Archive for the ‘Just life’ Category

Right Now (#6)

Reading: After months of reading very little in terms of books, I just finished Normal People by Sally Rooney, which I raced through in just a couple of days. Next, inspired by Lori’s review, and thanks to my library which bought an e-book copy only a week after I searched for it, I have started The Seed: Infertility is a Feminist Issue, by Alexandra Kimball. I’m looking forward to that.

Watching: Game of Thrones. Though I’m upset I will miss the last couple of episodes when we are away. I blame my husband for having an inconveniently placed birthday, though it is not really his fault! But also other favourites that have all been on again recently, like Killing Eve, Billions, Tin Star, Counterpart (the one where the worlds split in two).

Listening: To my Duolingo language app.

Following: The photos and tales from my sister-in-law and her family who have been visiting Japan.

Drinking: Tea. Lots of tea. Earl Grey when I’m cold, green tea for lunch, chamomile before bed, and every few days, other herbal and fruit teas to vary my liquid intake, when I’m sick of water.

Eating: Hot Cross Buns and Easter Eggs, and this weekend, for my father-in-law’s 90th birthday, slow roast lamb and a rich chocolate cake. So starting tomorrow, we’ll be able to get back to normal healthy eating.

Anticipating: Our trip next month, to two countries that are new to me, and one I haven’t visited since 1996. I’ll be excited once I get everything done here I need to do before I go!

Contemplating: What to do with relatively newfound freedom once we get back from our trip.

Loving: Autumn. More on that anon.

Still unashamedly copying Loribeth’s regular series every few months.


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I’ll probably never do it, but every time a movie or TV show ends, I’m fascinated by the company names and always start imagining what I would call something. Wine labels too now have some wonderful names, for example.

In South Australia we visited the Bird in Hand winery, and enjoyed the Two in the Bush shiraz. I have some Arrogant Frog wines in our cupboard in the room next to me, and there are countless other wine labels with fun and fascinating names, none of which I can recall right now. I always thought if I became an interior designer, I could use the mali flower, and call it Jasmine Designs. I’d like to call something after the horrible name our road was given when I was at school. Swamp Road Film Productions, perhaps?  Or Suzy the Sheep Enterprises, after a memorable pet, Two-Room School after my primary school, or perhaps Tadpole Island Wines, after a little island in a stream behind our house where my sister and I used to play. 

Do you have any secret names for great productions tucked away, at the ready, for when opportunity knocks?

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  • It’s been a weird couple of weeks. An elderly aunt (in-law) died, and we are on call to help and support her husband, who had only days before moved into the same rest home as his wife. They have no children, Chief Niece who has their POA is off on a well-deserved holiday, and so we are subbing in to help him as he adjusts to his new home and life without his wife of 59 years. It’s hard not to wonder who will help us if we get to the same advanced age.
  • A health scare was resolved quickly (and positively), then the good news was formalised in writing. Thank goodness for public health screening programmes.
  • Just two days after the relief of that, three cars on the motorway in torrential rain had an incident, and I got caught up in it. As a result, our car was written off by the insurance company. It had just turned 21, so it was time it left home anyway! It meant that we were carless in the coldest week of the year, which made shopping for cars a lot more difficult. I can’t quite work out if that is ironic or not, can you? Quick decisions are not usually our forte, but we signed up for something on Friday, just four days after the accident, and take delivery this week. Meanwhile, we were loaned a car so we are mobile once again, although I haven’t ventured out on the motorway behind the wheel just yet. After all that, I am feeling rather lucky to be alive, but not quite ready to tempt fate.
  • Daylight saving ended yesterday, so it’s almost dark at 6.30 pm which must mean summer is over.
  • Finally, all bookings have been made for our trip, and travel insurance has been purchased, so that is another huge relief. I’m working on the language of one of our three destinations, but will be able to say little more than “please show me that one,” although (here’s a hint) I might be able to read one of their alphabets. And I now have a phone that has enough storage to allow me to download Google Translate if necessary. It takes the pressure off learning a language, but also a little bit of the fun.

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Why don’t all recipes specify temperatures for both fan or non-fan bake ovens, or at least qualify which one they’ve used in writing the recipe?

Why do hotels only provide one bag luggage rack per room, when the rooms are often clearly for more than one person, with presumably, one bag each?

Why do people comment on all those posts on social media that are obviously collecting likes and comment numbers to sell off? I mean, you know don’t you that the poster doesn’t care if you can do the maths problems, or can figure out “which cup will fill up first,” and that they don’t need to ask thousands of people on the internet to find words that begin with a T and end with a T, or a name that begins with a Z?

Don’t people know that every time they respond to these inane posts or complete a quiz, they’re giving away their details and those of their list of friends, ie me? If not, how can you not know that yet?

