Monday 31 December 2012

2012 Report Card

So 2102 happened. I'm unsure as to where the last 12 months have gone but it's once again time to smile at the good and prod the bruises of the bad. And to shake my head at the collection of WTF moments strung together like Christmas lights. Dear 2013, please be better than 2012. That is all... 

Walked a red carpet, learnt Spanish, had a breast ultrasound, did a Le Cordon Bleu course and ate Xialongbao in Shanghai.

The US and China.

A national writing prize, travel adventures, a Kitchen Aid, a new car and lots of interesting things to write the shit out of.

A tardis to drop in on mates around the world - and be back in time for work on Monday. Fewer tiresome folk to deal with.

The aforementioned tardis: seriously science-type blokes, get a move on already. A day job that challenges and interests me. For fuckwits to go annoy someone else.

The day Molly died. Winning a national writing competition. Spending the Animator's milestone birthday in Shanghai.

Compromising my values and beliefs never ends happily. Learning Spanish is hard. I need to get better about walking away from people and situations that don't suit me.

On a practical note, that tradesmen are universally unreliable. And that I would sooner give up my left kidney than red wine.

Seeing Molls for the last time in May/June. Escaping twice from NZ, finishing the house renovations and winning a national writing competition. And the parcels of goodness from Anita, my sartorial guardian angel.

A contract that stretched my sanity and my will to live.

Yoga and running; spending time with people I love and respect and not wasting time on those who don't merit it; writing my own stuff and reading.

Wasting time, energy and emotion on undeserving folk; certain work contracts.

Touching every piece of wood I can find, but thankfully no. It was a close run thing with the breast issue but thank god that worked itself out.

Finishing the renovation; plane tickets to exotic places; the Kitchen Aid, new vehicle and parcels of goodness.

Sorry to be so predictable, but the list is pretty much a repeat of the last two years: breeders with screamy, uncontrollable brats; bastards who do unthinkable things to animals; the rubbish economy. Certain colleagues also deserved a bluddy good slap upside their heads.

Hugo, The Help, One Day,War Horse and, of course, the delightful Aardman epic, The Pirates (esp my husband's contribution). Again, because of the husband connection, I'm morally obliged to add The Hobbit to this list (even though I haven't seen it and have no desire to).

Breaking Bad, Homeland, Downton Abbey, Californication, Modern Family and Glee.

See question 13

Yes, I was after more certainty in my life in terms of where and how I was going to live and we achieved that, so well done us. I also made a feeble attempt to master another language and organised a kick arse trip for the Animator's milestone birthday.

Twenty thirteen is all about more media trips, doing more of my own writing and buying another rental property which will bring me one step closer to loosening the shackles of PR contacting.

Bring it on, I say....
(Pic credit: Google Images)

Sunday 30 December 2012

House stuff

The second to last day of twenty twelve was all about buildings.

The morning started with an interview for Your Home & Garden Magazine (yes, freelancers do work the holiday season) with the delightful owners of this lovely beach-front house.

Later, I was roped in to help sort out the shed in our back garden (note the Animator's furry apprentice builder).

(Pic credit: Paul McCredie)

Saturday 29 December 2012

Women stepping outside their comfort zones

The December issue of NEXT Magazine features my story on three pretty amazing women who stepped out of their comfort zones (link to story here).

A philosophy to live by, perhaps...

Friday 28 December 2012

One of the best things about 2012 was

Discovering, and watching, all five twisted, outrageous and ridiculously compelling series of one the best tv shows ever, Breaking Bad.

My televisual life is now bereft. Hurry up 2013 and get over here so that we can discover the fate of Jesse, Mr White and give-this-man-an-Emmy-immediately, Saul the dodgy lawyer.

If you make one resolution for 2013, let it be to watch Breaking Bad. I promise you, you will not regret it.

The song below featured in one of the last eps and is now on high-rotation in my cranium. I have asked it to leave but it is refusing to do so until the final series of BB starts...

Thursday 27 December 2012

Spot the difference

There were 784 words of a freelance piece, the browsing and buying of withdrawn books from the Welly Library book sale and the eating of leftover panettone. Later, we will go to the movies to see this.

So no time for the blog; instead you shall have these photos snapped by Sheryl, our visitor from the Bay area, on a walk around the waterfront a few weeks back. Bristol, I recall, was in awe of Bernie, the giant dog who's lent his name to a cafe on Ori Parade; Bernie, sadly, was less taken with Mr B.


