Friday, August 31, 2007


Yesterday disappeared on me. It was one of those days that just didn't work. This morning, I woke up at 6am stressing because I'd realised I'd forgotten (keep up!) that our contents insurance expires next week and I'd need to sort it...and not keep feeling so happy about money (or rather fripperies...) and that our WOF (the NZ car fitness test thing) is due next week too. And it was all a bit wargh.
However, it did mean that by the time Husbink left for work at 7.30 I was more than ready to start the day. So I having bible studied and gotten dressed at a far earlier hour than I'd really intended for a Saturday, I went walking with the camera because it is a beautiful morning. Sadly I couldn't get close enough to the weirdy weirdy bird that Husbink and I saw a few weeks ago that seems to live round the corner from us. I don't think I can describe it either. Very odd bird!
Now I'm going to sort out the insurance thing and do other jobs.
And not let the day disappear. I've planned to go "fleh" at some point but I want to avoid accidentally doing it all day...

Socially Inept

I seem to have lost my social skills over the last few days. I can't quite put my finger on exactly what has gone wrong but every time I leave a social setting I just have the distinct feeling that I've been really weird.
Last night, we had people over, as we do every Thursday, for bible study. And at the end of the evening, I got the distinct impression they wanted to run away and hide! I'm not *just* being paranoid, I had been acting really quite oddly all evening.
And today I met a good friend for a cafe moment (not a McCafe moment) and was clearly being odd as she asked several times if all was well... I think I became more normal as time went on but really not great!
But at least I have an evening on my own...I can't scare anyone else...or perhaps I will just hone my weirdy weirdy skills so by the time I'm next in public I can really work the weirdness!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


A while back, as I think you know but I'm not going to do all that back reading to be sure, I was all set to tell the temping agency to take me off there books. I didn't need work financially and I wasn't going to keep doing dreadful jobs (like the day in the tobacco firm or the awful, awful call centre) just for the sake of it. Instead, I would fill my time with voluntary stuff and other such priorities.
Then the agency brought out the prison job. Which I loved, and which I told them I would happily do again (or other work in the prison or...). And then they come up with a job in a school - the work itself is probably going to be of the dishwater variety but I'm quite keen to go into a school and maybe if I make some friends there I could observe a class or two and decide whether or not Husbink is mad for suggesting I do a PGCE when we get home... (Admittedly the school I'm going into at this point is primary and I'd be wanting to do secondary if anything but at least it means the agency knows what interests me).
All these other things that I had decided were priorities are now having to jostle their way in. I'm still working very part time (I finished on Tuesday at lunchtime and I next work next Thursday) but I had successfully filled my time with other things. Some of which it is easy to squeeze out whether or not I want to.
I'm quite happy to be going with the flow, it is all part of this adventuring thing, and while good work is turning up, I can take it, as long as I remain happy to turn down the naff jobs. But I do feel a little like a reed blowing in the wind making my decisions this way. The only thing that is a set priority is that I don't work Sundays and I make sure that Husbink and I have at least one day fully off together a week. Should I be more decisive and set more priorities? More definites? More fixed points? Or is blowing in the wind a valid way to go, for now at least? I think as time goes on the priorities will become clearer, as I cease to have the time to do everything, it will be obvious what I need to be doing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Blogging in my head

Over the past week while I have been quiet on here, I have written heaps of blogs in my head. They were incredibly entertaining, showing masterful wit, inspiring, heart warming pieces. Of course, you'll have to take my word for it because I never got the chance to write them down and one by one they were driven from my mind...
Ah well. I've finished at the prison now. I've got a cold. (But not as badly as many people round here have had it.) Generally I feel a bit mushy.
And I'm looking through pictures on facebook of a friend's wedding. Well, I guess a friend of a friend. We were in the same "group" at school but were never quite friends in our own right. It is odd looking through the pics in that whole "here are people I was friends with now I'm not really and yet there they all are" way. Which is something that facebook does a lot. Shows me heaps of people that were at one point important in my life to varying degrees and yet now I have nothing to do with them except this little facebook string. Mostly this just produces an "oh right" kind of feeling in me. It is nice to see what people are up to, that they are doing well, whatever, but that is about as far as it goes. I'm not really saddened that we aren't friends any more and thus I'm not jubilant that we have this way of becoming friends again. But I'm not horrified either.
But there are one or two that this fake contact with really saddens me. The friends that I never understood why we lost touch anyway. Facebook doesn't seem to have provided the way back in those cases. Yes, we are "friends" according to facebook but there is no renewed communication or any other sign of actual friends. And it makes me feel really yucky though I'm not sure I can describe it any more eloquently than "yucky". Certainly a little sad and a little confused but also just a mush of undefined memories that come up with thinking about these people. And as they are mainly teenage memories there is a whole heap fo angsty yuck that I haven't really felt in years.
There is a plus side, there are a few people who I'd lost touch with through no good reason that facebook has made a difference too. A couple of friends who really are friends again now and that is great. And a couple of people that I hadn't lost touch with but we hadn't found the best way to communicate over all these thousands of kilometres and facebook seems to have provided that method.
In other news, we had a lunar eclipse last night. Except it was very cloudy. Hey ho.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Us!

