Monthly Archives: April 2016

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I’m a big girl now

Pull-ups, wow!

Just me? There was an ad, back in the day. Catchy tune. I’m singing it in my head.

Fine, out loud.

Oh look, there it is:

so that’s a tangent for a start. Gosh.

What was I going to say?

Right – I had a birthday. I’m now THIRTY-ONE.

To my ears, thirty is such a nice round number and when kids ask my age (they do… regularly. High schoolers try to wheedle it out, doing the math… so I just tell them) I say thirty without hesitation. Thirty-one, though, sounds like too much information. An over-share. Like, seriously, I didn’t need your whole life story.

Just me?

Maybe I should title this post ‘Just me?’

So, I’m another year older. Blah blah. My birthday present was going to see Dawn French a month ago. She was brilliant (of course) but that meant not much $$ left for celebrating on my actual birthday.

Two days before my actual birthday, Luuk and I went to a thing put on by the theatre program at Hagley – where I take an evening class. The school of cuisine fed us four courses between scenes. It was a whole do, and great fun, but not strictly birthday fun.

Mum and Dad, the legends they are, were determined to have a meal on my actual birthday, so we had teppanyaki. Delicious and a dinner with a show too because FIRE! Veritable pyrotechnics.

And… exciting news! I got a video camera. So… vlogs coming your way soon. And movies. And we’ll see about that web series I’ve been writing.

Now that I’m THIRTY-ONE, I suppose I am a grown-up. I’m writing this in PJs, naturally. But something very grown-up happened a week ago: I was elected CHAIR of the Canterbury branch of The New Zealand Society of Authors.

I’m a chair.

chair

Yep. I came home and said to Luuk, “You’re married to a chair.”

Not very grown up, after all, perhaps.

In fact, so long as I use the words ‘grown up’, I’m giving myself away, aren’t I?

What does being CHAIR mean? Well, not just running the meetings but that is a big part of it, and I’ve no qualms about running a room, putting on my teacher voice so everything sits down and gets on with it. Back to the agenda folks. Lovely tangent but save it…

So I’m all set for that bit of it. I am aware I don’t know the ins-and-outs of NZ publishing and I don’t know all the names. But I have the gumption to ask. Cold call or cold email (more likely) the top dogs and queen writer-bees of this fine land, asking for favours, tips, tricks…

Unfortunately, I had to take the kids along to the first meeting I chaired; it being school hols. And my lovely Mum being sequestered to do actual paid work… so no sitter. But the kids were pretty good with their lunch boxes and colouring books.

And after the meeting,  we got to see Ray‘s Harley!

harley baby

The kids were so scared by the NOISE that they didn’t want to sit on the back for a photo. So I gave Louis the camera and he took this.

One day, I want an actual ride. This’d be some step up from the farm bikes I’ve been on in the past.

So, ’tis school holidays. Which means no breather for me. Not much writing. Low expectations of productivity. The bare minimum I need to do in the next ten days is…

  • three submissions – a short story competition, a poetry thing, and two flash fiction pieces…
  • write a poem a day because NaPoWriMo is on and so far I’ve managed, and it’s too late to give up now.

How??? In short: we are doing a kind of Playground Tour of Christchurch, basically.

margaret mahy playground

The Margaret Mahy one in the city is brilliant, of course, but ends in soaked kids (and one day I’ll learn to pack a change of clothes…).

playground writing

This one at West Spreydon School is freakin’ awesome. Enormous ropes and screeds of massive tyres, a proper wooden fort and lots of slides. The kids love it so we’ll go back there.

The Cashmere Playground is, as always, excellent. We go there regularly so it’s not so special-occasion-y but close. And close to a decent coffee shop.

Win and win.

While the weather is good, we’re good.

I don’t get much done, just a few poems, a few minutes of nothing but my own thoughts for company, and when I run out of words, I can read.

I’m trying to get on top of one cleaning/tidying job each day. We did the kids’ art one afternoon. Another, I traded out my (design flawed) bedside table for a small bookshelf and tidied my side of the bed. Another day we cleared the lounge and – wait for it – vacuumed! I know. Miracle. Call me Domestic Goddess and be done with it.

Elena is, this moment, drawing me with a crown on.

We are going to make a movie today, so they’re drawing up plans. Yay for happy, busy kids.

 


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This is how I roll (off my rocker)

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Category : Daily Life

on getting a wedgie straddling the fence between doing too much and missing out on cool stuff…

 

This week got a bit mad. The calendar assures me it is only Wednesday but I do not actually believe it.

Sunday afternoon, my lovely Mum and Dad offered to take the kids for a few hours and dropped them off around tea time, so Luuk cooked enough chips and sausages for everyone. While the kids were in the bath, we put our feet up in the lounge with a glass of port, and marveled at the madness that is American elections… and heard a dripping.

