Sunday, 30 March 2014


I've spent the bulk of what is likely the last truly warm day of this summer in the office, catching up with my filing.  Thrilling, no?  Hand on heart, my inbox with only 14 items makes me feel much more in control and like a real, grown-up type person.  However, I'd still preferred to have been elsewhere, of course.

Minutiae: 30 March 2014, Autumn
  • Wearing my favourite denim shorts of the summer (cuffed, raggedy) and a white shortsleeved blouse purchased in Greece, black singlet underneath. 
  • I'm wearing a new-ish sports bra from Bendon because it's soft and my right boob is stabby with pain, so it needs some TLC. 
  • I had my hair cut yesterday and my scalp feels very bruised; the hairdresser was brutal in washing it. 
  • I'm blonde all over my head now, which makes the bruising worthwhile.
  • I feel particularly paunchy, after demolishing pizza last night with friends.
  • Friends had a new kitchen and bathroom: beautiful!  I want their pendant lights from above the island - lovely globe bulbs.
  • My sister came to meet Cocoa this morning.  We discussed weight loss and breaking bad habits.
  • She dropped me at work, which was kind.
  • P is slaving at work too, he's a soldier.
  • Tabby worked on terrifying the ugly cat from next door (seriously, he's a face worse than Grumpy Cat)
  • Yesterday, the neighbour told me stories about my wee Tim.  I cried a little bit, but it was lovely to hear.
  • I'm losing a toenail (it's black in the bed, right foot, second toe) and I can't for the life of me remember what I've done to it.
  • The matte bright orange neon nail polish on my toes is seriously chipped.
  • The harbour is hazy today.
  • I'm still avoiding Tim's corner of the garden.
  • Cocoa's new name is Dags McGee.  Something must be done.
  • I haven't worn my glasses enough this week; my eyes are very tired.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

to do

My ideal to do list. 

An attempt to introduce some levity back into this miserable blog.  I thought it was funny and adorable.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

march madness

Here I am, still alive.  The Queen Street Toucher has been largely brushed off (geddit? har har, not funny really), not so my wee Tim but normalcy is starting to reign again. 

OH HEY, MAYBE NOT, I CRIED IN FRONT OF MY NEW BOSS.* Poor thing was extremely compassionate but the tears became hot with shame quite quickly.  theresbeenabitoflosslately, idontwanttotalkaboutit, sniff, ohgodsorrysorrysorryi'llgetittogether!  There are other things colouring and building into my grief for Tim and Bert and it blows, basically. 

So, ok, other than that humiliating little moment, some normalcy is creeping back.

I am looking forward to rain.  There hasn't been much of it, which is great, but everything is parched and I'm hanging out for one of those rainy days where you wear big socks and watch movies and burrow away, you know?  I think it will wash away some metaphorical cobwebs, too.

In other news, I am getting my first haircut in about 6 months this weekend.  It has been an age since my hairs were chopped and fried with bleach last.  When I pull my hair back at the moment, it's reverted to mousy brown.  I want to feel good about myself, so haircut it is.  When the hairdresser asks (they always do) if I've got something special to go to that evening, I will proudly announce that I am taking pizza and red wine round to a friend with a toddler and a baby.  I think that is an occasion worthy of excellent hair.  (In fact, I suspect I might have done the same thing the last time I had my hair done.  Except the baby wasn't born yet, that's how long it's been since I cut my hair.  Jeebers.)

That's all, really.   

*Not new job, just a new boss has joined the firm.

Monday, 24 March 2014


You know, I'm sorry, I really wanted to blog about something hopeful today.  But, the icing on the cake this week (this awful, heartrending week) was that I was touched without my permission on the way to work this morning.

I feel soiled.

I fully admit I was overly engrossed in my phone as I walked down the street.  I looked up; oh, cafe tables on the street ahead, must step right to avoid collision.  As I did so, I felt a hand brush against my thigh, the bottom of my bum.  I swerved; thinking I'd stepped in front of someone and got in the way.  So I had, sort of.  He was walking purposefully forward, backpack on, sandy cropped hair, rumpled clothing. I wasn't directly in his path.  I turned back around and kept walking. 

A full three seconds later, I felt it again. 

That time it was clear.  A full, deliberate, open handswipe down the right side of my bum and thigh.  I spun with a breathy 'hey', shocked, and the fucker didn't even register.  Kept right on walking. 

