Tuesday, 16 December 2014


Yesterday was one of the harder days. 

On Monday, Dad arrived home from Paris.  It was a work trip.  He felt generally manky, as you do when you have been in transit for approx. 24 hours, give or take a few.  However, he'd had an incident in the airport in Paris when he went to check in.  He couldn't speak.  He could think the words, but there was a disconnect and he couldn't get them out.  He was sped to the airport's medical centre and over the space of about 15 minutes, the ability returned.  He was monitored but otherwise fine.

While he was in transit, Mum made him an appointment for yesterday morning at the GP.  He duly turned up and was sent straight to the hospital for evaluation.  You were probably thinking, as were we, that he'd had a stroke.  At hospital it was confirmed he'd had a mini-stroke (a TIA, a Transient something Attack).  They wanted to do some further tests, which seemed fair enough - there's a heightened risk of having another within the space of a month, and you always want to know what damage has been done, I guess.

Dad had a CT scan on his head.  It showed a tumour. 

We don't know much more at this stage.  Dad had a further CT scan on his chest to check for other tumours and when I spoke to him last, the results hadn't been communicated to him.  He'd been put on steroids to start chemically shrinking what they'd seen in his head.  This morning at 10 he's having an MRI to check the tumour, to check for anything else and to put together a plan with the specialists, I assume.  I think he's having a skype session with the specialists (who are based in another hospital about four hours away) sometime this morning - possibly both prior and subsequent to the MRI. 

Mum called with updates during the day.  I think she's pretty scared but holding it together, because she has to.  I spent an hour on the phone with them last night, helping alleviate the boredom of an internal room in a hospital that isn't home.  We made jokes and chatted about my day.  Dad was pretty realistic, not downbeat but saying the conversation he'd had with the registrar was in hushed tones and suggested that things are pretty serious. 

My Dad is 58.  I love him.  I am trying to block out the noise and just take it as it comes.  God knows Mum and Dad don't need me to freak out.  I've been calling and texting my sister, who doesn't have a husband to hold her when she's feeling scared. 

Yesterday was one of the harder days.   

Thursday, 11 December 2014

purple palace progress

The work on the Lavender Loveshack continues apace.  There's been promises of being done with the painting by Christmas, but that's contingent on the weather continuing to play ball.

The builders will probably be glad to be done - P had a session pointing out a bunch of shonky repairs last weekend that remain uncorrected and I gave one of them a hell of a fright earlier this week.  I don't usually get home until the builders have left, but I'd had a ride and got home not too far off 5.30.  The front door was open and I could hear banging and sanding down the right hand side of the house. I was busting to use the loo, so I didn't walk round to say hi.  I hustled into the bathroom and when I popped out, the builder's son was at the kitchen sink having a drink.*  I swear his feet left the ground he got such a fright - he garbled an apology, I laughed and said of course he could help himself to water and he scurried outside to recover his composure, the poor thing.

With all the prep work and the patches of primed new weatherboards, the Palace is not very Purple any more.  I'm nervous about the colours I've picked going up (what if I haaaaaate them?  I'm not very good with this sort of thing).  I'm also nervous about the expense, both of the current work and what we have planned next.  We're going to re-line our bedroom and install a built-in wardrobe as the first task in the New Year, followed by a similar job on the spare bedroom (we can only do this one room at a time, you see, because we can only store one extra room's furniture at a time and still have a place to sleep that isn't the living room floor.  I'm not opposed to the living room floor, I should point out, but P isn't too keen.  He's got a point because the living room is very compact.) 

We've acknowledged to ourselves that we can't afford to do the extension/kitchen/bathroom renovations as yet, so we'll stick to whacking in a dishwasher in those zones, once the bedrooms are done.  Sweet, sweet dishwasher, I cannot wait to meet you.

There's also been talk of underhouse excavations and moving the laundry to a concreted space under there.  I don't think there's any point until we do the major works at the back, and we'll still have to walk outdoors to put on a load of laundry, even if it's under the house.  The washing machine presently lives in a utility shed in the backyard, which doesn't bother me nearly as much as I thought it would.  We don't own a dryer so everything goes outdoors on the line anyway, we don't hear the noise, and the lack of overhead lighting restricts my laundry days to the weekend, so I don't have a horrible constant pile of folding to do.

So, we're going to be pouring some $$$ directly into the house, rather than continuing to shove it all onto the mortgage in the name of reducing the ridiculous mound of debt.  I know that it technically increases our equity as well, but I have a cheap wee heart and it certainly doesn't reduce our interest payments! 

That is all very domestic and dull, but it's what's going on just now. 

*You might recall that our bathroom comes off the kitchen, part of a standard 50s lean-to addition to the old cottage.  Just charming.

Monday, 8 December 2014


The end of year party season has well and truly begun.  Case in point: it was not yet 3pm last Friday at a team lunch when one attendee grabbed her breasts in an illustration of the difficulty caused by her lovely (but possibly workplace inappropriate) backless top.  I'll have you know I was a model of propriety.  Oh, hey now, doubters: I had to get back to the office so I actually was well behaved, unusual or no!

The party got me in the holiday spirit.  I dragged P to a Christmas tree farm and thence to the Warehouse for cheap decorations.  We bought a ghastly Michael Buble Christmas CD and I thrashed it while adorning the tree with super! cheap! candy! canes! and scattering glitter on the floor.  My house smells just lovely, like pine and happiness.  I abhor pine scents generally - them old fake ones - but I cannot get enough of huffing my Christmas tree.  It's delicious and sends me straight back to my childhood.  The tree itself isn't as big as my family memories, at least in part because the space for it ain't so big neither.  I left the bottom largely undecorated, expecting the purrymouses to destroy it in five seconds flat.  However, they're largely unphased.  Cokes batted a decoration to get my attention last night, but then he also jumped on me, scratched my leg, ate my headphones and manufactured a spew on the living room floor all in an effort to wake us up to fill his bowl this morning, so I think I don't think he has a particular animus in relation to the tree.


I'm so desperate to be finished this year I've started drafting my usual end of year survey.  I'm still struggling with a pithy description of 2014, in large part due to denial that 2014 has in fact begun. 


On another, horrible note, I've had some very bad news that affects my Hat Friend.  I am sorely worried for her.  I don't pray, I think -- so I'm thinking near constantly about Hat Friend's situation and hoping for the best possible outcome.  It's scary when (a) things are completely out of our control and (b) your words sound like horrible, hopeless platitudes.  Words can be powerful. I need to corral them and winnow out the least effective, leaving something meaningful, I hope. 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

end of spring 2014

I was in Christchurch last week, alternatively squinting as the sun beat down on me through the windows of various meeting rooms or pushing back my hair as the wind blew a gale when I managed to escape outside.  It's been a disappointing spring, really.  Gusty, drizzly, grey.  I shouldn't complain - in the two years since we returned to New Zealand, the seasons have outdone themselves.  Aucklanders grow to expect six weeks of rain during spring, standard so there's nothing new with what we've been experiencing to date. It's just that springtime elsewhere seems to have bright days (notable exception: London, Spring 2012, miseryfest). 

In the past two weeks, the humidity has finally arrived.  Sensing it was going to take even more of a beating than usual, my GHDs promptly gave up the ghost and are lying abandoned on a shelf in the bathroom.  I've been using horrific amounts of hairspray and plastering my bob back into a weird little pony tail.  It's gross.  GHD's are GD expensive, the bastards, and have a life of about two years.  I've been through three sets now which is an obscene amount of money on a hair implement.  My vanity knows no bounds.

