Category Archives: family

beautiful

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to figure out what exactly beautiful means. I’ve decided that there’s not really any definition at all, but that has never stopped me from trying to figure out what beautiful means to me. And then I had daughters.

Two of the most incredibly beautiful creatures, and so completely different to one another.

They taught me that beauty is something that doesn’t depend on any one thing. It’s an all encompassing whole person thing. My daughters are so beautiful, it’s ridiculous. It shouldn’t be allowed, to be honest. But I’m so glad it is, because without them, my life wouldn’t be as awesome as it is. I don’t know if they even realise that. I’m bad at talking, so this return to blogging has also been for them.

When you become a parent, I’m not sure that you ever expect the sudden onslaught of parental guilt that pretty much hits you from day one. This new beautiful life in your hands, so perfect, and sweet smelling and new. How can you keep it happy, and healthy and nurture it into a good person? How can you instill all the values you need to? How will you know if you’ve been a good parent? Are they going to hate you when they’re teenagers? Where are you going to go wrong.

You’re not going to go wrong.

Even when you do, so long as you have love for that child, and are honest with them? You’re not going to go wrong.

Take it from a woman with borderline personality disorder and bipolar II. Those girls of mine have had to deal with a lot of emotional weirdness while I’ve tried to find a medication that works, and a way to deal with things when the medication still doesn’t. Sometimes we’d go for drives – when I learned, and we’d talk in the car about the big important things.

I was always amazed at how insightful and thoughtful my girls were about the way that people are. Every time I bought up a big topic, they always had good questions. Deep questions…they still do. Except about sex. Because…I have no filter I suppose. Not that talking about sex with your parents is fun at all – for anyone but me. Call it sadism, but the pleasure I get from watching them and their father squirm is totally worth it! Haha!! (I promise I’ve only ever talked about the good stuff – safety, pleasure, respect, love and permission). I studied sexuality in both religion and literature, human sexuality really interests me.

My girls are teens now. Well, actually…Siobhan will turn 20 this year, and Aleeya will be 18. Adults. I am now the parent of adult children…and while that scares the pants off me, I’m so proud of them. They’re both such beautifully, intelligent and thoughtful girls. And I know how scary becoming an adult is. I may get frustrated a lot – mostly that’s my illness talking though – I remember what this time in your life feels like.

It’s scary, and hard, and learning to make your own decisions will change your life path forever. In ways you won’t understand, or even consider, and they will be wonderful. I do not look back on my life and regret any of it. Every choice I made, lead me right here. I never would have predicted I would live a life like this. And I owe so much of it to those girls. Such beautiful, compassionate, loving creatures. I am always awed that you’re mine. <3

Walks With Thor

I can’t even begin to describe to you how awesome this dog is. He’s so brave and lovely and ridiculously silly. Taking him on adventures in Australia is one of my most favourite things to do.

He’s such a good walker, and he just loves exploring. It makes him so happy to be out in the wild getting to smell everything. Australia is such an interesting country too. It’s so dry and fierce and full of things that could literally kill you dead. Despite this, we totally brave the hills and aside from a few koalas, kangaroos in the distance and a freakin’ echidna!! I mean, how cool is that?! We haven’t come across anything too scary. Lots of snake warnings though. But if you stick to the paths, you could see them coming. I recommend sticking to the paths at all times.

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We walked up to the site of an old farmhouse. Right at the top of the hill, there’s nothing else up here, and the view was amazing.

I just love this country! It’s so beautiful, and wild and dangerous. I miss soft, green grass and the smell of New Zealand sometimes, so badly. But the harsh, dryness of this country has a really lovely smell all of its own.

gin and lemonade!

With freshly squeezed lemons is great! Did you know?

We have the most gloriously huge lemon tree in the history of lemon trees here, a never ending supply of lemons! Freshly squeezed lemonade, lemon pie, lemon puddings, lemon icing,…stop me before I start sounding like Bubba from Forest Gump.

Obviously a lot has happened since I last blogged. I am now the proud fur parent of both a chihuahua and a freshly made kitten. Neither of which I imagined I’d be parenting, but of whom I love very dearly. I shall post pictures of them when I can be bothered to get on my main computer. Actually..I could probably do it from here…don’t Mac products all link together? Let me see….

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That handsome wee man is my Thor. Yes. I did call my chihuahua Thor. Because it please me, and he likes it. What he doesn’t like so much however, is my trying to take a picture of his derp face. He pulls the most amazing one ever! But when you try to capture it on camera, he just gets embarrassed, and makes adorable faces at you instead.