Wednesday 26 December 2012

Scenes from a scorchio Christmas

A couple of years back, I worked with a lunatic woman in Bristol who declared that having Christmas in summer was "all kinds of wrong". At one stage yesterday, the temperature gauge in our kitchen read 28 degrees. I know which kind of Christmas I'd rather have.

The Hound has somewhat of a complicated relationship with the heat, but the two-legged inhabitants were blissing out. Xmas Day should always be this sunny...

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Happy Holidays

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you get to spend today exactly as your heart desires, without stress and its pesky cousins, frustration and exhaustion, nipping at your heels.

And that you laugh loudly and often, as I did when I came across this:

(Pic credit: Tumblr) 

Monday 24 December 2012

Santa baby....

This morning, as I walked to work (yeah, I know) I was musing on what I'd like in my stocking this year (if I wasn't, of course, wholly opposed to the carnival of insincerity and overspend that is Christmas).

Last year, my wish list was simple and to the point (here). This year I managed to blag two items on that list  (yay me!) so big fat ticks. Here's what the 2012 update looks like:

1) Yes it's scorchio outside and I'm waiting until it cools down to take the Hound on his afternoon constitutional, but I'm still lusting after these gorgy wintery clothes from Zara.

2) Cookbooks from the divine Nigel Slater and the I'd-marry-him-if-I-wasn't-already, Yotam Ottolenghi.

3) A holiday home in the Caribbean (the sun is now making me delirious)

and 4) A tardis to get myself and my friends from around the world there. And back.

Is anyone listening?

(Pic credit: Google Images and Zara)

Sunday 23 December 2012

I would like to...

start a petition that demands once a week, we all get to spend the day as delightfully as I have today.

There was a lovely golden thing in the sky, pancakes, dog walks and, later, the Animator's colleagues who came to eat my riff on Red Velvet Cake, drink cold white wine and spin tales about their home countries (Singapore and Canada), of our shared love of roaming the globe and dreams of living lives dictated not by bosses or contracts or deadlines, but by our own desires.

The Animator and I have been doing the sums and estimate that in two years' time, we can do just that. The count-down has begun...


Saturday 22 December 2012

Catching up - and doggy love

Somewhat of a cop-out post today: too busy to chuck the appropriate nouns and adjectives together, so instead you shall have photos.

Here's a couple from the past few weeks, of Sheryl, our visitor from San Francisco, who the universe sent right about the time we were losing Molly. Sheryl, a neighbour of Molly's American parents Doug and Suzi, was just the tonic our poor bashed hearts needed: she was fun and funny and helped stem the tears. Sheryl texted today to say she had completed her diving certificate in the far north and, after a month away, is getting ready to fly home on Christmas Day. Travel safe, our lovely friend, and thank you for being in the right place at the right time.


Have to also give a shout out to the ever wonderful folk at the Wellington SPCA. Today, as is our wont at this time of the year, we loaded up the car with dog food and old newspapers (which they shred for the puppies cages) and dropped in to see the needy woofers. Thankfully, they only have nine puppies at the moment, and an almost equal number of adult dogs, but as we took a minute to fawn over the puppies, there was one ADORABLE black Lab cross who lay there looking up at us with the saddest chocolate brown eyes on the planet. It damn near bloke my heart all over again; I was very, very tempted to shove him in my handbag and leg it. If you live in Welly and want to go to heaven, then get yo sweet ass down to the SPCA and take this dog home. He, and I, will love you forever....

(Pic credit: Wellington SPCA) 

Friday 21 December 2012

Today in brief

Because I am busy and y'all have money to spend, presents to wrap and unnecessary calories to consume, I shall keep this brief.

Today started with 300 words of freelance work, some pleading with an airline for a media trip to an exotic locale and pots of green tea with my lovely friend Donna who I've hardly seen all year. We chatted, laughed, moaned and hoped for a better 2013. And, bizarrely, watched two well-dressed young girls at the end of our table obsessively worry away at scratch cards. I suspect they may have been suffering from some form of  chemical assistance.    

This afternoon there was an interview for North & South Magazine with the founder of Kaibosh Food Rescue, an amazing charity that aims to provide a bridge between surplus food and those who are going hungry. Regular readers will know that my interest, and spare cash, goes towards animal charities but passion is passion is passion and, as hokey as it sounds, this amazing woman made me want to be a better person.

Later, there was a dog walk with another of the Mt Vic Walking crew, her rescue woofer Dobbie and one of her dance students. Which was fun until the heavens opened and emptied a bucket upon us. Despite the rain, it is still uncomfortably muggy. We joked it was the perfect End of the World weather.

(Pic credit: Google Images) 

Thursday 20 December 2012

Xmas lunch

There was good food, beverages and an outdoor table. And more sunshine than we knew what to do with.

