Tuesday, 29 April 2014

anzac 2014

C + C visited from Wellington, and H from Melbourne.  We hosted get togethers, dinners, sunshine gossip sessions and it was just lovely.  We gathered a crew of 9 and visited P + J in their new home by the beach, ate fish and chips, scared a scallop poacher and soaked up the sunshine.  I'm so grateful for old friendships that are easy and wonderful. 

Holiday weekends are just the bee's knees.  (Knees of the bees plural? Or the knees of one bee?  A mystery of the ages).  One more in early June and then it's the dreaded run to Labour Day in October, with nary a public holiday in sight.  [Ominous music].  I would say you can expect about 50% more bitching as a result of the slog through to spring, but it's hard to fit more than 100% bitching into a blog. 

Holiday weekends I have known and loved:
  • May bank holiday, Bordeaux, 2012.  Cheese and bread and wine and sun and friends.  And driving a rental car on the wrong side of the road for about a kilometre. 
  • Well, there was that Easter/Royal Wedding weekend 2011 when I got engaged, that was pretty excellent.  Amongst all the festivities (and we fested, we sure did), we ate more than one pork pie with chutney.  Ploughman's lunch > affiancing?  It's close.
  • Waitangi Day every year of primary school.  A day off?! Wheeeeeeeeeee!
  • ANZAC Day every year of primary school - almost as good as Waitangi Day, but got up at sparrow's for the dawn service so it lost marks there. 
  • Queen's Bday weekend 2013 and the attack of the Flaming Tim's.  Oh dear god, I drew on a table with a crayon and hurled out a window in tandem with my husband and he saw a dog eating it in the morning and I blame everyone but myself, as I am wont to do.
  • New Year's Day, 1990ish.  The day I sizzled the backs of my legs on a lilo on the lake.  It was great up until I used the last of the aloe vera.
  • Easter 1992.  I recall the size of the chocolate egg haul with somnolent reverence. 

Monday, 28 April 2014

day in the life, autumn 2014

23 April 2014: Autumn, Auckland, New Zealand. 

(Once again, a disclaimer: I am dull.  Also, very few pictures as I spent the bulk of the day with work colleagues.  If you don't have a taste for wordy blatherings and extremely poor quality photographs, I'd stop here.)


5.45: roll over, eyeball clock, sigh.  I woke up from a terrible dream about my Granny, which involved lashings of guilt and, inexplicably, picking up bacon at the supermarket.  Flop onto my back, start scrolling through FB on phone.  Even though I don't need to get up for another 15 to 30 minutes, if I go back to sleep now I'll be a wreck when I wake.  P slumbers on, peacefully. 

6.10: drag myself out of bed to feed the cats and have a shower.  Disturb Tabitha, who had been curled up beside me, bushed after a night of exciting antics - the cat door allowed her to go outside at night for the first time.  Cocoa is AWOL.  We feel pretty confident that old Cokes can manage himself round the 'hood now (please don't let those be famous last words) as he's sauntering out for a couple of hours at a time during the day and evening, coming home when he's hungry and/or hot and/or wet and/or fancies a cuddle.

6.30: earl grey tea and a breakfast of canned peaches and muesli. It feels virtuous but is probably packed with sugar.

6.45: floating around the house aimlessly, starting to get ready (black pleated sleeveless dress, black belt, black cardigan, black tights for the first time this autumn, black stud earrings. WOE I am so BORING wearing the standard NZ black ensemble).

6.46: OH NO had forgotten work trip to Christchurch this afternoon.  Hastily grab bag and throw in a change of underwear, make up, essential toiletries, phone charger, blue striped suit and black top.  The suit'll get terribly crushed in the bag but decide I don't have time to find anything with less crumple-factor. 

7.15: the car won't start.  P has an 8am meeting and a dinner with friends planned for after work, so we intended to drive into town this morning.  The flipping car however has different plans and I freak for a moment, wondering what new and exciting way I've found to drain the battery, as the last suspect to be behind the wheel (and a suspect with battery-draining form, at that).  P is sure it's not the battery though so I may be off the hook - there's been a spate of gas thefts nearby over previous months, so it could be a cut line?  No time to find out now - we need to leave if we're walking.

7.30: huffing and puffing up the hill, hauling my bag, P striding ahead sending emails on his blackberry regarding tardiness.  The sun's out this morning, despite the crispness in the air.  P's iPhone tells him it's only 12 degrees celcius outside, but I don't believe it.  I've thrown on a light floral scarf and even that's proving too hot for the walk.