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And that, most devilishly handsome and wicked beast, is Dr Bruce Banner aka The Hulk. Don’t let those sweet blue eyes fool you, he is wicked personified! Evil genius and so darn cute I forgive him everything. He is already starting to hulk over Thor. We like to imagine him as an adult, bored out of his mind by this tiny dog, and saying “Puny God.”

Yeah, sorry. Not at all ashamed of my love of comic book superheroes. They suit their names to a tee. Okay, Thor is probably not nearly as glamorous or as cool as his godlike namesake, but it’s still the best and most hilarious name for him ever.

Also, because I am failing spectacularly as a blogger, I’ve decided to try night blogging – which fits in with my work schedule, but may end up making my blog full of weirdness – like it wasn’t already huh? I mean…when it’s full of anything at all, of course.

too long

I feel like people might have expected a 3 year quake memorial post. I didn’t write one, not because I haven’t been thinking about this day, or remembering what happened, I just sort of didn’t.

Ollie spent the day with Siobhan, and I spent the day, and the evening at the Fringe Festival with wonderful friends, who filled the night with amazing food, circus acts, friendship and hilariousness. It was lovely and eventful.

I shared my story with them over hot chocolate and dessert, and I guess that’s why I didn’t really think to share it here.

It was so wonderful to have so much support and love from friends and family the world over, and we definitely appreciate it. It’s also so wonderful to be here, amongst friends and family in a city that offers us so much. Including dreadful heat and horrible bugs. But you know, that is really nothing in the scheme of things.

This is a great city and we love this country. It feels like home – until I open my mouth and the Australians look at me puzzled because they don’t understand a world I’m saying.

Such is life. It’s hardly their fault they don’t know how to speak proper English. 😉

worst blogger in the world award

Goes to me right?

I thought so.

Here are some random facts to entertain you for the next month. *sigh* I will get better at this I promise.

  • I currently have 8 windows open on my laptop. Of those 8 windows, one is called All About Cannibalism, and one is called Ancient People, The People of Ireland. I will let you make your own judgement calls on this one.
  • It rains in Australia. A LOT. Like, a lot a lot. So much so that I actually forget I’m in Australia until that freaking bird starts up at 5am and reminds me, that no birds in New Zealand ever sounded like that, ever and none of them were rude enough to do that noise EVERY DAMN MORNING!!!!!! I’ve never hated a bird before in my life…UNTIL NOW!
  • I got a job working at Ollie’s cousin’s dessert cafe. It’s so much fun! And so full on, and at the end of the night, they feed me dessert! This does not bode well for my waistline, but it certainly bodes well for my tastebuds and my sanity and my mental health. You probably don’t understand this, unless you’re a dessert person in which case, I don’t need to tell you anything else.
  • Now that I’ve spoken about that bird, I am imagining I can hear it barking/grating its nails down the blackboard/screaming/burping in my ear. If I had to describe its noise, that would be it. You have no idea how much I wish it would die. We were looking up buying an air gun, that’s how bad it is! Alas…these are illegal in Australia, but slingshots are not!
  • Back to the weather! Right now, it’s raining so hard I’m  having trouble keeping my eyes open. It’s also massively windy. It’s like mother nature is having a really bad trip at her rave party and crying and throwing up everywhere. *rubs her back and holds her hair out of the way for her*
  • My writing is coming along, very ponderously. Slowly does it. That’s the way. But I have a feeling its about to start picking up again soon. I can’t tell you why…because my husband is very private about things and would prefer I didn’t tell the world he just got a JOB!
  • Whoops. How exciting though!!!! He starts on Monday! YAY!
  • Oh! And I cut off all my hair. New beginnings and all that. I feel very Marilyn Monroe some days. When I manage to take a non-derpy photo, I will share it with you.

sixty five

seamus2I will probably get told off for telling you all this, but that handsome young man right there turns 65 tomorrow. And despite the fact that I shall most likely get a good telling off for announcing such a thing to the entire world – I am doing it anyway! Because 65 is one of those ages that needs to be announced.

That’s my dad, just in case you didn’t know.

So happy birthday my daddyboy. I hope you have a wonderful time at the Andy Warhol exhibition, and that you get to eat lots of cake and that it’s not too windy in the capital city, because being blown off your feet at your ripe old age might see you break a hip and that would be an embarrassing entry into old age now wouldn’t it?

