Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A small moody Mt,Vic walk, Christmas.

Christmas TreeImage by wiccked via Flickr

Here are our steps! I often talk about them so here they are. Paloma is in the fore front while Drew is the dark speck below her. The stairs weave up and around a few corners till they top at our house, another fifty or so not in this image! I know they are good for us...the kids have very well developed leg muscles!

It was raining the last Sunday. Harry and I went to the early morning market where I tested out my trolley. Deane was laughing cos he thinks only old lady's have them. But I don't think many old Lady's, or for that matter people, have to carry 20-30 dollars worth of apples, 20 kg carrots, whole pumpkin, kilo's of onions etc home, every week-then up stairs. A lot of stairs. Anyhoo, the test went well. The trolley could not hold everything, the apples filled most of it. I could actually drink coffee while pulling my load! Dragging the trolley up the stairs, while not the proverbial breeze, was definitely easier.

Even though it was raining, we decided to take the kids for a walk over Mt Vic. Drew and Rose were not happy about it at all. The black cloud they had over them nearly overcame the Wellington rain clouds. They communicated their unhappiness through no eye contact, vast bottom lips, and slow-walking diligence. I had faith in nature, the smell of the flowers, the earth, the fresh air, that they would relax and actually enjoy it. They did. It took about 35 minutes for nature to do 'its thing'. Soon they were all running around, yelling out points of interest. As we were walking past a lord of the rings filming point, they all asked to diverge into the woods. I said they could, we would wait for them, just watch out for the orcs.

It is now Christmas eve. It is raining. The kids are watching Peter Pan. They are eating junk. They love it. I am about to bake a New York cheese cake for Christmas day. Merry Christmas lovely avid readers!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How my garden grows, school holidays...

The garden is looking lush and organic. The scent of the tomato plants reminds me of sunshine and health. I just want to lie under the shade of one and b r e a t h e . Mmmmm........

I have found out how zucchini grow too...did you know zucchini grow up the flower stalk and sort of eat the flower? Amazing.

The tomatoes have begun, with their tiny green roundness...I have a feeling we are going to get an even better crop this year. The peas are pea-ing and the carrots are carroting and all is well in the vegetable garden. I am not sure when to harvest the garlic, and the potatoes haven't begun flowering yet so they aren't ready. We will soon be able to start juicing kale again, and I have sowed more kale seed next to the baby's.

I was weeding around it the other day and started to pull out some little weedy things, but they looked a bit suspect so of course (as you do in the garden), I ate one and discovered it was rocket. YUM! I remembered I had sown them a wee while ago...

Well! It was the final day of School yesterday. The kids left for school, happy they were only to be there for half a day. The babysitter arrived at 8.30am and Deane and I went for a run for an hour or so...

We returned from the run and I walked to the school for the final assembly, which went on with emotion and tears for one and a half hours. The school caters for year seven and eight, so it was the farewell to the year eights with a powhiri, speeches, songs, trophy's and certificates. I knew a lot of the kids as Drew used to be in their group. I even cried.

For me, personally, the 'holidays', (while I do enjoy the more relaxed pace..)mean that my routine is b r o k e n. Like smashed man! I have to pull Paloma out of the gym creche for the six weeks, and I have to try to get to the gym whenever I am able. Usually this means not at all. I also do not get a break from my little loves at all...and this makes me a tad crabby.

I do however, enjoy not having to get them all out of bed, and nag them into readying themselves for school.

All of a sudden, I am going from having four kids in one school to - one in high school, one in intermediate and two at primary and one in kindergarten! They are all on the cusp of change, and I have to grow with them...gotta love this parenting stuff. Its helped me, and continues to make me grow emotionally and spiritually. I am always questioning my motives, beliefs and stuff that is hardwired into my brain but might not necessarily be the correct thing to do....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The staff party, the boat engine and the beach.

An end of year 'staff party' for house wives was held at our house on Friday. I organised one last year too. Over half of the 'staff' consist of short people under the age of twelve. Consequently, the bill for fish and chips is quite high but alcohol quite low. The short people tend towards fighting, but the taller people end up louder and sometimes dance on the bench. I am the CEO, and my friends label themselves however they feel at the time. Nobody wants to be receptionist or cleaner. We are all 'bigwigs' man!

I bought a box of french champagne, and a few punnets of strawberries. I forgot to buy cognac to soak the strawberries in, but I found some ruby port, dusty, hiding in a cupboard. I soaked them in that and dropped them into the champagne....was yummy but not so good in speights beer. (We now buy speights beer since doing the Coast to Coast-speights was the sponser and poured it freely down our throats...).

