17 Oct 2010

Mondayitis. Ode to Procrastination

Suffering. Yawns, Sighs and my head is basically on the desk.
I am sure I am not the only person in the world that gets to 10.30am Monday and has only replied to a weekends worth of private emails and done a handful of filing!

C.K.

Support Local

I have recently discovered a wicked little independent radio which I listen to religiously. Discovering loads of new music influences which is great, feels incredible to support something grass roots, feel a part of something unique and somewhat alternative I guess.
Similarly, have started doing my weekly vege shop at the Sunday markets down from my house. FRESH, long lasting, tasty and CHEAP AS CHIPS! Plus the added bonus of chemising around the markets people watching, soaking up atmosphere and sunshine. A great reason to rise and shine bright and early on a Sunday. Don't let this be limited to the enjoyment of hippies and gypsies - if you as lucky as me you might even find a french patisserie stall mmmmmmmm pan-au-chocolat!
bless.
C.K.

14 Sep 2010

new home.

In the first week of my new home;
  • I broke the shower head at my flat and nearly flooded the place - there was water on all four walls and the ceiling and floor of the bathroom...was fairly intense.
  • Nearly was attacked by a crazy bearded tattooed carny looking man in a bank as I was innocently trying to open an account.
  • Ran into the one person I knew in the entire city while in the supermarket on a Saturday night while purchasing laxatives - must have been the acclimatising to the new home and whatnot - threw my body out of kilter.
  • Was scolded by my elderly neighbour about the weeds in my front 'garden', which consists of barely a 30cm x 1.5m strip in front of our porch and is currently filled mostly with wild mint.
A little on the lonely side and wondering how to make friends in a new place. This is not something I have struggled with in the past. It is end of season for winter sports and summer leagues haven't started and I am yet to find a cool club/hobby to pursue in order to make some companions. Its pretty quiet and there is only so much loitering at the mall you can do with no money before they think you are homeless and escort you out. Hoping that an amazing job will come along really soon so I can meet some neat fun friends.

Tips and tricks to make friends in a new place as an adult? anyone? please!

Mahalo

C.K.

8 Sep 2010

lions, tigers and bears oh my!

My new home is full of adventures that's for sure.

1) yesterday I was running in the forest and accidentally stood on a huge snake! No I am not kidding - thought I was going to die. It was about a metre and a half long and as thick as my arm and I just wasn't looking for it, I guess it just isn't in my realm of understanding. I think I screamed the forest down and bolted home after it slid away into the bushes...sooo lucky.


2) So I thought I should really learn the law of the land and some basic first aid for the native flora and fauna after aforementioned snake incident. I decided to cycle to the mall to buy a book on Australian wildlife and got attacked by magpies. Seriously, Bird Strike is no laughing matter. It was scarier than the bloody snake. Same day even - you wouldn't read about it, think I should've bought a lotto ticket!

3) Have had kangaroo steak and kebabs, which were very very nice much to my surprise. I think when you have really low expectations and anticipate an unpleasant experience you usually surprise yourself.

4) Have also been bitten by ants, mosquitoes bigger than depicted on Land of the Lost and Jurassic Park and had a run in with a large lizard at the beach.

5) Finally, last week after running in the sun followed by job hunting in inappropriate attire and high heels, not enough water and too much walking I got heatstroke. Result was not pretty. 31oC for goodness sake and it is only the first week of Spring!

So many adventures in my new land, have been told to retreat to my homeland where it is safe but this fearless adventurer will soldier on...albeit after learning about envenomation compression bandages!

In a while crocodile (probably literally)

C.K.

19 Aug 2010

So long, Farewell, aufweidersehen, Goodni-ight.

So I sit here eating my last freddo frog at my clean desk waiting for something to arrive in my empty inbox in my final hour of work. I’m not a particularly emotional or nostalgic person when it comes to work, but this job and the people here really have been such a blessing. I will struggle to find a new one that competes I think.


I never before realized how exhausting a departure can be. I am shattered and I haven’t even left yet. I guess your body is much more aware of and sensitive to your subconscious emotional state than you realise.

Provided obligatory morning tea shout to about 80 people out of the 250 at my company. Well, in honesty my grandmother did most of the work and did a SUPERB job. The aim here is to impress people so much with a memorable spread that they forget any bad things you did and will fail to remember them should they ever need to provide a reference in the future.

Also got given a novelty sized goodbye card. Possibly one of the highlights of my year…I have wanted one ever since I was a little kid and now this dream has been realised. And it was definitely as good as I had imagined!
Just erecting a “CK waz here 08-10” sign above my empty desk which has an awesome view over the harbour which I will certainly miss.

