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Don’t you hate it when …

  • You come up with the perfect blog topic, think to yourself, “that’s so perfect and so obvious, I don’t even need to make a note of it,” and by the next day you’ve forgotten what it was, but you haven’t forgotten how perfect it would have been, and it still haunts you two Microblog Mondays later! (If I’m honest, I remember coming up with a brilliant post topic some years ago when I was driving home from the gym, and it has never come back … so maybe it wasn’t so brilliant?)
  • You have to admit you were wrong to your significant other, which is fine, but then they gloat.
  • You know you put something somewhere safe but then you can’t find it.
  • A young woman was appointed as the Leader of one of our major political parties, and the first questions she gets are focused on whether she will have children or not, and if that should disqualify her.
  • You get out of bed ready to go for a brisk morning walk, and it rains.
  • You can’t find the perfect hairdresser.
  • Self-doubt stops you getting where you want to go.

(The second in an occasional series)

  1. Being warm in bed listening to the rain on the roof
  2. Watching a good storm
  3. A night in with a good bottle of red wine
  4. Boots and woolly socks
  5. No guilt going to a movie on a Sunday afternoon (or any afternoon, or morning, or … )
  6. When it gets dark early you can’t see what needs doing outside
  7. Wearing layers to hide under, with lots of flattering black, is acceptable if not compulsory
  8. Knowing it’s going to end (just not too soon, please, as I’m quite enjoying it)

 

ngaio winter

Treasured possessions

Late last year I brought home some of the items I’d chosen from my mother’s house after her death, and since then I’ve been getting particular pleasure out of using a few simple, small items no-one else wanted.

  • A particular teaspoon that always used to sit in our sugar bowl when I was growing up, as we used it daily to sweeten our tea, or the porridge or weet-bix for breakfast, now lives in my own sugar bowl.
  • Whenever we had colds, a lemon and honey drink was prescribed, made with a glass lemon squeezer that was perfectly proportioned for the job at hand, unlike any others I’ve found in the 30 years since. Now though, my search is over.
  • One of the first things I learned to cook was a stew that needed to be thickened once the meat and vegetables were ready, and I would vigorously shake up a flour and water mixture in a small aluminium* canister with a thankfully tight lid, ensuring all lumps were gone, and use it to thicken the sauce smoothly. It lives in a kitchen cupboard now, and although I don’t use it very often (preferring these days to thicken by reduction, or use arrowroot or cornflour), I smile whenever I see it.
  • The glass measuring cup I used when I learned how to cook, and most importantly how to bake, now sits in the same cupboard, and I use it whenever I can, although as it predates metric measurements, I am less confident in using it for anything requiring precise amounts.

These valued inherited items don’t make me rich, but they do make me happy.

*yes, that’s how it is spelt.**
**yes, spelt is spelt spelt.

700

This is my 700th post on A Separate Life since I started this blog in January 2009. It was by then my third, no, fourth blog, after a 365-day blogging project got me hooked on writing, and an alphabetical project that saw me go through the alphabet several times here and on a travel blog. At the

At the outset, I was quite a purist and focused on words, not pictures. Since then I’ve done some photo blogging, but always with words as well as pictures. Lists, once also viewed as a cop-out, have become more frequent visitors here too. I’ve shared some good times and some of those not so good, introduced you to some of my favourite things and places, had the occasional rant, and talked about the life of a Kiwi.

But the thing that makes me happiest are the people who come to visit, the ones who have been around since 2006 or who have become regulars more recently. I’ve been privileged to share my life with you all, and hope you’ll stick around as I try to make it to 1000.

 

  • I heard about a journalist who had a gig reviewing noodle soup, was jealous, then realised I could, if I put my mind to it, do that on my own, so I’m thankful for the idea.
  • I am once again appreciating our free medical services here in New Zealand, as over the last week or so an elderly relative has been going through diagnosis, ED (emergency department), hospitalisation, x-rays/CAT scans, tests, specialists, etc. We don’t have anything to worry about in terms of cost, and can focus on her ongoing comfort and well-being.
  • This is however unlike my travel insurance, where one incident – a fall that resulted in broken glasses and smashed up face – was treated as two separate claims, and so we had an excess payable both for my glasses and my medical costs; but I’m still grateful, as I got 75% of the costs of a new pair of glasses paid. I picked them up this morning, and I still like them (better than the ones I broke), which is a relief too.
  • A week or so ago I ran into someone I used to buy a lot of clothes from back in the late 90s and early 2000s, who charmingly said that I still looked as young as when she met me 20 years ago.
  • I’m currently going through all our holiday photographs to edit and put them into photobooks, and the whole process lets me relive the experiences all over again, which is an added bonus.
  • The free time I have currently is slightly bittersweet, as neither of us has any work right now, but it means that I can have an afternoon nap later (after two consecutive nights of watching the finals of the Wimbledon singles in the wee small hours) if I feel the need, and it meant that we could sit and watch the first episode of the latest series of Game of Thrones this afternoon, and that was fun.

 

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Our social media personas

It is common to say that our personas on social media are just characters we want to be, but I like to think our portrayals on social media are simply more selective but still reasonably accurate images of our lives. That’s largely true of whenever we go out in public, whether it is to work, or with friends, or family, isn’t it? Anyway, it got me thinking about who you see when I write here, or when I am on Facebook, and how accurate that is.

  • I’m actually not Mali (well, I am on Instagram as TravellingMali, and here on this blog, but not on Fb), but I don’t hide that fact, and after all these years, that’s not a surprise to most of you anyway. (Conclusion: Accurate)
  • I’m a traveller, and a wanna-be photographer (strictly amateur though), though in reality, I wish I was a much more frequent traveller than I actually am, and of course, I wish I was a much better photographer than I actually am. (Conclusion: Accurate)
  • I am someone who enjoys drinking wine, especially chardonnay, though in reality I have several non-alcoholic nights every week (a fact I know is shocking to some of my friends), and I probably drink more sauvignon blanc or red wine than chardonnay, so when I have it, it is a real treat (and therefore is Fb-able). (Conclusion: Reasonably accurate)
  • I’m a writer on A Separate Life, though in truth I write more broadly (or perhaps more specifically) than just here, and in some places I am brutally honest, and in others I hold back on expressing a lot of opinions on a lot of subjects, but then, that’s life too, isn’t it? (Conclusion: As accurate as general politeness allows)

How accurate is your own social media persona, or do you have more than one?

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Saying goodbye is hard

I have just cancelled my gym membership. I became a member at this chain of gyms in 2004, after my former personal trainer and physiotherapist, along with one of his colleagues (and one or two former clients as investors) set up their first gym. I’ve watched his company expand and achieve success, and have worked out at three of his gyms, each with a very different character and clientele, but each with high quality staff and facilities. Their own excellent physiotherapist clinics attached to the gym facilities have treated me with injured wrists, calves, knees, and a broken ankle. And every year I have enjoyed a free birthday massage, sometimes the only massages I get these days.

But I’m not driving into the city now on a daily basis, the only suburban gym in the group – the one with the amazing views and the wonderful drive around the bays to get there – is no longer working for me, given its distance from home, and the fact that other businesses are taking up all the available (and free) parking.

I need to change my workout routine, get into swimming, and have a cheaper gym membership nearby that I can visit regularly without taking up half of my day. But right now I’m mourning the loss of my lovely gym, the friendly people staff and the other members I have chatted to over the years, the views across Evans Bay, the scenic drive I took to get there, and the cafes where I would stop for a delicious coffee on the way home.