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Archive for June, 2011

The worry about the ash cloud preventing me from flying has got to me a bit.  Even though my daughter got off alright this morning.  The flight wasn’t cancelled so she’s in the air as I write.  Hopefully all will be well for my flight early tomorrow morning.  I still can’t help worrying though.

Brother wasn’t so lucky.  He’d booked with a different airline and they’ve cancelled all flights.  He said it was too expensive to change airline bookings so he and his wife are not going!  I feel very disappointed.  I was looking forward to spending time with him and aunt and cousins in Brisbane.  It would’ve been good.  Now it’ll just be me and daughter at the 90th birthday celebration.  I’m not sure how many cousins will be there apart from two of the aunt’s four daughters.  I think it’s just natural to worry about all the things that could go wrong – missing the flight, the flight being cancelled, etc, etc.

Added to that is the annoyance of needing car repairs.  I was hurrying on my way to the travel agents to pick up an amended travel voucher on a very black very wet night after work.  A car pulled out in front of me and drove along very slowly.  I was impatient so was a little too close to her.  At the merging lane she took fright at all the traffic barrelling along and stopped.  I hit her right rear bumper.  Her car received only a few scratches but mine got a smashed headlight and a bent bumper.  I now have to pay $500 excess (I had the excess high to keep the premiums down in days of less salary).  At least I won’t lose my no-claims bonus.

However, I have to drop the car off this  morning to the panelbeaters before catching the bus.  Younger daughter is stressed to the max because she hasn’t finished her last assignment due in today.  I’ve barely seen her the past two weeks as she’s been spending most of her time in town studying.  She’s annoyed at having to waste precious time having to pick me up after I drop the car off.

All in all, feeling a little emotional – bloody hormones.

I’ll be able to relax somewhat when I’m on that bloody plane (and more so when I’ve got to the hotel in Brisbane safely).  Bloody annoyed bro won’t be there.

Oh yeah, I have to alter a part of my belly dancing costume immediately on my return.  Bloody heavy beaded belt kept slipping down during our “dress rehearsal” the other night.

Time for breakfast…

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I drove up to Tauranga on Friday to go to a friend’s wedding party on the Saturday night.  They’d already had their private beach wedding in the Cook Islands witnessed by two couples who travelled with them.  I suppose you could call the party the belated wedding ‘reception’.

I drove alone as the friend who was to join me sent an email the day before saying she couldn’t come because her partner was very ill.

I left about 11.45 am taking the back road.  The weather was perfect – dry, sunny with some pinkish high cloud (due to the ash from the Chile volcano, no doubt).  I stopped at the lookout as I’d caught a glimpse of Mt Ruapehu in its glory without any cloud.

Even Mt Ngauruhoe was visible, which is rare.

I stopped at Waiouru for a bite to eat and continued on, taking the Taupo bypass.  I listened to Pink Floyd while crossing the desert road.

Cloud was gathering.  It was already starting to get dark about 3pm.  I took the back road from Rotorua to Tauranga and was met with a new road layout.  I followed the sign which said city centre and found myself in unfamiliar surroundings and ended up taking the next left saying city centre but realised, too late, that it was a toll road and I couldn’t back up.  Not knowing where the hell the road would end up I took the first exit to a suburb name I was familiar with and finally found my way to my friend’s place.

Anyway, fast forward to the party.  I’m not used to wearing makeup and may have overdone it (when belly dancing we put a little more on to compensate for lights).  I felt a little conspicuous when we arrived to decorate the venue (me dressed up and the couple not so as they were doing a “grand entrance” later).

Sarongs, leis and shells were laid out around the place.  Wedding couple left to get ready.  The DJ set himself up and the (my friend’s) boys and the same two couples at the actual wedding and myself, sat around and waited for the first guests.  I sat and talked to them for a bit and then the guests started trickling in including, thankfully, an old school friend from Auckland with her husband and young son.  So we sat and talked, my back to the entrance.  When I turned later there were masses of people.

Well anyway, there were speeches after the wedding couple’s “tributes” to each other, read by their friends who were at the wedding.  It went on a bit long (these things do, I suppose).  Finally we could get something to eat.  The “meal” was quite a basic buffet.  Buns, ham, roast beef and lettuce with bits of tomato and cucumber (I’ve been rather disappointed lately with the lack of imagination in so-called salads when eating out lately).  That was it.  Dessert was the wedding cake, a large rectangular chocolate affair.

