January 31, 2006

And because i hate to sermonize

Here is another photo of Jacob. You can see what he did not get for Christmas.

The smacking thing is also interesting me, because of the very small parenting practice I have had with him. And although I haven't smacked him lots, he's much too old now anyway even if i wasn't changing my views on it, i did once, we were at the beach, and he ran full tilt into the water fully clothed, maybe even a nappy on, and i chased him and gave him a sharp whack on his little arm. And he stopped in shock. And I looked at him in horror. I was mad. I was frustrated. I lashed out. But was that necessarily the best way to alter his future behavioural patterns. And does my acting in that way encourage him to respect me anymore.

He brought it up, months later, in his funny little old soul way. And it just devastated me that he remembered it the way that he did. Not in a "i was naughty and so i got a smack" way. but in a "Bridie you totally lost your cool that day" way. And he was so tiny. But they know.

to smack or not to smack?

I'm being a lot more structured in my approach to life at the moment, and I feel it's really helping me to achieve little mini-goals and I get to the end of the day and go "yes". Although i'm buggered. And i still need to read some short articles again tonight for the community meeting i'm going to tomorrow about repealing legislation that justifies parents in using reasonable force to discipline your kids. If you're thinking, well why would you want to repeal that, parents should be able to use smacking as a form of discipline, it gets a lot more involved than that. I'm still getting my head around it, cause my sisters and I were all smacked. Hell, I'd even say we deserved smacking, we fought like cats and dogs a lot of the time. But that's why it's so hard to get past, because we've seen it used by our parents (who love us) as a way of correcting our behaviour and therefore we accept it, and have the potential to adopt it with our own kids.
There's lots of reasons against it. Because in a lot of families, it goes past what i'd classify as reasonable, but it's subjective, and it appears that juries, made up of new Zealand parents are seeing real violence as reasonable discipline. I think I'll probably write more on it because it's my little project at the moment. but my biggest qualm currently is the stuff i've read from the kids perspective, how it makes them feel, how it makes them perceive their parents, perceive themselves, perceive the society we live in. It's sad.

What's not sad is i rang the accommodation service today and it appears Kelly may not be coming to live on my couch until July after all. And the boy is back from Europe in 5 sleeps after this one.

Now I have a difficult meeting at 9 and a monstrous paper to write tomorrow. As well as the meeting on the smacking. So I must sleep. As my pyjamas say: I need my beauty sleep.

January 30, 2006

A very productive day

The luminescent bride
and, our very comfortable
sleeping abode the evening
of the wedding.

I'm feeling awfully pleased with myself today. Dropped my passport in to internal affairs. Got a call from the boy in the English countryside freezing his nuts off so he could get reception to talk to me. Booked accommodation for the Bears wedding. Made more progress with one of my new years resolutions. And managed to get some work done. I'm awesome. Better go sleep so i can be equally awesome tomorrow.

January 29, 2006

Get me to the church on time

Shattered. Snuck away from work at 4 on Friday to drive with the Bears and Slee to Napier to stay at the bride's parents' home. Got up early Saturday morning after a sleep out in the lounge to continue north to Waipiro Bay, 100kms or so north of Gisborne and the bride's whanaus marae. Cute (steaming hot) little church nearby as the venue for the ceremony, standing room only in the back for us young ones. The reception meant lots of speeches, lots of singing, lots of food, lots of people, but it wound down rather early. Or maybe, exhausted from the journey there (and some of us suffering from minimal sleep from the previous night), we wound down rather early. I was disappointed about not having a dance. Got teary over the haka (rather inexplicably). Delighted when the beautiful bride serenaded us by candlelight (and at the opportunity to use my head torch) when the power went out for half an hour or so at the end of almost all the ceremony at the reception. Too chicken shit (and sober) to get up and do the karaoke. Had a good sleep in the marae up the road that night having drunk very little. The red fireman snored only briefly. Spent all of today journeying the whole way back to Wellington. Arrived home with a pink paper wide brimmed hat and a monstrous sunflower.