Onward hearty adventurers.
C.K

27 Jul 2010

My Nan is Awesome.

While in limbo prior to skipping the country, I am living covertly, deep in suburbia's quietest cul-de-sac with my grandmother - if I was Mr Bin-Laden I think this would be the spot I would choose...far more discreet than a cave in the hills of Afghanistan and much more comfortable! While we have our differences in age, lifestyle and most certainly opinion, we make it work and I couldn’t be more grateful to her for her generosity and tolerance of me living under her roof.

 
The other day she arrives home looking suitably frazzled only to impart, after a distressed questioning from me as to what she had been up to, that she had been at Zumba. ZUMBA?! She has just celebrated her 73rd birthday for goodness sake. She is secretary of her Probus Club – which is kinda like scouts for the elderly I guess, plays several rounds of golf a week without a cart, as well as twice weekly walking group, has more social engagements than Brangelina and even knows how to use skype!

 
As much as I adore my grandmother and as I am currently living under her roof, being fed, watered and have my clothes washed, dried and folded for me I am not entitled to even the tiniest complaint…so consider this more of an observation.

 
I have given up trying to do anything for myself as I am deemed completely incapable. There are also a number of rules which have taken me some time to come to terms with;

 
  • If, for example I do a load of washing and peg it out on the line, I will go out to collect it and it has been taken down and re-hung in obsessive compulsive order for size and colour. So I have given up attempting this difficult task for fear of wasting my time.
  • We are only allowed to use one light in the house at a time and heating is only allowed for the months of June and July, after 7pm and only if you are visibly blue.
  • There are dishes which despite having “microwave and dishwasher safe” printed on the bottom, are not allowed to be used in the microwave or dishwasher which gets me in trouble every time.
  • Clothes must be line-dried then spend at least 2 days in the hot water cupboard prior to wearing to ensure they are restored to Sahara-like dryness levels, as if a tiny bit of dampness is a fate worse then death.
  • You haven’t lived unless you have seen the news and in particular the weather report. This is vital in elderly world. And the only fashion crime you can commit is to fail to dress for the appropriate weather conditions. Surprise is your enemy. Every time I depart for the bus stop in a light shower I spend a solid 10 minutes talking her out of dressing me in hurricane-proof gear including bright yellow over pants and a matching Paddington-bear jacket.
  • When I first moved in I couldn’t bring myself to watch all the doom and gloom, a million crime shows and poignant documentaries on the latest medical and societal maladies. Elderly widows of police officers who have a suspicious view of the world should be banned from watching this largely fictional fear-inducing crime programming. Security conscious is an understatement.
  • Cooking entails half a pound of butter per dish. And unlike our throw-away generation there is no such thing as waste, and if it doesn’t get eaten it is reconstituted a hundred times over until it’s finished.
  • While pinching pennies at every opportunity, everything goes into decadent spreads hosting our family and the most well endowed Christmas tree you’ll ever see.
  • Lastly, what is it with old people and clutter…particularly garden art. There are more hideous ceramic adornments than there are plants in her garden (read; dolphins, tacky faux-Michelangelo sculptures, mosaics, gnomes, wire yachts, swans made of tyre-retreads and various coloured pots).

But I am not one to complain being catered for, cared about and also am taking the time to learn as much about my sole surviving grandparent while I have the opportunity. So many lessons to learn from her and stories to extract!

 
C.K.

26 Jul 2010

My New Deskmate.

I have just experienced an unwelcome new arrival.

Yet another class conscious, rotund middle aged English import with a receeder. Great. At least my last deskmate had a dry wit to rival Ricky Gervais. Meet Duncan.

I have always been lucky enough to have such a wide range of responsibilities in my work that my job description is suitably vague and no-one really knows what I do. I’d like to say it’s because I am so flexible and versatile…but perhaps it’s a subconscious desire to stay autonomous and retain an air of mystique in my huge office where everyone is a boffin at some technical discipline and eager to jump in a box for easy clarification. So I am finally sitting next to someone who is actually in my own line of work – and worse, is more senior than me. He knows exactly what I do and/or should be doing and is full of new-job enthusiasm, ever keen to watch me like a hawk, engage me in deep conversation/lecture and beat me to work in the morning and stay later just for the upper hand.

Grinds my gears.

Like a new pet, your new deskmate must be carefully and meticulously trained. Thus far Duncan is performing well. He has made me chocolate brownie twice now, and is even beginning to grasp the art of sarcasm!