We had patches of sunshine at the beach this weekend, though the wind was still there.  We escaped to the Coromandel for a night, though I'm not sure it qualified as relaxing.  The last half hour of the drive left me contemplating whether I would, for the first time in my life, actually require P to pull over.  The alternative being that I threw up in the door handle, as did a poor British woman on our tour in Rajasthan.  I managed to keep it together, but spent some time afterwards laying prone either on the beach or on the window seat of the bach in Whangamata, letting the heaves settle.  There's sand in my cardigan but it was worth it. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

house faffing

We're having a bunch of rotten weatherboards replaced on the Purple Palace's exterior, a move  preparatory to having it painted.  Purple no more.  We'll likely go with a grey with white trim and a black-ish front door which is terribly boring and predictable, isn't it?  Well, I am terribly boring and predictable and only occasionally am bothered by that fact.  Still, there'll be a little purple nostaglia I think, when the first coat goes on, hiding the lavender glory (mauve magnificence?).

The builders are also replacing the small window in our bedroom and the front door, the current one having a crack so large I can see daylight through it.  I think they've sourced replacements via TradeMe (NZ's answer to Ebay or Gumtree or something).  A mysterious door is sitting outside the house and I hope they haven't spent too much on it because it's got ugly missized panels.  We asked for a door with a window, to let light into the hall.  It's all a bit mickey mouse (although, we are paying GST on this one at least, unlike another guy who quoted as a cash job and told me that you can roll a turd in glitter, but it's still a turd.  Amazing.)

I went home from work sick yesterday and holed up in the spare bedroom.  The builder has hired his son as a labourer over son's university holidays.  They were blasting George FM and the son was educating his dad on the finer points regarding electronica.  Dad didn't have much to contribute, but it seemed like good family bonding, to me. Tabitha sat on the bed with me, unperturbed by the noise.  We had a nap.  Good family bonding, too. 

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

the state of my kitchen

Sunmaid has done a really, really clever thing and packaged up their prunes into individual servings.  Usually I am completely against individual packets because it's so wasteful, but I can house prunes and any open bag is fair game.  I know the consequences but I do it anyway because OMG delicious, delicious prunes.  Come to think of it, I don't object to individual packaging of raisins either, on much the same basis.  OH GOD and apricots?  The really leathery dried ones (as opposed to the plump Turkish jobs which are good but not on the same plane)? YES PLEASE ALL AT ONCE.

So, dried fruit.  I have an extremely healthy digestive tract, thanks for asking. 

This comes to mind because I was scouring the pantry last night before dinner was ready (in fact, before I'd started to prepare it).  I found the prunes stashed away at the back, hiding from me.  Normally, I have a mental inventory of tasty shit living at my house so nothing can hide, but last week, we had a cleaner. 

This is the first time we've had a cleaner that wasn't end-of-tenancy obligated, I think.  She came in on the weekend and I just did not know it was possible to get our kitchen that clean (and with eco-friendly products, no less.  I use the bleach because I'm bad but I actually did not think eco-friendly products could remove half the crud they did).  She even cleaned the pantry which was amazing.  She was lovely too - professional and friendly.

I felt guilty though, never you fear.  My cheap heart berated me for paying someone to do what I ought to be capable of achieving for myself.  My half-baked social conscience felt every single drop of privilege oozing from my pores.  My shame at the state of my scummy old cottage knew no bounds!

However, finding the prunes was like Christmas.  Between the stashed snacks and the oven-I-could-lick,-it's-so-clean,-what-a-shame-two-of-the-electric-rings-don't-work, I think we might spring for the cleaner to come back again every so often. 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

colonial hangovers

Last night, in my dreams, I attended a very intimate Mariah Carey gig with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.  Let me tell you right now, my dreams suggest that Mariah's voice has really gone off the boil, but don't tell her that because it does not end well if you do.  Kanye will not lift a finger to help.

It was a disturbed night of sleep.  Kimye and Mariah, Tabitha sleeping between P and I and wriggling, P swatting Cokies who demanded 2am biscuits and the usual onslaught of Guy Fawke's fireworks. 

I have always, always, been afraid of fireworks.  I thought Dad would shoot himself with the double happies when I was small.  Catherine Wheels? Def lose an eye.  At a Christmas party for a part time job I once held, a colleague lit the fireworks with a small handheld blowtorch (he's is still a friend some 10 years on, I'm proud to say, despite his antics).  It could have ended much worse, though the scratches on our co-worker's brand new car (as in, just picked up from the dealership) were awful.  I still love a sparkler, I suppose, but I hate what fireworks do to animals and I think the injury rates are too high to justify the enjoyment. 

Gosh, I hear some saying, what a boring old fart she is.  Or worse: she's supporting a PC nanny state! (The co-opting of 'PC' as an insult and/or a categorical denial of any institutional societal issues really grinds my gears, if that wasn't obvious.)  Get this: if you feel that way, you'll probably be even more riled about another objection to celebrating Guy Fawke's - how bizarre is it that we burn an effigy of a man who tried to blow up a parliament that's not even our own about 400 or so years ago?! So much to unpack there, amirite?

In any case, I think fireworks'll be for public displays only soon, in the land of the long white cloud. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

frazzled, variously

So work has seriously kicked off.  I think it's that 'Christmas is coming' mentality setting in - oh fuck, say all of my clients, ever, at once, let's get that stuff sorted before the Christmas holidays! And I proceed to flip the flip out because I am incapable of any setting on my personal toaster between warm bread and JEEBERS TURN OFF THE SMOKE ALARMS. 

(I wrote all of that, took a break, came back and whoa there Nelly I really do know how to torture a metaphor)

So yes, two months until Christmas. We are getting the Chrissy plans sorted. In case you care, we're off down the line for a wedding, a stay with my olds, a six hour car ride with my olds to get back to the 09 (emphasis added OMG), then spending Christmas eve with my wider maternal fam, Christmas day with a visit to P's dad and stepfam, the rest of the day with his Ma, brother and sister in law, then beach with friends for a week, whew. The shut down at our offices continues to the 12th, so there's talk of finding another beach after that with P's mum.

The late spring humidity has arrived with a vengeance and is doing a number on my coiffure.  I think we all know how I feel about that.  I'm taking it personally, is what I'm doing.

Also, my eyes are watering following quotes on replacing those rotten weatherboards.  Turns out one side of the house is, to put it poetically, totally rooted.  I think we knew that in our hearts but were practicing turning a blind eye.  Home ownership and responsibility and whatnot, far out. 

Friday, 17 October 2014


It is with great relief that I announce that time has indeed passed this week in accordance with its usual practice and we have arrived at Friday evening after all.  It felt like we were in danger of missing the goal there, for a bit. 

As you were.

Monday, 13 October 2014


Had the first casual wine on the back deck of the season, this weekend gone.  It was a chardonnay I'd popped in the fridge in anticipation, waking on Saturday morning to a clear sky.  Two friends visited to check out an open home over the back fence* and we ruminated over the marketing material over a glass or two of wine.  I shared sunscreen with my visitors.  Towels were drying on the washing line, flapping in a gentle breeze.  Felt properly summerish and not a moment before time.


P had disappeared for the weekend on his annual migration to the river to 'catch fish' (for which, read: commune with nature in the company of male relations).  He did manage to bring home a fat trout so I think he's assuaged the hunter-gatherer urges for another few months.  Fishing has been a hot topic in our household, of late.  He's organised a charter to catch kingfish or hapuka over the Christmas holidays, as well as a snapper expedition with work.  I will gladly eat the spoils.

I'm planning the next set of work on the house.  I booked a plumber to add some exterior taps (nothing's gonna die on my watch, this year! Filling the watering can in the bathtub got a bit tedious, after a while.  No doubt I've just jinxed the summer into being wet, wet, wet.) I've also planned a quick refresh of the kitchen window.  But the real buzz is getting a builder in to replace weatherboards in anticipation of an exterior paint job.  We're going to leave that to the professionals, I think, but I'll find it satisfying nonetheless.


*It would be so nice if they bought the place but the eau-de-dog permeating the front rooms was powerful.  I know it can be overcome but boy, it affects your first impression!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

what addiction shall we address next?

In a meeting yesterday at someone else's offices, the sun on my back kept getting hotter and hotter.  My blue suit doesn't breathe particularly well and I was increasingly uncomfortable and sweaty, as the minutes ticked by into hours. The sun rose higher.  It was a formal meeting and ripping off my jacket to a sleeveless top would have been inappropriate in the circumstances.  I surreptitiously tried to blow air up onto my face.  When we finally took a break, I raced outside and gulped fresh air as fast as decorum would allow.  I was rapidly followed by another meeting attendee, guiltily lighting a cigarette.

