Thursday, 30 April 2015

Who's a pretty boy then?

Today on the bus I was busy trying to avoid eye contact with everyone as per usual, and then I spied an interesting sight.

There was a teenage boy on the bus who was one of the most beautiful boys I have ever had the good fortune to lay my eyes upon.

He was blond, about seventeen, clear skin, chiseled jaw, face long and thin, but not strangely so.

And just in case you're wondering let me be perfectly clear. He wasn't just bus pretty. He was real-life pretty.

He was so handsome that I was too afraid to look at him too long in case he disappeared in a puff of smoke and was replaced with someone uglier who'd just caught the light at the right angle for a second.

My schoolboy fantasies were interrupted when someone in the seat behind me poked me repeatedly in the shoulder. I turned around to see who'd broken the sacred code of community travel - keep your hands, and any other body parts, to yourself - and a man in the seat behind me made a vague gesture towards the button next to him.

I intuited this to mean, could you push your button for me because mine isn't working, which I courteously did. I then turned surreptitiously to my other side to see why he couldn't follow the normal path and ask the person next to him to push theirs. It was a teenage girl. Nuff said.

Unfortunately, when I turned to look forward again the perfect face was gone. There was no chance of seeing him step off the bus either as it was crowded full of teenagers down the middle aisle; all standing and obstructing my view.

Not that I was planning on doing anything creepy like keep him in eye-shot until he turned into a driveway, and then write down the address.

I am not that sort of girl. Not any more. There was a period there, but it was a long time ago and I really wish you wouldn't keep bringing it up.

Now I'm just debating a few things about the ride home tomorrow. Do I leave work on time and catch the early bus home, or do I leave twenty minutes late in the hope of seeing him again?

Just kidding. It's Friday. I'm leaving on the dot. Besides, if I wanted to drool over pretty boys there's always the internet.

Hmmmmm. I wonder if he's on the internet?

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The perfect day

Today was the perfect work day.

I turned up. Well before time. I am so awesome at turning up to work that I almost impress myself, and I'm hard to impress.

Someone else who usually doesn't turn up turned up before me so I didn't have to walk across the office in the dark wondering if the lights were going to work today. She'd already done it. Plus, I got to say 'Hello' to someone as soon as I arrived at work.

The coffee machine was broken.

Yeah, that sounds like a bad thing doesn't it? However, it forced me to have an instant coffee instead. I make instant coffee a lot stronger, and it effects me a lot quicker, than any machine coffee could. I was bouncing.

I forgot I had a coffee, and accidentally drank another coffee.


I did some work. I took my three week old list of things to do, which had a lot of things crossed out and a lot of things not crossed out, and transferred all the things not crossed out to a new list. Last of all I crossed out the line that said 'make a new to-do list.' It was to-done.

I caught an error I'd made and fixed it before anyone else caught it. It's as though the error never occurred. If I don't tell anyone it'll stay that way.

I answered some questions. I asked some questions. I read my emails, and then moved them into folders so I can find them again in the future if I need them and can remember that they were sent to me.

I authorised some cheques. I invited a meeting room to a meeting. I invited some people to the meeting which now had a meeting room to hold the meeting in.

I printed out some notes, then walked from the printer to my computer to the printer to the computer to the printer because it took so long for them to transmit from the computer to the printer. I printed in colour even though we have a sign saying not to print in colour unless you absolutely have to because it costs four times as much as black and white. I made the call. I absolutely had to. I stand by my decision.

I attended a meeting. The meeting ran slightly over, so I didn't really have a lot of time to do anything before I went for a team-building lunch.

I had lunch. I played almost two hours of Cards Against Humanity with my team before we grew too familiar with the cards for it to be as much fun as it had started out. A team member laughed so suddenly they inhaled lemonade. I ended up coughing for ten minutes because I'd laughed so hard my lungs plain wore out.

I went back to the office, and went straight into a talk where someone who I greatly admire at work took the time to give us a wonderful and emotional telling of the life and career path she'd followed to end up in the position she's in today.

As part of that I heard someone who I consider to be wonderful talk about how she struggles with 'imposter syndrome' whereby your internal monologue tells you all the time that you're not capable and sooner or later someone else is going to spot it and you'll be out on your ear.

It made me feel better about thinking that I'm incapable and will soon be spotted.

I had fifteen minutes left during which I tried to get something done, and ended up having a long swearing session at the computer system after calling it pretty, complimenting its dress sense, and commenting on how much weight SharePoint had lost lately, failed to make it respond in a timely matter.