7.33: P spots the free bus that runs down Queen St.  We run for it and nab a seat to head down the hill to save P a minute or two.

7.50: I arrive at work and contemplate my inbox.  Gah, horrific.

7.55: TEA.  Cannot face inbox without tea.

8.05: check in to flights for today and tomorrow online.  MUST REMEMBER TO PRINT BOARDING PASS.

10.20: text message my sister K, who is in the throes of a protracted house purchase negotiation.  Late last night she told the agent she'd think about the vendor's final offer overnight and respond in the morning.  I ask her what the story is; but she's only just got up and hasn't called the agent yet (school holidays, she's a teacher).  I don't know why she's now dragging it out - she's totally going to accept the offer.  I've seen her run through the gamut over the past few days: uncontrollable nervousness, uncontrollable excitement, disbelief at counter offer, sly negotiation, expectation management, despondence, and finally, power tripping?  She's a cracker, that kid (who may be 30 but will forever be a kid to me). 

10.47: More tea, please.

12.35: ack, close to being late! Call cab, round up colleague M.  M is the reason I have this job - she and I met at our hall of residence and flatted together for four years during university while studying.  On my return to Auckland she passed my CV to my boss, knowing that I'd like working with him because she and I worked so well together as undergraduates.  It's been awesome having a friend like M in the workplace. 

1.20: arrive at airport.  I briefly mourn the sunny, muggy day - Christchurch is going to be cooooooold, wish I didn't have to leave!

1.22 bag check, reprint boarding pass as I'd forgotten that I did in fact print my online check in.  Worse, get tapped on the shoulder two minutes later as I'd left the boarding pass on the kiosk.  Hopeless. 

1.30: M looks at me slyly after checking in and suggests we eat the forbidden fruit for lunch prior to takeoff: McDonalds.  It hit the spot and the remorse is only minor today.  Wickedness is so much more fun with an accomplice. 

2.10: take off.  M and I have packed materials to work on a presentation we're giving together in May.  However, temptation to use next hour and a half to gossip proves too great and the presentation remains untouched. 

3.45: plane lands in Christchurch a little late.  We hustle to meet our boss from the Wellington office and grab a cab to visit the client.

4 - 6.15: meeting with client.  Out the window of the meeting room, the giant sky (Canterbury always seems so flat to me, with an enormous sky) is fading quickly and you can feel the chill set in.

6.15: Another cab, driving through the dark streets of central Christchurch to check in and drop off our bags at the hotel. 

7: arrive at Saggio di Vino for a meal with clients.  I had a really lovely time with M, Wellington Boss and two clients, chatting and eating tasty things, including but not limited to: beef carpaccio (is the beef redundant?  do you automatically assume carpaccio is beef?), terakihi with lemon beurre blanc on a bed of sauteed leek and tiny pieces of grapefruit, Dog Point pinot noir and gooey cheese.

10.45: back at the hotel and realise I've forgotten the plug for my charger.  Borrow one from reception and discover bulk messages waiting on my phone.  Sister K's bought her first house! Cocoa is home safe! Friend A is pregnant! Call K and P for a quick chat with each. 

11.30: fumble around the hotel remotes attempting to turn on the heat pump.  The hotel room has steadily decreased in temperature - its 6 or 7 degrees celcius outside which this sub-tropical Aucklander finds chilly. 

11.45: return hotel charger.  Climb into bed and feel terribly naughty - I'm sleeping on P's side!  Out to the count almost immediately. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

easter update 2014

Easter: four days off, let's do that more often.  Loved it, apart from the heartbreaking moment on Saturday that P and I realised we'd left our egg run too late at the supermarket: chocolate eggs SOLD OUT.  I'm sure we'll get over it but it was a stab to the heart, that's for sure.

Day in the Life: doing this thing again.  Hope to post tomorrow.  If you're bored by this short missive, just wait until I hit you with the minutiae of another day in the terribly exciting life and times of A!

About Time: Richard Curtis you emotional manipulator you.  The film opened with my wedding aisle song (The Luckiest, Ben Folds, if you're interested).  Nearly cried from the get go.  Took half an hour of scrubbing pots in the kitchen after the final credits for me to turn off the emotional gushiness that ensued. 

Revisiting YA fiction over the break: I did this and I am ashamed of myself.  Hours down the drain.  HOURS.

