Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions? Not this year…

It’s December 31 and I’ve been thinking about a resolution for the new year. I read this quote somewhere earlier this year and it’s stuck with me so I’ve decided that my one and only new commitment to myself for the coming year is to try and live by the following mantra.


Life is not a journey to the grave with the goal of arriving safely in a prettily preserved body, but rather, to skid in sideways in a shower of gravel - thoroughly used, utterly exhausted and loudly proclaiming 'Fuck me, that was BRILLIANT!'

Author unknownmargarita

Saturday, December 26, 2009

‘twas the day after Christmas

What are you up to on Boxing Day?

I can’t help but wonder how many of you are passing the day today in the same way that am; nursing a hangover of yesterday’s excess of extended family or food or alcohol or, as in my case, all of the above.

Boxing Day in New Zealand is a public holiday so excepting those poor souls in the business of retail, the rest of us get to lay about and try to shelter from the heat. We can eat leftovers all day and maybe venture out late afternoon for a walk or a dip in the ocean.

Does everyone even call today Boxing Day? I understand it’s called that because historically in England today was the day the ‘poor boxes’ were opened and the proceeds distributed to the needy, but, as per my usual disclaimer, I could of course have this wrong.

Anyway my point is that I reckon that Boxing Day is the poor cousin of Christmas Day. It’s the recovery day. It’s sad really; it’s the plain younger sister; it’s the day that’s doomed forever to be the day after the day before.

Today I’ve decided that this must change.

I for one am standing up and declaring my newly recognised regard for Boxing Day. It’s a day that doesn’t expect too much from us; it costs nothing to celebrate; there’s no fuss, no god bothering; no stupid hats; no over-rich food; no decorating requirements and it has way better movies on TV than Christmas Day does. Boxing Day is absolutely everything I want in a holiday and I regret taking it for granted in past years. Who’s with me?

Boxing Day

Enjoy your Boxing Day everyone, relax and catch your breath after the madness that is Christmas. 

I’m off now to take the dog for a walk at the beach; I may even have a swim.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas eve and all is well

I’m sitting on my little patio sipping a delicious pomegranate cocktail and munching on fresh cherries while waiting for some friends to arrive for Christmas eve drinks (and a barbecue later). 

It’s a clear blue sky day and it’s getting a bit warmer as the afternoon progresses. Even though it doesn’t get horribly hot in NZ, we do have very thin ozone which equals a killer sun. This reminds me I better go slap on some sunscreen and get the sun umbrella out before I start to grow a melanoma glow.

Have a merry Christmas all.  Stay safe and enjoy your loved ones if you’re lucky enough to be spending time with them this season. Stay warm if it’s cold where you are and stay cool if it’s warm.

I’ll catch all of my lovely bloggy friends after Christmas and remember; you can’t make someone love you. All you can do is stalk them and hope they panic and give in.


Westhaven_Marina_Auckland_New_ZealandI dropped Rory off here to Westhaven Marina earlier today where his dad’s boat is moored so they can go sailing for the day.  The sea breeze was lovely and I almost wished I could tag along.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mellow sounds

Dub? Reggae? Soul? I have no idea what to call it but I like it. To me Fat Freddy is the sound of the kiwi summer.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

As It Is in Heaven

No spoilers.

I just finished watching the brilliant 2004 Swedish (subtitled) film As It Is in Heaven. It’s directed by Kay Pollak and stars Michael Nyqvist and Frida Hallgren. I first saw the film not long after it was released in 2004 – it was a huge hit here in NZ and ran for 52 weeks.


The story centres around Daniel Daréus (played by Nyqvist) who is a renowned international conductor whose life aspiration is to create music that will open people's hearts. Ill health forces him to retire to the home of his early childhood in the far north of Sweden, to the village where he endured a terrible childhood of bullying. There he reluctantly agrees to help with the church choir.

This is a beautiful film and I highly recommend it. Sometimes, inspiration is where you least expect to find it…

Don’t panic

This situation has to be close to one of my most worst nightmares; trapped inside a train, inside a tunnel, all night, UNDER the freezing English channel. See for the full story.

Yesterday nearly 2000 travellers were stranded for up to 15 hours after four Eurostar trains broke down between France and England. Many suffered panic attacks or fainted as they waited for help.

Eurostar management said the problem was caused by the contrast between extremely cold temperatures on the railways and a comparatively warm tunnel. A Eurostar train. Photograph: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

This situation just couldn’t arise here in New Zealand. For a start there’s nowhere to get to via tunnel; Australia is more than 2,200 kilometres away and secondly; even if there was another country close, all our trains are so old and crappy that no-one in their right mind would actually try and travel that far.Train Writing

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Missing the point

A local progressive Anglican church here in Auckland posts a billboard each Christmas to provoke debate about modern Christianity.