It wasn’t the kids.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t our flat at all.

Upstairs was leaking.

And it continued to leak until a locksmith let us in so we could turn off the tap and mop up the worst of the mess. Oy vey.

Downstairs at our place, the lights were flickering, so the electricity mains had to go off. The kids were asleep, totally unaware – and blissfully dry because the leak was all in the other end of the flat. Our room was also un-dripped-on. Whew. So we went to bed.

Monday began with the kids SUPER excited because OH MY GOSH THE LIGHTS DON’T WORK. Luuk worked from home for the day so he could be there for any visitors of the fix-the-wet-walls variety. I managed to get the NZSA newsletter drafted, checked, and sent off – small miracle. Mum came over with a maHOOSIVE load of laundry – washed and dried! – because the leak had gone through half the linen cupboard before we noticed…

I wrote a few poems – because it’s National Poetry Writing Month and a poem is a nice bite-sized piece of writing so I felt up-to-it.

poem

Monday night I had my theatre studies class – which is going so well. Love it. Came home so energised, I did a whole ER episode-worth of exercycling.

Tuesday, I had my usual write-in (all welcome, by the way) at the South Library, all morning. I FINISHED a rewrite but it’s had so many rewrites now, I find it hard to celebrate finishing one. I find it hard to believe it’ll be the last one.

I was relief teaching in the afternoon. Sports studies.

Oy, quiet in the cheep seats. I was excellent.

Mum picked up the kids and hung out all afternoon – and all evening because I wanted to go to a poetry open mic and Luuk had a meeting. Bit hectic… well, yeah, but totally worth it. Somehow, I’ve been back in Christchurch for a year, poking my antennae every which way, looking for writing communities, and I missed Catalyst. They meet once a month at The Twisted Hop and remind me so much of the crazy crowd at Spoken Word Paris. I loved it. I read two poems. They sang to me! They sing to all the first-timers. There was also a sing-along of David Bowie songs to kick things off… because why not? All in all, a great evening.

Again, I came home, pumped and ready to cycle my way through a thrilling 40 minutes of ER, but I flaked out half way through. Had a second helping of dinner, and wine.

Today was the real clincher: I hiked down the hill to a doctors appointment, then hiked on from there and met a friend to go op-shopping. MaHOOSIVE haul of gorgeous goodies… and then quick! Off to lunch-meeting with a couple of NZSA folk, and then quick! Off home to pack a picnic afternoon tea, and collect the kids and race off to a catch-up with an old friend.

Damn! Forgot my phone. Quick! Dash home, up the stairs, find the phone, and the rest of afternoon tea, and lock the wide-open balcony door (oops), and trot back down to the car carrying too many things…

Now, you have to understand, our driveway is particularly steep. I mean, check-out-my-thighs steep. So I’m getting in the driver’s side door, trying to keep from smashing the bananas in my left hand or the phone in my right… and the door falls shut ON MY HEAD.

I was SO close to tears. Damn, it hurt. Caught the top of my ear. This is how those cauliflower ears the rugby players have begin. One good smack… and no ice.

While I’m breathing deep and ignoring the kids’ “Mummy, why aren’t we driving?”, my phone buzzes. So I check in with the friend I’m meeting, just to make sure she got my last message about when/where… and she’s sick. She can’t make it.

Afternoon tea is already packed. Coffee in a flask and everything. I’ve told the kids we’re going to a playground.

So we go anyway. To a closer playground.

They play, eat, play, hide (and freak me out because it’s every parent’s nightmare, losing a kid…) basically it’s a lovely afternoon. I realise I’ve double-booked myself for tomorrow, so I make a call and fix that. I realise I missed an important phone call earlier, and send a few texts, make a time, get it sorted…

I drink all the coffee even though I brought enough for two.

And then we go home.

Tomorrow, I’m relieving half a day, I have a meeting after that, then a gap before picking up the kids, then in the evening I’m going to the dress rehearsal for ‘Matthew, Mark, Luke and Joanne’ at The Court Theatre.

Friday, a flu jab and a play date.

Saturday a poetry writing class and in the evening a dinner-and-show thing the Hagley Theatre Company and Cuisine School are putting on.

It’s a rip-roaring week full of mostly good things (flu jabs and bruised cartilage aside)… but it might be too much.

I sat out on the balcony this evening, after I’d served up the kids’ dinner but before I was ready to eat, before Luuk had left work… I took my glass of wine out into the dusk, pulled up my socks against the cold, and watched the sky all pinky over the mountains. It wasn’t  silent: the wind and the trees, cars, neighbours, distant horns and sirens… but it was so peaceful.

stillness

I guess, those are the moments that make the madness manageable.

The occasional early night might help too.

Thing is… what I really want to do right now is pop in an episode of ER and sort out my wardrobe.

where would Corday go?