Sunday Painters: meh.  This is probably because I'm spoilt - P cooks excellent French bistro food.  This is also probably because P's taught me to be an unbearable wine snob - no decanters in the restaurant at all, when there's all that lovely aged Burgundy?  Ack, I'm awful.

Silence: was golden in the 09 over the break.  Empty streets, quiet neighbourhoods, no queues anywhere.  With the notable exception of Harvey Norman in Wairau Park to which we stupidly ventured in pursuit of a new vacuum cleaner on sale (yes, that is exactly how exciting my life is now but YOU SHOULD SEE MY RUG Dyson 4 lyf) which had crowds so cray there was a bouncy castle to keep hordes of kids entertained while their parents perused whiteware and gave me claustrophobia on an unprecedented scale. 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


I contemplated tights this morning, for the first time in at least six months.  I wore pajama pants and an old jersey of P's around the house last night and felt lovely and cosy.  The shoulder seasons are just lovely, really, when they're not particularly wet. 

Ma and Pa are off on an overseas jaunt and I'm super jealous, feeling stuck here in the +64.  They're visiting the studio we rented in Cairanne, Provence.  Not only are they spending spring in the south of France, but I can imagine exactly where and what they'll be doing.  Swanning around the ampitheatre in Orange, swilling wine in Chateauneuf du Pape, visiting the boulangerie in the village etc.  It's been nearly two years since we were there last; FRANCE I MISS YOU please can I come back soon?

At the moment, they're in the Napa Valley somewhere.  Gosh, they deserve it but man alive I am being eaten alive by envy.

Instead, I suspect it will rain through Easter.  We're catching up with friends, will probably mooch around the house a bit, stuff our faces with marshmallow eggs.  There are worse things we could be doing, I suppose.  P was gifted a voucher by his employer for working hard through a particularly stressful time of the year for them, so on Saturday we're trying a new to us restaurant (Sunday Painters, if you're interested.)

I'm starting to go for walks with sister K this weekend, who has signed us up to a 10k run later this year.  K's recovering from knee surgery, so we're planning a leisurely training programme to get her back in action.  We'll tackle One Tree Hill on Saturday, and I'll try to convince her of the merits of homeownership in the greater Onehunga area.  I'd like her to be closer to us.  It feels odd living in the same city but being at least a half hour drive apart.  That's probably laziness on my part - in London, I'd have thought nothing of catching public transport for 45 minutes or so to see her, but in Auckland I resent it.  Partly because I'm not a fan of the part of town she lives in, perhaps?  She's looking to buy even further away, but I am the big sister and what are big sisters for but being a bit bossy?

Last weekend we went to Silo's production of Angels in America, as forecast.  Wow.  I'm still chewing that one over, but general verdict is I really enjoyed it.  As an aside, and lest you think this is a cat-free blog post, let me just say that I nearly lost my shit when in the last 30 minutes of 6 hours, the play featured a dead cat, enumerating its nine lives.  Well fuck me, I can tell you for real that cats have one life only.  I had to laugh - I'd just been thinking how the play was so obviously of it's time (written in the early 90s, set mid 80s) but maintained resonance. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

domesticated / feral

State of the M family cats: still stuck indoors while Cocoa gets used to the joint, and A gets over her phobia of anything horrid happening to either of them in future. 

I feel for them as they're busting to explore the great outdoors, but they'll be housebound for another week or two.  I'm still moderately weepy over Timothy (I found the last pictures of him on my camera two days ago and sobbed, but I don't see his wee furry body in my mind's eye every time I look at Tab any more).  As wrong as it seems to coup them up because I'm feeling fragile, I think we really need to ensure that Cocoa knows where home is.  There's been the occasional supervised excursion, but I find it pretty stressful.  Particularly when Cocoa makes a bolt towards a main road. 

Tabitha is a delight, completely adorable.  Can't say more than that.  Cokes is settling in, I think.  His coat is improving, he's tolerating gentle brushing and is a pretty smoochy boy.  They're starting to play together, savaging stuffed mice and scragging bits of string. 

I discovered that the Purple Palace is also playing host to another form of wildlife, earlier this week.  There were ANTS on the kitchen wall.  ANTS. I went on a RAMPAGE of ant destruction.  Don't get me wrong, I felt bad about snuffing out life, but I cannot handle having ants in our small, dysfunctional, aeons-old kitchen.  I can handle it's 1940s styling and space most of the time, but I cannot abide being infested by insects.  That's my bottom line.  I suspect I may have won the battle this week; it's yet to be seen whether I've won the war.  Wish me luck.