Was feeling just the teensiest bit wistful about the groom's apparent unadulterated adoration of his bride. Feeling slightly anxious about the Bears impending nuptials, and living up to the occasion with a speech. Thinking I probably wouldn't cope that well in a lavish ceremony of my own.....

January 25, 2006

The Dalai Lama told me

January 24, 2006

Life's a bitch sometimes. That's the best I can do. No attributable reason. Not even sure if that's a word.

a. i'm back at work
b. i finally got my passport photos, and I look bad. I knew I looked bad, but then both Bear and Laurie demanded that I go and get new photos. So I know I look real bad.
c. it is the most depressing day of the year. A scientist said so.
d. i hate how much of a quivering wreck I am in the most ludicrous situations. And the thought of not doing as much with your time on earth just cause you're scared. I actually think I'm a head case. And sometimes I wish I could just grow a pair, I truly do.

Here's a nice cheery photo of kiwigringa at the airport. We were all there before 6am.

January 22, 2006

Home to my sweet broadband

Stepped off the plane and nearly got blown over. "We're home".

Long weekend here for anniversary weekend. Thank god. One day of reprieve before the return to work.....

Photo may appear too dark to see the maniacally grinning gringa behind the wheel. Or to truly depict the sheer horror painted across the passenger's face. (Explanation below)

January 21, 2006

Still slightly dialled up, but no longer in the whops

Today I have travelled around 400 kilometres in a 1961 plasticine/blue-tak blue Morris Minor. It has a zippy motor. I think my dad, who's a diesel mechanic when he's not saving the world by producing top class progeny of the female variety, may have put a different engine in it at some stage. It apparently reaches a maximum speed of 150kmph. Not that you'd ever know, cause on the open road the needle on the speedometer swings recklessly between 45 and 70 miles per hour. The car also comes equipped with air-con, the old-fashioned kind. And due to aforementioned excessive ventilation, it's loud. It's been a while, maybe 10 years or so, since I flew in this little four person airplane from Whitianga in the Coromandel to Great Barrier Island, but I think the Morrie produces a comparable level of noise for the comfort of its passengers. As in, you have to yell at the person sitting next to you to be heard. I had an hour or so of spanish lessons in this way. The only music we had available was the tape my stepmum had left in the player, Opera. That's as clear a picture of the music I can paint in my ignorance. Some lady and some guy with wasps in their vocal cords. Sometimes I like that kind of music, in a bubblebath with some candles and a glass of wine. But it was postively absurd listening to it compete with the drone coming from the Morrie as we buzzed along the southern motorway.

We managed to stay on the right side of the road, as in the left, with Kelly driving all but a few hundred metres of the voyage. I had a quick drive approaching Auckland sista's apartment complex and decided the Morrie was no fleecey seated Terrano that basically drives itself. I haven't driven the Morrie since it was newly bought and had no brakes. And it's been awhile since I've been acquainted with a gear stick. So I left my baby sister, seven years my junior, to struggle with the tiny metal accelator biting into her jandal the entire way. With characteristic lack of communication from my extremely blokey dad (he's walking around loading up his Caldina stationwagon this morning to trek south with us, with a flap swinging out of the ass of his stubbies flashing red undies), we were forced to do some pretty dodgy manouevring in Auckland traffic. Auckland is fairly multi-ethnic, whaddya call that, cosmopolitan maybe. And you tend to hear a lot of complaints about certain ethnicities lack of proficiency behind the wheel, usually not in very polite terms. At one point, when my sister and I, two little blonde-haired blue-eyed whities, were hanging out in a lane with a green light to go straight, waiting for the arrow for the right turning lane to go green so we could squeeze in, I looked back at the vehicle we would need to cut in front of that was being driven by a Pacific Island man, and said to Kelly, I bet you that guy is thinking, bloody honkey drivers.........She laughed.