I walked out of the office and down the road to the bus-stop. The wind was very strong and for one second the light skirt of my dress flipped up over my head so that I was fully exposed (except for my petticoat, tights, and underwear) and for a moment I felt like Marilyn Munroe. Sexy goddess Marilyn, not depressed druggie Marilyn.

While I was waiting for the bus all the autumn leaves that have been turning red and yellow and falling off the trees were picked up by a gale of wind and spun around in a breathless circle before being flung high in the air to patter down all around me.

It was a very good day.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


This morning I was driving to work - or being driven if I'm telling the truth and I don't really feel like lying this early on because that's a quick way to lose an audience - when a disembodied voice started talking to me from the floormat.

Now, today is my Monday even though it's disguised as a Tuesday, so I admit that my head wasn't quite in the right place. Still, it seemed a bit of a drop from being grumpy about having to go to work in the morning, down to hearing an imaginary voice talking to me.

What was even creepier was that I just couldn't quite make out what it was saying. It was whispering too softly.

I tilted my head to one side, and tried to pick out one word. One word would do. Then I'd know if the voice was talking in English, whereupon I may have to start paying attention, or speaking in another language, whereupon it could not possibly be expecting my monolingual brain to understand.

Still no clarity but the voice certainly had the pattern of English. Not New Zealand English which has a sound rather like eh-eh-eh-eh-eh as we try to merge five distinct vowel sounds into one, but English nevertheless.

I bent my head closer. Surely this was the time when the words would begin to make sense and issue me with their instructions. I could barely wait. What would it be?

Kill the {insert your favourite victim of the day here}.

If a voice from the floormat tells you to do it, I've heard you have no real choice in the matter.

I sat back up as I thought of how awful that would be. Not the murdering, I'm down with that, but I hate it when people tell me what to do. A voice who doesn't even go to the trouble of growing a full grown body around itself would be no fun at all.

Then my darling spoke up and asked the joyous words, 'What's that?'

All the pieces of the puzzle came together as I realised that he couldn't possibly be prone to my auditory hallucinations. He can't even hear me when I'm talking aloud. In the same room. Directly to him.

I reached into my bag and swished around my pile of vitally important bag refuse until I located my mobile phone. I turned off S voice and made sure the on button was facing the opposite way when I tossed it back inside.

So happy I'm not schizophrenic. I've got enough voices to ignore already.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Not getting that Sunday feeling

I often complain bitterly about our current government. I'm a socialist at heart, so my voting usually leans lightly to the left.

However, today I'm rather pleased that the right wing were in office to enact the legislation in 2014 that means that tonight, despite being Sunday, I'm not getting that Sunday feeling.

You know, that sinking feeling that grows throughout the afternoon, and puts a damper on anything that you're doing in the evening.

The regret that you feel as you crawl under the covers. The list of things that you were so positive you were going to get done during the weekend but didn't even come close to touching upon.

Unless you're on a different contract and work on bizarre days and at bizarre hours (my definition of bizarre being anything outside the hours of 8.30 to 5.00 on Monday to Friday) then you'll know what I'm talking about. If you're bizarre then please insert whatever the bizarro equivalent is for you.

Anzac Day is always commemorated on the 25th April. It's the day in 1915 that the New Zealand and Australian troops landed on the beach in the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey where they would begin a two-way slaughter that ended on the 9th January 1916 in defeat of the Allied troops and the loss of quarter of a million combatants on either side.

What a great day to celebrate. Who needed those half a million people anyway.

Turkey gracefully allows the countries that invaded its borders and slaughtered its countrymen into the area each year to commemorate the campaign. Because this year marks the centenary there's been even more stuff happening than usual.

While I have the greatest respect and gratitude for our servicemen, I have to admit that I'm slightly more interested in the public holidayness of the whole thing.

Until this year if a public holiday fell on a Saturday or a Sunday, and those happened to be days that you weren't working anyway, you missed out on a holiday. Between Waitangi Day always being celebrated on 6th February, and Anzac Day always being celebrated on 25th April, there have been years where we've missed out on either or even both of them.

There was even that horrid time where the leap year in between meant there were fewer years celebrating both and more years celebrating neither.

But now we have Mondayisation. And yeah, that's a word. It may be a word that we made up because it's annoying to say things like 'the occasion whereby a public holiday falls on the weekend and therefore workers who don't work during the weekend may take the public holiday on the Monday instead' but that's just a good a reason to invent a new word as any other.