I realised then that cigarettes are almost non-existent in my life, these days.

I've never smoked myself, but I vividly recall the first occasion in 2004 or 2005, after the indoor smoking ban took effect, I went to the Bowler (RIP Bowling Green Tavern, once Dunedin's finest, I partook of your delicious beverages, pashed on your dancefloor, even once managed to gain entry with two bleeding knees*).  That night, the smell in the bar without the mask of cigarette smoke was so horrific I had to go home.  But! the next morning, my hair was fresh. No burn marks in my clothes or on my arms.  Once the Bowler ripped out the old carpet and the smell issue was reduced (wouldn't go so far as to say eliminated), I forgot all about gross secondhand smoke issues after a night out. 

In 2008, I recall having a few colleagues who'd still nip outside for a smoke during work hours.  There were only a few, but you knew where they'd be when they weren't at their desks.

In 2010, P relegated his social smoking to only very special occasions.  It had been pretty infrequent anyway (getting laid > smoking), but he didn't always have a packet stashed in the top drawer of his bedside table anymore. 

Today, I would be pressed to think of a friend who is a smoker in the classic sense anymore.  None of my colleagues leave the office for a cigarette (a coffee, different story). 

Butts on the street are much fewer.

The Quit Me Mutu advertising is prevalent. 

Amazing what changes can be wrought in a decade or so. 

*the result of two (2) separate accidents in one (1) frosty night with (1) unfortunate pair of shoes and no doubt three (3) too many pre-drinks.

Monday, 22 September 2014

decision 2014

We got half cut on champagne and went to pick out wedding jewellery for M on Saturday afternoon.  I expect that's why I fell asleep by 9pm on Saturday night during the election coverage; being sauced, that is.  We had a lovely time at the jewellery store.  After finding the perfect earrings and matching necklace, we tried on everything in the vintage cabinet.  I flounced around the store with a three carat diamond on my finger (verdict: terribly gauche and wondrously obnoxious, three carats is), while trying to persuade Hat Friend to purchase an expensive gold fob chain or a beautiful emerald ring.  We drank some more bubbles afterwards and toasted the bride.  Can't wait for her wedding day. 

Election coverage: do you know, I think the coverage on my facebook page was probably more extensive and vitriolic than the coverage on the two major free to air channels?  That's saying something.  I woke up to posts on Sunday morning saying things like:

- 'Shame on you, New Zealand'
- 'Crying into a bucket of KFC, Dotcom?'
- 'If you didn't vote, you can't complain'
- 'Moving to Scandinavia'

Had the result gone a different way, I think I would have seen just as much disappointment from the other half of my feed.  It wasn't all one-way traffic.  I've found it hard to work myself into a proper lather about this election, though for all that I'm disappointed that NZ doesn't appear to wish to make any major decisions that might result in a narrowing of the gap between the rich and poor.  Wow, I didn't expect to make any direct statements about my political leanings on social media (other than, you know, me feminism) but there we have it.  Oh, except I've bagged Colin Craig before and I was thrilled to see we'll go another three Colin Craig-free years. 

Friday, 19 September 2014

what's next, gout?

Fresh page, blank slate notwithstanding, my bloggy muse is still AWOL.  Am feeling very stilted on the old blog recently, given I don't tend to write about work, my husband generally (other than, you know, putting up mocking faux-fashion pictures) or details regarding my friends.  Maybe it's just that I'm leading a boring life?  Probably.  I can usually wring a drop of drama or six out of the most innocuous material, so I'll resort to a nice list and see what pops out:
  • Summer holiday is mostly organised, including a trip to see the olds, a week at the beach with friends, and a visit from P's mum.  We've also booked a trip to Golden Bay (upper South Island, v remote, hippy heaven) for a wedding in March.  Am feeling good about summer time on the horizon.
  • Friend saga.  Friend 1 has been a dick to Friend 2 over a gift that Friend 1, a bunch of other friends and I arranged for Friend 2.  I heartily disapprove of Friend 1's dickish behaviour and dealt with endless email/FB correspondence, including a few calls to other friends myself for sanity! Mother above, how is it that friends can still bring the drama at age 30+? I am actually ashamed of having had any involvement in a squabble at all.  But given I'm not going to parse the details here, you probably don't care much about that at all.  Safe to say: my policy on this sh*t now is: Let's All Calm Down and Have a Glass of Wine.  Actually, that's an excellent policy to apply across the board for me, I'll have it printed on an inspirational fridge magnet in no time.  Watch out Pinterest.*
  • Tabitha cat has found an access point to the roof and scares the bejesus out of me on the regular.  She creates massive thumps, and I rush outside to see what's caused the noise, only to realise I'm being watched over the eaves by a furry wee stalker.  Gets me every time and is somehow worse than when I realised I'm being watched during midnight pee trips. 
  • HAHAHAHA I jinxed myself with my recent post about musical theatre. Turns out the Sound of Music is coming to town and my sister K is desperate to go.  Mum said no way, on the basis that it won't be as good as the movie, but K pointed out that comparing it unfavourably is half the fun.  I mean, why would you watch the Keira Knightley version of Pride & Prejudice otherwise?  So, I'm going back to the theatre for a singalong, goodness help me.
  • Weekend: nearly upon us, whew. 
  • State of the Chubby Update: fell off the food recording bandwagon hard, but am making better decisions and feeling better about meself generally.  More cups of tea, fewer diet Cokes, no snorting chips before dinner.  Good rules, hey?
  • OMG I COMPLETELY FORGOT TO TELL YOU: I think I had an attack of gallstones! No, I'm not 90 or a very fat man (the population segment I associate with gallstones)!  The other weekend was spiked with abdominal pain, that started near the bottom of my ribs and worked its way down.  I was achey on and off all weekend, with marginal improvement on the Monday.  After I was palpated by the doctor (ick! palpation! sounds vile, right? Mind you, it could have been worse - she threatened me with a transvaginal scan at one point), she concluded that the likely culprit was gallstones.  I was so ashamed, but did you know that it is actually more common in women?  And that it can be caused by long term oral contraceptive use?  Well, that's what Wikipedia tells me anyway.  I had a blood test/pee test to rule some other stuff out, but they won't know that it was the 'stones for sure unless they do an ultrasound.  Given I'm feeling better, I'm going to flag that, so unless they flare up again, I guess we'll never know.  GALLSTONES.  AM SUFFERING FROM MYSTERIOUS OLD PERSON AILMENT.  SHAME.
*I joined Pinterest in 2011, pinned approximately 3 wedding hairstyles I knew I could never be achieved with my hair, and never looked at it again. I often get so-and-so-is-now-following-you-on-Pinterest! emails, and every time I feel sorry for them, because it must be pretty damn boring.

Monday, 15 September 2014

there is paint in my hairline, still

We have finally finished the dining room.  Well, when I say finished, I mean, we've moved the dining table back in and all the major works are done, as of Sunday evening.  We are still fighting about pendant lights and sideboards and the best arrangement of art and shelves and whatnot.  But, I ate a meal at the table last night for the first time in a long time and we congratulated ourselves mightily.  One room: took us thirteen and a half months to start, one month and three days to finish.  At this rate, our house will be renovated some time this century!

I must say, the painting part of the process was lengthy but fundamentally enjoyable for me, even though I got up and down the ladder approx. eleventy million times and I am really not that good a painter.  Can't pinpoint exactly why I like it but there you go.  Sanding: hate.  Filling: eh.  Being P's assistant to hold this or that or the other: not bad for me, but I suspect painful for P, given my propensity to inform him of a better way to do things (clearly!).  Also, who knew that renovating involved such endless tidying and cleaning?  I felt like I spent a good chunk of the time shuffling sandpaper and tools and ladders from one place to another, readjusting drop cloths, vacuuming, sweeping, picking up nails, cleaning brushes and rollers etc etc.  Safe to say I wasn't a big fan of that cleaning biz either. 