Deane was away for the weekend, he toddled up to Auckland to pick up a one tonne engine (for the steel hull blah blah), and in Tauranga, he picked up a half ton gear box (to go with the one tonne engine for the blah blah). While the cats away...etc..

The staff party ended with the last drunk person sliding down the stairs at about 11...(not hurt, really, but down 135 stairs on ones' bum is not good for designer pants...)

The day following was a very relaxed day. I did not argue when the kids quietly said they would much rather not go to athletics. I was tired, and the car still has no brake lights...still waiting for a switch from france for our german car...

I read most of the morning, and the kids happily played computer games, read, and generally enjoyed an athletics holiday.

Later on, while I was chopping up potatoes for a dinner of home made chips, Nica phoned. We talked for about an hour, then she asked: "what are you making for dinner?"

"Chips" I replied

She said she was grilling fresh fish for dinner, I exclaimed, "Fish?", so of course we ended up at her place for a dinner of fish and chips. While I was talking to Nica, Julia happened to walk in the door with a bottle of wine so she came for dinner too. Another party. Three adults, nine kids. The odds are it wouldnt be a quiet night.

Julia walked home with the kids and I at about 10pm. She slept on the couch after talking to me while snuggled up in my bed till about one a.m.

Just like old times huh!

Deane woke me at three a.m when he arrived home, and dropped unconcious into bed beside me. He had been driving for about ten hours, pulling one and a half tonne.

I woke at about 7.30, too shattered to go to the Sunday morning market.

I asked Deane what he was going to do with the engine, he replied,"...put it in the boat shed", I asked,"how are you going to do that?"

"...with a crane"

"Where are you going to get a crane from?"

"umm...I bought one.."

I could barely get out of bed to make the coffee, I was laughing so much. He told me not to laugh about a crane that I own half of. (Hahahaha, I now own a crane!..she says in a sing-song..slightly hysterical voice..)

Deane consequently spent all day moving the boat guts into the shed, while Julia and I walked the kids to Hataitai beach. It was a wonderful day, the kids went swimming, Julia sunbathed in her weeny bikini and I lounged beside her in my jeans, t-shirt and sunblock...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Raisin juice anyone?

Grimacing head No.Image via Wikipedia
Raisin juice. Yep..I read about it and did it. I soaked two cups of raisins in water over night in the fridge. I forgot about them until the following afternoon. Reuben was visiting, so I told him I would make him a raisin juice. (I swear I saw him gulp.) I drained the raisins an put them through the oscar juicer. They made a disgusting mushy sound like someone eating cheese, or worse, a banana. We ended up with a small poo coloured cup each. I saw Reuben looking at it suspiciously, but he downed it anyway. I discovered raisin juice is not a juice one can drink fast. If it was fermented it would make a great liquor. I also think it may have been better diluted...maybe one part to ten parts water. I even forgot why exactly raisin juice is good. I think its choca full of iron. We chugged down the juice anyway, grimacing and laughing. I made us both a huge carrot, and spinach juice after as a reward.

For more on my week, go to

Monday, December 8, 2008

Birthday, barracuda and the long walk....

Harry enjoyed his eleventh birthday on Saturday. Deane took him and six of his friends, plus an extra dad, and Reuben out on the Ngaparata. The chugged for an hour and tied up at the wharf in the city-from there they went to the intercontinental for Harry's favourite buffet breakfast. Apparently the boys loved it and a great feast was had! One of the boys, (another Harry), did the weirdest combination, (according to the intercontinental staff). He was walking back to the table with some toast he had just toasted and spied the yogurt. He loves yogurt, so being ten, he piled it on his toast.

After they had their fill, I'm guessing over their fill, they walked back to the Ngaparata and after sailing for a while, stopped and fished for about two hours. We were blessed with an absolutely perfect day here in Wellington. The fish were biting, and something was biting the fish...Deane thought there may have been sharks. One of the cod they caught was bitten in half as they hauled it out. (two and the half came home..the other Harry took them home for his mum.) They caught a few Barracuda, which are disgusting 'cruel rat fish'. Deane always cuts them loose.

Back at home, the girls and I made Christmas cards, decorations and Drew made gingerbread cookies to give as presents to her friends.

The following day, we decided to take the kids for a wee walk around the Karori Sanctuary perimeter fence. It is about a 12k walk. It was yet another beautiful Wellington day, with just enough breeze to refresh. We started the walk about 11am. The kids were pretty grumbly about it. My children would happily entropy if I let them. Anyhoo, we began at the three year olds pace of course. We were all slathered in sunscreen with a dollops of sunhats. By the time we were half way around, most of the kids were enjoying it, although finding it challenging. We carried two camelpaks of water, nuts, raisins, bananas and nectarines. These were all gone by the time we hit the creek!