So this is the trial run. Yesterday, we have the ceremonies marking the centenary since the Anzac troops landed in Gallipoli, and tomorrow I have the ceremony marking the sleeping in of the Katherine.

Thank you National Party. Your work here is done, you may now leave the Beehive.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Pinning all my hopes

on Lotto tonight. Just sitting here waiting for the shiny balls to start jangling about in their big ball sack, before popping out the end into a little tube.

Always so exciting. Figuratively glued to the telly. Apart from taking a break to write this down right now, the screen has my full attention.

There's hosts on there at the moment, but I know they're coming. The balls of joy. The balls of happiness.

Money may not bring you happiness, but I'm kind of happy already, so making my life a whole lot easier could quite literally buy me the time to enjoy it.

Even if it doesn't work, I'd be the first to hold up my hand and say, I'll give it the good old Kiwi try.

They're spinning now. They're spinning.

If I look closely enough I can even see my lucky numbers spinning and jostling in order to make their way to the tube.

Ball One. Green 25. I have that. I'm a winner baby. Not really, I need a whole lot more before I'm even in the money, but at least I haven't ruled myself out yet.

(BTW they should definitely live tweet the Lotto numbers every week)

Okay. That was unexpected. Not the best of all things. Don't have a yellow 14.

Don't have a yellow 15 either.

Don't have a green 20; don't have a yellow 10.

Do have the bonus ball, but I've already trashed my ticket because that ain't gonna buy me happiness. It ain't gonna buy me love.

Just a minute, just a minute. I forgot there was the winning wheel number...

Oh, okay. I'll just get back to ripping up the ticket then.

Watch that happy couple spinning the wheel. $250,000. That would've been nice. Would've come in handy.

Damn you Lotto. Where's my gamblers anonymous card got to again?

Friday, 24 April 2015

Added extras

It's become increasingly apparent to me over the last couple of weeks that something has been missing in my current work in progress.

The story is pretty much unfolding in the way I kind of thought it would. Sort of. But even though all the plot points were hitting there was something a bit... flat.

Something a bit... empty.

Too many... ellipses.

A light bulb started dinging in the back of my head as I reached the half-way point and realised that no way is there enough words in there.

Usually there's more than enough, and I get the pleasure of knowing that soon after I've strained my wee heart out putting all those words on the page, I get to go through and cross at least a quarter of them out.

But if I take in the superfluous words as well, then what I have on my hands is a novella.

I don't have anything against the form per se. "The Body" and "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" are perfect examples of the excellence this format can achieve. It's just that I thought there was more stuff going on.

And then I worked out what had happened. I got the character A viewpoint, going on nicely. Got the character B viewpoint, acting in perfect harmony and coming in gently for a nice co-mingling of plots at just the right point. Ohhh sexy.

Now I just need to have that third eye watching out. The point of view that's going to corroborate a whole lot of testimony right up until the point that it actually doesn't. (Or until it does. Who can tell? You'll need to buy the book at the ever-extending release date to find out.)

It seems like a lot of extra work to be right now, but at least when that finally occurred to me, all the other troubles I'd been having on the way through started to work themselves out.

Onward, ho. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

(Unless or until I kill her off.)

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Lights out

I could sense that the day was full of possibilities when I walked into the office this morning and the automatic lighting sensors didn't instruct the lights to turn on.

The previous day we'd been warned there would be power cuts if we were lucky enough to be working at 9.30pm at night (I don't know who these messages are directed towards, but not me obviously) but the power would only be out for 45 minutes.

There is one permanently turned-on light in our office and it was still functioning, so the power still being out was quickly overturned as a reason. Luckily this also meant the coffee machine was up and running so I had a hot chocolate and a latte while I pondered my options.

A phone call to the extension of the property manager was rerouted through to a cellphone number that I wasn't expecting to be answered at 6.30am but was. I gave a startled message and then settled in to work in the dark.

It's harder than it looks.

Since High School I've had and maintained the skill of touch typing. Little did I know that my well developed and long practised skill only worked as long as I have the ability to look at the keys from time to time. Turn the lights out and I'm reduced to the good old hunt and peck.

I've long been under the impression - mainly courtesy of Hollywood - that if you lose one of your senses, all of your remaining senses are heightened to compensate.

I'm not sure why, therefore, taking one sense away from me lessens all my other senses to throw the balance out even more.

Not much of a plot to build on there, I suppose.

The incredible unable-to-see-in-the-dark girl. Watch as her skills drop away one by one.