As the more quick witted amongst you will recall, it isn't that long since we had a wedding anniversary so this is not a wedding related post.
Indeed, it is our New Zealand anniversary today. I feel this ought to be a time of remarkable insights, an illuminating post of all the things I've done or learnt or seen in the last year...
But my brain just isn't there. I had a reasonably quiet day at the prison today and quiet work days just make me so sleepy. I did however have a tour of the whole (well, sort of the whole) prison today. I've been in cells. And I've been shouted at and whistled at. There were points that were a little scary but on the whole once I got inside the prison it was much nicer than I expected - especially the youth unit.
So instead of writing you very deep and meaningful stories about the past year this evening, I'm watching The Rich List (an NZ quiz show) and faffing on Facebook (or whatever derrogatory term you'd like to use for that internet tool...) playing with a map and filling out all the cities I've been to. As yet, the one I live in has been impossible to add...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Not enough clothes

I'm surviving this whole work malarkey. Today was the first time I did a whole day of work in a long time...some time in June when I did the horrific call centre job...
The work is really interesting (for a temp job) and today I spent 4.5 hours in a meeting all about improvements in the prison service. It was very interesting to compare to other public sector organisations I've worked in.
But my big problem, as the title gives away, is that I simply don't have enough work clothes anymore. I have a couple of work skirts...but where tights fight on me I'm still a little sore from surgery (which is beginning to bother has been eight weeks or so now and surely I shouldn't hurt anymore...) so I'm a little limited in how I can wear the skirts (my one pair of hold ups are just going round and round the wash...but I've also become vaguely allergic to the holding up bit...). And then I have a pair of trousers that indicate that yes, I really was a lot thinner when we arrived in NZ than I am now! And another pair of trousers that I just close my eyes and pretend really hard that they are smart...
And all my "smart" tops are falling to pieces, cos we only meant to spend a year here... Actually, that is a point in general, everything we bought when we got here to last us how long we were meant to be here is beginning to fall to pieces...can it all last to February?!

Friday, August 17, 2007

A bit of a shock to us all

I've done some work! Some actual leaving the house, being given money for it work!
I was reaching the point of being all done with the agency and saying no thank you, no more work, there are other things I want to do with my time. But then they came along yesterday morning and said "could you work at the prison for a few days?" and I said "yes please" (admittedly with several provisos on the timing and so on...) So I've spent the last two afternoons and will spend a large chunk of next week working in an office "behind the wire" and above "the yard". I was super keen because I thought it might help with the volunteering that I will soon be starting in one of the prisons around here and because the work is more interesting than a lot of what the agency gets - and it (reasonably) fitted with Husbink's shifts.
So yesterday, I drove up and saw a real life prison for the first time in my life. So many TV programmes and films show prisons that I hadn't contemplated that I'd never actually seen one before. I was shocked. I can't really tell you what shocked me. I think I'd just been rather naive. It is ugly. It is tatty. It is scary. I have to go through heaps of security to get to my desk. It includes a point where I go into a "cage". On my first trip through this point I got (very briefly) stuck. Less than a minute between the guard closing the first gate and opening and second but it was scary. I didn't think I was stuck, I didn't think anything bad would happen but I did get just the most fleeting sense of what it must be like to be "inside".
Even though I'm working there extremely briefly and just doing admin, I am really excited about some of the things I've heard about happening in the prison service - the opportunities given to prisoners to give them real life skills to help them avoid reoffending, efforts to improve the systems and decrease chances for "custodial mishaps". Clearly, it isn't all happy happy fluffy fluffy. Clearly. But although still quite nervous about it, I'm pretty excited about the volunteering.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Sydney Post

It wasn't the kind of holiday to go into massive detail over so here are some pictures and the odd thought or too. It was a chilling, family time. Great to see my brother, his wife, her parents. Great to be in the sun and be warm.

Great to visit the Domain and the Botanical Gardens, to lie in the sun while Husbink photographed bats.
Great to see the crazy ibis, the multitude of cockatoos - even if Husbink got attacked!
Great to walk, see the sea, paddle in the sea (both with our feet and in kayaks).
Great to go to the new wildlife thing in Darling Harbour.
Great to walk through the butterfly enclosure and make friends with the inhabitants.
Great to spend a whole afternoon having lunch, drinking wine, getting sunburnt, being with my brother. Great to be very silly after too much wine.