I know I’ve often teased you about your geriatric stage of life, but now I can actually do it legitimately because it’s true! You’ve outlasted the dinosaurs! You’ve lived past an ice age and a reformation of lands! You crawled from the seas with the fish with legs and lost your tail and learned to walk on two legs! You surpassed the intelligence of our neanderthal cousins and expanded your brain to become homosapien! You climbed the pyramids and hailed Ra. You toiled through the slums of India and rose through bodhisattva status to become a Buddha. You developed your own religion and converted the masses and long shall they worship in our glorious name.

What’s left for you now but to take your rightful place alongside the other old folks and collect your pension? Not much I’m afraid.  Your present is in the mail. I’ve bought you a walking frame carved from the very first yew tree. Blessed by Danu herself. You’re welcome.

Much love to you my daddyboy!
The tinsel of your Universe. xoxoxo

 

chat roux

So most of you know that we brought our cats over with us from New Zealand to Australia. They were in a cattery for about a month I think, and it was pretty stressful on them. Greebo, our oldest especially. Lily was flown to us from my sister in the North Island, she’s an old hat at this plane travel business.

We were so worried they’d go missing, but luckily (even though it was brutal at the time) for us, the weather here was SO HOT, all the poor cats could do was slug out on the floor, panting like dogs. They barely left the house, and when they did it was to slink around in cat harnesses (tee hee! So funny!), at night before racing back in, with big black eyes and mortal terror all over their wee faces.

Greebo is in his golden years now. He’s the equivalent of his late 80’s and it’s starting to show too. He’s definitely retired from the rigors of fighting every night and bringing me home dead magpies. He goes out to the toilet, but spends all day in his inside box or meowing at me until I pay him the required amount of attention and love that he deserves and/or feed him.

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He’s still very handsome though.

So when he wasn’t waiting at the door yesterday morning to come in, we were a little concerned. We took turns calling him to no avail. As the day went on, so did his lengthy absence. I started to get a little worried. After all, Australia is a big place, with many weird things in it – and not just the people, who promise you that there are no huge spiders here at all, are you kidding? Nah, no giant spiders….and then the very next week – what’s that casually parked outside your kitchen window? Yeah. A GIANT FREAKING SPIDER! As big as my hand! There one minute..gone forever the next.

If you think I’m ever going to stop checking my bed or my shoes before I get into them, you’re mistaken. So I’m thinking “what if he’s hurt? What if he’s trapped somewhere? What if he’s been eaten by giant spiders? Or snakes?” And all this thinking starts to make me teary eyed and hyperventilatey. So I stop thinking.

Siobhan went outside and called and called, and shook his food and still no Greebo.

It’s about 5pm by now, and Aleeya tries. Nothing. So I put up his photo on facebook and ask people to keep an eye out for him, and as soon as I post it, all angsty and teary eyed again, he comes home! Meowing as loudly as possible and looking almost as haggard and unkempt as he did when he got off the plane 5 months ago.

But man, was he ever pleased to have finally found the right house! The love and cuddles and motorised purring was so intense that it was as if he’d been gone for years.

2013-05-26-22.06Look at he! He missed me so much he was crying. And he would NOT let go. He clung to me desperately all night long. As he should! Making his own mumma worry that way.

This boy was almost born on Siobhan’s knee when she was 4 years old. He’s been with us for his whole life. We watch as he came into the world and ugh! He’s just my babe.

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Ironman

The conversations your kids have with you when they get home from school are the best. I always thought once they became teenagers, they stopped talking. This is not true however. There are days when we barely see them, and then there are other days when they talk so much that you’re tired by the time they’re through.

My kids have a very strange relationship with their father. Well, let’s be fair now, they have a strange relationship with both of us. But sometimes it’s really fun to sit in another room quietly and listen to what they talk about with him.

The other day, Siobhan came home and Ollie was ironing. He bought a new iron recently and he’s very proud of it. I don’t do this weird and obscene chore. It seems like the most ridiculous thing in the world to me, and since all the things that need to be ironed are his shirts – ironing became his chore.  Anyway, he’s taken a real shine to his new iron, and irons everything. And I really mean everything. Siobhan had been out there having a really good detailed discussion with him when she went quiet for a minute and then said with a very perplexed and amused tone: “what are you doing?”

“Ironing.” he says.

“Why are you ironing the tea towels?”

“Because…”

“Are you ironing our UNDIES?!”

Yes, internet. My husband has started to iron underpants.  Only his own actually, which is rude. We are very amused by this and when I asked him why, he replied with “do you know how nice it is to put on a pair of freshly ironed underpants?”

Well no. No actually I don’t – because HE DOESN’T IRON MINE!

22 February 2013

It’s been two years since the 6.3 aftershock hit Christchurch, tearing my family’s world apart and almost claiming the life of my husband.