Then some islanders were setting up  drums and I thought they were a band.  When they started drumming I was all eager to get up and dance but it was an actual demo by a high school group who came on.

They were really good.  Unfortunately, after finishing their dances they headed off and the DJ put his music on.  I haven’t listened to pop music for many years now so I just can’t get into it.  I did get up and dance a few recognisable ones (alone in amongst the couples) but overall I just didn’t get into it.

Auckland friend and her husband and kid headed off quite early and I was left alone at the table after another couple we’d been talking to left as well.  I had to stay for transport reasons so headed out onto the deck which overlooked Mt Maunganui.  I spotted one of the guests taking his Jack Russell terrier for a walk and wished I was there instead of in a large room full of noisy strangers.  I’d just thought up a brief epitaph for myself “destined to dance alone” when one of my friend’s friends came up and chatted to me briefly.

The end of the party couldn’t come quickly enough for me but we had to wait for hangers-on who just sat and talked while we were packing up the decorations.  A taxi was called for but we had to wait 40 minutes before they turned up.  The venue had been cleaned and locked up by then.  Into bed finally at 1.30 am.

Everyone raved about how good it had been.  I suppose it had been.  It was just me feeling tired and lonely.  I’ve never been much of a party person.  I’m not sociable or outgoing enough to  go up to strangers and introduce myself.  That lot would’ve been bored with my answers to their first two questions “where do you live?” and “what do you do?”  Judgemental, unfriendly Aucklanders or ex-Aucklanders, most of them – all very well off.  I was not in my comfort zone.  Gimme a dog and a beach any day, I thought.

The ‘wedding’ couple had invited people round for breakfast the next morning so soon we were inundated with the same people.  One of them did ask me those questions and reacted with a ‘yay!’ to my occupation, then swiftly turned to someone else to ask what they did.  Oh god, kill me now, I thought.  I couldn’t wait to get out of there but it was 1.30pm by the time I managed to leave.  On the whole, the friend behaved herself this time (no put-downs or bitchiness).  Her (now) husband was more subdued this time.  Up to now he had flirted and joked but I guess now he’s a husband, he feels he has to be responsible (or something, who knows).  I just know his behaviour was different and just one of his comments was a little of an unkind dig.  Whatever.  They’re looking for a ‘lifestyle block’ where they can have horses or whatever, all depending on what they got for their house (complete with pool and spa).  “We’ve put $100,000 into this house” she said.  Well, bully for you, I thought.

I’d read a couple of things lately like “pretend everyone likes you” or “be yourself”.  That’s easier said than done when you’re ignored by people or when you can’t be yourself.

I’m glad to be back at home after what felt like (and is) a long drive.  I can now relax, put my music on and really be myself.  I think I must have been a monk in a previous life.  I just don’t do social occasions well.

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This will probably be my second-to-last blog entry before the trip.

Yesterday I headed into town to buy a money belt (since I’m taking cash this time, better safe than sorry) and to enquire about global roaming at Vodafone.  Australia and Singapore – no problem – there’s auto-roaming with no set-up involved.  However, Malaysia requires that I set up an account with a credit card two days before I leave.  Phooey.  This will mean a rush to town in a lunch hour.

I ordered some foreign money online (oh the joys of the internet) so I can (again) dash into town in a lunch hour to pick it up and save time.  It is pesky working so far away from town as it takes me 10 minutes to walk to my car before even negotiating the traffic to get to where I want to go.  One hour is pretty much used up in travelling.

Today I was sorting out what clothes to take both on the trip and for the upcoming wedding next weekend in Tauranga.  I put the heater on in my room so I could try on several options for the wedding.  I tried on several tops with 2 different skirts and a pair of pants and only came up with one top/pant option and one top/one skirt option.  The other combinations just didn’t look right or were too tight or matronly looking.  How I wish one could lose weight for a weekend or something – snap, instant weight loss to look good for a day and then snap, back to the fatty self.  Sigh.

I’ve been in touch with another “friend” (ex-school chum) who is heading up to the wedding from the Wairarapa.  I suggested we go up together and she agreed.  However, she hasn’t responded to my email about details (like what time and whose car).  I don’t understand why people don’t respond to emails.  Is it me?  Are they just not bothered?  Are they too busy to work out mere details?  Bloody hell.  I almost feel like saying ‘right, I’m leaving at 11am and if you’re here fine, if you’re not, I’m going without you’.  Perhaps she’s just going to turn up on the day (mid-morning I said) and not let me know?  Whatever.  She’s hopeless at communicating.