Me, full of words and opinions, was speechless.  7.45am, crowded public place.  I debated with myself: did that really just happen?  Am I sure it wasn't an accident?  It wasn't; I know what I felt, I'd had a chance to register the space between us after the first swipe and it was big enough that he would have had to deliberately move into my space to touch me again, some time and a few steps after the original.  As I blanked, he veered around the corner and I crossed the road with the lights.  For five minutes, I kept checking my back, brushing off the invisible finger marks he left. 

What the fuck.  I thought about saying something further, out loud, but it was a busy public space and I didn't want the shame of accusation.  There shouldn't be any shame in accusation, but my mind was spinning with 'everyone will think you're being hysterical.  It was just an accidental commuter brush'.  I'm really angry with myself now for staying quiet because I know it wasn't and that bastard deserved to get served a volley of abuse. 

In the scheme of things, not that much.  But still fucking illegal.  ILLEGAL.  You do not get to touch me without my permission.  You have made me feel disgusting and you didn't appear to give one single shit. 

he's still gone

All the avoidance in the world hasn't changed things, Timmy is still gone.  We've been showering Tabby with love and keeping her largely indoors; til she's older and Cocoa is allowed to roam free, we tell ourselves.

We buried Tim in the garden.  I laughed and sobbed as we had to pull up the rest of the misshapen and stunted carrot crop to make space for him.  Eventually, we'll plant a tree for him.  I worry that he's too close to the back fence, that the neighbour's dogs will bother him.  Then I remember he's dead, and I cry.  I pegged out washing nearby this weekend, with Tabby in and around my feet, and I remembered how much he enjoyed smooching my ankles while I folded or shook out garments as necessary.  I love that cat.  I loved that cat.

I've been keeping a cautious distance from Cocoa, not yet ready to commit, given events transpired so shortly after his arrival.  He has a terrible infestation of fleas and this morning pooped under the table, so it was easy to be a bit distant.  In fairness, Cocoa is not thrilled at being kept indoors after eight or so years of having unfettered external access and I believe the poop incident was a clear communication that he's not happy with the current state of affairs.  Even if I disagree with the mode of expression, I can appreciate a cat so clearly committed to taking a stance.  We'll get there. 

It's amazing, isn't it, that the short passage of a couple of months has wrought so much change in my formerly responsibility-free lifestyle.  When my boss asked if I was ok the morning after, I dissolved into tears, apologised for being unprofessional and exclaimed I couldn't believe I feel like this about a cat.  But I do and it is what it is.  I wouldn't take back having adopted Timothy for anything. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014


Timothy was hit by a car on Wednesday.  He died.  We are devastated. 

I miss that kitten so much my body aches.  I could write cliche after cliche here and talk about all the reasons why and the feelings I'm having and what happened next or how I closely I have been holding Tabitha but I can't bring myself to.  I loved him, he is gone and I am grieving. 

I wish it didn't happen.  I wish it so much. 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

new arrival

Cocoa the cat arrived late last night, after J's memorial service.  My MIL dropped him off after an hour's drive back from what was likely a long day.  I hope we've relieved her of at least one worry.

Cocoa's stress levels weren't too bad; he's in the dining room, shut off from the purrymouses who were last seen this morning avidly watching the door.  However, he seems very keen for human company and I feel awfully guilty that we're out of the house today.  Each time we enter the room, he leaps out of the bottom shelf of the bookcase where he's been hiding behind the books and deposits himself in our laps, arching, kneading, purring, trying desperately to vocalise a breathy miaow.  (You know we've provided him with plenty of safe, dark, soft hidey-holes, right?  But he's chosen the bookcase instead.)  I'm pretty sure he hasn't used the litterbox yet though so there must be some deal of aggravation for the poor puss.  Besides which, our whole house must stink of the purrymouses to him.  My MIL will visit him during the day today, thank goodness. 

Three cats in one house suddenly feels like a lot.  We're glad to give Cocoa a home and it'll be only a month or so until he's likely to be settled, but just at the moment I can't believe cats have taken over my existence so rapidly. 