January 20, 2006

I have had the most wonderful holiday up North at my father and stepma's house. I have swum everyday, the last two in the rain. And I have so much I want to write, but I can't bear how slow the internet connection is here. I'm back down to Tauranga tomorrow travelling in a 1961 Morris Minor, should be a very slow, very noisy voyage. And considering Chile sister will no doubt insist on driving most if not all of the way, and she took off from Waipu Cove this evening (where we had been twisting for Pipis) cruising merrily up the right hand lane, this may be my last entry.

Just in case it is, I wanted to post the photo of me at the pioneering party when I'm about to have a crack at the clay pigeons with McCleod's daughters man cradling me in his arms.

But, after 10 minutes i've got tired of waiting for the upload........

January 17, 2006

Cuentas De Adas

Okay really short update - would love to post some pics. Little sister has been back with us since 6 or so this morning, she's not so much changed after 10 and a half months. But she is more her, more clearly defined, less of a girl. Yeah, all that corny stuff, helped along by some stiff spirit specific to the country of Chile which just seems like 50%strong whiskey if you ask me. My family is great though. It really is. 8 year old brother jumps from the dinner table proclaiming we needed some speeches. After putting all us women in tears I had a go at something much less prosaic and inspiring. He's amazing.

Had a beautiful beautiful swim in the ocean today. Feeling quite sun kissed at the moment.

Oh photos, paint a thousand words.

Gotta go bond. But I love you all. And will be back soon with a Chilean special I feel..........

January 14, 2006

I've got the truck and Frank's disco ball safely back to Tauranga, completely under my captaincy for the entire voyage, with Mrs Bear as navigator. I'm quite pleased with myself. We left at 7, stopped at Lake Taupo and had a swim, which was just devine. Warm enough to stay in for a good spell, with nothing but silken sand beneath your feet and no murkiness or slimey sea weed. One of us got nekkie in the water. The other experienced technical difficulties with her snorkel. Stopped somewhere else along the way and fed some horses, Bear took a fancy to one with a mohawk. Swung into Tauranga around 4.

I'm having morning tea with the former psuedo-mother-n-law tomorrow. Then me and the boys are trucking North again to stay with Auckland sister. Three more sleeps till Kel is home from Chile.

I'm tired now. Tried to upload a photo.......dial up will be the death of me.

January 13, 2006

I know it looks like i'm posing for these, but i wasn't, i was a bit scared of the undertow

I am on leave again now for ten days. Baby sister is back in four sleeps. They are having a party in Chile for her tonight (well, her tonight, which will be tomorrow morning, I'm going to try and call you Kel, but I won't be able to persist if you're tied up, gotta get on the road by about 6:30am i reckon).

Things to pack:
present for dad, stepmum and baby sister, as have not seen any of them since Christmas;
disco ball;
passport application which I still haven't got photos for.....
ipod for loooooooong road trip;
CD full of cool photos of me and the boy on holiday to show whanau;
something to read;
camera for beautiful summery shots of the peaceful seasidey town i'll be staying at;
a sense of humour, for the potent dose of family i'll be getting in the next week.

I had lunch with my very sweet friend who I met in Weir House, the student hostel I lived in for my first year at Uni. She now lives in the Hague, and studies the violin in Rotterdam. I like her, and I told her this today, because her eyes are always sparkling, she is effervescent and appears to be thoroughly enjoying life. She is bouncy, like Tigger. She has a friend over in the Hague who owns a violin that is worth 100,000 dollars. It is from the 1600s. My friend wants to get a job with the NZSO but apparently they are too cool for school now because our legislation concerning royalties means they have been able to do some recording that other people can't, and they have consequently got a name for themselves. So she might stay over there for awhile and get even more awesome. She likes it there. But it was good to see her after nearly three years, and I'm going to stay with her in the Netherlands this year! I'll get a photo of her. You'd like her a lot.

January 12, 2006

Birdlings Flat

This photo was taken the weekend we were in Christchurch. We're on our way to Akaroa at this point, and I'm wearing my favourite dress because we're going to the French farm for lunch. I got it for mum's funeral, but that's okay because I've worn it heaps of times since then, and gotten horrendously boozed in it, so it's not really a funeral dress anymore.