I will take a picture for you blog, one of these days! I might even have people over to eat in my room! My god, the options are endless!

Busy-ish at work too, the usual.  Spent two days in Wellington last week and am off to Christchurch again tomorrow.  The places I've travelled for work have are not what you might call exotic.  I could get behind a conference in the Seychelles or even Rarotonga (you know, if it has to be within a four hour flight) but as much as I like Wellington, it's not quite as glam as, say, Monaco.  Ah well, at least with the trip to Christchurch I should get home in time to stand in the doorway and admire my new room before bed.  Can't say that for Prague.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

why i'm unlikely to attend any revival of 'cats'

One of (my) life's little mysteries is why I don't like musical theatre as an adult, when I was completely enamoured of it as a child?

Here are my theories:

1) Bitterness and envy. 

My parents took me to the Founder's Theatre in Hamilton to see My Fair Lady (starring Max Cryer; I forget who played Eliza, but she was beautiful, I thought) when I was about 7 or 8.  My sister was deemed too young, or it was a treat for just me, I don't remember the details.  In any case, she was dropped at the neighbours while Mum and Dad took me to the show.  It was dinner theatre, I think, a late-80s small-town fancy-pants evening.  I was entranced and decided then and there, that's what I want to be.  The star.  Long story short, I am now a lawyer, not a musical theatre performer, worse luck.  Not cut out for it, sadly.  Maybe I'm just jealous, which means I avoid watching?

2) P's curmudgeonliness is rubbing off.

I can't believe it's true, but I married a man who has never watched the Sound of Music.  Or Grease.  He has shunned two mainstay films of my childhood (the other being Pippi Longstocking.  I haven't asked P to join the fan club for that one). 

One of Auckland's main theatres is on our commute.  As we pass, P mournfully intones things like, 'you're not going to make me take you to...Wicked, are you?'  I truly believe he thinks Annie or Mamma Mia would scar him for life.  He happily joins me for plays and has been the driving force behind visiting the opera and orchestral events, but he has drawn a very bright line at musical theatre.  I'm afraid I've never seen him chant a chorus or, you know, shimmy.  Perhaps it's catching?

3) Perversity and/or snobbery

I worry that something deep and dark in me doesn't want to enjoy musicals like many others do, simply because it's popular and not as 'high brow' as other pursuits.  I'd like to think I'm not always an asshole, however, and there's plenty of evidence that I do not give two shits about 'high brow' culture - I often switch the car's radio to deeply uncool top 40 stations, I read and enjoy all sorts of books from all over the scale (Diana Gabaldon to Margaret Atwood to Dickens to Regency to Marian Keyes -- never, ever sports autobiographies -- although, most of the time I suppose you don't catch me reviewing or admitting to the 'low brow' stuff) (BTW, is it 'annoying' how I keep putting 'high/low brow' in quotes? It's because every time I write them I feel like an asshole.  But then the quotes also make me feel assholey.  Net result = 'asshole'?).

Could be a combo of the three I suppose.  Or just a change of taste over time, much like discovering that olives are tasty, around the age of 17.  Who knows? 

(I really hope you didn't think this post was going anywhere, it totally wasn't and it didn't, I'm afraid.  Soz about that.)

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

piffle, neatly listed

Why hello blog, you look all LONELY and NEGLECTED.  Let me solve that for you!

OK, so.  Here's what's been happening in my life recently: about a quarter of Not Much. 

Oh no, wait, I have THRILLING updates:
  1. I cut more hair off.  It was a mistake.  You know how minature ponies/Shetlands have those shaggy little tails (so cute) that are a bit frizzy all the way down the edges?  My ponytail looks like that but more stunted and it sticks straight out the back of my head (not cute).  But, my drying time has dropped, so there's that.  My hairdresser is Irish and every single thing she says (that I understand) sounds impossibly fun, including getting all snippy on my mane.  Hence, three more inches and a boofhead. 
  2. We are still painting.  OF COURSE we are still painting.  How can ONE ROOM take so long?  (oh right, tea breaks, followed by booze breaks.  Liquid ingestibles (comestibles?) are my Achilles heel).  I do like the paint smell, so at least that's not an issue (I also like the smell of whiteboard markers.  Yes, I ate glue and playdoh as a child.)
  3. Spring! Is! Here!
  4. Lawyering and, you know, having to bring home the pinger to pay for paint by the boatload continues to be the bane of my existence.  I need to win Lotto, stat.  However, I don't have a ticket ever, so that's a problem.
  5. Speaking of Lotto tickets, I picked up two tickets plus some scratchies and cards at Whitcoulls today in advance of Fathers' Day.  One for my dad, one for my father-in-law.  M, who was with me at the time, asked whether one Dad would be mad if the other one won (too many ones/won, sorry).  I felt hellishly guilty because what I'd been worried about was whether either of them would share with me if they won.  I am a wonderful person. 
  6. AND THEN, GET THIS, one of the Fathers' Day cards cost $12!!!  I didn't realise until looking at my receipt after the fact and CHEEEEEESUS how can a greeting card cost that much money?! 
  7. Wow, this post is crap.  Never mind, will try again later.

Friday, 22 August 2014




(It bore repeating).

Thank goodness for that. 


That is all.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


I posted something terribly depressing, then I fled the scene of the crime for a solid two weeks.  Well done, self, you're a real peach. 

The break was prompted by my holiday from work...AKA the week in which I learned my deficiencies in the home improvement realm!

Here's how it actually went:

1) I paint swatches all over the dining room wall and melt down about the difference between Quarter Surrender and One Eighth Surrender, because it's clearly a big deal.  Much time spent staring at walls in different lights.

2) We have a cup of tea.


3) P starts demolishing the linings.  It transpires they're hard board not gib (plasterboard) and there's a fuckload (official term) of wood behind them for bracing.  There is a technical term for this but it escapes me, or perhaps I never had it.

4) I cart loads of rubbish to our bin.

5) I cart loads of rubbish to the bin of the empty house next door, looking around to see if anyone's busting me.

6) More tea. 

7) Sparky comes to fix the outlets in the dining room and add a heated towel rail to the bathroom.  HOLY SMOKES a heated towel rail is a super luxury item! I mean, my towel is always dry now! AMAZING.  Yes, I have had an HTR (we're on close terms now) in my life previously but seriously, it's a minor improvement to an incredibly shabby bathroom and it makes me beyond happy. 

8) Tea while watching electrician and his apprentice (who seemed about 17 and named Silkie.  'Silk, get under the house.' 'Silk, get in the roof.' 'Silk, have you fixed that yet?' Endlessly entertaining).

9) Spend HOURS pulling superfluous nails out of the bracing.  HOURS.


10) Get dressed up in a disposable overall (something I hope never to do again) to install insulation.  Install insulation and only breathe a bit of fibreglass in the process.  Feel itchy.

11) More nail pulling.  It turns out they used approximately a million tacks to secure the hard wood lining, none of which came out when we ripped off the lining.

12) Freak out when P uses the drop saw. Convinced he will lose a finger, so instead of sensibly supervising with my finger on the dial to call 111, I go outside to paint a window hoping I'll somehow avoid the emergency.

13) P still intact, hammers things. 

14) Gib fixer and plasterer arrives.  Takes ages to dry.  Attempt poorly planned pathway around side of house as landscaping project in interim.  Present status: muddy.


15) Sanding stuff.  Architraves, ceiling.  (OMG sanding the ceiling). 

16) Select paint.  Resene Quarter Surrender with white for ceilings, archs, skirts and scotia.  USe Dad's store card for discount and P nearly gives the game away asking me how I got it in front of the clerk.  Immediately have regret about colour choice. 

Aaaaand that's about as far as we got.  I didn't bother writing it in, but we made approximately 50 trips to Mitre 10, Placemakers, some fancy Villa timber store down the road, the booze store, the paint store and the supermarket during that time.  OMG, I bought building paper from Mitre 10 and nails and shit, all by myself.  They let me buy it all without some kind of licence.  (Not so much feminism's win as it is capitalism's, I expect).