Fortunately, I am off on my next adventure soon and won’t have to put up with Duncan (he is probably breathing a sigh of relief too at seeing the end of me) or see the results of my training, but hopefully his next victim will benefit from my hard work molding him into the perfect deskmate.

C.K.

16 Jul 2010

slacker

Wow. So I haven’t written since APRIL. Disgraceful. And so much for my resolution to write twice weekly – clearly flushed that one down the giant white porcelain telephone. Anyway, I was trying to think of exciting excuses to the lack of material and here are some I came up with;


I made it into a reality tv show (insert Masterchef, Top Model, Mitre 10 Dream home here) and have been away filming and cant reveal any details as I have signed my soul away.

I am secretly a member of Daftpunk and have been away preparing for a new tour.

I am the anonymous modern street artist Banksy, and have been super busy doing some crazy political voyeur art in the Gaza strip.

I was ice skating and fell over and both hands were cut off in a horrific freak accident by an Olympian speed skater in training (a recurring dream I had as a teenager).

I have been away doing something virtuous like volunteering at a leper colony or chaining myself to a tree and throwing myself in front of diggers.

But in reality I just ran out of inspiration. Have been in a bit of a limbo phase, a friend of mine tells me she is having a “reflection year”, and I would say that kinda describes what I am currently experiencing. This is about to end with uprooting my life and moving across the Tasman to be with a human of the male species (*shock, horror, gasp*). But now these decisions have been made I seem to be compelled to write again and the dreaded writers block has vanished in the last few days! Hurrah.

So hopefully back into it in a big way and this wee blog which makes me feel like my life has substance will be enjoyed by someone out there on the interweb!

Cheerio.

C.K.

11 Apr 2010

fashion faux pa

Having never been one fussed about dressing to impress in the workplace, I am far more interested in promotion and acknowledgement based on merit rather than looking like I'm more important than I am, and blatant arse kissing. Although I work in a professional consultancy, our regional office is known to be fairly relaxed when it comes to dress. Don't get me wrong, I am not about to wear my pyjamas to work, but it wouldnt be uncommon to see me in tidy casual attire.
Unfortunately, I seem to take it to the next level in completely inappropriate circumstances; two instances in particular spring to mind;
  1. Regional Office Manager calls an unexpected meeting on a Monday after a rather eventful weekend. I am looking decidedly ratty and tired, no make up and realise I still am sporting chipped black cheap hooker nail polish that gives to added sense I must have been taking alot of drugs, raving and consequently spent a night in a gutter somewhere before crawling to work that morning. He also decided to invite the President of a national professional institute for my industry.
  2. The CEO of our 2000+ employee multinational company decides to pop in and personally congratulate me on a Charity event I ran in the previous weekend and had worked for many months organising. I had chosen this particular day to only work a couple of hours in the morning and take the rest of the day in leiu of the weekend I has just missed out on. Justifiably I was dressed in trackpants (with a hole in the knee from the very first volleyball training I ever wore them to several years ago), an old stained T-Shirt, no makeup, jandals, and my hair was in a frightful state of frizz (think Einstein then electrocute him). We chatted for about 15 minutes and it seemed to go very well, so I am praying that he simply thought I was "down to earth" and in keeping with the "relaxed office vibe".
Oh well. Hopefully, I can set a new trend and challenge my superiors preconcieved judgements about the way people look and how they actually perform! I just have to work harder.

In the words of REM " Oooh Life."

C.K.

28 Mar 2010

latest and greatest vintage finds...

Mint condition perfect fitting white LEATHER. This may have once belonged to Madonna. A steal at $25 I might add.

A second little leather number - straight from the set of Top Gun at a mere $20
Some super handbag finds.

Check the sleeves and fantastic fabric on this LBD

Home on the Range, where the deer and the antelope play...

And a new hobby, nicked from my nans (hoarding is in the blood) amazing wardrobe of goodness - this used to be my poppas : )

Feeling inspired.

C.K.

26 Mar 2010

Wilderness.

Four hour work days are so much healthier for human beings! After sacrificing my entire weekend working for 'the man' I took a wee break with two half days in a row midweek for a cleansing weekday adventure to heal the soul.

Spent 3 hours in the bush climbing up to a gorgeous and effort-worthy 106m waterfall! Hadnt been tramping in quite a while and forgot how fun it is, and if you choose a good track, also very rewarding. So lovely to get away from everything with no cellphones or instamatic electronic influences of any kind. Not even music. Just me and the BF walking and talking smack about anything and everything the whole time.

