Archive for May, 2011

And what’s wrong with an uneventful weekend?  Probably because I have too many of them.  Compared to people like thingy who’s currently sailing around the islands, my life is deadly dull.

However, we did go to Wellington.  Daughter and I headed there after I finished work half an hour early.  There was a lot of traffic on the road – we figured they might have been heading to the Food Festival.  We weren’t.  We just parked (luckily) just outside older daughter’s apartment on the Terrace.  We had arranged to have dinner at an American restaurant called “Mother’s Kitchen” on Courtenay Place.  The good thing about living on the Terrace is that you can walk everywhere in the central city.  We did so and got there about 8pm.  Daughter’s boyfriend did warn us we’d have to wait as it was a small place and very busy.  This bode well I thought.  There were a couple of American accents among the diners so the yanks obviously liked it.  We booked at the counter (they don’t take phone bookings apparently) and were told we’d have to wait up to an hour. Personally I would have thought ‘stuff that’ and found somewhere else to eat but the others said they enjoyed the meal before, so I held out.  I’d had the foresight to gobble a piece of toast before we left home.

We wandered round Courtenay Place looking for a pleasant place to  have a drink – a quiet drink would have been preferable but unlikely on a Friday night.  The only place that looked empty (and we wanted somewhere to sit) was a Bubble Tea place called Momo (or something), outside of which a Maori chap kept accosting people with “Excuse me…”  asking for coins apparently but without expecting a reply.   The others had a bubble tea each but I didn’t.

At 8.45 we got a call to say a table was ready so we walked back down to the restaurant.  Orders taken we then waited 40 minutes for food and received the food at 9.40pm.  I was fucking tired and by this time not really hungry at all.  I ordered Gumbo and got a bowl of brown soupy stuff with rice and sausage pieces.  It had a strong taste and not altogether pleasant.  My other option, Jumbalaya, was ordered by older daughter’s boyfriend and looked like an unappealing mound of yellow stuff.  I had a taste of it and it tasted weird.  I’m glad I hadn’t paid the extra $9 that cost.  Daughter had seafood chowder and enjoyed that and older daughter had some rolled up mexican sounding dish which looked ok.  The range of beers was disappointing (and expensive) so I got an Amstel Light.

We’d finished the meal in about 5 minutes.  Older daughter’s boyfriend was unimpressed and said he wouldn’t go there again – not worth the wait.  Certainly not.

Ah.  I’d forgotten to mention the bizarre decoration of the restaurant.  Presumably, because it was called Mother’s Kitchen, it was decorated to look like someone’s house – but someone who had no taste.  There was a random collection of plastic toys and flashing plastic fruit, a large plastic cow’s head, random pictures all over the walls, a bookshelf with old books on it and beads hanging off one end, other random knick-knacks and plastic animals and animal heads with feathery boa things hanging off the antlers.  Some of it looked like the house of an eccentric homosexual.  It was completely weird.  Some might enjoy it.  I didn’t.

So home we trotted, taking with us a couple of slices of pumpkin pie and key lime pie.  These, too, were rather average (and expensive, I thought).  The key lime pie tasted just like that lemon curd stuff you buy in a jar.  So much for “Mother’s Kitchen”.  They can keep their weird decorations and weird-tasting food.

Got to bed about midnight and had a fitful sleep.  I got up about 10-ish.  Older daughter had bought the “Settlers of Catan” board game so we had to play that a few times.  We had a late lunch.  The sun was shining outside but we were all too poor to go shopping, too lazy to get the car out of the parking garage to go anywhere, and daughter and I had planned to leave at 4pm.  So we stayed indoors and older daughter and I discussed plans for the upcoming trip.

This morning I woke early and finally sorted through the mound of paper the travel agent had given me.  On the first lot of paper work the guy had booked a day tour on the same day as a flight departing at 5pm.  (What a doofus.)  At my request he changed the day and sent me updated copies of everything which I had printed out.  It was this mound of paper (including air tickets from Air Asia) that I was to sort through.  I replaced everything and stapled together relevant bits and chucked the bulky and heavy printouts on cardboard I’d first been given.  Gotta travel light.  It was then I noticed that on the itinerary, the guy had written that the flight to Brisbane was on Virgin Blue departing at 7am.  I actually had tickets on Air New Zealand departing at 6am.  This accounted for my confusion as to what time the flight was – I hadn’t been sure if it was 6am or 7am.  I sent off a quick email just to check the Air NZ flight WAS confirmed and not the Virgin Blue one.  He probably forgot to change it (as I’d asked for the cheaper Air NZ flight) but just wanted to double-check.  He’s not the most accurate of agents, obviously.  I swear, in future, I’ll book everything online.  I mentioned to older daughter that the transfer from Singapore airport to the hotel was expensive and older daughter’s boyfriend said they’d paid some dirt cheap amount for a taxi.  Oh fuck.  Oh well.  I can’t be bothered cancelling that.  I just won’t bother using a travel agency (or not Flight Centre) again.