For the two weeks building up to this date, I have felt a little off. Not myself. The heat hasn’t helped, but I just couldn’t understand quite why I was always on the verge of tears and desperate for my own company and no one else’s. Nothing I did could shake the lump in my throat and the feeling that I was just about to cry, and then my dad called and said a few really thoughtful things which made me realise what was going on.

It’s strange to me that I still don’t really have a complete handle on my own moods. I know when I feel sad, or uneasy, or scared but I don’t know why. It all made sense and I just let it happen. Let myself feel those feelings and took deep breaths.

I had been missing Christchurch a lot in those few weeks. I felt like I should be there again. Like I wanted to be there, but I didn’t really. I spent the couple of days leading up to the 22nd thinking about what we should do. I wanted to do things that I knew Ollie would like. As awful and heartbreaking that day was for me, he’s the one who almost died. It should be a day where he got to do the things that he liked.

I wanted to share some photos with you. To show you how far we’ve come.

2011-03-11 13.57.01A couple of days after he was pulled from his building. I’ve never seen my boy look like this. He took it of himself – I can’t remember why. There was a reason. Just before we left Christchurch we met the fireman who helped save his life. It was a surreal and amazing day. To be able to hug the man who is the reason the person you’ve loved and spent the last 16 years of your life with is pretty incredible. He told us that Ollie was only moments away from losing his foot and they had to put everything into getting him free.

It was pretty amazing to listen to him tell his side of this story. He remembered so much that Ollie wasn’t able to.

2011-03-18-11.30.58At home in his hospital chair that helped support his broken pelvis. Game controller in hand. We had to put sheets over it because it was so hot he was sticking to it.

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A couple of months later, the company he worked for held a memorial at the building site. They had pulled it down by this stage, and we were the first ones in to see it. It was very difficult to stand in front of an empty space where his building once stood and to remember the ten people we lost. I think it was harder on me than it was on him, because it was the first time I had really seen for myself that all of this was real. I had the proof in front of me of course, every time I looked at Ollie, but you sort of blank it out, you don’t really consider the reality of what happened until you’re confronted with something like this.

It’s been a long couple of years following all of this, and it’s hard to believe just how far we’ve come. Now we’re living in Australia and life is completely different. People are different, the weather is different, the birdsong, the insects. It’s only one country over, but it just feels so very different here.

We’re moving on and settling in and coming to terms with a whole new life. We’re taking our time and enjoying ourselves together and just letting things happen as they’re supposed to. On the 22nd of February this year, we took to the city on our bikes.

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This is mine. I love it so much, you have no idea! I’ve only ridden it twice because of the heat, and it is still missing it’s basket as yet (although I have a feeling that will be delivered today! YAY!), but I just LOVE it. It’s so cute and easy to ride. I was stopped in the city by a guy who wanted to know all about it. As soon as people see it, they love it. It’s just the most adorable thing in the world.

Our day consisted of riding through the park opposite us in order to get to the city which is only about 8 minutes away where we had lunch at a cafe.

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Mine was a Thai noodle salad with coconut water, and Ollie had a mushroom pizza. It was SO good! And then we continued on through the city to the Art Gallery where we wandered for awhile looking at the exhibitions. Some of which I have to admit were extremely horrific and kind of terrifying. One was the carcass of two horses stitched together and hung from the roof, one was the statue of a dead man with a bird eating his penis – a rendition of the first sight Siddhartha had when he left his palace, and one was a very intricate and detailed model of Nazi war. Skeleton Jews hanging Nazi soliders, beheading the corpses, violence and death and in the centre Ronald McDonald figures in a playground. It was intense and interesting and the more you looked the more you saw. I wish I could have taken a photo of it. It was so disturbing but totally brilliant all at once.

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We carried on down to the river after this and saw birds there that looked suspiciously like Pukekos! On the way back – all uphill, my bike chain came off and a lovely woman stopped to help us get it back on. By the time we were cycling home, I was almost dead and the heat was stifling. We had a few hours relaxing and playing video games together, before we headed out for dessert at Eggless Dessert Cafe – Ollie’s cousin’s restaurant. It’s a gorgeous little place and all the desserts are to die for! Their menu changes each month, and we’re pretty sure we’re going to be some of those regular customers who end up in there once a month to try their new creations.

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This is such an awful photo! But I had to include it, because it was so much fun to take. I used my cellphone and no one was happy with the outcomes, so we ended up taking FOUR and were completely blinded by the time they were over, which explains the slightly stunned expression on our faces.