Got to thinking about fun things to do with friends without necessarily involving alcohol; a few hours walking in the bush is the best way to get back to basics as well as have some great laughs together - the bush is a perfect replacement social lubricant. No make up, a bit of sweat, a bit of dirt, some dodgy river crossings and some rain out in the wilderness might be exactly the bonding experience you and your friends need.

As well as being a healthy activity the biggest bonus is that IT'S FREE!

If you get a chance while there is still some good weather try a new trail with some friends : )

C.K.

My Kryptonite.

Im not sure what it is about Lady Gaga that makes me want to throw up so much... Never before have I had a stronger compulsion to switch the station for any other music or artist. I like to be as open to new musical influences and styles as possible and can appreciate the artistic talent in just about anything, from rock to rap to baroque to jazz to house. I just cant understand how people can think her music is even listen-worthy. I get the same feeling when I hear her as I do hearing nails on a chalkboard - makes my hairs stand on end. I can deal with her crazy unique fashion sense and even commend her for it - the girl has balls and I myself have been known to be a bit off the wall in that respect too. However, just as some have a "face for radio" the girl produces "music for the deaf".

10 Mar 2010

Oopsy. Insurance.

Why is it that I even bother with insurance - I never seem to be able to claim on the darn thing. I am currently lamenting a wee nose to tail incident which I was responsible for early in the year after recieving the bill today. The cost was $50 under my $1450 excess - I swear they failed to explain the $450 excess for being under 25 and $750 excess for being and "inexperienced driver" i.e. having my Full licence for less than 10years, when I took out the policy. Grrrr. I feel like it is only worth having the blimen cover if I write-off a new ferrari! I feel incentivised by my insurance company to do MAJOR damage to make the most of it.

If there is a next time, I plan on driving right up the cars backside for effect, instead of gently touching the bumper!

C.K.

Selfishness

My newest philosophy is "if I cant bike there, Im not going.": How flippin selfish am I! Seriously, I have a total aversion to going anywhere father than a stonesthrow from my doorstep if I can possibly avoid it. I just love home. Simple as that. As much as I enjoy travelling, I completely despise the big smoke, particularly familiar evils such as the place (with the second highest rate of respiratory illness in the world after Mexico City - although dont quote me on that) which starts with Auck and ends with land. I cant even pick what it is about going there that makes me want to gag so much other than I live in one of the happiest and most beautiful communities on the planet and am thankful for it everyday.

Anyway enough bragging. I also realised that there was a second element to my latest philosophy. I think I am becoming more selfish with my time. Rather than the yes-girl I have been in the past, I am much more selective now about who I spend my time with, and what I spend it doing. I dont feel like I am alone here and I guess most people come to a point where they realise what and who are important to them, and importantly MAKES THEM HAPPY! I am still adjusting to this new philosophy and often feel a sense of guilt for choosing one thing, activity or person over another but ultimately we only get one shot at this beautiful and way too short thing called life. And I plan on spending mine doing as much carefree adventuring, learning and sharing experiences with the people I love as possible.

C.K.

1 Mar 2010

Camping.

On Friday I was waiting for the clock to tick down so I could bolt from the cube farm, and spontaneously booked a tent site in Raglan. The Rip Curl Pro surf competition was on, the weather forecast was good, I checked with the BF, sorted a tent from my grandmother and sent a lame excuse to my Patrol captain to get out of Lifegaurding my weekend away. The stars were aligned promisingly.

Started out mid-morning in my trusty steed Trigger - the 1975 Triumph, packed to the hilt with gear and surfboards. Triggers top speed is about 80kph, but he makes it feel like 160kph due to the large about of rattling and shaking involved and the lack of power steering (parallel parking him is on a par with a Les Mills Pump Class). The alternative choice was Little Red, the BF's early 90's era Ford Laser. Little Red has skin cancer, no stereo as it was broken into outside my place a few months ago, and smells like wet wetsuits, discarded fast-food and rotten upholstery. The advantages of Little Red is that he is super fuel efficient and will go for miles on the sniff of an oily rag, and his top speed is about 97kph. Niether car is particularly roadworthy and Trigger got the nod after Little Red failed his warrant last week and needs new brake pads. Chances of Trigger being selected for this journey are a little like that of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer who didnt have a sh*t-show until there was a white-out.

Anyway, so we started out mid-morning and decided to make a detour to Matamata (one of Waikatos finest urban centres) to "have a flutter on the ponies"...aparently. Well I am not a fan of gambling, or horse racing for that matter but decided to extend the olive branch, and give it a go with an open mind due to the BFs fanatacism for it. Beginners luck prevailed and I came away even - probably due to the conservative in me. Learned a wee bit about the sport and even enjoyed myself; although I could have done with a warning about the dress code beforehand, it wasnt too big a deal. It is Matamata after all.