The beach was covered in pebbles of all different sizes, deliciously sun-baked, some of them beautiful jewelled shades when wet, jades and ambers and ivory. But it's sad once you take them away from the water, they dry up, and lose their beauty.

January 11, 2006

it's been a while since i have posted a photo

He was such a good sport about it. And i've been showing everyone. Even emailed it to his friend at work, who immediately printed it in colour and posted it up in his office.

He's gone to Europe now.

I went to listen to Holly smith at the botanical gardens tonight. I think that's her name. It was tempestously windy, spinning the coloured lights and bubbles around in a surreal acid-induced fashion. but it was a nice night. and rose is here from london, and Keren is here from the Hague.

January 09, 2006

A potential new reader

I like how the Gelatto shop was open late tonight. And how sleepy and warm Oriental Bay was. And how big and black and shiny Frank's truck was. I am developing a bad habit of thinking everytime I have to make some driving decision "I'm in a truck". They'll get out of my way, I can just drive over the curb, I can touch park. That's not true, the last one. I like the bloody pools of pohutakawa at the bottom of our steps. I like that when I cook I make enough for a family of six. Except I don't like that it's just me to eat it. I like picnics in the middle of a working day with plump cherries and muffins in the shape of teddy bears. I like being pulled across the bed at night and falling asleep in his arms. I like that I can have girlie chats with my brother's dad. I love that my little sister is home in a week. And that I will swim in tepid water at a beautiful little beach way up North. I love the freckle under his left eye. And the puff of my little brothers chest when he's playing in the sea. I love that my Auckland sister rings me at work just for a chat, and I hate that I never talk for long because I feel bad that people can hear me not working. I like it when people are crazy about something, anything that they need it, that they hunger for it, that it soothes their soul.

Oops, it's late.

January 08, 2006


Guess who's booked flights to LA, New York, London and then out of Rome to Tokyo, Bangkok, Sydney then home. We'll do all the internal Europe stuff ourselves, but we're hoping for Scotland, Ireland, Berlin, Paris, Prague, the Netherlands and a Croatian cruise. Feel free to suggest others...... I was about to crap myself with excitement when I walked out of STA travel yesterday. I still could.......

Also applied for a different job, and might start doing it bit more just for the practice.

Plus I am officially not shit scared of driving around Wellington now.

Not too bad thus far for 2006.

In news that isn't mine, but is nonetheless sincerely worthy of mention, B & J of Pencarrow biking adventure fame (see July 12 2005) are going to be a mum and dad. And I am ecstatically happy for them. B was my very first friend in Wellington, and is probably one of the sweetest people I know. She'll be a Supermum.

January 05, 2006

Out with the old.......

I've commandeered Frank's Terrano for a couple of weeks. Not that i'm really making good use of it, i'm a bit terrified about driving round Wellington. Which is ridiculous, as I'm fine in strange cities and on the open road. It's just that i've never done it here, never needed to. But as I was heading north again so soon for the long awaited return of Chile sis, it's here, parked up at the bottom of my steps.

Stopped in at the cemetery on the way back south on the 30th December to look at Mum's Kauri tree. I don't go up every time I'm back, I don't feel particularly close to her there and I'm not crazy about the bling plaque thing they gave her with a million dollar photo of her embossed on the stonework. But it would have been her 47th birthday so I popped in briefly, made sure the tree hadn't died, felt stink I hadn't brought flowers, and then ate King Prawns in her memory at the farm near Huka Falls. They were her favourite.

I'm thinking temperance and self-direction for 2006. My goal setting workshop for New Years didn't go so well, instead I ended up 4 metres from the ocean at the southern most tip of the North Island with a bottle of bubbly and an extravagant array of food. But i will be sitting down at some stage.

The Bears are newly arrived back. Mrs Bear has had her wedding dress fitting. She is nervous about our trip North because she is even more nervous about driving than me, so i will be driving 700+ kms with her for company, and because I nearly had a crash at Waihi Beach at a round about when her, her sister and Jacob were in the car. I was eating an icecream. Jake said, lucky you didn't put a dent in dads car.