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

day 1, again

In the most roundabout way, I came to the realisation on the weekend that I ought to do something about my weight.

About three months ago, P was gifted a Westfield voucher, to spend at any store in a Westfield mall.  At about the same time, he closed down an old credit card and used the last of his points to redeem a voucher.  He picked a Bendon voucher for me to spend on frivolous underwear, something which we'd both enjoy.  It was hosing down with rain on Sunday and the first voucher was nearly at the expiry date, so we decided to brave the mall.

I've written before that my boobs are not petite, or even mediumish.  I am fairly tall and have a long torso, so I can carry some chest weight and I certainly do.  I hated my boobs in my younger years because going braless (or even strapless bra'd) is not possible for me.  I've learned to like them more as time has passed (familarity, I suppose, which in this case has not bred contempt but rather resignation and acceptance).  I hemmed and hawed at Bendon over the bra selection, which was not extensive for those with a reasonably small band size but large cups.  I eventually picked out a lovely one, but as I was assessing the fit in the mirror, the damage I've been doing to my midsection over the past couple of years was brutally apparent.  We don't have a full length mirror at home, so I've only been looking at it from my own perspective, recently.  I shrugged it off - fluorescent lighting always makes you look horrific, I thought. 

Finished with the bra selection, we wandered to the electronics store to spend the other voucher.  P eventually settled on Apple TV.  We also bought an SD card converter thingee to get all our photographs from the camera to the iPad (P recently got one for work).  I got antsy with all the people in the store and in the mall, so we scarpered for home.

Back at the Lavender Loveshack, P asked me to model my new knickers and I felt oddly reluctant.  I shrugged him off.  He set up the Apple TV instead, then downloaded a whole lot of photographs from the camera.  Showing me how great the Apple TV is, he set up a slideshow of reasonably old photographs I haven't really seen before on our TV. 

I freaked.  Internally, I was berating myself that the photographs, none of which are particularly recent, were horrific.  In my eyes, I was huge.  I asked P to turn it off, snappily.  He asked why.  I wouldn't speak about it and he got cross.

I got up, and went for a run. 

I downloaded food tracking apps and started a plank a day challenge. 

I'm not going to be stupid about this.  I'm running a 10k in November anyway with my sister (not that far, but she's on the mend from surgery on her ACL), so training is necessary.  I could stand to cut back on the booze and treats.  I'm not obese; I have a healthy BMI presently, for what that's worth (albeit at the high end of the range).  I know that it is not realistic nor even desirable to expect that I'll lose over 10 kilograms.  Five kilos would, however, make a world of difference to my own self-image. 

By the by, P apologised for upsetting me.  He thinks I get stupid about my self-image which might well be true but he recognised that what's required is compassion, not ire.  In turn, I apologised for behaving petulantly. 

I could be setting myself up for failure by writing about this at the outset, but processing it, writing it, makes me accountable, I hope. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

day in the life, winter 2014

Hi! For those who are new, I am A.  I'm 32, f, married, no kids, 2 cats, from Auckland, New Zealand.  My interests include books, wine, eating things, travelling, making questionable choices, being nosy and writing things about myself on the internet.  I find that DiTL posts fit nicely with the latter of those two interests!

It's Friday 1 August 2014.  It's winter in NZ and a working day for me. 


5.30am: wake up, but am NOT HAPPY.  Lie in the dark, mentally turning over the questionable choices I made last night.  We were sending off a colleague who is moving to London; predictably, one beer lead to many beers (the pub was going off! I was having a good time! meeting people! gossiping!), lead to Mickey Dees en route home (I am not proud), lead to furry mouth at 5.30am. 

6.15am: finally bring myself to get out of bed.  Shake some bikkies into the cats’ bowls and discover the mess I made filling up the biscuit container when a bit boozled last night.  Turn on the shower.  It’s warmer outside this morning thank god (about 10 degrees celcius) so the bathroom isn’t completely frigid and I can disrobe without squeaking.

6.25am: flick on the kettle, desperate for tea.

6.26am: Tabitha hauls in her newest victim through the cat flap.  She has recently graduated to trapping earthworms, crickets being in short supply this time of year.  Not wanting to waste a good worm (or watch Tab torture a worm on my kitchen floor), I don a pair of jandals to deliver the worm to our compost bin outside.  Jandals, dressing gown and no knickers – good thing the neighbouring house is empty at the moment because I am a sight to behold.  I choose not to take a picture of that – count yourself lucky.
6.30am: flick on the TV to catch some Commonwealth Games coverage while scoffing breakfast and drying my hair etc.  NZ has just won a bronze medal in the Men’s Floor (Gymnastics) and a Gold in the Women’s Time Trial (Cycling) – go Kiwis! The coverage is largely of lawn bowls this morning and it’s not quite as thrilling to follow as, say, 100m sprints or the swimming. 

6.40am: P emerges from the bedroom, grumbling.  As many bad life decisions as I made last night, he made a few more out on the town a bunch of graduates from his office, following a training session he ran for them.  He likes to think he can keep up with a bunch of 23 year olds, but looking at him this morning I have my doubts. 

7.15am: I have managed to dress and make myself mostly presentable.  I am wearing opaque tights, a red silk mullet dress fresh from the drycleaners, a black blazer with a sheer back (sounds very odd when written like that) . P however is struggling to get his stuff together and is yelling for help to find a grey cardigan.  I don’t know where he thinks I might have secretly stashed it, but if it’s not in the drawers or on the wardrobe rack, he’s well out of luck.
7.30am: the Great Man Cardi Hunt of 2014 has proved unfruitful and most unsympathetically I throw another sweater at P, telling him to put a sock in it.  We manage to depart the house for work.

7.30-8am: walk to work with P.  He’s on rare form today and, upon hearing about my DiTL post day, he announces ‘Well I’m looking hot today so you should definitely take a picture of me for the internet’.  He raced over to a wall nearby and struck a pose and I nearly died laughing – he thought he was taking the mickey out of magazine styling, but it is so completely fashion blogger I nearly wet my pants. 
8am: arrive at work.  Debrief with my secretary, who was also a party to yesterday evening’s shenanigans.  She lasted longer than I did but is regretting it!

8-10.30: workity work work.  Nothing thrilling, believe you me: drafting, emailing, considering, reviewing. At about 9.45 I get up to go to the printer and realise I have a terrible static situation going on with my dress.  Slip or no slip, it’s a clinger which is just annoying because the colour is so nice (a change from my usual drab wardrobe choices). 

10.30: weekly morning tea for the firm with speeches for colleague S, departing to the UK.  Stuff face with a scone, a cheerio (not the cereal, the sausage-y type!), carrot sticks and scarper and take a wee sammie & pie for the road (I don’t eat lunch on Fridays as I usually make a piggy of myself at morning tea).  Tell the firm’s chef I love his work. 

10.45-12.30: more work, until M calls me.  She wants to go for a wander and a smoothie.  We look briefly at cases for our cellphones.  Mine is new and if I don’t get a case, I’ll probably destroy it.  No dice making a purchase though, I want a pretty one!  I order a green smoothie, which I feel good about (if I don’t consider the quantities of frozen yoghurt in it).

1-5ish: workity working.  Incredibly unproductive this afternoon, however.  Drink at least two cups of tea.
5.10pm: nip upstairs where Friday Night Drinks are happening.  Look at beersies and feel ill.  Say goodbye for the final time to S and depart to meet P to scarper up to Ponsonby Road.  Call my sister K on route, because we have to debrief about the amazing video someone from her hockey team posted on FB in which she is doing the Fat Amy Mermaid for her team's amusement.  So funny, but she's worried her students might see it (she's a high school teacher). 