I’ve started packing my case for the trip and realise how small the case is.  Hopefully it should hold everything (it’s mostly summer clothes anyway).  Footwear is the only bulky thing (along with a light jacket for leaving and arriving in cold NZ).  I should start to feel excited, but I don’t.  I lay awake from about 2am to 4am worrying about the belly dance choreography, the lawnmower (see below), daughter’s car registration, blog posts for the work-related blog, things to do for the weekend in Tauranga and for the trip.  Even reading a book didn’t help much.  Eventually I dropped off only to be woken by Jasmine at 7.30am for her breakfast.

Which reminds me (book-wise) – I’m going to need an interesting book to read on the plane(s).  I’ve nearly finished the Poirot one and the other is non-fiction which, while interesting, isn’t rivetting enough to read continually.

The lawnmower.  Well, I forgot to take it in on Thursday, so did so on Friday.  Didn’t hear back so left work early thinking it was all ok to pick up.  Nope.  It needed major work done on it if it was the problem he thought it was which might not be fixable in any case.  I sighed, resigned to having to buy a new one anyway.  But he said he could install a new engine and it would be good as new.  This last option was more appealing (and cheaper than buying new).  I went with that, but it means forking out another couple of hundred dollars on top of everything else.

My head’s just too full of stuff and I’m feeling decidedly tired, fat and old.  I need a holiday, if only it weren’t seemingly so stressful trying to organise getting to it.

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I must be. I just can’t see the usefulness (to me) of ipads, smartphones, etc, etc.

I went to a work-related thingy last night about all those gadgets, e-readers and other electronic wizardry included. The e-readers shown were already obsolete as they’re coming out every six months or so. The iPad 3 is already being developed and the iPad 2 has only just been released. It’s all a money-making scam. I’ve seen two people playing around with their pride and joy. They’re toys. It all looks very pretty but they just don’t appeal to me for some reason. The evening of gadgets hasn’t convinced me any further. People use these things to skype, go on facebook, twitter and other websites, as a diary, to store music and other files, take photos and video. The smartphones’ screens were too small and the iPads too big. Why would I want to take the internet around with me 24 hours a day? Why read newspapers on an iPad (via an expensive subscription) when there are free paper ones at work (and also free via the internet at work). The e-readers aren’t too bad, but again, I just don’t like them – yet. When they’re cheaper and you can get any book you want for a reasonable price (or free via the library) then I might think about it. But really, you can only read one book at a time, right? I take the book – and they don’t need batteries. I hate relying on electronic gadgets. They fail and you’re also relying on a service which could fail at any time as well.

The only ‘gadget’ I was keen on, was the little netbook that a couple of people displayed. A nice small lightweight laptop with a decent-sized keyboard would be quite handy, especially for things like conferences. That I might save up for. The rest I can’t justify the expense of. I wouldn’t use them.

My current cellphone doesn’t even take photos. I only turn it on when I’m expecting a call or need to make one. At the moment it’s at home as I charged the battery last night and forgot it this morning. People laugh at me, but again I can’t justify buying a new one. This one works for what I want. I would like a phone with a camera sometimes, but it’s not necessary – I have a small camera. It must be the socialist-type upbringing in me – I view all the gadgets as extravagances.

It reminds me of digital TV. They’re swapping over next year and to watch TV I’m going to need to buy a new digital TV or a transponder thing or whatever it’s called. My TV works fine. So it won’t next year? There’s nothing to watch on TV anyway. I watch about 2 programmes a week (if that). How can I justify the expense for 52 programmes a year? I can watch a lot of things I miss on the computer. If I hear about a good series, I can borrow or buy the DVD. Don’t need a feckin’ new gadget….

Grumble over.

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Well the long weekend went by far too quickly, as I knew it would. I didn’t achieve much but then I did do some stuff which I needed to do.

Firstly, I booked the bus to KL, as mentioned in the previous post. I also drafted a couple of blog posts for the blog I may have mentioned. That done, I went along to the dance practice in Feilding. Why are all scout halls so dingy and freezing? Miserable places they are. It was far colder inside than it was outside. Anyway, it was the first time I had an audience (the other dance groups) and I mucked up completely because I was nervous. It’s obvious I have some work to do on the dance before I can remember it all perfectly. After the practice I headed into town to buy free-range eggs, organic chicken, yummy cheeses and soap at the bulk barn (and a little visit next door to Liquorland).