This years billboard, as below, was designed to make the point that many Christians and church leaders do not believe in the literal virgin birth, and didn't believe that was the true meaning of Christmas. They’re critiquing the outmoded idea of a male god impregnating Mary and the literalism of the virgin birth.Since the billboard went up a few days back, the more traditionalist god squad around the city have repeatedly painted over it and now an ‘elderly lady’ has apparently been so incensed that she’s slashed it with a carving knife. Archdeacon Cardy of ‘St Matthews in the City’ has now accepted defeat and has removed the billboard as he was worried someone was going to get hurt.

It’s distressing that increasingly some things can’t be openly debated with clear heads.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday flowers


Bougainvillea climbers are in full bloom right now and fences and walls around my town are beautifully adorned with a stunning shock of scarlet. Bougainvillea is a native of South America and the brightly coloured ‘flowers’ are actually papery bracts which surround the tiny white flowers of the plant. This one is climbing up the side of my neighbours house but this photo doesn’t do it justice – it’s the most fantastic colour you can imagine.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another decade down

I know that purists will say that the decade isn’t over until the end of 2010 but it’s my blog and I say now’s the right time for a review of the first decade of the 21st century.

Here are some of the highlights according to Louise.


2000: I started the year in between jobs but with definite prospects so no real concerns. I had a 7 year old son, no man (some things never change) and I had my eye on a house that I coveted for my very first ownership experience.  At one stage that year Rory got airlifted off his dad’s yacht after getting hit in the head by the boom – scary stuff, he didn’t know anyone for hours afterwards. The year ended with me and Rory settled into the new house, a promotion at work, a boyfriend of sorts and a brand new nephew. A perplexing choice (in my opinion) was made made by the American electorate but it was a very good year all in all.

2001: My best friend moved to Australia and the boyfriend became an ex. Horrible happenings in the US. The only bright side was that a lovely puppy, later named Bonnie, was born and adopted by yours truly. I quit smoking that year and lasted 8 months before falling off the wagon. Rory racked up over 40,000 kilometres in flights between Auckland and his dad’s place in Perth, Western Australia. I went nowhere.

2002: Met another cheating jerk. Swore off men forever.

2003: Menopause. At 37 years old. Rory turned 10 and to celebrate his dad took him to Africa to explore for 3 months. I cried myself to sleep every night from missing him though the grief did great things for my career as I worked 15 hours a day and earned another promotion. The US declared war on Iraq – I remember something about WMD? My older sister was very ill but thankfully recovered fully. I got away briefly at the end of the year to spend time (and money) with my friend in Victoria, Australia.

2004: Got to Thailand again this year – one of my very fave places to escape the kiwi winter. Also got in another visit to Victoria. Another nephew born – that made four but still no nieces. Everything else was bad that year - horrible happenings, this time in Spain and atrocities continued in Darfur. And then that catastrophic tsunami on Boxing Day to finish the year.

2005: Finally quit chewing my nails to mark my 40th birthday. Katrina struck. It was 10 years since we lost my sister so we had a party to remember her by. Rory spent Christmas snowboarding in Japan with his dad – it was my first Christmas without him and it was hard.

2006: Rory started high school. Saddam Hussein was hanged and Steve Irwin got stabbed by a stingray. Crikey.

2007: Sinn Fein and the DUP hammered out an agreement for a power-sharing government in northern Ireland. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. Rory’s dad moved back to NZ and for the first time ever we did the every second weekend part time dad thing – I started to remember what a real social life was like. I drank too much.

2008: Quit smoking again (18 months now and still going strong). Got addicted to Facebook. The Kiwis won the Rugby League World Cup and the hottest tennis player ever, Rafael Nadal, is ranked #1. Somali entrepreneurs found their niche in the piracy business. I met a man with real potential until the day he slammed Rory against a wall for looking at him sideways. Got a couple of long weekends away in Australia. Started new role managing projects at work and commuting to Wellington city twice a week.  Rory had a tumour removed from inside his jaw – it was benign. I spent most of the year exhausted. Bought new house and moved in just before Christmas. Whew, what  a year!

2009: Started the year with a new pastime – blogging. Met lots of wonderful new friends. There were terrible bushfires in Victoria so I went to console my friend. Witnessed a terrible car accident. Started reading about Tao Buddhism. Centre-right government elected in NZ for the first time in many years. I bought a lovely new car. A never ending cycle of study. Rory turned 16 and attended his first school ball, my mum and dad both turned 70, dad retired finally and my youngest nephew started school – still no nieces, have given up on that ever happening now. 

Rory and Sean






…and here we are nearly at the very end of 2009. That was my decade in brief; how about sharing yours?