I fared better than another woman in our office who turned up early to work to find the office in total darkness, and asked her similarly affected podmate to have a nice romantic breakfast with her. Her podmate promptly phoned her husband.

I may be a useless typist in the dark, but I still know how to hit on people.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Reverse psychology

This morning I decided that from now on I'm avoiding sugar in my diet. This shouldn't be too much of a stretch, I used to follow a low carb high fat diet and when I got my craving on I invested into a pantry full of alternatively sweetened products.

For breakfast I had a sandwich. For morning tea I had unflavoured porridge and some sugar free chocolate to flavour it. For lunch I had MSG laden noodles and some slow-roasted pork belly. For snacks I had roasted cashew nuts.

Three hours later I forgot and ate half a chocolate bunny left over from Easter.

Given my inattention it was a perfectly acceptable mistake to make. However, given the lengthy track record it follows in the footsteps of I've decided that I need to come up with a new plan. Commitment in food related matters just isn't in the cards for me.

So... I'm planning a bit of reverse psychology.

Tomorrow I plan to eat all day long. Sugar in it? Stuff it in. Saturated fat in the triple digits? Add it to the plate. Is the ingredient list a series of numbers and letters then a few words ending in -ose? I'll have seconds please.

Fingers crossed these rules slip by the wayside as easily as any other promises.

If I don't fall off the wagon from this one someone'll have to clean up my corpse in a few weeks from now.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Ahhhh... Stationery

Today I went on a hunt for a new box cutter. I thought we could get them at the supermarket, but when I searched for it on their app there was no such thing listed.

I tried under art knife in case they were being all fancy and stuff, but that didn't locate it either.

Unwilling to risk stepping inside an actual shop and encountering an actual shop assistant in my hunt, I turned to the World Wide Web in search of my prey.

You cannot buy a box cutter in New Zealand. There is not a .nz .kiwi or site listed that has a box cutter in its inventory.

And yet we do have box cutters. Maybe it's some sort of weird 9/11 thing where the box cutting industry is trying to distance themselves from terrorism (much the same way Kool Aid tries desperately to point out that it was Flavor Aid used in Jonestown people; Flavor Aid) but I finally located them under the name cutter snap blade knife.

Well that's... descriptive.

After telling this fascinating story to my darling (oh, how the long summer evenings just fly by) he went into the spare bedroom and returned with a drawer full of old stationery. There were staples, more staples, a stapler (lucky), a hole punch, a cheap compass and an expensive compass, paper clips, and a full collection of felt tip pens that despite being at least twenty years old worked perfectly well.

I clapped my hands with excitement and ran over as he excavated these items from the general mess they'd tangled themselves into.

I don't know what it is about stationery, but it always seems to make the world a better place. That, and a glass of Kool Aid while you're scoring your pork belly with a cutter snap blade knife.

Saturday, 18 April 2015


My darling and I broke up last night.

It came out of nowhere for me. His only explanation was that he wanted to chase 'other women.'

I think that was more insulting than being left for another specific woman. Just being kicked out for 'some other woman' whoever that may or may not turn out to be.

Soon after he'd told me and I'd turned my shocked self around to go to the bedroom and pack up, I walked back through into the lounge and discovered he'd taken down all the pictures that I'd painted. He'd replaced them with cheap ugly photos. They weren't even of planes - that I could understand - they were of landscapes. Blah.

I then had to listen to the tearful entreaties of his son from his first marriage, because my ex-darling had chosen to tell me he wanted me to leave on the alternate weekend that his son flies down from Wellington to spend with his dad.

Like I needed that on the same day I'd discovered that I was now forced to enter the crowded and expensive housing market of Christchurch. Just couldn't be bothered to break up with me pre-earthquake. Had to make it all inconvenient.

When I walked over the road to the park after packing, I found my ex-darling rolling around on the grass with another woman and exclaiming how much he enjoys kissing. Yuck. And then he kissed the skank some more. Double yuck.

In an act of pure retribution I marched back into the house, and returned with his son in tow. I then emphasised to the boy (yet again) that it wasn't my fault that his Dad and I were breaking up.

When I woke up I still had the bitter smile on my lips.

My darling hasn't even bothered to apologise so far because he thinks that the excuse 'it didn't happen' counts for something.

Like that's going to make it up to his non-existent son, or dry his non-existent son's tears.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Flu jabs

In pursuit of living forever I had a flu jab today. I'd booked in a few weeks ago and filled out the compulsory form at the same time as otherwise I'd forget. I was just making the guess that if I end up using the form I've not come down with a fever in the last 24 hours.