Thinking of J each time I look at her cat with his long, black fur and large green/yellow eyes. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

so, so stupid

I can't be trusted to act like an adult, ever.  I spent yesterday dying a horrible, horrible, self-induced death ten times over.  The last two things I remember from the night before (the wedding after party) are swimming in the middle of a tropical cyclone (though the details of the swim are pretty hazy) and delivering a full bodied slap to someone's face (no idea who).  That last was part of a game, not malicious, but....still.

I am so, so ashamed of myself for not knowing my limits. 

If driving two and a half hours home over some of the windiest roads in New Zealand counts as punishment, well, then I've been well and truly punished.  But I'm still cracking a whip of self-flagellation and I still physically feel like shit over 36 hours later.  Just charming.  I carried plastic bags of puke + shame in the car on the way home, while P (god bless his compassionate and understanding heart) drove as carefully and smoothly as he could possibly manage.  We took an hour's breather at Thames.  I reclined the seat, swallowed the vomit and asked P to go eat outside, anywhere away from me. 

So, the wedding was lovely but I got carried away.  Awful, immature behaviour and I while I know my in-laws are amazing and very understanding I. Am. Mortified. 

I'm not typing this out of any sense of misplaced pride in my actions (trust me, there's no whoooo! such a kah-razy night! here.  More OH FUCK WHAT DID I DO AND WHYYYYYYY).  I am utterly ashamed and by god I mean to remember this lesson. 

Have I got a problem with the demon drink?  Judging by my performance, it would seem that there is a good chance.  I'm 31 for fuck's sake and I have had PLENTY of chances to learn my lesson.  Why I would get black out boozed is just...beyond me.  If you've got any material thoughts about this, plz to tell. 

Off to turn over a new leaf. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


The remnants of emotional exhaustion are still present, but I'm back to a (mostly) even keel.  My heart is still littered with shards of grief and guilt but I recognise that my reactions are largely selfish and can be shelved for short periods, with a little effort (no doubt less than I should expend).  You probably think that this is melodrama but I assure you that this melodrama is no less keenly felt for being splurged ridiculously all over a blog.

Speaking of melodrama, do you recall how intense loss felt when you were a teenager?  I remember the death of a seventh form basketball player when I was in sixth form, an avid fan of the basketball team.  He died in a car accident.  The sixth and seventh forms were devastated, but genuine grief seemed quickly to morph into a sort of contest - who knew him the best?  Who was the closest to his family?  Who felt it the most?  I hadn't spoken to him much personally, but I remember grief on hearing the news, followed by a weird sense of guilt that I was upset; after all, what right did I have to tears, when there were others who were clearly so much closer to him?  I clearly recall trying to examine my feelings; were the feelings really because I could imagine it happening to me? 

In any case, I have my chin up.  We are celebrating a wedding this weekend and I hope you'll keep your fingers crossed that the tropical cyclone headed our way fizzles...the wedding is on the beach, so it'd be less than ideal to be facing gale force winds, I suspect. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

not brave

I lay on the bed with Mum yesterday morning, having delivered her a cup of tea.  We watched Tabitha play on the angora blanket my grandmother (her mother) gave me.

Gently, she told me that she had something to tell me, but that she wouldn't say it out loud if I didn't want to hear it.  I knew it was my horse.  I told her not to say anything.  She would give me the details when I'm ready, she said.  She said she couldn't tell me before it.  And then, each day passed, and each day she found she couldn't tell me.  She was right, it was better not-telling in person.

Later, I asked her where he is.  Poplar, the paddock by the stream.

I deliberately haven't thought about it since. It is not brave.  I am not brave.

In February, she told me his legs were bothering him and that a hard decision needed to be made.  I said I understood, but I couldn't bring myself to say anything more.  I couldn't bring myself to accept it, to be the one to say the word.  It was not brave.  I was not brave. 

Throughout February, I ignored it.  I should have booked a trip to say goodbye before the weather turned.  I was busy, I told myself.  I ignored it.  It was not brave.  I was not brave.

I think it was '97, when we bought him.  I went to try him and fell a little bit in love.  He was chestnut and enormous, with a round gait that required a different seat to that I was used to.  We called and said thank you but no.  By the end of the call, we'd agreed another trial time.  That was it.  He was ours. 

I fell in love.  We all did.  We had many ponies and horses during our teenage years and I loved them all, but he was special.  16.3 hands high, gentle, striking, special.  He was known all through the area.  Small children used to come up to have a pat or ask for a quick ride.  They bought him treats.  He always, always did what I asked.  With gentle grace and enormous effort.  In return, he could use me as a post to scratch that spot on the base of his neck.  Gently mouthe my ponytail with his whiskery lips.  Rest his oversized head on my shoulder. 

