Archive for the ‘Things I don’t like’ Category

  1. I signed up for emails from a minimalist site, and it cluttered up my inbox, so I unsubscribed.
  2. Travel photos that are over-saturated in editing, and make beautiful places look completely fake. The Cinque Terre villages in Italy are frequent victims of this; compare the different photos here and see what I mean.
  3. Or travel photos and even postcards on sale that are very obviously photoshopped. You can’t believe what you see anymore, and I hate that!
  4. The dog person vs cat person divide (though I have to admit that I’m really a cat person.)
  5. Bloggers who promote their own communities by bringing in new users, but never give back by visiting other blogs, or by paying tribute to others working in the same area.
  6. Struggling to find topics for Microblog Mondays, because it’s hard to keep a post to eight sentences.

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Has anyone noticed? I feel that suddenly, last week (or perhaps on the weekend), my WordPress sites suddenly have extra advertising. I always knew there were one or two ads after my posts, and that was fine because they have to pay for the service somehow, but now they seem to have encroached into the top of the sidebars as well, and the ads are impossible to miss. I do not like it, and yet I do not want to succumb to their obvious pressure to opt into their paid service (though that’s their prerogative, of course), thereby rewarding their strategy, and encouraging them to engage in this activity again in the future.

I’m so sick of having a hot bedroom at night, going to bed with a cold compress, and waking later feeling as if I’m having a constant hot flush, which I’m not, because that’s why I’m on HRT.

The neighbours are subdividing their section, and building their retirement home in the trees that are currently our northern boundary. It will substantially change the character of our house, the privacy in the garden/on the decks, and in our bedroom and reduce the value of our house, and I told them so because we’ve been far too nice and accommodating so far, even though they themselves are trying to take our wishes into consideration in the design of the house – except for the fact that they’re building the damn house in the first place.

More curses, because there was something else I wanted to write about, but I’ve forgotten, so I hate that too.

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Yesterday I finished a major project. It was the third of the photobooks I have created from our trip earlier this year to Iceland, the Baltic, and Norway. I’m very proud of it, as our photos from Norway in particular are beautiful. It would almost be impossible to visit Norway and come away without beautiful photos. Some of my favourite photographs were taken out the front of the car as we were driving, and some required a bit more thought or design; here are just a few.

Fjaerlandfjord, with boats in the foreground and snow on the mountains

Fjaerlandfjord, from our beautiful hotel, is the cover of our Norway photobook

A bookshelf on Fjaerlandfjord, with Boyabreen glacier behind

Mundal, on Fjaerlandfjord, is an international book town

The Geiranger-Trollstigen national scenic tourist route, surrounded in snow

The Geiranger-Trollstigen national scenic tourist route

Fb reminded me that this time last year I had already booked our flights and the Baltic cruise, and I was right in the middle of researching and planning our travel. I realised last night that, on and off, I’d spent a year planning and organising our trip, being on the trip, or completing photobooks after the trip. Of course, those aren’t the only things I have been doing, but I do feel that now I have some real space to think about other things. It’s time to move onto other long-neglected projects, and you know, that’s quite an exciting thought.


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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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  • Drivers who stop in the middle of the road with free-flowing traffic to let me (also in my car, sitting comfortably in a turning lane) turn in front of them, but they block traffic, don’t realise I can’t see the cars coming in the lane outside them, encourage risky manoeuvres (either by me because they won’t move out of my way, or by others who are inconvenienced by them), and then make me feel guilty because I get irritated when they’re just trying to be helpful.
  • Hearing someone described as a “self-confessed feminist” as if feminist is a dirty word, when it is, in fact, a recognition of past and present injustices and a desire to change that, a badge of courage and insight and hope for the future, and is nothing that needs to be confessed.
  • Going to a movie only to discover that the main character has an American accent, when it is not required for the story line (but only for marketing in the US); recent examples included Benedict Cumberbatch (an English actor) in Dr Strange (whether the character is from the US or not is irrelevant to the story), and Emily Blunt (also English) in Girl on a Train (based on an English book, set in England). Are North Americans so unaccustomed to foreign accents that the use of one will seriously affect how well a movie might fare at the box office?
  • I saw a book on sale recently with the title Inside of a dog.
  • Long-term bloggers who never ever return comments or engage in community discussions; it’s all about them, their numbers, their profile, and of course, selling their books.
  • In urban areas, birds are apparently 14% louder (than a previous study sometime some years ago I assume) to drown out city noises, and though I love that birds can adapt, I feel sad that they need to.
  • The combination of ageism and sexism.