The appointments this year were unusually precise. The first time I signed up for a jab in my office - far longer ago than I wish to recall - the schedule was sometime between 9.30am and 10.30am. Maybe.

This year I signed up for my injection between the minutes of 8.34am and 8.36am. I didn't recognise the room at first because there wasn't a line of people outside sitting and waiting. Just a row of empty chairs.

Unlike last year - when apparently even random flu injectors were trying to force me onto a diet - there were lollipops. The nurse apologised for her cold hands. Apologised.

I felt guilty when I ignored her advice to wait twenty minutes to see if the injection would kill me or not before returning to my cubicle.

I made the excuse that there were first aiders on our floor, knowing full well that if there was anything seriously wrong with me I wouldn't be saved by a lot of hand-wringing and saying 'I don't know what to do.'

I survived, however.

In fact, I'd completely forgotten about the jab altogether until I lightly brushed my arm in the exact injection spot when removing my uniform this evening.

I have not forgotten since.

Still, whatever doesn't kill you should make you immune to swine flu. This year anyhow.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Candidate Challenges

Winter is in the air, and do you know what that means? Recruitment time!

Recruitment time is strictly seasonal, in that every time the season changes we need to recruit.

There was the drought of 2014 where we over-recruited and then no one left for a year, but the usual pace of life has once again caught up with our unit and we're back into the three month routine.

The best fun of all is working out the "challenge" to run in for the group activity.

We used to use the good old spaghetti, string, masking tape and marshmallow construction challenge. The leftovers were good, but the tables would get all sticky.

Then we progressed to the newspaper, Sellotape, and scissors, free-standing tower project. That's a lot less sticky (even when candidates ignore the free-standing bit and start taping the whole construction to the table) but you get blackened hands from the newsprint.

Our next option was the phone call to a toy store, where the candidate is the toy store employee and they're about to realise the toy you phoned to order is out of stock. Joyous fun ensues. But it's labour intensive.

Personally I prefer the one where all the candidates have just crashed their plane into the side of the mountain and have to make life or death decisions on what to take with them as they attempt to find help. Anyone attempting to make a frivolous choice to lighten the mood will get an instant scowl of death from his table-mates.

Maybe this is how elections should be held. We get to see a government attempting to construct a tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows, and see which side can work together the best, and which side gives up and just eats the marshmallows.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Waiting rooms

Visiting my doctor is always an experience. Since the February earthquake knocked the doctors surgery down there's been a couple of moves, so the first part of the adventure is trying to remember which road they're now on.

Then there's the excitement of filling out an up-to-date questionnaire, which I will've filled out the previous time I visited, but I'll be asked to again because along with the building they also lost all of the patient records on file, and they're overcompensating.

Once I've been formed, and seated, I then look forward to a very, very long wait because I'm pretty sure she suffers from undiagnosed chronophobia.

Luckily I come prepared. I have my phone and therefore access to hours of fun from minions and farm heroes and candy.

Today, I even planned ahead and thought I'd get a bit of blogging done while I was whiling away the hours.

And this worked a treat. Just like the last time I carried work into the waiting room because it needed to get done, my appointment was miraculously on time.

Ah doctors. Just like a good old-fashioned inconvenience store.

Monday, 13 April 2015


I spent a quarter of an hour on the phone today with the Inland Revenue Service. I was failing to order a tax pack for the year ended March 2015.

Apparently although the website for the IRD has a big sign saying that tax returns must be filed by the 07 July 2015 they have another sign which they're hiding saying you can't file them yet.

I have to wait until mid-May before I'm lucky enough to trust my ability to add and subtract to a government department.

The phone conversation was rather interesting. The first ten minutes was spent chatting with a very friendly voice robot. He would ask me a question in a lovely inquiring way, and then wait for an answer. I would answer, and then there would be a pause for long enough for me to wonder if I'd not spoken loudly enough, then he would come back on the line and repeat what I'd said and ask if that was right.

'I heard "blah blah blah blah" is that correct?'

Pause again, and then he would move to the next question. It was all a bit creepy.

After signing up for their voice recognition service so the next time I called them it wouldn't take as long, I was told that there was a queue for the next human but I could hang up now and they would call me back when it was my turn. There wasn't another option offered, so I chose that one.

The computer helpfully informed me that it would be a wait of two to five minutes before I received a call back.

The computer may be smart, but the computer be wrong.

Eight minutes passed, while I was poised to answer the phone. Eight minutes. That's more than if you added their highest and lowest estimate together.