A perfect day and a lovely long lunch with the folk I spend three days a week PRing for. Later a colleague popped over and we sat drinking tea and chatting. Then there was a dog walk in the almost-too hot sun with one of the Mt Vic dog walking crew and her delightful canine, who she rescued from a Greek shelter and flew all the way back to New Zealand.

Sometimes, just sometimes, life turns out the way you want it to...


Wednesday 19 December 2012

The one in which I locate my shopping gene

The year is coming to an end. December arrived before I was ready and will leave too quickly.

The ferris wheel is spinning faster than I'd like and although I want to climb off, there is too much to be done. I haven't sent any Christmas cards, or bought any food or even figured out what we're doing for the holidays. And still the relentless parade of freelance deadlines passes in front of me, trailing frustration and a whiff of resentment in its wake. What I need is a bloody great stick to poke in the spokes of routine.

And so the universe delivered. Yesterday a colleague emailed to ask if I'd like to go with at lunchtime to check out a massive cosmetics/fragrance sale that was being held in a giant warehouse on the waterfront. I wasn't holding out much hope and agreed more as a favour to her. But it was fun, and loud and busy and I rediscovered how much I love me a bargain. And trying on 18 different perfumes, and buying none. And cajoling a fellow shopper into forfeiting the last Berry Sorbet lipstick. And forgetting about life for a while.

Anita, you would have been proud...

Monday 17 December 2012


Phone off - tick.

Good jammies ironed - tick.

Excitement meter cranked up - big fat tick.

Tonight is the season finale of Homeland and if you call, text or email during the next 90 minutes, please do not expect a response.

Yes, the second season has detoured a little up the WTF path. And as a colleague said today, if we had fashioned a drinking game for Carrie's hysterics or Dana's eye-rolls, we would be well trashed by now. But Breaking Bad aside, it's the best thing since the invention of the cathode ray.

And Brody might just be the hottest ginga to ever walk the planet...

(Photo credit: Google Images)

Sunday 16 December 2012


Woken not by terrible news but by the Hound, who confused the fingers of light reaching through the curtains with walkies time. Couldn't get back to sleep so took him for a run around the waterfront.

Six am on a Sunday isn't a time I'm overly familiar with but it was glorious; the only other lunatics saluting the sun at that hour were a few other joggers and dog walkers so we pretty much had the route to ourselves. And it energised me to finish the UK dance feature on last night's Genee finals that's going to print this week. Deadline, met.

Last night, in case you were wondering, was lovely: even the Animator, who is to dance what Joan Rivers is to natural beauty, enjoyed the spectacle. He had to rush back to work before the end, while I spent a pleasant hour chasing the winners and judges for a few quotes at the cocktail function.  

But the late night and early start is taking its toll; the rest of the day will be filled in with domestic drudgery, seafood curry, a glass of red and this DVD which the Sunday Star Times film reviewer today named as one of her movies of 2012. We shall see...

Today's pic is of the Genee semi-final. Who'd have thought that impossibly tall and skinny teenagers could prove so entertaining?


Saturday 15 December 2012

So NOT the happiest time of the year

I awake to the news of the mass shooting in the US; for the so-called 'happiest time of the year' there seems to be a shit load of depressed folk around.

Yesterday I went to see my lovely clothes woman who sells items for me that no longer fit or please. We had a little cry together - me about Molly, she about friends and pets she's lost this year. She told me she's taken to bawling on the drive into work each morning; it hasn't been a good year for so many, many people and she, like me, isn't sad that its rump is in sight.

But the show, as they say, must go on. The Animator is (again) missing the beautiful sunny day, locked up in his work gulag, tussling with a ghastly deadline. I, too, am chained to the laptop, trying to coax the words for an article that must be filed this week. Speaking of which, I realised I hadn't shared an article from last week's Sunday Magazine - about my pitiful efforts to join a roller derby team (link here). There has been more bad news on that front: increasingly squeezed budgets means that particular publication, a favourite of mine, can no longer support freelancers (insert tantrum). You know those days when it feels as though you've fallen down a rabbit hole, and you wonder what you did to warrant that tumble, and how the hell it's all going to turn out? I seem to be currently suspended in that space.

Apologies for being so goddam depressing. I shall crack on with my work, take the Hound for a run and enjoy this glorious sunshine. Tonight there is the final of the Genee dance competition and the after-match function where, amid the tiaras and tears (the dancers, not mine; although given this week's events, it doesn't take much to set me off at the moment) I will attempt to wrangle a few quotes from the winners and judges.