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Whilst I usually make my own pasta sauces, I do have a favourite commercial sauce that I have been buying for some years now. It’s nothing special – a simple tomato sauce, useful for when I want something quickly. Except that now it seems the manufacturers have discontinued it, keeping the other tomato sauce (of the same brand) that I don’t like nearly as much.

I have a large blister on the bottom of each foot, developed after I a) wore relatively new sandals into the city last week, and then b) had to race back to my carpark when I realised I was running/had run out of time on the meter.

Political discussions amongst friends and their friends on Fb, whilst interesting, are going to make my head explode. I’m torn between a) reading them, exposing myself to alternative opinions but risking raising my blood pressure/heart rate/stress levels, and b) ignoring them, sticking to a variety of respected news outlets, and losing that personal understanding of politics and motivations.

This summer hasn’t really been summer for those of us in Wellington yet, as we have been tormented by spring conditions – low temperatures, and high winds.

But fortunately there is almost always a bright side, and these are:

  1. I generally like my own pasta sauces (including recipes received from fellow bloggers) better than the bought ones
  2. My blisters are healing, and I didn’t get a parking ticket, and
  3. Today is a lovely sunny day, as predicted by a spectacular sunset last night (photographed from my deck).



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I’ve often talked about earthquakes in New Zealand, especially since the destructive Christchurch earthquake in 2012, and the fact that here in Wellington we live on a major fault-line, stuck right above the boundary of  the Pacific tectonic plate and the Australian plate. It is always at the back of our minds here, and now, after a major 7.8 earthquake struck in the north of the South Island two weeks ago it has once again been brought to fore. We were fortunate to be out of town, comfortable in our bed in the gorgeous resort town of Queenstown in the south of the South Island, completely oblivious that the earth had moved so much, until we were woken by my phone beeping, with texts asking if we were okay.

I hate earthquakes, and I have ever since I moved to Wellington, so I guess choosing a house on stilts on the side of a steep hill wasn’t the wisest decision, given that it moves (as it is designed to do) and shakes in the wind let alone in an earthquake. I’m glad I wasn’t here for the rocking and rolling and shaking my friends, family and neighbours experienced in Wellington, which was still so many times better than what the residents of North Canterbury and Marlborough and Kaikoura endured, and came home to a house that came through completely unscathed, which could have been very different, as I am sure it has been (or will be) for my friend from Kaikoura who was in the US on a holiday at the time.

This time last week I was in the home of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc when I experienced a couple of aftershocks, each around a magnitude 5. I found that for the first time the shaking didn’t bother me, as – unlike any earthquakes I’ve experienced here in my precariously situated home in Wellington, or even the aftershocks experienced a few days earlier on the fifth floor of an apartment block in Christchurch –  I was staying in a single story hotel room, and felt very secure and safe so close to the ground.

As my hairdresser said to me this morning, whilst these earthquakes – so soon (in the scheme of things) after the Christchurch earthquakes) – might not have materially affected our houses, they have changed the way we think. They have reminded us to consider preparations for a repeat or bigger earthquakes, including (but not only) simple things like:

  • using Blu-tac to secure pictures or photos or other breakables in cabinets and on shelves and on our walls (thanks to my Christchurch friend for this advice), or
  • to ensure we have comfortable shoes when we leave the house (and maybe socks, so we don’t get blisters trying to walk home), or
  • the need to attach some key pieces of furniture to our walls (an example of basic earthquake preparedness), or
  • the advisability of retaining a landline and a phone that works without needing power charging, or perhaps the need to ensure that we have extra supplies of necessary medication with us whenever we leave the house, or
  • the foresight to maintain our cars with at least half a tank of petrol (gas),
  • to always have some cash in our wallets (NZers are high users of EFTPOS, and often don’t carry any cash), and
  • not to eat all our emergency canned food supplies simply because we forget or can’t be bothered to replenish them.

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