Arrived in Raglan. Checked into the campground, by which time we were hungry, hot and scratchy. Unpacked the tent to find my grandmother had duped us by failing to include the tent fly...I reckon she did it on purpose for a laugh but it wasnt funny at the time (me accidentally dropping his pillows in the dirt was the straw that broke the camel though) and resulted in a wee tanty from the BF who sulked and proclaimed he was off to book a hotel room. I went timidly back to reception and begged for a tent we could borrow and was fortunate they found something for us. The tent could just about fold into a matchbox. It looked like something parents set up on the beach for little kids to play in, not designed for 2 adults to sleep comfortably.
After a cold swim and some food to remedy both of our hangryness (anger from being hungry) and we cheered up and laughed it off.

Not to stop a good theme, the next day followed a similar pattern. I didnt take my phone with me so I had about 50 missed calls and messages, mostly from my mother who thought we were surely dead in the Tsunami which resulted from the Chilean earthquake. Neither of us had a clue about any threat until we were reading the sign before preceeding down to the "closed beach" with thousands of other Raglanites. ASIDE: New Tui Billboard "NZ Civil Defence Tsunami Warning. Yeah Right.". After getting sufficiently wet and sandy and sunburnt and hungry, we retreated to higher ground in search of a waterhole for a fresh water swim on our way back to Hamilton for the 20/20 (which it turns out was actually being played in Christchurch!). After about 2 hours of gravel roads and scouting dirty black cress-filled farm drains we were directed to by locals (who clearly were having a good laugh at our expense) we gave up and headed home with our backs saturated in sweat fusing to the vinyl seats in my car which has zero airconditioning or functioning fan.

yet another ben stiller movie-worthy adventure. may they always remain comic.

Mahalo.

Exhausted. C.K.

28 Feb 2010

Animals, stick men and magic carpets...

In a slew of non-work related emails regarding attending a concert at the Zoo, things got fairly elaborate and ended with us all describing one another channelling our inner David Attenborough.  So I thought I would give you a sample below;

Here is the description of me by a very old friend;
Courtz (scientific name: Courtneilious k*****tious) is a unique creature, often exhibiting more energy than an ADHD border collie. She is known for rampaging through forests, scaling mountains, running exorbitant distances, frolicking in the ocean, and her general bubbly demeanor. To observe one of these creatures sitting still is as rare as a Moa sighting. She is welcome at watering holes as consumption levels are generally well less than the rest of the wild life almost removing competition for precious liquid.

Probably on the money I reckon.

This also got me thinking about the volume of non-work related emailing that goes on. You can debate all day whether it is in addition to casual conversations at the water cooler or has nearly replaced it and may be more efficient (and much easier to monitor by Big Brother which is even scarier!). One of my favorite past-times is to use paint to produce very creative stick men cartoons...usually of the most inventive ways to escape the office when I am procrastinating and desperate to get out in the sunshine for my midday run. These have included ninjas, pirates, indiana jones style abseiling, spiderman swinging, batman flying foxes, pole vaulting, catching shooting stars, magic carpets, fairy dust, and my personal favorite - recently produced by a friend whom I often bombard with these musings - Ride a flying cannonball (see sample below)! sometimes they even involve a sidekick or team of office escapees! Give it a go and see how innovative you can be!

Over and Out.


C.K.

14 Feb 2010

gym people.

A leathery botoxed, lycra-clad woman rasps at a class of (largely) perspiring pensioners. "Start with sun salutations, progress to tai chi ball series, child’s pose, up dog, down dog, three legged dog, baby cobra, warrior I followed by warrior II, try to push your belly button into your spine and don’t forget your universe breaths" UNIVERSE BREATHS?! I’m not a big gym class attendee and the first time I heard some of these instructions I nearly threw up my breakfast and choked, holding back laughter. While the stringy seventy year olds were breezing through the moves I was sweating and cursing at the pain the evil instructor was inflicting. Saying that, I have to admit I was a convert after the first class, arriving tight and muscle-bound, and leaving bouncy and spritely.


Relatively new to the gym scene (well this one) I have noticed a few things. What is with the mirrors? Other than to make sure you have correct technique I can see only 2 other uses. Checking yourself out, or discreetly perving at the hotty across the room. It appears patrons fall into 3 broad categories. Posers, Gym-holics and Gym-bunnies. Gym-holics spend so much time there, they are often mistaken for staff. Posers are usually trying to act on a New Years resolution and it usually doesn’t last very long. They are rarely seen sweating for fear of damage to their pristine make-up or matching tracksuit. Lastly, Gym-bunnies are usually found leaning on equipment, flirting with instructors or watching E! while pretending to cycle at snail speed.