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Peachy plum and salted caramel crumble with my most favourite drink in all the world – Morrocan Mint tea! It’s to die for and it’s vegan! So very good.

A far cry from how we spent that day two years ago.

Kia Kaha Christchurch. For sixteen years you were my home. I miss you dreadfully sometimes.

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Ollie’s building site as it is today. It’s so beautiful and green and peaceful. Hard to believe what took place there only two years ago. Thanks to Greg who took the photo on his way home that day. We love you. xoxo

Waiting for the Miracle (or some cool weather..which would be a miracle)

I really wanted to update more than once a month, but it’s just so HOT here internet.

The room we have the computers in is the hottest room in the house, which means that if I am out here for any length of time, all I’m really doing is wilting and looking at pretty things instead of being creative and thoughtful and writing!

Speaking of writing, that has come to a little bit of a halt. Obviously moving countries has given me reason to be lax. Terry Brooks says it the best really: “Fiction writing is a twenty-four-hour-a-day occupation. You never leave your work behind. It is always with you, and to some extent, you are always thinking about it. You don’t take your work home; your work never leaves home. It lives inside you. It resides and grows and comes alive in your mind.”

This is pretty much exactly where I’m at right now. I have been writing notes and thinking up plots and fixing the holes in my head, but I haven’t actually written anything yet. It’s so hot! Hot hot hot! And when it’s not hot, you get this little moment of pure pleasure where you go “let’s go out!”

We are doing a lot of things here at the moment. Starting new routines, becoming better at cooking, eating, shopping and living. It’s gone past the holiday stage but not completely. We are still sort of figuring out what it is we’re all about in this new country, and finding the cohabitation with large bugs and HUGE SPIDERS all a bit overwhelming really.

In saying that though, Siobhan and I are back to dancing, and really loving it! We are being very challenged which is great, and have a beautiful and inspiring group of people to dance with. We are hyped and even go on the super hot days when we’re likely to die. Which is pretty much exactly what I did this week.

I am however, determined to get my fitness levels back up to something. Anything!

It’s a very long story, the short of which is that stress and unhappiness and quakes and almost losing my husband along with just normal day to day life crept up and kicked me in the arse. I put on a LOT of weight and stopped looking after myself. Actually, if I’m going to be honest, I haven’t looked after myself in YEARS. I dieted on chocolate and coffee and lost 10kgs. But ruined my health in the process. I was tired and weak and my last doctors visit announced that my normalcy of low blood pressure was well and truly gone. I had high blood pressure and cholesterol and have become insulin resistant.

This has been pretty devastating for me, but I have no one to blame but myself. And my first instinct was to throw a complete childish paddy and eat everything and anything in sight. Which meant I piled on the 10kgs I lost again and felt even worse. The moving business didn’t really help. In those last few months, we ate a lot of take aways and fast foods, and I wondered and lamented and wailed and gnashed my teeth wondering why I’d put on all this weight, and bitching about how life wasn’t fair.

It’s taken me a few months to admit to myself that it’s my own damn fault and to face up to the consequences like the adult I strive hard not to be. The past three weeks have been hell. I have been slowly trying to repair this damage, and making choices that contradict a lifetime of bad habits. It’s been hard, but I’m getting there, slowly. People always say “you didn’t put on that weight overnight, you won’t lose it overnight”.  The truth is though, you always feel like you DID put it on overnight, and when it doesn’t just come off over night, it can be really demoralising.

Exercising in this heat is something else. Today I had sweat literally pouring off me. Running down my back! I do not like to sweat at all, but despite all my inner protests I did it, and 44 minutes later was on the floor doing ab and back work.

Yeah, I’m proud and showing off.

I feel a lot better than I ever have. Particularly now that my withdrawls over lack of salt and sugar have worn off. I no longer really crave chips or chocolate. I never, ever thought I’d say that. Ever!

So, I hope that you’ll forgive me my lack of actual writing right now. I am reading a TON of books and keeping up with writerly type things, and considering attending a full day writing workshop coming up in March, and definitely, definitely still living in my world with my characters and planning their next moves. They are far from forgotten.

I have also become a lot more confident with driving a GINORMOUS car we’re borrowing from family in this GINORMOUS (don’t even laugh – there’s a million more people here than there were in Christchurch, it’s HUGE) city…AND I have a bike, which I totally adore, and I know where the library is.

So if my husband does not get his arse off that computer chair next to mine and get out to work, I will leave him behind for the glorious, and air conditioned deliciousness of our local library.

God. Why aren’t I there right now?

*melts*