Monday, 7 April 2014

31 today

Happy birthday to P, a one of a kind husband.  Only P would:
  • use so much garlic in the mashed potatoes that 18 hours later I am still warding off vampires with the vapours I'm emitting
  • up and announce: "It's Bluff oyster season and it's my birthday, I'm going to the supermarket" and arrive home 20 minutes later with a bundle of shallots to dice finely in pursuit of the perfect oyster dipping vinaigrette
  • announce not 30 minutes later: "Watch out wife, the oysters are kicking in"
  • shine his shoes to look good on his birthday
  • insist, when I'm treating him to dinner (on our joint account, all funds are mixed here), that he be the one to hand over the card and sign the bill
  • require the perfect blend of strawberries and raspberries on his breakfast cereal
  • hold my hand even when it's all hot and sweaty
  • quell the desire to criticise my parking when clearly, I'm not having a good driving day
  • always come to bed 15 minutes later, and get up 15 minutes later than me exactly, no matter what time I rest/arise
  • tell me that I shouldn't say those words to the cat, even if I do use a nice tone
  • fish out cat toys from under the couch every day with a long handled wooden spoon
And, and, and.  P's one of a kind, wonderful and mine.  Love you P, happy birthday

Friday, 4 April 2014

no longer biting

I have resumed normal transmission and am only normal-level bitchy now, you'll be pleased to know.  P is grateful to still have his gastrointestinal system intact, untouched by a rusty spoon or otherwise. 

Normal level-bitchy, I'll have you know, is snark delivered with a laugh.  P's still acting cautiously, however, in the light of last week's rampage (Godzilla through Tokyo = Hormonal A through the Lavender Loveshack, laying waste to all before her.)  He sent me an email the subtext of which was a request for permission to play golf tomorrow.  I imagined him wiping the sweat off his brow when my response was a simple (snarky) query as to whether he'd be able to get out of bed in time and not a threat of grievous bodily harm.

My mother pointed out to me once that P is interested in many classic man pursuits, which enables him to make easy conversation with other blokes.  She's right I suppose: he golfs, fishes, is a low-level motor-head (much as it pains me to say so), he's into wine, whiskey and beer, takes seriously the rugby (oh dear lord is he into rugby) and cricket, and he is co-ordinated enough to give most sports a bash.

Whereas these days, my interests appear to be: brunch, booze, my couch, the cats and getting a haircut.  I've gone off playing team sports, mostly because I'm terribly unco-ordinated but also because my job often meant I couldn't commit to regularly attending practice.  For a while there, I was excellent at arranging schedules of open home attendance.  I really do need to find something to fill that gap. 

It didn't occur to me until reading that last paragraph back that my interest, it seems, is documenting MEMEME and my life.  On the internet, not just in a personal journal.  That interest doesn't stretch to editing what I write, apparently.  It's just spilling words out onto a virtual page for my own interest further down the track.  I suppose reading other people's blogs is a bit of an interest as well.  I really do need to get out more. 

Thursday, 3 April 2014


I have been a monster for the past week, driven by a potent combination of hormones and latent bitchiness. 

Seriously though, as much as I'm actually awful at heart, this past week I've suffered through the worst PMS I have ever, ever experienced.  I thought my boobs were going to explode over the weekend - first the right with a bang, then the left with a listless puff, that's how aware I was of the swelling and tenderness - I've acne on my shoulders, my face is a spotty mess, I cry at the drop of a hat and I was irrationally and completely enraged by my husband's request that I deliver him his credit card (that I'd borrowed and forgotten to return, which he needed in a hurry, which wasn't particularly out of my way).  I spent at least 15 minutes thinking of different ways to disembowel the bastard until I remembered:
  1. I quite like him usually, in fact I married him not so long ago;
  2. I prefer him intact (after the bloody thumb-slicing mandolin incident I took a stance on P and gashes in his flesh); and
  3. My period was days overdue.
Here I've been, smugly thinking since age 14 that PMS doesn't affect me greatly.  I've rolled my eyes at my mother with my father, when he's told me about the week of the month that he hides in his office because he won't be right about anything, ever.  I've impatiently listened to my sister bitch about hormonal skin issues. 

Well, my friends, I guess I spoke far too soon.  Genetics is a bitch and it appears that I am no longer immune to the vagaries of my reproductive system, asshole though it appears she's becoming.