Not sure where I fit in, I am mostly motivated to go and watch Sky TV on the cross-trainer because my flatmate dominates ours...but I'm not afraid to sweat!

C.K.

13 Feb 2010

Professional Development and Nightmare Networking

After a week-long sojourn to the Garden City, Capital of the Mainland, Christchurch (aka Crime-church), I am supposed to consider myself ‘professionally developed’ and actually do my job with some sort of efficiency.

Of the 50 or so participants I was probably the youngest by a decade and a minority in that I wasn’t balding or male.

As much as I was concentrating my darndest, the gripping material only managed to keep me awake 80% of the week despite consuming my annual caffeine intake in the 5 days and developing an addiction to Red Bull in a feeble attempt to mitigate my narcolepsy. Seriously though, even a field trip by Bus ended with losing a battle to concrete eyelids and waking to a wee saliva patch on my shoulder marking where I was slumped.

We were fed, watered, tea-d and coffee-d every hour and a half as means of both brain-rest and that kind of forced networking you oft encounter in the adult world of work. Not that I am uncomfortable socialising in a ‘first day of school’ kind of way with people you don’t know, I try not to fall into the trap of those horrible comparative conversations equivalent to ‘my dad is better than your dad’ where full grown adults are trying to out do each other. I don’t think I have ever observed more ego stroking.

When awake and intently listening to distinguished looking wrinkly men in suits and spectacles I tried to make up for lost time by asking the most vexing questions I could dream up. I limited my questions to one a day so as to appear engaged but not one of those overzealous arse-kissing mature students you come across at university (there is usually at least one in every class – you know who you are!).

In conclusion, learned alot (although mostly about human behaviour and the farce that is professional networking) but the best part was walking to and home from class everyday through the leafy suburbs - it was cleansing.
 
C.K.
 
 

28 Jan 2010

home economics.

At the last few social occasions I’ve attended I have started to develop a complex about my lack of home enterprise abilities. I get lumped in with the boys when it comes to things to bring; "oh just bring some bread and meat" or, "garlic bread and some drinks" ...and if they are really pushed for choice ill get asked to stretch to a salad. Personally I never thought I had a problem with cooking but there is a general assumption amongst my friends and colleagues that I am incapable in this field. While my peers complement one another’s handmade, prepared-a-week-in-advance dessert with decadent restaurant worthy garnish immaculately presented, I get a casual "thanks for bringing the 7-up, it’s my favourite", coupled with a sideways glance at Mr Masterchef or Lil Miss domestic goddess.

So this week I decided to have a crack at my first cheesecake. It actually went amazingly well...in the trial run. Unfortunately I thought that because the first time was such a breeze (beginners luck I think), that I should make another using the same recipe and left over ingredients to take to a BBQ. I was in rather a rush but had just enough time to whip it together, freeze and pristinely decorate with fresh berries before lovingly gladwrapping.

It looked really great, and tasted fantastic but the carving and serving of the darn thing made for endless entertainment between the 6 of us - the base was like stone while the filling was not even close to set resulting in near killing each other trying to cut it up, and several matrix style dodges of airborne pudding.
I also attempted scones. Though I have made scones before and they are hardly the worlds most challenging baked good, I managed to screw the first batch up in supreme style, nearly burning down the BFs kitchen and producing little black rock cakes resembling coal delivered to naughty children by Santa rather than light fluffy snacks served with jam, cream and tea for the wealthy. Fortunately Scones Round Two - Cheese, was much more successful and I am looking forward to sharing them with my (hopefully, pleasantly surprised) colleagues tomorrow.

Ill keep trying - If only for the entertainment of everyone else!


C.K.

Take a risk.

Do something scary. I am a firm believer that age is a choice. If you feel like walking along that railing or fence next to the car park on your way to work, do it! If you feel like jumping off that high ledge into the sea, you feel like dancing like it is 1999 or singing karaoke just jump, dance or sing with all your heart. You will feel a rush that can only be the real elixar of youth. I think a lot can be learned from kids, they dont know boundaries or expectations of how they should act and best of all, they appreciate the simple things.

Never stop having fun.


C.K.

Dance Innovation. A wee bit of rural and the lasso cougar.

