Friday, October 26, 2007

I hab a cobe

And it isn't very fun. Not at all. Especially as I was actually really enjoying the place I was working this week and was miffed at having to come home sick today.
Tis the worst cold I've had in a long time with associated wooziness, achiness and nausea (from too much snot. sorry.) The point at which I really knew I was sick today was when, channelling hopping, I came across Emmerdale. And didn't flick away from it.
Day time TV here isn't so good as in the UK. And yes, you might question how I'm using the word "good" there. But in the UK there would always be something that I could at least gormlessly watch for a while. Frasier. Tricia. Diagnosis Murder. Neighbours. Quincy. And so on... Today I really struggled. I watched Ellen. Which was alarming and less entertaining than often (there was a Steve Iwin-esque (well maybe Steve Irwin crossed with David Attenborough and meeting at an alarming point in the middle)American man with a bear, a lion cub, a vulture and a boar... The lion cub tried to bite Ellen, the whole audience including the man were terrifed of the vulture.
Fortunately, Mad Medea had sent me a DVD of Northern Exposure some time ago and for whatever reason I'd not watched it until today. I'm really glad I hadn't as it was sooooo much what I needed. Thank you MM! Though it has made me want to watch Men in Trees again...
Hey ho, only 45 minutes to America's Next Top Model. (Husbink has been out all day and is and youth group tonight. Ho hum...)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


At the moment, that is what I am. With work, church, life...
Last night I slept for 8 hours solid. For me, this is a minor miracle. What made it even more miraculous was that I then turned over and went back to sleep for another three hours. Fortunately, today was a day off for me and only a half day for Husbink. I was very confused when I woke up. Where had the day gone?
I am now getting an icky sore throat so I'm wondering if it was less of a miracle and more of a lurgy. And I'm hoping it won't stop me from going to my friend's gig tonight. Or going to work tomorrow (I'm working at a vehicle auctioneer this week which is actually much, much fun. Mostly because the people are lovely but the work is ok too.)
I'm sure there was something I wanted to write about but it seems my brain has given up for the afternoon. Which is unfortunate when my tutee is going to arrive in half an hour or so and expect me to teach her something clever and mathsy. Hey ho.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


To tie memories together, there is nothing stronger for me than music.
There are a few smells that bring up powerful associations (there is a smell in my grandparents house, I don't know what it is, must be the soap they use or the washing powder or something but their house always smells of it and very few other places do) but nothing comes close to music for the strength of association.

I cannot watch 20th Century Fox films from the beginning unless I want to spend the whole film wishing I was watching Star Wars instead. Not that I don't enjoy other 20th Century Fox films, not that Star Wars is my favourite film (but must be in the top ten - possibly even 3 out of 6 would be in the top ten, anyway, I digress), but the link from the Fox music to the Star Wars theme is so strong that I cannot stop myself singing the Star Wars theme at the end of the Fox music. It was a very clever piece of marketing/music making/whatever you'd like to call it that put the initial blast of the theme music so close to the end of the Fox theme and, in some respects, so similar in style - both their own kind of pomp and circumstance. Husbink certainly has the same experience (and had it independent of me); I wonder how many Star Wars fans are inflicted with this problem?

There is a tape that my brother gave me for my 15th or 16th birthday. It is an EP and only has 5-6 songs on it. I listened to that tape over and over and over again (in the way that only a 15/16 year old can) - while reading Lord of the Rings for about the 4th time. I can neither read Lord of the Rings without thinking of that music nor listen to that music without thinking of Lord of the Rings. Sadly it conjures some of the darker parts of Lord of the Rings and leaves me feeling a little floobly. I just tracked down one of the songs on YouTube to see if it still had the same effect, to be sure I wasn't lying to you. It does, I wasn't, I feel floobly. (Oh, goodness me, by tracking that song down on YouTube, I've also seen this song, my bro listened to this NON STOP when I was about 14. His bedroom was above the kitchen so we all listened to it non stop as it reverberated through the ceiling. My mum made up her own random words for the song because she couldn't make out any of the real ones. Now I'm sitting at the computer, headbanging.)