Thank god for this little chap who never fails to make me smile...


Friday 14 December 2012


It's the end of a long week, a week in which sadness has worn a calloused groove into my heart.

The support of friends and strangers has been overwhelming: so many of you commented here or emailed with kind words. Others offered cupcakes and yellow roses. Last night the Mt Vic Vixens convened in my garden to drink Pimms and eat an array of fattening snacks; I laughed and cried and realised that the pain will come in waves, that I can go hours without thinking of Molly and then memories of her sweet face will tug at my consciousness and tears will spring forth. But as wise friends have said, there's nothing to do but wait it out, to sit with the discomfort and be patient. And eventually it will get better.


Tuesday 11 December 2012


"Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, let it be spoken without effort, without the trace of a shadow on it. 

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it always was; there is unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well..."

Henry Scott Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

This morning we got the news: Molly's vet in San Francisco suspected she had a tumour on her spleen (which, apparently, explained her loss of energy but also, thankfully, her lack of pain). She was sent quietly and quickly to doggy heaven with her American parents by her side.

I'd like to think she's in a better place: she's young again, romping with Brompton and eating all the Schmackoes she can cram into her rotund tummy. I think that as fat, salty tears roll down my cheeks; I've been crying so much today my eyeballs actually hurt. Slowly, the pieces will be put back together but for now, let me mourn one of the sweetest,  funniest, lovable creatures I've ever known. Molly brought so much joy into so many people's lives and was well loved in return. We shall be bereft without her.


Sunday 9 December 2012

The post I didn't want to write

The tears started the moment I turned my phone on this morning. They dropped into my pancakes and accompanied the Hound on his short lamp-post watering jaunt around the neighbourhood. A few hours, and several emails later, I am unable to find the off switch.

It's the thing I knew that one day I would have to write about but, with some sort of ridiculous optimism, believed I might be able to avoid.

Doug has emailed from San Francisco to say  that our former dog, Molly, seems to be fading fast. I'm sure he won't mind me regurgitating his words:

Molly has lost quite a bit of energy. She stopped running on the beach, then she was slow on walks, then she was reluctant to even go on walks, and now we are carrying her outside just to get her into the garden.

Equally significant is that her gums are pale and somewhat dry- often a sign of anaemia or organ failure.

The wonderful news is that she is evincing no pain whatsoever. We will protect her from that, so we have adopted a watch-and-wait policy. If she loses her appetite or starts to show any sign of discomfort, we will rescue her.

My heart breaks for that not-so-little terrier/collie mash-up we selected from the Wellington SPCA almost 16 years ago. We all have things in life we regret and one of my biggest is giving Molly away. Although she's probably had a better life in the US than she would have had with us (Doug and Suzi work from home, she has two other canine siblings and she lives in dog-friendly SF. For god's sake, who wouldn't be happy?) I have never been able to shake the feeling that I abandoned her; that I made a promise to love her and give her a good life and when a better opportunity came along, I up and buggered off. It's why my heart carries so many splinters that can never be glued together.

We have, of course, been fortunate to see the glossy black beauty three times since she moved to the Bay Area. To witness the superior care and love she's receiving, to see how deliriously happy she is. And that, in her doggy goodness, she holds no grudge against us. There is much that we miss about her: the way her tail wiggle turns into a half-body wave, her adoring gaze, voracious appetite and the sheer, unadulterated beauty of that thick, glossy fur. But Doug's weekly videos of her scampering along the beach and the photos that line our walls, bedside-tables and hard-drive are a constant reminder of how lucky we are to have had her in her lives.

Although I'm approaching an age that fills me with little joy, I'm pretty comfortable in my skin, in my life, my values and beliefs. I possess a degree, a diploma, two mortgage free houses, more items of clothing than any sane person should ever have and a couple of passports filled with stamps. I have friends in four continents and, mistakenly or not, think I've seen a bit of life. Yet that one email today reduced me to a blubbering, helpless mess. My heart bleeds and my eyes leak and nothing anyone can say or do will make it better.

Ironically, we are soon to make the short drive to the airport to pick up Sheryl, a friend of Doug and Suzi's from San Francisco, who is staying with us a couple of nights. Poor Sheryl, she will not get us at our best today. But as someone who lost both her dogs last year, I imagine she will be able to sympathise.

And now I must go and clean the bathroom; there is also work to be done and walks to be taken and headspace to be filled so that I have little time to dwell upon Ms Molly and the Grim Reaper who swoops overhead, waiting to grasp her to his bosom.

It's a day for tissues and no mascara. And, perhaps later, for strong liquor.


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