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!


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.

12 Jan 2010


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.




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!



Responsible head of siblings.