This morning I cycled to church at about 7.10am (as the sun was breaking over the hills, it was beautiful) to watch the rugby world cup final (once and for all, yes, I'd have liked England to win but I'm not gutted - i think it far better for the sport for a different team to win each year). Cycling along, singing to myself, the song that came to mind was Vindaloo. Because there was a world cup (admittedly the wrong sport) in France. And what can you sing at such a time but Vindaloo? (Perhaps cycling down a quiet street in a nation fundamentally supporting the opposition singing "we're Eng-a-land! We're gonna score one more than you! England!" wasn't the best thing to do...) And of course, singing Vindaloo sends me back to 1998, to that world cup but more to the point, to the end of A levels, the end of my school career, my leavers ball when there was an England game...and we won...and the rest of the evening all the DJ played was Vindaloo and this (not as good as the original, though to be fair you might be pushed to notice the difference). And that was fine with all of us. We had set moves by the end of the night. Teachers included.

I could carry on and on, song after song, as each one takes me to a different memory. But I'll finish with just one last one. One that actually set me off thinking about this.

On Friday nights, I used to go to drama group at church (hello ruth) and, as often as not, my Dad would pick me up afterwards. And we would listen to songs that we liked too loud, singing along and being silly. One such song was this. I think it was this song that led to me sticking my feet out of the sun roof (to see if I could, and then because I could) on more than one occasion. However, the song I was thinking of was this one. I still love this song, now for so many reasons (Terry Wogan singing along being one of them). But what I remember most and is still the thing that makes me happiest when I hear this song; trying to come back in at the right time after the second break. There are two breaks in this song, one near the beginning which is an easy count and you can all come back in right on time but the second break is random, you can't count it, you just have to know. And we would sing this song over and over, me and my dad, trying to get the break right and collapsing in giggles when we didn't. Yesterday, driving to the fruit market, I got it right. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Never, ever, ever again

Spin classes. Who came up with that bright idea for torture?!
I thought I was going to die after about five minutes. It took me most of the rest of the day (the class finished at 10am) to be able to breathe deeply again without wheezing and coughing.
I'm not even sure I got much benefit from the class as most of it was damage control: how am I going to get out of here without puking my guts up or dying? Eventually, my knee started to hurt, what a blessed relief! I could rub my knee and pretend that was why I was so awful at the class.
Husbink went to. He has almost persuaded me that it was really good for me and that I should go again. But I think that *almost* will stay an *almost* forever...

In other news...I scare people. I was aware of this when I was a teenager, but I'd forgotten. Hey ho.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Action stations

I love knitting. So therapeutic and yet still "achieving"!
The other day, Husbink was tidying the kitchen and I wanted to keep chatting to him but couldn't really help (due to the shape of our kitchen) so figured I might as well get a bit of knitting done while chatting. So I tucked the ball of wool into my pocket and stood in the kitchen, knitting and chatting. Husbink laughed at me. Which I expected and probably deserved.
A little while later, I did need to do something but didn't want to put my knitting down so tucked the needles into my other pocket, wool stretched across my front. I was wearing cargo(ish) trousers...and Husbink dubbed me All Action Knitting Barbie.
He's called me many things over the last few years but that one is pretty special...

Frightening Times

The other week I went to the supermarket, as I do most weeks.

On my shopping list was loo roll. I wasn't feeling desperately well and so was trying to get the shopping done as quickly as possible, thus grabbing and running as quickly as I could. When I got to the loo roll aisle, I saw that a brand we sometimes use had a 3 4-packs for $5 deal so hurredly grabbed the three packs and left. The only factor taken into consideration was whether they were scented - and to ensure that I picked the unscented variety (really, what purpose does scented loo roll serve in the world? other than to make me feel slightly nauseated when I catch a wiff of it?). So my three unscented four packs went into the trolley and off I went. No problem. Until I opened one of the packets this week and found that the loo roll was decorated.

Like this:

They are possibly the freakiest sheep I've ever seen. And the cows aren't great either. I had to assure Husbink that I did not intentionally choose this loo roll in case he thought less of me because of it.

Really, there are enough alarming, scary, upsetting things in the world without being faced with these guys every time I go to the toilet. Only three more rolls to go... I haven't dared check what the other packs contain!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is it me?