So, once back home I dug around for the audio (and not video) of the choreography which I can put on my mp3 player to play while overseas. Otherwise I only have 3 practice sessions before the hafla. I searched through all my belly dancing CDs, knowing that on one of them was the music for the choreography. I couldn’t find it, so googled how I could extract an audio file from a video file. It involved downloading a program which I didn’t want to do. I knew the music was somewhere and had another good search and this time found it in a pile of medieval music. I must have had the CD in amongst them for my medieval feast last year. Goodo! Then I had to convert the wav file to mp3 for the player. This did involve downloading a program as the program already on the computer converted only from mp3 to wav (for making CDs)! I tried dancing to the audio track and found I couldn’t remember a couple of bits. Watched the video and practiced and hope I’ve got them right now. For some light relief I watched my favourite belly dancer, Serena Ramzy, do three dances on her Visual Melodies DVD. I always, always find myself smiling when watching her.

That done, I decided I may as well alter the costume (I’d been putting it off for ages). However, I couldn’t find the unpicker or some glue (to make it stick). Daughter came home later in the afternoon and said she had the unpicker which she gave me. By now the light wasn’t great but I went ahead (after first unpicking the wrong bit and having to re-sew!). Couldn’t find the glue but did a few stitches to make it stay there. Job done.

Did some washing and housework on the following day but felt at a loss in the evening when daughter went on the computer and there was nothing on TV. How sad is that? I looked at the laptop and the pile of genealogical stuff I had beside it in my ongoing conversion of paper biographies to computer. I got down to it and transferred all the info into a word document. That’s only the beginning though. I intend going through all my (paper) files to compile mini biographies of the ancestors and at least dates for their siblings. These will include occupations, addresses and notes about any ephemera I’ve inherited. Doing that should get things organised in my head and reveal what’s missing.

I can’t even remember Monday. Boredom was setting in and I couldn’t remember where the list of things to do was. Typical. The day before when I’d looked at the laptop and was about to procrastinate I thought ‘it’s all very well having a list of stuff to do but you’ve got to be in the mood to do it’. There’s no hope for me, I tell you. I spent much of yesterday, therefore, playing computer games (Settlers of Catan, Freecell, Mahjong and Sims 2). They are extremely good procrastination tools. The trouble was I didn’t know what I was procrastinating about – thinking?

And so ended another three-day weekend with something achieved, but not a great deal. Didn’t get outside. I didn’t even bother trying to start the lawnmower again. I have to remember to take the bloody thing in to be fixed (Thursday, I think). Oh, I also got my hair cut – just a few inches chopped off to make it more manageable.

Next weekend will be the last one at home and then the following it’s off to Tauranga, and the Saturday after that flying to Brisbane. It’s all go!

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Finally, I have all travel arrangements sorted.  Booked the shuttle to the airport last week and today I’ve finally booked the bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur at 10 am.  Now I just need spending money and figuring out what to wear.  The temperatures there have been in the 30s lately and it’ll be freezing in Wellington at departure.  But, as a colleague said, at least I’ll have the warmer (than NZ) but cooler (than Singapore/KL) Brisbane to get acclimatised.

Older daughter is going up to Taupo this weekend and will drop off a spare key to her Wellington apartment on the way back, as now her boyfriend is joining her on the flight to Brisbane the day before my departure.  He’ll spend the weekend in Brisbane only.  I can only hope I’ll get some sleep in an early night in her apartment.  Usually excitement or awareness that I’ve got to get up early prevents me sleeping.

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Bras

I was reading a post over at Aww Diddums’ blog which included a link to this site.  I found this page interesting.  Bras, of course, don’t prevent sagging.  I knew that much.  But they might actually make the sagging worse, particularly with “well-fitting” bras.  Most of my bras are pretty hopeless and even then I tear them off at the first opportunity (at home!).  I can’t stand wearing them and go bra-free when at home in the weekends.  I particularly hate padded bras.  They are just so uncomfortable.  However, they do hide nipples which apparently, these days, no-one wants to see.  But why should we hide our nipples?  Up until a few years ago padded bras were only for pre-pubescent girls or those with small breasts, then somehow padded bras were suddenly just about all you could buy.  I reluctantly bought my first padded bra a few years ago and have hated wearing them, since they just don’t fit properly.

Actually looking at the pictures of normal breasts (and not the media image of what breasts “should” look like), I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this website before, but had just forgotten.  The website has some interesting points which I’d like to see some research on.  Unfortunately, society, as it stands, will never accept the natural saggy breast look.

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