It seems every good time ever had in my living memory has been embodied by a particular dance move. Here is a selection from recent and distant memory...largely popularised by an eccentric friend of mine.
  • the bar stool boogie
  • the hail jesus
  • the T-rex
  • the twist
  • the hoe-down
  • the slater
  • the moa
  • dare I mention the Macarena?
  • the chainsaw
  • dice and broom sweep and something-a-rather
  • right down to the good ol' two step we all fall back on.

Picture an idyllic rural garden at a historic homestead with a lawn full of eager (mostly 65+ year olds) awaiting the highlight of thier year. A twilight summer picnic concert. Featuring idolised local celebrities such as, singing school teachers, the RSA band and some musically talented young-uns.

A unbelievable plethora of hats; faded, salty, fresh from a christmas stocking, wide brimmed to the utterly purposeless, every sports team and country imaginable represented.

By half time the sun is only just poking its head over the horizon and 90% of the audience have downed a bottle of wine and things start to get AWESOME! the oldies doing a half body seated bum dance resulting in several collapsed deckchairs, a few stumbling loose hippy looking characters swaying beneath the trees and the more audacious dancing in the 'aisles' or on top of their picnic blankets. Then one woman beat them all. Donned in a black cowgirl hat, tight long sleeved low cut black top, stonewash denim tubes and cowgirl boots, with the figure of a 20 year old and face of a botoxed 45 year old, this woman was going for Prom Queen of the night. But by god she had the most kick arse dance moves Ive seen in a while. She was quickly labelled "the lasso cougar".

Never before have I seen a more perfect limp-wristed lasso with equally well timed hip swing . It was as if she had an invisible hula hoop going. It didnt end there. She stepped it up and knocked my socks off with the double lasso! A full two arms and swirling hands in the air, going for it, completely on her own amid 500 seated elderly people. Made my week - think I will try to break out that one sometime soon, but I doubt I could do it as well as her...clearly much practice in front of a mirror.

Good times.

C.K.

24 Jan 2010

New friends.

You can never have enough friends. Sure you will always spend more time with some than others but they are all valuable no matter what level the friendship! Don’t forget you can learn something from every person you meet. Everyone has been new and alone at some stage in their lives whether at a social function, work place or new town. I’m sure we all appreciate those who have taken the time to get to know us.


A very close friend of mine (and source of much inspiration) is the master socialite. She walks into a room and sets it on fire with her energy, hilarity, ear to ear grin and enthusiasm for life. While the average night out for many is dancing holes in your shoes, sweating till you look like you’ve swum in a fountain and being dragged out of a gutter, my friend will happily spend an entire night conversing with strangers. She has a vast collection of great stories ranging from swapping sweaters with a bag-lady, sharing a cigarette with a homeless man, casually chatting to a recently released convict, as well as wooing savvy millionaire businessmen, professional sportsmen, pilots and police officers with her witty banter and warm open nature. This is quite an extreme example but we could all take a leaf out of her book and take a risk in talking to someone new. You may just learn something life changing.


I am fairly new to town and still establishing new friendships and always thankful to those who go out of their way to extend a casual invite in a place known to be quite clicky, difficult to meet people and a scene that is hard to break into. Think about when you were a kid and all it took was to sit next to someone new and you were instant friends. No pretension, no judgement and openness that us adult folk should seriously consider adopting. Its easy to play it safe with the solid friends you have - I am no proponent of losing them - they are invaluable but try extending an invite next time you meet someone new. Introduce them to some of your friends - they can only be an asset bringing new stories, insights and laughs!

C.K.

22 Jan 2010

A dose of local

Agricultural and Pastoral shows. Rural New Zealand at its best and most concentrated. Candyfloss, ferris wheels, laughing clown sideshows, dog trials, shearing, woodchopping, horseriding, home enterprise, dust, sunburn and kids on sugar. Magic.

Got some local down me today and loved every moment from patting clydesdales, checking out some live milking, and world champion shearers and axemen competing while the sunshine had a cancer party on my nose. Was a great little nostalgia fix for me being a country kid who actually once entered the home enterprise and calf rearing competitions and who for 3 years in a row brang home a purchased baby animal of some description much to my parents dismay. If you are a city kid make sure you get to one in your lifetime - you wont regret it.


C.K.

snail mail

It doesnt get much better than the delight of seeing a handwritten letter in the box with your name on it. I have recently been reaping the benefits of hard work pre christmas with about 50 cards both nationally and internationally, which I love the process of writing anyway (despite the hand cramp and concrete eyelids at ridonculous hours of the night). This week there was one from Sweden, Italy and Western Australia which was great. The anticipation before you open it. The handwriting, and knowledge that someone at the other end spent time writing it just for you is up there with the first night sleep in new flannelette pyjamas or fresh pressed sheets.
Give and you shall recieve. Try it, youll like it.
Mahalo.
C.K.