For the last week or so I've been amazed and vaguely horrified by the news coverage of the Diana/Dodi inquest.
Is it normal for jurors to be taken to the scene of a crash? To be shown the route taken? To be shown marks on a pillar? To be shown round a hotel? I accept this is not a normal case but equally it is not the first time this case has been delved into.
Is it really front page news compared to other stories that could be there? Is it really something that needs to make the headlines half way round the world? I guess if there were some really monumental findings from all this, they could be of significance... What irritates me the most is the longer it goes on, the more I see links to pages about it or hear the headlines on the news about it, the more I find myself thinking that I want to know what they have to say.
Also on the front page of the BBC website today is this article about the UN and Burma that has some really hopeful bits in it. The fact that China have turned around and stopped objecting to a statement by the UN Security Council "deploring Burma's military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters" is, I hope very, very much, a sign of a turn in the tide. The article is not all good news but a start is a start.

Good things about wet days

I love it when the clouds come down low, so low that they seem to be where they should not be. So low that they hug the hills, hiding parts of them. So low that it feels like I could run up into the hills and be in the clouds. Cuddled up in a great big ball of cotton wool, hiding and hidden. I know if I did run into the hills, I wouldn't be able to tell when I reached the middle of the clouds, that it would be cotton woolly, just as I know that if I jumped out of a 747 at altitude, the clouds that look so wonderful, as if they would be the perfect ski fields, the perfect place to play and rest, would not be. This knowledge stops me doing these things but doesn't stop me looking and imagining.

I love that all this rain makes it so easy for mummy and daddy blackbird to bring food to their new chicks. I love that I could look out of the window at almost any point yesterday and see one of them flying into or out of our hedge bringing food or going to collect more. I love that when there was no sign of the blackbirds I could instead watch the thrush (also building a nest in our hedge) hopping over the water logged lawn, tipping his head to listen for the insects.

I love the wonderfulness of coming inside again. Of finding that it is warm and is dry. Knowing that I can stay warm and dry as long as I like. I like the excuse wet days give for cups of tea and bisuits. I love being inside watching outside.

I love the sound of the rain. Sometimes, it is so loud that it wakes me in the night but lying there listening to it is wonderful.

I love that even the smallest excursion into the outdoors feels like a wonderful and noble thing, something to be rewarded for.

I love what it means, that I know it will stop and when it does, the ground will be refreshed, the grass a little longer, the flowers a little more fed.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Where next?

In the past few weeks, through one thing and another - and about one thing and another, not just Burma - I've realised that something that I thought had died in me is still there and struggling to get out - my passion.

When I was younger I was always deeply passionate about something (though that thing changed with alarming regularity) but over the past few years (maybe as many as seven), I've struggled to raise my passion's weary head and get caught up in a moment, a cause, a plan. I've exerted more energy on worrying than on caring, more on anxiety than on action.

But now that seems to be starting to turn around. It perhaps started with some rather insignificant, silly things, that got me excited again. Now those silly little passions seem to be building towards something bigger, a more useful outlet for all that enthusiasm and excitement. So the problem that now arises is how to channel it, how to not be like my teenage self, so enthusiastic but for so many things that I failed to achieve much at all. Right now, I want to do everything, save the world, in one giant leap. I know I'm not a very practical person, much more of an ideas person. (I used to think that because I'm quite organised, I'm quite practical but I've realised that just isn't the case.) So how do I choose something, get off my backside and actually start acting?!

(In other news, I did turn down the job with the changed description, and feel a whole heap better for it!)

Monday, October 08, 2007


On Saturday we did go and participate in the International Day of Action for Burma.
The Wellington Burmese community had played a large part in the organisation of the event and as a newbee to such things, I was impressed.
I wanted to go for the sake of going but it was a bonus to have about six speakers talking from a range of angles (NZ MPs, Amnesty, Trade Unions, local Burmese...) giving me heaps more information (much of which I fear went in one ear and out the other). I think their turnout was about double what they were expecting. I'm dreadful at estimating sizes of places, numbers of people etc etc, but I think there were about 200 there.

I'm still undecided on the whole sanctions issue (though I suppose it isn't really a thing for me to decide - though I would need to decide before writing letters requesting it I suppose). Today my brain is not really with me (having service led and preached at last night's service - plus all the crazy getting up in the middle of the night over the weekend to watch rugby) so I can't quite be applying my mind to such things right now. (Even thinking about thinking is giving me a headache!)


I have heaps of half-blogs floating round my head but I'm currently being distracted by silly fretting so I thought if I got this out of my head then I might manage more coherent thoughts...

A little while back I temped in a school for a few days. I really liked it and said I'd be happy to work there again. They then asked for me to be there officer manager type for 4-6 weeks while they found a replacement. Although I tend not to go for full time work, it fitted quite nicely so I thought I'd take it.