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Apparently, more wealth means less empathy. I wonder if I should be surprised that this is news? Surely it is quite obvious?

A friend I haven’t seen since 1981 (!) has suggested we Skype. I’m thrilled but have a small degree of hesitation. How come everyone else manages to Skype with good lighting and look great?

Why is it that no matter how many pairs of shoes I have, there were none that went with my dress (for a recent wedding)? (Fortunately, I found the perfect pair that was not too fancy so I can wear them more casually too.)

Does everyone else manage to go paperless easily? I never quite trust my devices, especially when it comes to travel bookings, and whilst I might use my Air NZ app to check in and board a flight, I always have a printed copy as well.

Is anyone else surprised that it is March already? Argh. I don’t think I’m quite ready for summer to be over.

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Monday miscellaneous

I’ve been spending the last month furiously planning our next trip, only to find that we’d probably left it a bit late to start. So now we’ve put that trip on hold, and have chosen a new destination, so I am starting from scratch again. These initial phases of travel planning are frustrating, as I have to learn new geography, time zones, currencies, places. Not to mention, I have to switch to studying a completely different language for the trip. I effectively have to completely relearn a language I last studied in my first year of university. Somehow, I don’t think that the “A” I got then is going to help me much now, so many decades later!

On the bright side, though, when we do revert back to the original plan (as we fully intend to do so) I will already have 75% of the information I will need, and I know where and when we want to go, when I need to book, and when the cheap deals all come out!

On Saturday it was the third anniversary of my mother’s death. I had to spend the afternoon at a memorial function for one of my husband’s aunts. It was a lovely afternoon, remembering his aunt who was always a favourite, and seeing cousins (including my husband) get together for the first time in years. But it felt weird to be unable to honour my mother by mentioning the anniversary or by talking about her. But I knew – as set out in the Circles of Grief principle – that this day was not about me. I’m thankful I remembered that. Mum would have been proud.


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Reading: I’ve finally finished The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, which is my first book of the year and my first book in a long time. I read only half of my 30-book target last year, a dismal performance that I hope to improve on this year. I’ve just started The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq (NOT the one by Alan Greenspan! and hope it won’t take me months to finish! Blogging and family events last year really sapped me of any reading energy or motivation, but this year I am already finding that I more time and enthusiasm for books and blogs. That makes me happy.

Watching: I’ve also just finished watching The Australian Open (tennis) every night, so I’m trying to get back to a more normal daily schedule. Before I got sucked into the tennis, I was binge-watching The Good Place, a fun comedy with equally fun plot twists that was just what I needed. There’s a lot of good quality TV about to start up. There are all the Oscar films to catch too. But with the hot sunny weather at the moment, it seems wrong to hide inside in the dark to watch a movie. Mind you, we might be seeking out the air-conditioning of a cinema soon.

Listening: I’m currently listening to the audiobook of Eddie Izzard reading his memoir Believe Me. It is really lovely. He’s reading the book, but he’s adding a whole lot of spontaneous footnotes, which are funny and often really touching. I am thoroughly enjoying this as I go on my walks around my suburb’s hills.

Following: I was following the tennis. There is summer cricket on, but I’m not really a cricket fan. And I’m fed up with politics, so right now I’m just following writers and people I know and like and admire, and on social media I am following a few photographers who inspire me.

Drinking: Lots of water. Today I’ve made some fruit iced tea (or it will be iced once it cools enough to add the ice) to keep me hydrated (and to replace lunch). We’ve enjoyed some of the scrummy wines we bought when in the South Island just before Christmas too. Brennan Wines is my new favourite – they do some lovely wines, and we had a nice vineyard lunch there too. Unfortunately, they’re a smaller producer so as yet I haven’t seen their wines here. (Note to self: Must go check out some of the wine stores.)

Eating: Seasonally. And of course, at this time of year, there is wonderful produce. My favourite summer vegetable medley is on the menu tonight, with eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, and cherry tomatoes dressed with mustard and balsamic vinegar. Yum.

Anticipating: We have a wedding anniversary next week (one that ends in a five), and so we’ve booked a favourite but expensive (so we haven’t been for a couple of years) restaurant for dinner. Then a week later we have a family wedding to attend, which will be nice because I’ll get to see my two nieces who live in Australia. And we plan to head over the hill at some stage to enjoy the vineyards and olive groves with friends. So February is looking like a happy month.

Contemplating: How I want to spend (and fund) the next five years or so of my life.

Loving: The relative freedom of the warmth of summer, the ability to get out in nature (we went for a walk on a new track yesterday), and the long summer evenings. Summer in Wellington doesn’t last too long, so we’re soaking it up (whilst complaining about the heat at night) while we can.

Still unashamedly copying Loribeth’s regular series.

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