12 Jan 2010

Resolutions.

So I "resolved" to attempt to write a blog twice a week, but at least write once a week and I am not even achieving that. Oh well. I am in the testing throes of attempting to write a 21st birthday speech and the best I can come up with is an acrostic poem?! I am fairly sure that my inspiration has taken annual leave.

Ive never really understood why people make New Years resolutions other than to have something to talk about at morning tea when you get back to work - you can set goals at any time in the year. Making them while your brain is in fairyland, holiday-mode, under the influence of alcohol or the clouds of summer love is probably not the right state of mind to make promises to yourself that will be achievable and that you are actually willing to work towards in reality.

Mine tend to be the same from year to year but here are a small sample - some which I make every year and others for this 2010 specifically. They say it is good to write them down - aparently you are more likely to achieve them.
  • Be a better sister, daughter, grandaughter and friend
  • Be less selfish with my time
  • Run a sub-85 minute half marathon
  • Play my guitar at least once a week
  • Learn to play the ukulele
  • Save to travel overseas this year
  • Get back into learning and practicing my spanish
  • Get a story or article published
Well, I trust everyone is fully recovered from excess and indulgence over the holiday season and is now considering the Lemon Detox diet, Cabbage soup diet or whatever other crazy drastic measures there are out there - Note: swinging from one extreme to the other does not equal MODERATION. After suffering some extreme post-holiday blues everyday is getting slightly better - Monday was absolutely horrific, Tuesday was horribly awful, Today has been terrible but I am expecting to plateau at Bad on Friday which is about normal. Yay 2010.

Mahalo.

C.K.

in-betweeners.

At a family christmas function at my parents house last month  I discovered a new demographic group. The in-betweeners. My brothers decided that this was the ideal age-stage to be at. In-betweeners are defined by the following characteristics below;
  • No longer live at home 
  • Are a welcome and pleasant surprise when parents do get to see them
  • Don't feel bad raiding the fridge
  • Not expected to bring a contribution to dinner's
  • Happy to help themselves to the fridge and pantry and basically eat parents out of house and home
  • Entitled to make a mess and not feel bad enough to clean up after themselves
  • Unlike real guests, can sleep in until after midday, expect a cooked breakfast, have a 30 minute shower and leave wet towels on the floor and beds unmade as they borrow the parents vehicles to go to the beach with friends and return the car with an empty gas tank, wet sandy seats and discarded wild bean cartons, empty bottles and unwanted pizza crusts.
  • Not considered a guest but dont have to do the dishes either
As much as I love my siblings this is not okay and I know they are not alone in this "boomerang generation" phenomenon as my father likes to call it. As head of siblings I tend to be charged with teaching them lessons in respect - as this seems to have gone out the window now that the boys tower over my mother and she laughs when attempting to scold them.


Here is an example of in-betweener behaviour at its best, and an example of an appropriate response as head of siblings. My youngest brother asked to borrow my 1975 Triumph for his New Year road trip to Gisbourne which I gladly agreed to as any kind older sister would. On return of the car 2 weeks later - which I had to collect from said brothers work premises, the entire floor was littered with fastfood remnants, empty alcohol bottles, discarded dirty socks, wet towels and a centimetre layer of sand over everything. Oh, and there was 10c of fuel in the tank. I wasnt that worried about it, cleaned it up and asked him to put some gas in which he did later that day. I left his work after swapping cars and headed back to our family home. Upon arrival at home every door and window in the place was open, lights were all on, 2 TVs were going a computer was sitting on the coffee table running, the house had about 70 something newspapers littered everywhere and nearly every dish and utensil in the house had been used and was lying dirty somewhere between couch and kitchen.


Younger brother decided to go out that evening and stayed at a friends house without mentioning it to me so when I woke up the next day I was slightly worried and gave him a 7.30am phone call which was responded to in a rather lacklustre fashion. I mentioned the state of the house to which he seemed to a) not care at all and b) not suggest or even hint at the notion of remedying the mess he and his friends had created. My parents were due home from there holiday at lunchtime and when younger brother said he wasnt planning on being home before them I decided to take action. I collected a bleary eyed younger brother at 8am and he got off with a stern warning and lecture in respect for other peoples property  and spent the rest ofo the day cleaning with a hangover. Hopefully that'll learn him!

Mahalo.

C.K.

Responsible head of siblings.