When I pounced on the ringing phone I was looking forward to hearing a human voice at long last. Alas, it was not to be.

First of all I had to confirm to the computer voice that I was indeed Katherine Hayton and I was indeed expecting a call back from the IRD. Then I was put through to a human. Guess what he did?

He told me that he'd be able to help me with my inquiry, but first of all I needed to pass a privacy check conducted by - you guessed it - the voice computer.

It was quite a lot of computing to obtain the answer that no one could help me with anything yet.

Still, better than the good old days when a human being would answer the phone only to tell you that there was no one available and put you on hold with muzac selected by a phone company who thought mariachi was making a comeback.

Good to know my taxes are being spent wisely.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Spiders and dreams

When I woke up this morning I hastily checked myself all over to see if any of my little dream companions had made the ride through to real life with me.

Those little critters get in everywhere.

Usually my dreams are either so uneventful that I forget them soon after waking up, or so full of adventures that I have to explain them to someone in case their histories are lost forever.

But there are occasions which are quite different to either of those. These are the dreams in which I thrash about and make strangled moany noises. Note: that's according to my darling. As far as I'm concerned I'm screaming at the top of my lungs and attempting to run with legs that have been inconveniently dipped in cement.

I can't pinpoint the exact time I first had a spider dream, but they are now my constant companions. (I can remember my first nightmare, in which I was swinging out over a graveyard and then woke up and walked into a bathroom that had creatures popping out of the wall like it was a giant advent calendar. I then really woke up and determined that I would never sleep again.)

They're also odd in that they can be tacked into the middle of any other type of dream, and take it over completely. A dream about walking on the beach? Ruined by the spiders. A dream about getting something from the garage? Ruined by spiders. An awesome adventure dream involving zombies? Completely enjoyable until I tried to get through the window which was festooned with spiders.

In the scale of dream horrors, these are my definite winners.

There's some sort of sliding scale of dreams that seem to be shared widely, if not universal.

Highest up are the flying dreams. They're the absolutely ultimate best dream ever.

Down from that are adventure dreams, which come with an entire backstory and plot.

Then are dreams that disappear as soon as you wake up.

Then are the school dreams where you're trapped in high school on exam day forever. Clothing optional.

Down another rung is the poorly constructed elevator dream where you're moving between floors when all the walls of the elevator drop off and the floor tilts wildly. I don't know who constructs the bloody things, but they should find a new line of work.

Then there are the spider dreams.

There's also a lower level of dream from there, where you have a bad dream about spiders or monsters and wake up into another dream where something even worse happens, and then when you wake up properly you're so tired you fall straight back to sleep into either part one or part two and pick up where you left off.

And if you're very unlucky you reach the absolute bottom of dreaming which is where you fall asleep and something awful happens and you can hear, see, and feel everything as normal but are completely unable to move. I've only had that happen on multiple occasions over the course of one night, but that was enough.

Apparently, this is the dream responsible for the phenomena of believing you've been abducted by aliens.

I just thought I'd died and nobody had bothered to tell me.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Apple trees

Today I planted out my brand new apple tree. It's a crisp little number. Bright red and sweet, but also hardy. Perfect for lunch boxes.

There was a bit of digging at the beginning, then the slaughter of an existing tree, then a bit of sawing, a bit more digging, a bit of the old shoveling, tamping down the soil, and water.

The hardest bit by far was the slaughter of the existing tree.

It was the first fruit tree I ever planted. I chose a dwarf cherry tree from a catalogue because it's the finest tasting fruit in the world, and I marked out the perfect spot in the back garden. Full sun, and protection from the wind.

I planted it out, watered it up, spread in some fertiliser, then sat back and waited.

My dwarf cherry tree failed to thrive.

Thinking that it was a failure of the soil, or the type of tree was incompatible with Christchurch weather, I bought another five dwarf cherry trees and plant them around the side of the house. Where there's clay soil, and no sun. Rather than grass surrounds, it's moss.

Those trees thrived. To the point that I have to firmly prune them back each year in order to not have them growing through our guttering, and scraping across the spare bedroom window.

The tree out the back with its perfect positioning meanwhile? Well it half-heartedly put together a few leaves and a few blossoms each spring. By the end of summer it could usually have summoned a whole dozen leaves per branch. All three of them. And the cherries? Never had one.

So when I mentioned to my darling that what the house really needs is an apple tree and he swore I could put another fruit tree in only if I dug one out, there was never any question as to which tree would be going.

I still felt as though I was picking up the runt of the litter and drowning it in a sack as I sawed its branches off.

