leafy foreground left
leafy foreground right


Quick update before I return to regular programming…

So, my NZMM turned into a bit of a fail this year… let me share the reasons…

So, my family took a “holiday” at the end of April. We decided to drive from Dunedin to Hastings (New Zealand), because it was half the price of flying and it’s a great way to show the child the country (and see it ourselves!)

First up, we didn’t leave as early as planned due to there having been a crash on the highway we needed to take, and no detours available…

We eventually left and still got held up for an hour. Turned out to be an incredibly tragic murder-suicide… Yep. Even in NZ…

So, about four and a half hours into the journey (and about half an hour from our accommodation for the night… in the heavy, heavy rain and dark) the exhaust (with it’s newly-fitted bullet-muffler) began swinging between the car body and the drive shaft (4WD car, so it has a drive shaft)… Of course, we did not know this at the time. All we knew was that the car had begun making a horrendous noise. The car is 1996, so all sorts of things can start falling off in 2014, right? Yeah…well, considering our history with the car (for instance the engine mounting bolt that fell off just as we pulled up in Nelson – 9 hours north of Dunedin – that one time…) we were freaking out. (I was picturing the drive shaft falling free and firing the car – and all of us – from the road…)

We made it to the camp ground and our cabin in the pouring rain (surface flooding) and… managed. Got some sleep.

Spent the following morning trying to figure out what the problem was… well aware that time was ticking as far as getting to our ferry crossing on time. It was very, very wet.

Then we called Roadside Assistance, drove (carefully) to the guy on duty and got the car up on a hoist to figure out the problem. Problem identified, but not exactly fixable (just manageable), we carried on. 

Read more…Phew!

Looking forward to eating better….

I thought I might share with you my new garden:My pot garden (o;

Now, let’s get one thing straight: I am not a gardener.

However, about this time of year (summer is coming on here in NZ), I do seem to get itchy green fingers. Don’t know why. I guess maybe it’s because I’m only a generation removed from regular gardeners. Perhaps it’s still in there, somewhere.

Actually, in the past, I have had quite an interest in growing Bonsai. I guess it’s my love of nature combined with my transient lifestyle as a university student. And, even now, I don’t feel a sense of permanence here. We bought this house as a do-up-and-move-on… some 10 years ago… maybe only 9, but it feels like so much longer.

Anyway, the point I wanted to touch on was that I’m sick of paying supermarket prices for lettuce, and I’m also sick of the rather tasteless “fresh” foods we have available now. I remember much yummier veges when I was younger — and I still had to be coerced into eating them. No wonder my son isn’t interested. So, I figured it was about time we started growing our own. It’s going to be a bit-by-bit process.

In April this year, we discovered a wild-sewn strawberry

Read more…Looking forward to eating better….

[Music] I Love Randomness

For me, driving to work takes approximately 15mins, after dropping the toddler off. Yep, 15mins… and that’s pretty much right across town. That’s Dunedin for ya! I get frustrated when traffic is moving at 40K/H. Honestly, I have no idea how people cope with actual traffic jams.

Anyway, I have an MP3 disc in my car that I just have on random all the time, and I just felt like sharing what I got this morning…

I heard a total of three songs on my way to work…

First up, was

Read more…[Music] I Love Randomness

Grief … Like a rollercoaster hiding in your closet

Today is … today.

A trip to a farm. “I’m in the back of a ute! I’m a REAL dog, ma!”

It’s the first of October here in New Zealand. This morning, when I realised the date, I also recalled, of course, what tomorrow is … October 2nd. Which was, and always will be, my first dog Griffin’s birthday.

And I realised something … I miss him, deeply.

Griffin came into my life when I was a 17 year old school girl, potentially on the cusp of making stupid decisions. But I didn’t need to. I had Griffin. I loved him and he loved me, and we did everything together. I still fancied boys, but I didn’t need a boy. I had Griffin.

Every year, we gave Griffin a present under the Christmas tree. It didn’t need to be food, yet he could always pick it out. And as long as the paper wasn’t that shiny stuff, he could open it himself, too. But he would always carry it to my mum to get the OK, first.

My Pop (mum’s dad) was diagnosed with cancer soon after I got Griffin, and a year later passed. I will always remember Griffin running happily into Pop’s house, which we were staying in to attend his funeral, and running around looking for him … he was very disappointed Pop wasn’t there.

Read more…Grief … Like a rollercoaster hiding in your closet

Young Love: Spring is on its way

Garden ornament of an elderly couple cuddling on a garden bench
Love Springs Eternal

A completely un-writerly post from me. Just thought I’d lift the mood from the trials and tribulations of writing and genetics and multiplying and such, and take a moment to notice that the daffodils are making their bid for spring garden domination. See, there’s one in this photo (centre).

I noticed them the other day when I was driving home. The lovely people who keep Dunedin city’s large grassy areas trim leave the daffodils to grow at this time of year. It might not be all neat and tidy, but it’s lovely when those yellow flowers get going.

I’m looking forward to it.

Especially the smell of the jonquil variety … that’s my fave (just so as you know …)

Oh, and the toddler has Chicken Pox. Joy. (Ah well, it’s meant to be good to get it out of the way early, right?) He’s actually doing really well. I’d like a less broken sleep, though.

For you curious folk: Photo taken on a Samsung Galaxy Ace (no, not Pro), running Android 2.3.5 and editted in GIMP manually (adding layers, editting colours, adding a frame and the like …).

The before and after versions
After and Before – ’cause I’m backwards like that

A Helping Hand …

Here you go. Your chance to help a fellow writer get their book into the world.

Cover of "Ghost Hand" by Ripley Patton (cover by Kura Carpenter)
“Ghost Hand” by Ripley Patton (cover by Kura Carpenter)

Yes, Ripley has started a Kickstarter project to help get her book published at a standard she can be proud of (including professional editing and cover design – done by my fellow Dunedin Writers’ Workshopper Kura Carpenter). It’s the sort of thing I will likely have to do, too, although I think there is a New Zealand alternative (for tax purposes it’s simpler, I assume).

Read more…A Helping Hand …

Music: New Zealand Music Month – Chris Knox (Dunedin)

Well, the random number generator tells me to showcase Chris Knox. He was number 1 on my list, because I decided to do this string of posts in the middle of watching the music video for “Not Given Lightly” on a show playing artists from the South Island of New Zealand. The wonderful thing is that he is from Dunedin (my home town). And, so, I am going to throw in a new Dunedin band further down the post.

First up, I’m going to link to this video – the song only goes for about the first half, and he breaks a string! But, this one seems to have the best audio … (the original video, which is a bit average, anyway, doesn’t seem to be on Youtube to date).

And, just for fun, here is Chris’ song as sung by Neil Finn, Liam Finn and Eddie Vedder at the Pearl Jam concert in Auckland in 2009

Read more…Music: New Zealand Music Month – Chris Knox (Dunedin)