April 15, 2014

Simplifying life

I'm 33 years old. I live with my fiancĂ© and our eight month old son and our West Highland Terrier in a 75 square metre 80 year old cottage that we are lovingly painfully renovating ourselves. I am a lawyer but I quit my part time job at a community law centre a couple of weeks ago and although I loved working there I have no immediate plans to go back. I don't want to put my baby in day care yet. When he starts sleeping through the night I might even want another baby. I sit in the bath with him and there is water in his eyelashes covering big bright blue eyes and I just want to hold his squishiness and caress his duck down soft head. I want to make our house a home with little things like a chalk board that says what we are having for dinner. I want to bring back to life our boxed vege gardens. I want to start planning a wedding that means something to us. I want to write and breathe and laugh. I want to nurture the parts of myself that are most quintessentially me and let my family know everyday how much I love them.

March 24, 2013

New beginnings

Sometimes I am a little overwhelmed by the furious pace of time. That my twenties have dissolved like a pair of disprin. But I am grateful for these moments too because it means I stop and breathe and look around.

I look at John just that little bit closer and memorise the profile of his face or touch him to soak up the warmth of his skin.

Or I look around at our 75m2 two bedroom 80 year old cottage that one day hopes to grow up to be a three bedroom home without the flaking lead paint on the walls (and the inclusion of a bath!) and feel like we are the luckiest people in the world.

Sometimes I notice myself hanging out the washing at our hills hoist style washing line that is probably older than I am nestled in the centre of the cottage style (euphemism for as many weeds as plants) garden we have cultivated from a totally blank canvas, and I watch our little 8 month old Westie pup gnawing on a bone under the shade of his favourite Duranta bush and feel an immense sense of inner peace.

Yesterday we had the 20 week ultrasound for our first baby. It is the third time that I have heard her little heart beat and it never ceases to take my breath away. We could see her mouth open and shut and make out the four chambers of her heart and got 3D images that give us a glimpse of the little face we will see when she is born. We didn't find out the sex. I will be ecstatic either way but I had a feeling very early on that "it" is a "she".

One of the common questions people seem to ask me is whether we were trying to conceive. I find this an incredibly intimate question and consequently I haven't felt obliged to be honest in my response. We wanted the baby very much. If by "trying" what is meant is taking temperatures every morning and expensive multivitamins with a good supply of folic acid as well as some foul tasting pond slime herbal concoction made by a naturopath that refers to herself as "Australia's baby-maker", and avoiding alcohol and caffeine and sugar and gluten and obviously having sex, then yes we were trying. But I learnt through that very trying time in our lives that there is an incredible sense of failure and grief attached to getting a period after a round of sex that is so objective-focussed that rather than cuddling or spooning afterwards, your partner lifts your hips and legs up in the air just to give "the boys" a helping hand.

So right now I feel incredibly blessed. I have had a lovely pregnancy so far, just a wee bit of nausea towards the end of the first trimester that was easily relieved by eating a lot of organic carrots and keeping my distance from anything with strong flavours. And some tiredness that was exacerbated with the heat wave we had here in January. And some over zealous yoga resulting in a strained sacroiliac joint at about week 13. Otherwise the obstetrician's words to us were that we were going great guns.

I first felt movement on the train from Roma St to Albion at around week 16. John first felt it when I was lying on our ikea couch after a day of too much sugar at week 18. And I am falling in love with my expanding bump. At first I worried how big it was how early on. And then I let lots of comments about how tiny I was make me anxious about the baby not developing enough. Now I feel proud and fiercely protective of my tummy.

John and I spent last weekend shopping for some work clothes that will hopefully take me through to when I finish. And we have a bought a second hand rocking chair and a cot and change table and bath from friends going back to the UK. We have a lot of work to do to the house to make us feel baby ready - the bathroom, internal and external painting, extending the rear deck so we have some living space, a car port, making the garden more low maintenance. But we will be ready when the time comes whether those things are done or not. The reality is there isn't any alternative.

July 03, 2012

What am I going to do with my life?

I googled that title - perhaps I am more Gen Y than I care to admit, and up popped a graduation speech Steve Jobs did at Stanford University in 2005.


This whole concept of doing what you love, finding what you love sounds seductively simple. I am in the curious position where the Universe, via my boss, has instructed me to find something to do other than what I have been doing for the past 16 months. Which don't get me wrong, stings a bit right now.

I have previously done something that I loved, that I felt really good at, that I felt added value and good to the world. I have done things that make me utterly miserable and been taken advantage of to the extent where I have packed up and walked out and never gone back. I have watched someone I love leave this Earth far earlier than is fair in any objective sense. And I believe I can say, without any vanity or drama, that I have left behind the Spring of my youth and should be rocking around in the glorious, hazy days of my Summer years about now.

So what do I love doing? 