I moved to university.  Eventually, reluctantly, Mum sold him.  The caveat was that if the purchaser ever wanted to sell him again, or retire him, could she please call us first. 

She sent us regular updates.  Then she called.  His legs meant he could no longer stand anything but a gentle hack.  He retired to the farm.  Every day, Mum took him a carrot.  He was probably a little lonely, which breaks my heart just thinking about it.  We brushed him and spoke to him and loved him and he stood on the top of the hill, master of all he surveyed. 

Thank you Mum and Dad for all you did for him.  You did it for me and I love you for it.  I have had trouble saying this out loud.  It is not brave.  I am not brave.

He is gone.  I miss him terribly.  I wish I had been brave. 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

state of the nation iii

Following the visit to the in-laws' freshly renovated property and in the scramble to get ready for my parents' impending visit, I have started mentally charting all the ways in which my house is defective and needs work.  This has apparently taken precedence over the actual conduct of any preparatory work: the bedsheets remain unchanged, the floor remains unvacuumed, cupboards are empty and the shower curtain is a sight.  But I have mentally catalogued that the living room window is a horrific mess held together with putty, that the garden needs weeding, and that there's actual daylight coming into the kitchen cupboards from outside the house.  Say it with me now: you paid how much for what?!

This is clearly playing on my mind just now, as the first licks of autumn are curling around and through all the crevices of the purple palace.  (They're also howling straight through the permanently tied open cat flap as well.  Timothy has shown a marked resistance to having to actually push the perspex to facilitate entry and exit and I'm nothing if not a pandering mother.)  I've started hovering over design websites again, planning the lovely subway tile bathroom of my dreams, furnishing the refinished bedrooms with plush linen. 

I think this gentle dissatisfaction is more symptomatic of requiring something to look forward to.  P and I toyed with the idea of visiting Cambodia over the extended Easter break this year but have decided to save the pennies for the mortgage instead, given the extravagant holiday spending we indulged in over Christmas this year.  We've got no plans for trips greater than a weekend in the works.  Nothing enormous is happening at work at the moment.  This is the first time in a very long time I've felt that there wasn't something on the horizon to plan for or look forward to.  I think I'm projecting my need for excitement onto the property. 

I don't think this is a bad thing, necessarily.  We knew moving back to New Zealand meant that we both needed to focus for a while on our careers; in particular, I've moved about a bit and need to prove that I can work in a role for longer than five consecutive minutes.  We're at the stage of our careers where we're pushing for the next step and setting up long term plans (or at least, we should be considering what to do next).  But I think I need something else going on in my personal life to relieve the humdrum of the daily work routine.  I think I ought to plan a low key holiday perhaps.  Or start posting cat videos on YouTube. 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

onward, march

You know the drill.  As soon as I get a whiff of the change of season, I feel the need to report on my blog.  This is compelling diarising, my friends.  Sadly, I've got no seasonal decor / seasonal decor picture for you (cracking out a string of lights at Christmas time is about the extent of it), so you'll just have to imagine this morning's damp, chill moments; the rain that's misting past my window and the three rainbows I saw before 9am. 

Last night was the second birthday party of our youngest nephew.  Suddenly, he's a little boy.  You can still see the infant chub on his arms (almost ringlet-y at the wrists), but he's solidified and no longer wobbles when turning corners.  I wistfully remarked on the passage of time to his mother who looked a little relieved yet surprised that infancy was over.  The days are long but the years are short, I believe. 

You may recall he and his family spent some time with us last year when renovating their house.  Last night's visit to their lovely home made me sigh wistfully for kitchen space and a dishwasher, for open plan living.  I can wait, though.  We have to wait in all honesty; the lavender loveshack cleaned us out financially last year; it'll be a while before we've sunk enough equity into it to justify spending horrendous amounts on a do-up.  I spent quite a few minutes this morning hovering in my online banking account, counting pennies and considering interest rates and consigning dreams of a wobble-free loo to a hazy future. 

Well yes, the wedding was just lovely.  On the scale of emosh, I hit 'slight dampness around the eyes', which I think is just the right amount for happy celebrations.