") and that's a recipe for feeling alternatively extremely hot and then shivery the day following.  I am having real trouble regulating my body temp today. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

7.27am music report

Today the cafe had reverted back to standard crappy cafe jazz.  I'm not sure it's better, per se, but slightly more morning/setting appropriate?  I'm unable to tell - in the early hours of the morning all I want is silence and tea.  Yes, I am actually 80 years old. 

All the other stories I have at the moment revolve around poo.  I've already gone there once, let's not do that again, shall we?  We'll leave it that living with smalls is surprisingly odorous.  My olfactory senses are taking a battering.

Ok, so, what else then?  Oh yes.  This weekend I am going to the Rugby.  Our Nation's Game, watching Our Nation's Team (the All Blacks, hallowed be thy name, the father Hansen, his son McCaw and lo! the word of his apostle Kieran Reid) belt ten types of crap out of the Springboks (we most feverently hope).  While I enjoy the occasional game - for example watching the 2011 World Cup victory in Clapham followed by the most ridiculous day of my life stands out - I am going on record: I don't really love it and I've never been to the ABs before.  I know, I should turn in my passport and best pavlova recipe immediately to the authorities and leave the country.

Sport attendance seems to involve far too much being cold, far too many overbearing idiots and not nearly enough cocktail olives for my precious tastes.  I've been to the cricket, yes (summertime. Pimms) and I actually enjoyed a live match of American football (hot dogs! hilarious guys from Jersey commentating the game behind me!) but we'll see about the rugby.  The last game I attended was the Blues versus....some other team...and I seem to recall being quite bored, though I'll admit I wasn't invested.  We were with P's Irish cousins who enjoyed heckling immensely, much to my amusement, P's concern and the ire of the Blues supporters seated around us.  These were the girls who also managed to convince P's friend that they weren't really P's cousins at all: they just did a fantastic accent and had looked up the most Irish sounding name in the phone book before calling to announce long lost family were on their way for a visit.  Brilliant. 

Anyway.  Rugby.  I feel like I'm going through a rite of passage.  I want to see the haka - sing me national anthem - wave me flag - stand outside the dressing room for a signature - make a comment about the ruck - curse the ref - worship at the goal posts - it'll be great, I've no doubt.