Anyway, got the paperwork sorted.  Now with it sorted in my head I can book a shuttle to Wellington airport from the Terrace at some ungodly hour.  Still need to book the bus from Singapore to KL (they only allow bookings one month ahead).  I also need to change some money but how the hell do I get to a bank during opening hours?  I’ll have to take an extended lunch hour to dash into town from work.  The NZ dollar is high at the moment so should take advantage of that.

And now, halfway through Sunday morning, I can think about the usual chores.  Oh joy.  I’m glad that next weekend is a 3-day one.


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Cloud watching

I’ve finally finished “The Cloudspotter’s Guide” which had been on my currently reading widget for quite some time.  The reason it took so long is that I mislaid it at one time and didn’t find the time to read it at home.  Then I took it to work a few times which encouraged me to look out the window at the clouds and go walking in search of a good cloud shot (sometimes).

I found it very enjoyable.  Before reading it I had taken photos of clouds numerous times over the past few years (probably since getting a digital camera).  I got the book out of the library to read up on the cloud types.  I’m not sure I can remember many of them but I learned quite a bit.  It also helped me understand the weather (and even some of the jargon they use on weather forecasts).  The author, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, used humour throughout the book as well as references to mythology so it wasn’t a dry scientific book at all. He founded the Cloud Appreciation Society which I don’t think I’ll join because I don’t want to pay £5, but I did “like” their Facebook page.

People seem to think I’m daft to look at and photograph the clouds, but they’re incredibly beautiful.  I’ll never forget flying to Melbourne and looking out to see these soaring castles of cumulus and just feeling awed.  It’s nature’s art put on show daily for us to see.  Now when I’m surrounded by ugliness I can (hopefully) look up or out and see some interesting clouds and marvel at them.  Unfortunately, much of the time, especially during winter, all there is to see is Stratus cloud – featureless blankets of grey.  But until then, I’ll continue to capture the ever-changing beauty and wonder why others ignore what’s above their heads.

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A moment of peace

A beautiful calm morning this morning. It was warmer outside than in my house. As I drove to work the sun shone in a blue sky, there were a few stationary clouds and a near full moon “centre stage”. Not a breath of wind. On the radio a timeless piece of music played and I felt incredibly calm and at peace. It doesn’t happen often and when it does it’s usually when I’m outside somewhere near trees and there are no human beings around. It did me good, however briefly.

I was about to go for a walk yesterday lunchtime when it started raining. So I had my lunch in the staffroom and then saw the sun was out again. By this time I’d got into my book so didn’t want to stop and go out. Perhaps today if the predicted rain doesn’t fall too soon.

On Tuesday night just before belly dancing class I witnessed the death of a black cat in town. I saw it coming from a carpark and it went under a car parked next to mine. I was just pulling out, careful to keep my eye on the cat but before I knew it, it had run out and in front of the wheels of an SUV. The driver wouldn’t have seen it, sadly. I saw it all again, a repeat of what happened to my dear Nubi. The cat ended up facing me and I saw its mouth open wide as it gasped for air. It would have died soon after. If not then, then certainly once a couple more cars had run over it. One car ran over it so fast that the body flew a foot into the air. I was sitting there sobbing. When I saw it happen I wanted to run out and pick it up but it was dark and I risked getting run over myself and I knew nothing could be done. It happened so quickly. Somehow I had to dry my eyes and make my way to dance. I stood in the wind outside the dance studio and reflected, while waiting for the door to be unlocked. I didn’t think I would have to witness such a thing again. It affected me the whole of the following day. I didn’t want to interact with anyone and one person I told about it didn’t seem to care a jot, so I shut up and worked quietly.

Watched a DVD movie last night and had a reasonable sleep with Jasmine on the bed. I dreamed of one of the family dogs we had in the 70s. She was a lovely dog and my late Zara had reminded me of her in both looks and nature. When I went walking through the bush the other day I missed having a dog to walk with. It was the first time since Zara died that I’ve felt the want of a dog.

I hadn’t intended writing any of this. I had initially just thought to write the first paragraph. I guess I needed to release all of the above.

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Well the period’s gone but I’m not so sure the irritability has. I find I get irritable behind slow-moving drivers, and impatient with seeming incompetence, but perhaps that’s normal.