February 28, 2011

Setting up a new life

Well, maybe not a new life. The same life in a new location perhaps? Whatever it is, there is a lot involved and not something to be undertaken lightly. However, once you find your "village" it doesn't matter if you are in a city of a 100,000 or 7 million or 2 million. You still need somewhere to put your head down at night, a hairdresser, a supermarket, and a job. I suppose many people would prioritise the job before all of the other things, and perhaps source said job before relocating in the first place.
So we left London at the end of September last year and travelled for a few months, seeing the banks of the Nile from a felucca (before the political unrest) and taking a hot air balloon ride over the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia at dawn. I kept a journal of sorts; certainly it needs some stylistic sprucing, which I may just manage to do given the current surplus of time I have in my pockets.
I like it here. I don't like how the 30 plus degree heat and 80 plus percent humidity leaves an oily slick in my T zone but I love how you walk outside at nine o'clock at night without any layers on and the air wraps around your bare skin and seeps in, relaxing you the way a warm bath does. And I like the curious bush turkeys and brightly coloured butterflies and lightning fast geckos that call to each other with noises like the clicking of an electrical wire. I am getting used to complete strangers striking up conversations about anything and everything - even on public transport. And they don't appear to be mentally unhinged! The other day a road-worker came up to me as I waited to look at a flat and asked if I needed water because I looked like I was struggling from the heat.
Of course, there was the flood, a biblical deluge for days and days and finally a slow, sinister rise in the nearby river-banks and storm water systems that might have crept through our front door if it had kept raining. As devastating as this was for many local homes and businesses, it didn't compare to the shock and scale of the earthquake in Christchurch last Tuesday at 12.47pm. My family are all well north, and noone we know has been hurt. But I couldn't leave the news coverage that was almost constant for the first couple of days. At first I had this sense of disbelief that it could happen to kiwis, in our own backyard and then I guess I recognised the arrogance in this and it was replaced with heartache, when you saw the families standing around the crumbled remains of multi-storeyed buildings, their loved ones entombed in the wreckage.
I am inspired by (and a little ashamed) how some of those people can talk openly about their loss, and remain composed and upright and determined to get through, one day at a time. As perverse as it can feel, for those that survived, life will go on.

January 31, 2010


It's funny, but even after months of R n R (not rock and roll, the other R n R) I can't quite shake off this constant internal disquiet, and i'm still sitting on the edge of my chair. Too much caffeine? Possibly.

I am exactly where I am meant to be, right now.

Like i'm waiting for something to go wrong. Like it hurts to breathe too deeply.

And I'm here, and it can be sunny and warm with clear azure blue skies and the beach at my fingertips and I'm noticing the trees are pulsating with colour and the sound of cicadas and i'm sleeping for over 8 hours every night........and I still feel like i'm missing out because i'm not at Northumberland having snow ball fights on the beach.

F*ck i'm a twat.

January 27, 2010

Things one should never have to see

Apart from how utterly impractical and unhelpful I am in such settings, another thing I don't like about terminal illnesses, is how anti-social they are. I pay a visit with perfectly good intentions, and suddenly I'm confronted with an immodest bed-sheet, and a pair of pippy-long stockings, and he wants to cut a hole in them. "Here, look at this", he's gesturing emphatically. Scissors, he wants scissors. But the scissors don't arrive on time and suddenly the stockings need to come down, in a hurry. With my assistance. And, whoa! If that thing is any way involved in my genetic make-up and existence on this planet - I don't want to see it. I don't want to have to put on my grown up face and pretend like i'm cool with it. But he broke the nurses and one duly complied with his request for an imitation fly. Mercifully, I was sent on another goose-chase errand shortly after.

So, i am now officially on holiday. I have a visa until 2013. And an Australian passport. I had a mole map yesterday and went to the dentist today. And again, my grown up face triumphed. At least, I fool myself that my wobbles weren't too obvious.

I'm drinking too much. And watching too much True Blood. We're eating salads every night and i'm trying to run. But goodness knows how I will survive when I return to a routine that doesn't involve 9am wake-ups and luxurious coffee repasts in the sun followed by lunch in front of the telly......

January 18, 2010

Current events

Things I like here:
1. Sleeping in until almost 9 am
2. A plunger of coffee to myself in the morning and in a tiny little espresso coffee so it stays hot even if I drink slowly
3. The clement weather.
4. Riding my bike
5. Not working
6. As a result of 5; having energy to devote to creative pursuits and contemplating "what it all means"
7. Reading whenever I feel like it
8. Lovey dovey phone calls and absence making the heart grow fonder
9. Making things like mini-frittatas because I don't have to worry about J not wanting to kiss me for 5 hours because I ate eggs.
10. Having Jake to hang out with because school doesn't go back until February

Things I don't like:
1. Mice, and the way that I imagine I still hear it scooting around on the kitchen bench even though Frank has put out enough rat poison to flatten a horse
2. Slow internet connections.
3. The pulsey, fluttery effect all the caffeine has on my heart
4. The knots in my back from the foam mattress
5. The way that Poppa's bloated, distended stomach reminds me of mum
6. The earthquake in Haiti and especially the looting and rioting and abhorrent way humans can treat each other
7. Jake being on the playstation all the time
8. Not knowing when my visa will arrive or when I will next be paid.
9. Flies that think they own the place
10. The things that come out of my mouth that aren't either comforting or reassuring to the dying..