6pm: Grand Central Bar, Ponsonby.  We're meeting R and PW for drinks pre-dinner.  R has recently been to Austria for work but also managed to spend time in the UK with friends en route so I squeeze her for gossip.  It's warm enough that we're able to sit outside under the heaters and enjoy some fresh air for a change.
7ish: we get our call from Orphan’s Kitchen, which doesn’t take reservations.  We rush in and order wine and tasty treats.  Highlights included smoked porae with a celeriac and green apple slaw, YUM.  Hipster central - so many good beards and artfully mismatched water jugs.  I love it.  They also have a very tasty wine list, highly recommend. 

9ish: finished with dinner, we wander down the road to Chapel Bar and have another bottle of wine between four, because FRIDAY NIGHT.  PJ and his new girlfriend are supposed to be meeting us but they're still at dinner elsewhere, and are trying to scam us into going to the city for dancing.  We're not quite in that zone!

10.30ish: wave goodbye to R & PW and walk home arm-in-arm with P.  It's about a 15 minute walk, and while I don't remember the conversation, I do remember laughing most of the way home.

10.45: open the door to find Tabby and Cokes on the end of the bed, watching us mournfully.  They forgive me when I fill up their bowls. 

11pm: bed.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

here is how I waste my money in spades

Verdict on the keratin blow out a mere four days and one wash later? While my hair feels full of gunk, it only took 5 minutes to blow dry and was not a ginormous mess.  It was perfectly presentable.  If this thing lasts four weeks it will be worth every cent of the $120 I spent on it (plus another $40 for shampoo because of course they upsold me on maintenance).  It does not look as shiny or feel as soft as I know it can, but it is not a giant, unmanageable tangle of frizz, so there's that.  I don't know that I'll be getting a keratin treatment on the regular because mortgage and good grief that's a lot of money for vanity, but for special occasions it seems like a good treat.

Will no doubt continue to report because what else is this blog for other than reporting on all things mane?

In other vanity news, I spent a metric shit-ton of money on new foundation and powder recently.  The MAC counter is a black hole into which I occasionally hurl my funds hoping that it will magically improve my appearance, when what would actually improve my appearance would be a willingness to actually remove all traces of makeup before going to bed at night and keeping my hands away from my face (didn't have the hands in pants problem endemic to so many small children, my fingers were probably up my nose instead.  These days they can be found gently resting on my cheeks and nose while deeply pondering, of course.  Not squeezing things, no).  I started wearing some of that Benefit pore concealer as a primer, followed by a bit of Benefit concealer on the spots, then the foundation and finally mineral powder and have noticed that the combo actually has a reasonable amount of staying power.  However, doesn't that all seem a lot of hard work, just to get myself to the office in the morning?  No doubt I will ditch this formulation again shortly, but now I've noted it for future reference when I next decide that my complexion looks like pond scum by midmorning under the flattering fluoroescent lighting in the office bathroom. 


Last night, I baked for the first time since the Grilled Chocolate Cake Disaster of 2002.  Miracle of miracles, I think it was edible.  At least, no one who consumed it has yet complained of any malady caused by it and they were all very polite, not least P who was effusive in his praise, knowing as he does my culinary limitations.  I made Lemon and Walnut Loaf from the Edmonds cookbook which was super easy, probably because that cookbook is likely aimed at beginners.  Beginner I certainly am.

Given the lemons had been donated to the workplace by a colleague, I brought a chunk into the office today to share.  This was ambitious seeing as it could have been disgusting and possibly poisonous.  Also, it was devious, because I know that had I left something with so much sugar and butter in my home I would have eaten the whole thing.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

that's a big assumption

Assuming everything goes to plan, P and I are taking a week off in August. 

We have needed to have something to look forward, so we tentatively locked in some leave a couple of months ago.  We're not going anywhere because we're trying to save, though I toyed with the idea of booking a getaway to Milford Sound and Queenstown.  Instead,we're going to engage in a spot of light demolition at Chez Mauve. 

This has (expensive) disaster written all over it. The plan:

- Remove all the internal linings from the spare bedroom.
- Insulate the walls.
- Replace linings with fresh gib.
- Get the electrician in to move outlets, and the plasterer to finish the linings.
- Sand, including window and door frames.
- Paint.
- Replace manky door, or at least give the current door a handle.*

*What, all your doors come with a handle as standard? The Purple Palace really is, um, unusual.

What is likely to happen:

- Have fight over logistics while moving all furniture out of spare bedroom.
- Rip down linings and create hellish mess. 
- Discover serious issues with timber frames which no doubt means whole house is screwed.
- Call builder, discover no one can help for at least six months.
- Leave the rest of it forever.

I can conjure at least six different permutations of the 'What is Likely to Happen' list.  Most of which end with all the bedroom stuff living in the dining room while the bedroom is unfinished for months, nay, years.  I am cursing our DIY efforts, no doubt, with my predictions of dire consequences.  But I know my limitations and while I'm not sure of P's, I'm nervous.

So, in order that the holiday feels, well, holiday-ish, I booked a long lunch for us the first weekend we're off.  Think of it as a marital counselling via pasta and wine before the arguments actually occur. Aren't I optimistic?!*

*Please note the move away from yell-y caps to an angular italicisation for emphasis.  I am attempting to be my piffling.  I know, not much of an improvement.  Still a great deal of overuse of the exclamation mark, to say nothing of the other egregious grammatical offences. 

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

vanity, thy name is blogger

My obsession with not having a giant triangle head of hair continues.  In advance of my attendance at P's big work thing, I have booked a keratin blow out this weekend.  This is despite not being 100% sure what a keratin blow out actually is.  There are vague promises of shiny, no frizz for up to six weeks, but I still wonder if that's predicated on being able to use a hairdryer.  Because my hairdrying skills are haphazard, at best.  As in, point it at the wet bits and blow the bejesus out of it until dry (aaaaaand that is probably the reason for my triangle head, right there).

Good grief I am vain.  My mother used to comment on my constant glances into reflective surfaces, right throughout my childhood.  I used to think it was probably self-consciousness (have I got something on my teeth? do I look ok?).  Now, I think it's definitely self-consciousness (particularly since the skirt-tucked-into-knickers almost-debacle I caught in the office bathroom mirror before anyone else saw me). 

We'll await the results with baited breath, shall we?

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


Ugh, the stress is eating my stomach lining again.  It's work - I'd spill it all out on the page in hope of a cathartic redemption, but it's confidential of course and tedious in the extreme, so.  Let's just say that checking your emails at about midnight on a Friday night while under the influence, then seeing something you realllllllly didn't want to see in there is BALLS.  Don't do it, you spend the next two days chewing on it!

So yes, Wellington.  I like Wellington.  I told P as we were leaving that if he got offered a job there, I wouldn't veto it.  We had a lovely time with really good friends and I am now finding that I absolutely do not feel like recapping it.  This is likely because I gave my mother the rundown via email yesterday.  I did skip the bit about D and M buying us all tequila shots, which we downed and promptly all went to bed because fuck that, way too old.  Also, I skipped the bit when I went to a skody bar in town in my converse sneakers because I had nothing to change into - I discovered that (a) cardigans are not really acceptable Courtney Place attire post-midnight on a Friday and (b) I don't know how to dance without wearing heels. 

Laziest. Blogger. Ever. 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

i don't generally sing in the shower, at least

My cat watched me have a bath last night. Actually, 'watched' is the wrong word.  She participated in my bath last night.  Strolling up and down the edge of the bath, trying to stand on my thigh to get closer to the water, scooping water with a paw.*  It was endlessly entertaining and I'd show you the photos I took but:

(a) admitting you take your phone in the bath is bad enough, let alone providing pictorial evidence of that tragic habit; and
(b) the photos accidentally included my pubic hair** in the bottom of the picture and I don't think we want that on the internet.

Is it odd that I don't shut her out of the bathroom?  She often comes in during a shower to sit on the end of the tub and wait for me to turn off the water.  At first I found being watched a little creepy but now I find I like the company (always someone to talk to!) and she gets a bit upset if excluded from the bathroom.  I mean, it's not like she's actually sharing the bath or shower with me?***

Hey ho, the descent into sad cat lady continues. 