Today, having agreed and got it all sorted I got a revised job description... No longer is it office manager but reception/admin assistant... The wage remains the same, the hours remain the same (which are not the hours of the receptionist) but I am concerned that I'm going to get there and discover that really all I'm going to be doing for 4-6 weeks is reception work.

I've not done a vast amount of reception work but it's been enough to know that it really isn't my cup of tea. I can tolerate it for a few days...but 4-6 weeks? When I thought I was going to be doing an interesting job? I don't know...

Friday, October 05, 2007

More on Burma

I have had various people point me towards various sources of information in the last few days and have continued to read the BBC website and any other info I can on Burma. I still feel deeply uninformed and helpless but...
I'm hoping to go to a protest tomorrow in the centre of Wellington. If you haven't seen anywhere else, Saturday, October 6th is a day of international action for Burma. The link in the previous post (also here), tells you about protests all over the world.
This blog that I have just come across thanks to Rosanna, has lots of information on it, heaps and heaps of links. (Oh, and there is heaps on Facebook too.)
The question I feel unable to resolve myself with all that I've read so far is whether or not sanctions and boycotts are a good thing. It is a question that I often ponder whether they are good things or bad things (e.g. in the case of slave labour for clothes, the principal is not to stop buying the products as then you take away the only wage they have - instead you should shop noisily). The only boycott I have ever stuck to is that of Nestle (on the whole baby milk front, not as a globalisation issue) - it had just become habit until recently when Husbink did some research and I think he is probably more actively pro the boycott than I am. I have generally thought of boycotts as something that protects my own sense of morality rather than impacting the big multinational company (for example, when I heard of a particular designers racial "issues", I decided I would never buy anything of their's again not because it would impact them but because I would not need to worry about where my money was going - seeing as I'm not particularly into labels, this wasn't really a hardship for me!).
Does anyone have any thoughts on sanctions and boycotts?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Feeling Helpless

Yesterday, I received an email with this link to sign a petition regarding the horrific events of the past few days and weeks in Burma as the ruling military junta have attacked, killed or imprisoned many, many peaceful monks and protesters. The aim of the petition is really focussed on China, as a major force in Burma and one that perhaps does not want things to change there. (I don't claim to know very much at all, please look at the link and other sources rather than taking what I say as fact.)
Burma has been a "situation" that has blipped on and off my radar a number of times over the past 5-10 years. I think I first became aware of the situation through a talk at some women's event or other about the example set by Aung San Suu Kyi and every once in a while, something comes up that reminds me of the situation and that, for them nothing has changed.
After signing the petition yesterday, I sat here feeling useless. What on earth can I do for these people other than sign some petition that yes, is going to be delivered to some UN bod, and yes, has now almost 480,000 signatures (that is around 150000 signatures since I signed sometime less than 24 hours ago). I can join marches, I can protest (I have not protested for anything before but I have found that there is a local protest on Saturday), I can pray, but can I really do anything?
In the case of natural disasters and the like, although I mostly don't do anything, I always feel I can, or rather could. I could send money, food, clothes, whatever the need feels like something can be done. Against something like this, it just feels such a world away in terms of knowledge, experience, abilities...
I went onto the BBC website this morning to read more, see if there was anymore news, see if I could understand anymore. There was nothing on the front page. I did track down heaps on information eventually (after a couple of wrong guesses at where Burma would be bracketed in the BBC's global chunks - falling on the border between their South Asia pages and their Asia-Pacific pages (the second one having the more information)).
When it comes down to it, petitions (there is lots more information out there about other petitions, ways of making your voice heard etc etc), rallies and prayers are probably all I can offer in this instance so I shall have to do my best with all of them.

Spring is Sprung

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz
Look at where the birdies is
The birdies on the wing.
On the wing? But that's absurd!
The wing is on the bird.
(Having hunted for this poem that my dad used to say when I was little, it seems there is a wide range of versions and almost as wide a range of possible authors, so no credits here!)
Spring have sprung means the winds, the winds have returned! Today is the worst day yet this spring and, having not spent spring in this house before, it is kinda scary. Everything is rattling, the chimney is howling, as Husbink put it, we don't have a draft in the bathroom, we have a breeze!
Very, very glad Husbink took the car to work this morning instead of cycling...