Had a chat the other night to a friend who lives down the valley who I haven’t seen since Xmas. Terrible really. Really should make an effort to get in touch more. Anyway, she asks how I’ve been and what’s new and I find I have nothing to say – the usual – work, eat, sleep. Nothing changes (which can be a good thing, I suppose). The only news I had for her was the death of a kitten (that she didn’t even know about) and my upcoming trip overseas which I can’t get excited about yet.

When I think about the trip, all I can envisage is the hassle of getting to airports early. The getting from A to B is the hassle part. Once there I’m fine. Trouble is we’re travelling not just to one place but to three – four if you count Christchurch on the return home, and it all involves catching a plane five times and a bus three times, not to mention the transfers/taxis to the airports. I can’t bear the thought of it. Then there’s the money in three currencies… It’s just all too ghastly to think about. Who’s stupid idea was this? Mine. It wasn’t helped by the fact that the airline we’re using doesn’t fly direct to Singapore but via KL so we figured we’d stay there and have a trip to Singapore from there, but again the airline doesn’t fly to NZ direct from Singapore so back to KL to fly to Christchurch. Bit of a hassle but we saved $1000 each doing that.

The sun shines, even though the wind blows, so I’d better go for a walk. I need more exercise – perhaps I can work off some of the still-lingering negativity. Also better go to belly dancing tonight. The annual event looms ever closer and I’m far from confident in the choreography.

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I’ve been quite grumpy for the last few days. I can only put it down to getting my period. I’ve felt depressed, angry and indifferent. I didn’t go to a regional meeting, belly dancing or Scottish dancing this week because I “couldn’t be bothered”. I took Monday off work because I just couldn’t face going in. I’ve been noticeably quiet at work which has been commented on, but do I care? No. Once this period finishes (and they usually last a whole week) it will be interesting to see if this negativity will pass.

I’ve mentioned the following to a couple of people who have said they can do the same thing but there are two ways (at least) of looking at your surroundings. There’s the everyday familiar sight and then there’s the ‘stranger’s’ view. For the past few days I’ve been seeing my house with the stranger’s view and it’s very depressing. What I’ve taken for granted in my daily life is the cluttered, untidy mess in my tiny house. In the stranger’s view I hate the place. Could be weather – things are starting to look dark and damp. I obviously need a holiday. I’m not looking forward to winter. I hate winter with a passion and can’t stand others who say they love it and use the usual ‘easier to add a layer’ spiel bullshit. I personally hate wearing 15 layers of clothes to keep warm in badly heated home and workplace. I hate the constant wet and grey cloud. I hate the starkness.

Of course I say this as the sun is currently shining and there’s blue sky but where I work there’s no direct sunlight until last thing in the day when it shines on my computer and I have to shut the blinds anyway. Depressing.

I feel like I’m in a rut. Not helped by the knowledge that my so-called friend is currently in the Cook Islands and will marry there on Saturday. Their “wedding celebration” is in NZ five weeks later. Huh. Perhaps I feel shitty at being denied being at their wedding (but most others are too). Do I really care? I don’t know what I feel in my current grumpy state. The world can go hang, hate selfish, stupid people, etc, etc.

Hope I’m better next week…

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I’ve spent about eight hours on the computer searching for different members of different branches of my family.  I think it’s time for a break…

I can see why you have to be retired (or famous) to get anywhere – it’s SO time-consuming!  Details on my genealogy blog.

Nothing of interest to write about.  Oh, apart from being on the computer I did go through my filing cabinet and throw away a satisfying heap of papers.  I then put some ‘junk’ from the desk into the filing cabinet.  I put photograph negatives into a bag (having no box) but they’re still on the desk.  Also on the desk is a (now bagged) medieval costume that can’t be hung up and some other sundry items of clothing I don’t appear to have any room for.  Time to go through the drawers and wardrobe to make room.

The tuis are singing after a thunderstorm.  I saw a fantail enjoying the downpour.  Delightful.

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I had two of them – to lose weight and to declutter.

I’ve done abominably and it’s now May. I thought I was starting to lose a bit of weight at one stage but the scales have crept up and some clothing is starting to feel tight. I’ve done little exercise and no belly dancing between classes. I lost my enthusiasm for that anyway because of the choreography but now I’m starting to get on top of that I really should do more. The weather isn’t helping with the lunchtime walks either. But then it was fine on Friday and I was too lazy to go out. Bad!

I have given away a few books and there are now gaps in the bookshelf but I really need to make a concerted effort to at least clear the top of the desk which is piled with all manner of things. I must keep in mind the idea I had that if I died tomorrow would I want people having to sort through all my crap and perhaps missing the stuff I felt was important to keep in the decision to throw it all out?

I’m going to have to make a list of these things I think of during the week because come the weekend my mind goes blank and I just do the essentials.

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