And then tonight on the news I see that there are sixteen hundred fruit and nut trees with their produce going begging in the red zone. If I'd held back I could've gone on a scavenger hunt to pick up my fresh fruit, rather than murder a living thing in my back yard.

Of course, then I'd have to leave the property, and that's never good. So I guess I'm standing by my decision which is always a plus when it's too late to take it back.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Breaking Bad

Over the past few months my life has been undergoing a transformation. The transformation to even-less-time-than-usual to do all of the things I really should be doing.

There comes a time in every young woman's life where she has to made a decision. And sometimes in an older woman's life as well.

I cannot do it all. I can't have a career, a second career, a husband, children and pets. It's not possible.

And yes, I'm aware that I don't have children or pets - it's the main reason I don't have a photo on the children and pets wall in the office - and my darling is still firmly against becoming my betrothed, but I do want to have the other things.

So I've decided instead of trying to do them both at the same time, I'm going to take a break from one in order to focus on the other in the hope that it then reciprocates and gives me a chance to focus back on the first.

Oh yes. I'm career breaking.

I hope it's not bank breaking.

In order to stave off debtors I'm not taking the break until the end of August, and then only for six months.

And until then I have put my credit card away in the hope that this will alleviate some of the financial stresses of not receiving a pay cheque.

The stresses of not being able to buy things in the meantime, and the toll that will take, remains to be seen.

Not to mention the stress of trying to remember that I'm taking a break not to take a holiday, but to give myself an opportunity to explore more fully the question of tangibly building a retirement career out of putting words down on paper.

Although, I guess if I get to the end of it and I still haven't written anything more down I will have answered that.

And as one of my work colleagues gleefully pointed out, either way it'll all be over this time next year.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Old timey books

When I heard that Harper Lee was going to release another novel I - like a goodly portion of the rest of the world - immediately booted up my Kindle and pre-ordered.

Fantastic fiction, elder-abuse or an amazing discovery, I didn't care. I just wanted to get hold of it. How could I resist? I'd loved To Kill a Mockingbird.

Yup. The rabid dog. The mysterious neighbour. Gregory Peck.

Wait a minute.

I eventually concluded after scouring my library and my memory (I trust the first more than the last) that I hadn't read To Kill a Mockingbird, I'd merely enjoyed the fine movie adaptation.

As a long believer in the fine tradition of ridiculing movie or television adaptations as inferior to the real thing I immediately bought the kindle version and set to work.

I don't remember the old-lady heroin addict appearing in the movie (although it has been a while so feel free to correct me) and there was a lot of use of certain words that I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to type into a blog on the internet for fear of forever making it onto some sort of list that Edward Snowden has long warned us all about, but that was a fine book.

A damned fine book (if you don't mind me cussing).

I really must pick up some more books by that author to see if her talent expanded throughout her career.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Why do holidays end?

Tonight is the last night of my Easter holidays. And once again I must ask that most philosophical of questions - Why do Holidays End?

No, I'm not really sure why it's a philosophical question either, just it sounded better than my usual whining.

Given the time I spend looking forward to holidays, they really should last longer just to recompense me for the thoughts given. If they were longer I bet I'd spend less time thinking about them as well, which would work out better for those people who don't realise that they're paying me to think about my next holiday.

I've also discovered that because I leave work extremely early, due to starting extremely early, it means my holiday ends earlier than your standard holiday-ending victim. Three-thirty is my cut off time, while there are other people I know who can sail on all the way to five before they officially count themselves back at work.

Oh, I thought that was how everyone counted the end of their holiday. Is it not? I think it should be. If the world was run by accountants, and lets be serious for a moment now because it'd be much better if it were, that is definitely how you would keep track of your holidays.

But none of that matters at the moment, because whatever may or may not happen to the length of my holidays in the future, the one I'm currently having is over.

And tomorrow may be Tuesday, but it's definitely got some Monday-like qualities going on.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Daylight Savings...

is finally over, and I'm pleased to announce that I have my hour back.

Because we're currently on Easter break, I've also lost an hour of daylight because I'm not awake when it's gained in the morning, but I'm well awake when it disappeared early this evening.

To celebrate this occurrence there was also a blood moon last night, which I was glad to see was not visible in Christchurch and therefore didn't require me to try and fail to stay awake to see. A glorious thing by all accounts by people who were located on the West Coast, and had access to a telescope.

Apparently the next month is the most dangerous time for folks medically speaking. The hour the clocks were put forward back in September may have averted a few dozen heart attacks, but that bill is about to come due.

