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Archive for the ‘Just life’ Category

No matter what age we are, this statement is always true, and – as recently I’ve been strongly reminded of this fact – it is a good reminder that the things we say we hope/should/must do one day, especially those that involve others in our lives … well … we need to do them and do them now (or soon).

This isn’t a bucket list (which I can do alone, or with my husband, and includes broader activities), but is a quick list that typically comprises mainly travel adventures with people I love, that we’ve talked about for a while but have not yet managed – perhaps because we have not yet had that ever-elusive lottery win – to organise:

  • A wine trail in the Barossa valley in Australia (though organising one just over the hill has proved to be hard enough) with family – I talk about it with both my sister and my sister-in-law, and we’ll either do it with the first family who comes up with a designated driver (I’ve been waiting a long time for a niece or nephew to get their licence), or if we have to wait too long, we might have to do it alone, because the wine is too good to ignore forever.
  • Meeting overseas friends overseas – meeting unmet friends in the US or Canada or that long-dreamed about x365ers reunion in Italy, or an AFS reunion of fellow exchange students last seen (except for just a few) in Bangkok in early 1981, more likely to be in the US, but ideally in Thailand, though it would be a good idea if I started with the kiwis who live much closer.
  • Gatherings somewhere exotic (a northern beach in NZ or maybe a safari in Africa or a chateau in France) or just a big fun family Christmas somewhere beautiful (and there is no shortage of beauty in NZ).
  • A girls’ trip to Sydney or New York or Bangkok, or anywhere with some great art galleries and massages/facials
  • Write a damn book – which I’ve almost done, but the idea is actually to make it a book, rather than leave it as files in my computer, and as this is also important to other people, who have helped me along the way, I need to get it done.

What’s on your list?

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An Odd Monday

Eight things that contributed to an odd day:

  1. Not having a job
  2. I didn’t go to bed until the wee small hours the night before
  3. Then at 8 am there was the US Open Tennis Open Final to watch
  4. After that, we decided to check on Hurricane Irma, thinking particularly of several Florida friends, three of whom had evacuated from their homes and were in the main path of the storm
  5. Without a gym membership, exercise timing becomes flexible, rather than getting it out of the way first thing in the morning, and that leads sometimes to not going for a walk at all, or delaying it for the sunny afternoon
  6. Then my husband went off to play some golf
  7. All this led to me forgetting that it was Monday, lured into the sense of a relaxed Sunday afternoon, and
  8. I fell asleep on the couch. 

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Even though it is Tuesday here in New Zealand, I’m determined to get my Monday post up, and I’m grateful for the fact that the US is so far behind me, I effectively have a whole day spare to get it done.

Yesterday, I had two of the most friendly and helpful supermarket tellers I have ever encountered, and they made the whole process more enjoyable.

At the gourmet food store’s bakery section (where they bring in cakes and tarts and pies from bakeries all around the city), they helpfully had an allergy list, to help me choose a dessert for our guests, one of whom had an allergy.

As I couldn’t make the dessert myself, (as I would usually), I had the afternoon free to do other things, and finally got some house maintenance things done as a result.

The reason I couldn’t make the dessert myself was because my oven was full of my variation on a famous Stephanie Alexander 7-hour roast lamb recipe (my variation is 4-hour roast lamb), which is something I never make, as there is little call for roast lamb for two of us, so I’m grateful both for the recipe, and the fact it turned out great.

After over 20 years of looking for a display cabinet and never finding one that was just what we wanted, that would work with our décor, and that didn’t look like something our grandmothers might have had, I finally found a Doctor’s Cabinet last week that would work perfectly, and once the Husband had agreed, it was delivered yesterday.

I’m grateful that our relatives have been able to spend a month back in the city, that we’ve enjoyed lunches and dinners and cocktails with them, and lots and lots of catching up.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Wellington on a Plate this year – an annual winter celebration where most city restaurants provide special festival dishes and set menus and many join in on the popular Burger competition – as we managed to partake of several menus (with friends and family), and although we didn’t indulge as much as I might have wanted, there’s always next year.

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  • 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.

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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.

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  • 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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