Happy Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I just can’t seem to summon any enthusiasm at all about Christmas this year. It’s the 12th today and not one decoration is up; no tree, no window dressings, no wreath on the door. Thankfully I have at least done my Christmas shopping.

My health problems are getting me down and to add to the general misery work is so freakin’ busy and I now need to be away on Monday and Tuesday  again but I have this huge presentation to deliver on Thursday as part of my study and I haven’t even finished it yet – eeeeeeeeeeeek!!

I’m barely keeping panic at bay.

I wasted a whole day off work yesterday when I should have been working on my presentation. We had our Christmas work function on Thursday night and I drank far too many margaritas and consequently had a very sore head. I didn’t do anything except sleep and feel sorry for myself all day yesterday. The work do was great though; dinner and drag cabaret – heaps of fun.


It’s my sister-in-laws 40th birthday party tonight but there’ll be no drinking for me so I’m dedicating Sunday (tomorrow) to be a study day. A good productive day should help me feel a bit more in control.

Sorry for being a whiney Grinch.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Quick check in

Been zipping around the country for work in the last couple of days (Palmerston North, Christchurch) so have barely had a minute to call my own. Once or twice I managed to log on with hotel internet for a few minutes but then I’m so tired I practically fall asleep on the keyboard.  Heading home to Auckland tomorrow. 

Until then here’s another great Venn diagram by Jessica Hagy. Check out more at


Monday, December 7, 2009

Aww shucks Kyle

It’s award time again folks and I’m delighted and flattered to accept this award bestowed on me by Kyle from Out Left.


Kyle is a creative type who lives and works in stunning New Hampshire with his partner Stan. He and Stan are passionate about their 19th century home and beautiful gardens of which we occasionally get to see photos. Kyle is also a movie buff and provides great reviews for those of us who need a bit of guidance. 



Apparently I am supposed to share 5 things that I enjoy before passing this award on to more worthy recipients.

Friends: There’s nothing I like more than settling down in comfy chairs for a good catch up with a friend. It’s even better when we can relax over a chilled and fruity Sauvignon Blanc. 

Food: Be it Middle Eastern or Italian or Thai or Greek or Indian – you name it I love it. The more flavoursome the better.

Learning: I undertake some formal learning every year and right now I should be working on a presentation that I’ll deliver on the 17th as part of  my current objective which is a diploma in Public Sector Leadership.  I’m nearly half way through this now after working on it part time for the last 6 months.

Coffee: Love it, can’t live without it.

Books: I’m afraid to say I’m not intelligentsia; for me it’s about a great story that’s not a chore to read. My favourite authors are Margaret Attwood, Sebastian Faulks and Wally Lamb.

And now to the fun part. I’ve made lots of new friends blogging but here are some of my favourite gals. Always great for a laugh are…

At the next two sites I do more lurking than commenting due to the intimidation factor, but whether they know it or not I always read and greatly enjoy their wit and intelligence.

Thanks to you all for brightening my days. I’ll pop a comment on your latest post to let you know about this. Sorry to those of you who don’t want such awards – do with it what you will.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday feature

I watched a movie with a friend earlier today and I’m left with the effects. I feel slightly stunned.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a 2008 film directed by Mark Herman and based on the novel by John Boyne.

The movie is set in Germany during World War Two. Eight year old Bruno, his sister Gretel and their parents move for their father’s new job as a commandant of a Jewish concentration camp.  Bruno doesn’t understand the situation and with tragic consequences he befriends a Jewish boy of his own age who’s living inside the camp.

It’s a breathtaking film about innocence and awakening, about trust, about realisation and about humanity. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Speed demon

Just came across this video on YouTube of my younger brother indulging his reckless pursuit of adrenaline. He bought this toy a year or so back and though it’s not a top fueler, it apparently provides plenty of excitement. I’m told it’s a 560 cubic inch big block that runs on methanol with an 871 supercharger. I think he’s gotten it as quick as 350 kph (just over 200 mph) which sounds pretty damn quick to me.

Two for Tuesday

I) New Zealand joins the space race

On 30 November New Zealand's first space rocket was successfully launched.  See the NZ Herald story of the same day. The 6-metre-long craft reached speeds of up to Mach 5, flying 120km into the air, before splashing down in the sea.

CaptureCompany Director Mark Rocket, technical director Peter Beck and senior engineer Nikhil Raghu from Rocket Lab.

I just love that the guy has obviously changed his name to ‘Rocket’. That’s dedication for you. The white coats sure make it all look more momentous too – good thinking guys. It feels great to be at cutting edge of science like this – watch out NASA, here we come.

Photo by Rachel Glucina.


II) Cottage envy

A beautiful cottage by the sea in Maine, US.  Photo by Tom O'Donnell