I do wonder if all the deaths we'll see over the next month or so due to circadian disruption - not that it'll be the reason going on their death certificate - would be saved if one year we just went on daylight savings, and then never went off it.

Sure, the very nature of time itself would become a joke a few years down the track, but in the age of the internet I'm sure it doesn't matter too much that offices open during daylight hours and close during the dark. Teenagers would hate it, but since that's their raison d'ĂȘtre it may even please them in some backhanded way.

Alternatively, it's possible that I've been the victim of two-sided propaganda and no one is affected too much one way or the other. As the least exciting explanation it's probably best I left that to the end.

And now, I'm an hour late going to bed so if you'll excuse me...

Saturday, 4 April 2015


I don't feel very different than I did a decade ago.

Sure, my bones ache a bit more. Some of my joints have the broken glass addition of arthritis to them. My ankles have started to swell in warm weather.

I've also developed a special type of grunt for sitting down, and a much longer one for standing up again.

But I still didn't think I was that much different to the younger generation of people that I'm surrounded with at work.

Until a discussion about a visiting rock star began.

To be more exact, began with the word 'Who?'

Now, I accept that every generation has its own music, but there are still some names that should echo across the divide.

When someone mentions the Beatles and the Stones I don't shake my head in confusion.

And likewise I expect everybody to know who Billy Idol is.

How dare this young generation of people grow up without listening to White Wedding or Rebel Yell? How did they survive their teen years without Dancing with Myself? What other version of Mony Mony could they possibly prefer?

I could almost accept that someone may haved missed out on the musical genius that created Hot in the City, but then I discovered somebody in our office who didn't know who Baldrick was.

I've obviously fallen through some strange time-warp and ended up in the wrong dimension. Or, grown old.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Easter silence

Today was Good Friday, and it was mainly good because we get Friday off from work.

Unfortunately, viruses haven't availed themselves of the timetable for public holidays in New Zealand, and my companions have decided to continue working full speed ahead.

For the past couple of days I've had a lovely croak to my voice. It made me sound like a blues singer who'd been hanging out in smoky bars. But without the benefit of being able to sing, and ignoring the fact that no bar is allowed to be smoky anymore.

Today, however, my voice went way past sexy without passing go and without collecting two hundred dollars.

Laryngitis you are not my friend.

Each time I come up with a witty comment, or a passing opinion, I need to repeat it so many times before it's heard that all the cleverness is sapped away by exasperation.

Last year when I had laryngitis at work I made up a handy sign that said 'I have laryngitis, please don't make fun of me.' In case anyone still tried I'd written on the back 'Or I'll kick you arse.'

If I'm still having the same amount of trouble expressing myself tomorrow I may need to recreate this, or come up with a new interpretation. Something that will hammer home to my darling how much he's not funny when he's sitting there with a smirk on his beautiful face pretending not to understand.

You just wait, sweetie. You'll get yours. Tonight I'm going to wait until you're asleep, and I'm gonna cough all over you.

Because sometimes you don't need spoken words to express how you feel.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Restaurant meetings

Today we held a meeting for our leadership team. After my tirade on meetings not so long before, I'm sure you already know my opinion about the usefulness of these things, but this one was slightly different.

First of all, it was offsite so we couldn't leave and go back to our day job. Second, it was held at a restaurant which gave it a certain appeal.

This is how corporations suck you into attending off-site meetings. They make them sound more attractive than they actually are.

I arrived slightly ahead of time, which gave me a nice fifteen minutes alone in the room to the side of the main restaurant. I could've used this time to brush up on the facts and figures provided to me the day before by my manager, but I thought the time would be better spend rescuing pets. I stand by this decision.

When everyone arrived we got the meeting underway. The first thing we tried to do was close the door between the side meeting room that we'd booked for the day, and the main restaurant. It's a popular restaurant so it's fairly loud. It seemed a reasonable request.

We couldn't close the door. Apparently some workman had been in the day before to fix it, and misunderstood what "fixed" meant.

All our state secrets were being spilled in that room. We resorted to using post-it notes and whispering very quietly.

We couldn't hear each other, or read each others' writing, so if the future of our department ends up heading in a slightly wonky direction I'm afraid you'll have to blame it on the restaurant. Not the leadership team.

And in a completely different direction, check out the great daily deals on Buck Books.

Tomorrow my debut novel Found, Near Water will be featured for only 99c.

If you enter your email address on the site you can have all their new deals sent directly to your inbox each day, and never pay more than a buck for a book again.