*We have a southpaw in the house, it's always her left that she scoops with. Or is that because the dominant right is used for balance? I don't know and this probably isn't worth investigating furthe because SHE'S A CAT. Gosh, perspective, A. 
**Yes, I have some.  Now really, is that a surprise to you if you've ever read this blog before?
***Yes, I have conveniently forgotten the time Tabitha poohed in the bathtub.  I'd like to think she's done a lot of maturing since then.

Monday, 7 July 2014

in which i learn a valuable bus lesson

After the last post, I curled up in bed and whinged for a solid two days.  I couldn't even bring myself to internet, so lucky for you, you avoided the unnecessary dramz about my imminent demise during that time. 

As soon as I was recovered enough, I went out and had someone chop my hair into a long bob to give me something else to obsess over.  I cut off a great whack of hair in 2010 and regretted it almost instantaneously, but this time I'm sticking with a cautious 'is this a thing an old person would do? but I think I like it' type line.  Ask me again in a week when I've been unable to style it myself and thoroughly frustrated by Auckland's hair-unfriendly weather.

I don't even have a picture of it yet for you! You poor things, you're really missing out. 

Oh, I know, I have a public transport parable for you!  Listen, all ye mighty, but don't despair:

I caught the Inner Link bus from work to Ponsonby the other night and had that moment as soon as I sat down.  You know the one, the moment where you think 'Good grief, of all the seats I might have picked, I've sat down next to the crazy guy' or 'No wonder this was the last seat available'.  He was muttering away merrily to himself and taking up more than half the seat.  In the vein of all confrontation-averse users of public transportation, I clutched my bag a little tighter and made no eye contact.  We were in the seat just ahead of the bus's back door.  7 or 8 stops later, a woman made to get off with a load of supermarkets bags.  She dropped something.  My seat companion leapt up, leaned over the divider and helped her with her bags while she retrieved the errant item.  He made a genial comment to me about how tough it is when you're carrying a lot, then excused himself politely so he could get off at the following stop.  

So! No more immediate judgment from me based on someone's mutterings! I will restrict myself to quietly holding my breath when someone is in breach of widely acceptable hygiene standards from this moment on!  (Gosh, that sounds kind of sarky but I genuinely felt bad for my snap assessment, I promise!)

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

july, two days in

I can feel the fog descending, curling round the outer edges of consciousness and fuzzing up my throat and nose.  I will shortly be a pariah in the office, my germs warded off with sideways glances and furious rinsing of mugs. 

Ha, I just opened the last post to discover it was all about being sick.  Well, lest this blog devolve into an extended examination of my inner workings, let me report on all the other news in A-town:

My sister K: took her to a play last night (Once on Chunuk Bair, Auckland Theatre Company at the Maidment, v. good) and enjoyed her company over dinner first.  She had a skirt in a gorgeous stiff black + white floral fabric that I coveted.  That's not really news, per se, but there it is. 

Mum: allegedly announced to sister K that she's now ready to be a grandmother.  Has also been considering surrogacy options for me, in case I'm too busy to procreate for myself.  Mum surely told K this in the knowledge it would be communicated to me (K being presently single meaning that she's not the prime child-bearing target).  Dear old Mum, she doesn't want to ask me directly what my plans are because she rightly knows I'll be prickly about it.  She's been giving me plenty of opportunities to raise children in conversation; I'm SUCH a disappointment.

Dad: not much to report.  I'm loving phone conversations with him at the moment.  He works so actively at holding a conversation about the news and what's going on and asking the right questions -- who doesn't love that? About the time I left home, Dad became very intentional in telling us he loves and is proud of us.  Maybe I didn't notice it before I left, maybe it was triggered by our departures, I'm not sure.  We've never been an emotionally transparent family and I just adore that Dad is intentional now about that stuff - it takes effort and I really appreciate it.  Though, of course, I should be more reciprocal. 

P: lovely, as usual.  Except for the other morning when everything he uttered annoyed me so deeply I contemplated telling him to just shut up and not bother talking to me again until we left for work.  Good thing I didn't, as on reflection the problem may (MAY!) have been me and waking up on the wrong side of the bed. 

Work: have been promoted.  Am fairly sure that they will soon discover all apparent abilities are a sham -- but have managed to wriggle up another step on the ladder for better or worse.  Am bizarrely ambivalent about it for a girl who has tended to measure her worth in external achievement standards. 

Cats: puss-ish. 

Friends: neglected.  Must do something about that.  J is in NZ this week and I'm taking my birthday leave on Friday to see her.  I think we'll go to a wild and wintry beach for a walk to feel properly Kiwi.  I'll feel envious of her return to London on Sunday as I've been having pangs recently.  It's been a while since we escaped Auckland last, so perhaps I'm feeling a little cabin-feverish?

Ha, on re-reading the above, it struck me -- have you read the Ed Champion rant about Middling Millenials?  I'm not going to link to it because ELEVEN THOUSAND WORDS and much of his point re Emily Gould is subsumed in vitriol and a smattering of misogyny, valid as it might otherwise be.  ALSO, good grief, I could certainly be accused of some Middling Millenial behaviour. Of course, any literary pretensions I may have reside firmly inside my own head and only occasionally spill into this badly-edited and irretrievably awful personal blog, so if Middling Millenial refers only to those who are seeking fame off the creation of subpar art, I certainly don't count.  But, if the occasional reference to the Pink Power Ranger by a 32 year old woman in an online journal strikes you as vapid, lazy and disengaged, well bully for you but I care not.  Well, I care a little bit, I'm human aren't I?

Time to cut it off, given I'm making no sense whatsoever.  I bet you I read this in less than a month's time and cringe, but isn't that what a blog's for?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Being sick on the weekend feels like such a punishment, you know? All those lovely plans laid waste by illness on your own time.  When I decided to leave my lair on Saturday morning after a leisurely lie in, I was most unhappy to discover that the rest of my Saturday would involve nausea and a pounding headache.  I doubled over in the shower, then dragged myself back to the bedroom.  I sulked/slept/moaned lightly in bed until about 8.30 that night.  That was when I dragged my carcass to the living room to lie limply on the couch for the second half of the All Blacks game.  P told me to go back to bed; the ABs had been playing much better when I wasn't there. 

Sunday and Monday were slightly better, in that I managed to wash myself and don a bra both days and even left the house once, briefly.  Not 100% though -- I feel wrung out today from walking to work (not to mention, you know, working). 

But it is nice to be back to the usual routine today, I must say.  I've come back to work, found the blameworthy parties in spreading the lurgy and castigated them thoroughly.  Aren't I a peach?!

Friday, 20 June 2014

did catherine morland attend the opera while in bath?

P and I attended the NZ Opera's production of La Traviata last night.  I am an operatic Philistine, in that I know nothing about opera other than fictional genteel flutterings of fans and eye contact amongst the crowds attending the opera in Regency romances (OH GOD I'VE EXPOSED MYSELF.  Yes, I read Regency romances.  I'm so sorry).  I'm pretty sure no one was making eyes at me last night.  But I was also probably 30 years too young for most of the crowd.  Aaaaaaaaanyway, I know little about the opera, so bear that in mind when you read the list below:
  • Lovely set.  Similar to last year's production of Madame Butterfly in the use of a central pivoting stage, but beautiful.  The chandeliers as set dressing on the ground at the right moments were haunting, as were the dusty mirrored walls. 
  • Lorina Gore as Violetta was beautiful, suitably fluttery at the right moments and had a magic voice.
  • Alfredo's a bit of a numpty.  You know, aside from all the other plot holes, I found old Alfredo vaguely stalkerish (you've been in love with her for a year from afar but just met her three minutes ago?!), nauseatingly in love (noble! mysterious! love), easily taken in (YOUR DAD WAS MEANT TO BE VISITING IN YOUR ABSENCE, 'FREDO. WHY DO YOU THINK SHE'S CRYING AND LEAVING?) and ultimately, not very good at being angry.  He didn't make my heart swell.
  • I need more sparkly dresses in my wardrobe for these occasions.  About 40% of the audience were dressed to the nines and I loved it, wished I made more of an effort.
  • The chorus songs were so great!
  • I'm pretty sure I saw a girl I went to primary school with in the audience, but I was too chicken to approach her.
  • Wish I could have seen into the pit - I really wanted to watch the orchestra, as they sounded wonderful.
  • We ate a really great meal at Depot first (again.  Love that place).
See, I told you I know nothing about opera. 