As many of you will know, I like cake. If I want/need a treat, it will be cake. Cake is not for everyday but for special days - birthday cakes, Christmas cakes, feeling-bleugh-cakes, holiday cakes, going away cakes, it's Thursday cakes...ok, so it doesn't have to be much of a special day but, on the whole, cake isn't what I have in my house all the time for general munching. That is reserved for biscuits. :)
So, anyway, as you will probably be aware (I think I've gone on about it?!), I'm quite into baking at the moment. And Husbink has been missing a cake that his mum makes so he got the recipe and I made it yesterday. I've made it once before and while I was mixing it, it didn't seem right. Fundamentally, I was still making a fruit cake, but I remembered the cake that Husbink wanted being remarkably easy to make. This cake was not easy. But I persevered, assuming it was the lack of gym time over the last few months that was making it quite so physically draining! Into the oven it went...
Three hours later, it turned out that I'd made a full on Christmas cake (I didn't recognise it as such due to the lack of alcohol in the recipe...). Oops. Still, the weather is feeling right today! So today I have had my first attempt at marzipanning and proper icing a cake. I'm quite chuffed. (Clearly, I should have taken a photo to put here but perhaps I can be more chuffed if I leave it to your imaginations and you can imagine the most beautiful cake you've seen...) And then I made apple cookies. Just so there was more bad stuff in the house. Or should that be good stuff? On Thursday, I'm going to make chocolate caramel muffins...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Back home

We are returned from a 5 night jaunt in Sydney. Which was almost all very good (there were a couple of really low points - mainly the journey there...).
We did come home however to find that our phone and broadband no longer worked. This is the second time we've come home from a holiday with my brother to find something "wrong"...This time was far less upsetting than the last return when it was the gas that had been switched off due to a complete balls up by the power co. That involved lots of crying and being very cold! This more involved lots of confusion when trying to use the phone, I was quite tired and a little slow on the uptake and it just took a really long time to actually understand that the phone wasn't worked. Husbink was in the shower at the time and I just assumed when he came out it would magically start working...
All it did take in the end was a man to come round today and fix the cable that was broken "at the top". And now we have connection with the world again. Isn't that nice?
(More about Sydney, and lots of photos, soon)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Feeling: Time for a ramble

This week, as you know already, I have had a tendency to grumpiness. While I think my hormones have gone mental due to the other hormonal type symptoms such as really sore boobs, I don't think they can take the full rap for my mood swings of late.
(By the way, it's that sort of time in the evening when I should probably already be in bed or at least be making my way there. However, having spent the evening with 30-odd hyper teenagers, I thought I'd spend some time here instead. I also have beer. You have been warned.)
The last six weeks have been almost entirely "time out" for me. No work (except the few hours of tutoring). No responsibilities (except the few service leading occasions). No need to be task oriented (I couldn't even do the food shopping on my own as I couldn't push the trolley).
I've been free to read or watch telly or do anything really as long as it didn't involve too much energy. In some ways I've loved it. But... As previously mentioned, I don't do well at not "achieving" and always feel a need to justify myself. And at times I've felt a huge lack of self worth through my inability to do anything at all. Which then leads to grumpiness which leads to being nasty to Husbink, defeating, as I see it, one of my primary purposes in life of loving him and caring for him. Which leads to grumpiness...
Swinging away from the day to day for a moment...I have reached a point recently of being less bothered by the "big picture". I no longer feel a need to know what I'm going to do with the rest of my life. I'm sure I'll do something. It could be being a mother. It could be setting up my own business. It could be teaching. It could be any number of things. But I no longer feel like I have to know NOW. I'm happy taking the journey I'm on and seeing where God leads my steps. There are question marks over lots of areas but they don't concern me like they used to. And one of the big things is that I've accepted something that I always thought I believed and clearly didn't: the size of my salary has absolutely nothing to do with my worth.
However, accepting that does not mean that I have miraculously gained a wonderful sense of self worth and so on that has previously alluded me. And so we return to the original point: It is not entirely due to my hormones that I am grumpy. While I've settled myself about all these future questions, I still cannot entirely love myself right here, right now. Part of me is shrieking out "get busy! do more stuff! fill the time! that'll fix it!" While another part says "stay slow, keep giving yourself the time, answer the questions, don't hide them". Put like that, it makes the second voice sound the inifinitely wiser but I'm not 100% convinced that is the case. A mixture of the two perhaps, but achieving the balance?
I could carry on but I think it really is time to be sleeping now. And time to stop confusing you with my blathering.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Extreme Excitement

While hurriedly walking down the chocolate aisle to avoid temptation today I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks.
For there, on the shelf was a little display lacking in any pomp and circumstance but perhaps the most wonderful thing I've seen in the past wee while.
Our supermarket has started to stock Green & Blacks.
Despite the vow to not by any chocolate today, I had to buy some Maya Gold to be sure I wasn't hallucinating...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hormones. Grrr.

Or at least, that is what I like to blame my currently abysmal mood on. I imagine I should not be surprised after being chopped open and having had various of my more tender innards prodded and scraped and set free that my dear little chemicals have gone slightly doolally. But that doesn't make me any more pleased about it. Mostly, Husbink is catching the majority of the flack. However adverts are having a tough run of it too. This afternoon it was the radio advert that told me "more people use the yellow pages" - more than what?!!
This evening I have mostly just grumped in private as Husbink has been out carousing with work people. I suspect this is a good thing. I shall try to keep my thoughts to myself for the next few days...
(and then blogger had a hissy fit and crashed...that didn't help matters!)