Also, I want to say I feel good about writing the #yesallwomen post, now.  I hope you didn't feel obliged to read it (don't feel obliged, if you're just reading my blog for the first time.  It's about 2 posts ago).  I found it cathartic.  I suspect that part of the purge is the feeling that I'm contributing to something broader, an education, a movement.  If I can do one thing for someone else now (be it tell a man that consent is a yes, freely and knowingly given, or tell a woman that she's not alone), I won't beat myself up about the decision I made at the time not to speak of it. 

I've also done one thing for me.  I've acknowledged what happened.  That alone might be selfish, but god has it made me feel free.

Monday, 16 June 2014

year thirty-two

I turned 32 this weekend.  Cataloguing the comparisons to my last birthday, at 32 I am:
  • Squidgier
  • More settled
  • About as happy
  • Wrinklier
  • Sunnier
  • A mother of dragons cats
  • Tireder
  • Longer haired & blonder
  • More nervous about the outlook
  • Yet calmer, generally
We had friends around to watch the rugby and eat dinner in a very civilised fashion the night before my birthday.  We kept the fact of my birthday reasonably quiet -- I've always felt odd about hosting a celebration for MEMEME, but P never wants to let the moment pass, so we usually end up having some kind of hybrid function that makes me feel squeamish (see for example the leaving/30th party in 2012 - I love celebrating and usually relish a bit of attention, but feel odd about celebrating my anniversary of life!). As I was doing the dishes just before midnight, most of the guests having left, P's friend PJ discovered my birthday was about to begin and started teasing me -- you're not too old for dancing, let's go to town! Come on woman, get your glad rags on! -- and as I sluiced the sink, I thought, challenge accepted.  I threw on a pair of heels, winced at the likely blister they'd cause, slapped on a red lipstick and we charged for the city.

I felt old but happy.  Old, as in we headed for bars frequented by the 20 year old set.  I was wearing far more clothing than they were, which made me feel vaguely prudish, but stuff it, I thought as we knocked back a drink and headed for the dancefloor.  P and PJ (the only others from the dinner party who'd had the stamina or ability, babies and pregnancy presenting obstacles to last minute debauches) took turns at dancing with me and making me laugh breathlessly.  They shamelessly showered me with compliments, which was extremely sweet and a lovely birthday present.  We chatted up girls for PJ, visited a few old haunts and a few new.

I was grateful to be me and 32.  I didn't want to be 20 again, as fun as it once was.  I am grateful for my friends and my husband and my life that sees me tucked up in bed before 10, usually.  I'm glad I went though; I had a good time. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

me, too. #yesallwomen

The hashtag might be old news, to some of you.  This has been sitting in my drafts folder for a long time.  But I have to publish it.  I feel like I can't sit on it, not anymore. I have to say it out loud. 

My story is not one I want my mother, father or sister to read.  My husband knows the bare facts.  Some friends know a little.  I am so nervous about posting this my heart is pounding in my throat, my ribcage, my ears.

I was 18, I was blackout drunk and I only have a vague memory of saying 'OK then' as a response to a persistent question, the content of which I don't recall.  I woke up naked at his parents' house next to him, not knowing exactly what had happened. It got back to me on the grapevine. It was the first time I ever had sex. 

It was the summer before I went to university.  What I remember is the aftermath.  Not being able to bring myself to see him again, not that he called.  I tried very hard to close my ears to the gossip about the fact that he'd managed to sleep with me, where others had failed (the state of my virginity having been, it seemed, a hot topic amongst the 17-18 year old male set at my school). 

I didn't think it was rape, technically.  After all, I'd said yes, hadn't I?  Even though I thought my drink might have been spiked because I didn't remember drinking that much (I recall two, maybe three drinks that night).  Even though I remembered so little I didn't recall throwing up throughout his house, waking his parents (who then, never having met me, having helped me vomit copiously, apparently let me stay in the same room as their son).  Anyway, if I said something, he didn't deserve the possible consequences, not when I hadn't said no, right?  If I didn't remember the actual act, how bad could it really be?

I tamped it down.  I moved to the other end of the country for university with, fortuitously, few people from my high school set.  I thought of it rarely, without shape, without feeling. 

It's only recently, thanks to the #yesallwomen hashtag, that I've actually put two and two together and realised that my 'OK then' couldn't possibly have been informed consent.  I still didn't connect the dots when I was working in the criminal law, for fuck's sake.  I think I avoided the truth because I thought it was the only way.  I mean, what were my options?  Even now, I can't imagine saying all these things out loud to my parents, to law enforcement, to my friends, his friends.  My parents, law enforcement, my friends have never for a single second lead me to believe that they would blame me, not believe me, or shame me for what happened.  I do not doubt that my family would have had my back.  But yet, it is so inculcated in me that its better not to say anything, not to have to admit to going out with boys I didn't know well, not to have to say I accepted those drinks. 

I have had a void inside me when I think about it .  I am so outraged about what happens to other women but until now, I have been unable to manage to be outraged for me.  I've never associated the sexual assault of other women with my own.  I mean, I've recorded street harassment on this blog but not the fact that I. Was. Raped.   

I saw him once on the street, about two years ago.  I'm fairly sure he noticed me.  We kept walking.  I felt cold, then hot, then shaky. 

Yes, all women.  Me, too. 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

staycation is an awful, awful word

I have booked some holiday, thank goodness.  It's not that I've been consistently under the pump, but I am starting to feel like I need something to look forward to, other than just the end of winter.  So, P and I have agreed to take a week off in August.  We'll probably just potter around the house, because I cannot bring myself to spend money other than on the mortgage at this point in time. 

Case in point: the work dress I am wearing today has had a hole in the bum patched.  You can't see it and it's such a pretty dress...but basically my entire work wardrobe is shabby.  I don't think I have bought a single new piece in 2014 and I didn't really bother in 2013 either. So profeshunal. The bum on my work pants looks a little saggy, my cardigans are a bit frayed at the cuffs, my lint roller has been getting a work out, I won't lift my arms wearing my one white collared court get the picture.

Mind you, I'm still spending through the nose on cat food.  And me-food.  I'm not as spending averse as I'd probably like you to think.  We're going to Wellington for a weekend to visit friends in July.  And we're being organised about summer this year - a friend is hooking up a bach in Omaha.  So, really, I'm just lazy when it comes to professional attire and appearance it seems (OH MY GOD MY ROOTS.  Do they still qualify as roots at coming up 2 inches?).

Anyway, August.  A week off at home.  Here's hoping it will be delightful.  Things I could do with that week:
  • Properly clean the house.  As in actually dust things, up high for example.
  • Paint.  Lots of things.
  • Sand.  Lots of things.
  • Sit my bum on the couch.
  • Prepare the spring garden.
  • Go to a west coast beach for the day.
  • Read. 
  • Buy some new work clothes, for crying out loud.
  • Cook. 
That all sounds so....mundane.  Even so, it's pretty appealing. 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

status quo

I am sitting at my desk, feeling queasy as the building sways in the winds presently buffeting Auckland.  I've eaten three Fizzy Pig's Tails (a Marks & Sparks treat kindly brought back from the Motherland by a colleague which isn't porcine but sugary and delicious) but they aren't having a great effect on my equilibrium either.  I'm sure the building is meant to move like this in the event of a storm, but the creaking is unnerving, from where I'm sitting on the 21st floor.

I have a cat picture, now with bonus husband:
If that ain't love on a cold night, I don't know what is. 

A Whinge and a Cat Picture.  New tagline for the blog?