The three younger girls and Harry all ended up shirtless, Paloma did the last 4k on my and Deane's shoulders. Harry still wants to run it with me and I think he could actually. It is a tough walk with ample steep gritty hills to slip on/off. The majority of the walk is in exposed to full sun, sort of like a desert track, two parts are wonderful forest, one zig zags down to a small creek. We arrived back at the car at 3.30. We drove to the Brooklyn dairy and the kids dined happily on ice cream, sports drinks and chips. They said they 'sort of' enjoyed it.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Athletic kids, and the ignorant gardener

Harry and Izzy had their first inter club athletic meet today. Here is a photo of how Izzy felt about it all!

My contribution for the day was cooking sausages during my rostered time. Yes..I was the vegan sausage sizzle chick. It was mayhem, that is, we ran out of bread, onions, then last but not least, sausages. Oh, and don't forget serviettes. The wind turned them into serviette confetti, so we ran out of them too! We ran out of people to 'person' the shop, so Drew and Rose volunteered and happily took orders, tended money and were generally extremely helpful. It ended with four of my kids scoffing the last four sausages...and we closed sausage shop.

On a different note, my garden is growing magnificently! The tomatoes have begun flowering, the peas, beans and sweet peas are flowering and reaching heavenward athletically. The zucchini are doing whatever it is they do, not having grown them previously - I am not sure what they do next...I mean, where does the actual zucchini sprout from? Oh! the bliss of the ignorant gardener!I have also planted cucumber and capsicum ; am waiting to see how they grow...a bit like. Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?...Mary replies, I don't bloody know...

Anyhoo 'tis all an important part of my cliched life is a garden. I am tending my plants, my relationship, my children and Sisters, my house, my painting, my spiritual, physical, emotional self...we will See how it grows...

More on my very interesting life on

Friday, November 21, 2008

"I didn't do it".

Bart SimpsonImage via Wikipedia This journey through Motherhood, has me on my knees. No, not begging for more-but begging for a holiday. I think a month would do it. Okay, maybe two. I walked out this morning to the kitchen, (5.15am) to the jumble of the night before. A dinner plate on the couch, a cup on the floor, random teaspoons and forks placed anywhere but the dishwasher. Lettuce on the table, a rotton apple in the sink. (The compost bin is not an easy enough below..) There are rabbits face down under the table, a dog behind the horrible chair and Paloma's 'blanky' on the floor near the door.( No body could find the blanky last night.)
The washing basket is on the ugly blue couch and the clean yet unfolded clothes are piling up on the space-wasting treadmill behind it. My Mother eye follows the general mayhem of my house. As Bart says, 'I didnt do it". And the children will all be in unison with him. They didnt do it either.
Yet... I have to clean it up..again and again and again. And this is why I need a 'break'.
I feel a need of a mental,spiritual feast, where no small person is going to ask me where their sock is while I am meditating, or ..thinking..or trying to be. I feel a bit wrung out. I understand I am not actually wrung out...the feeling is all of my creation. I take full responsibility for it-I also take full responsibility for fixing it. I guess this is why I am in this state -of-mind. I have not taken a break for a lot of years, in fact the longest I have been away from the mess and my little loves, is while I was hurtling myself through the 267kilometers of the COAST TO COAST race in Febuary. What a holiday!..Yes it really was..loved it. But a yoga retreat sounds good to me now. At the moment.
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Zen with Catherine

Zen GardenImage by euart via Flickr

Attempting to be 'Zen' about life, I realise I don't really know what it meant. Really. I have thoughts and feelings of what I think it means i.e; I will be calm and 'in the moment', (all of the time). I would lose my desire for..well...what ever it is I desire. Which leads me on to the topic of what it is I actually desire. Here goes: Hot chips on Fridays, a studio, time, money, a nanny, a house cleaner, a car that works, a life full of good hair days, to run each day, conquer my fear of the Waimakariri, bigger house, half acre vegetable garden, garden shed, shiny stuff.

I don't see anything wrong with all of the above. I guess it's my state of zenlessness. I want all that stuff and I want it now, (except the hot chips which I will want on Friday night). Not included in my list of desire is Love. I have that.

On a different note, (life in real time that is), I have just got off the phone with one of the teachers at the kids school. She informed me that a reliever (teacher) had seen a nit in Rosie's hair. The teacher sounded a bit nervous and giggly. I asked her to repeat what she had said. She did and said,'oh no, must be time for treatment again!', attempting to make light of it I guess. Poor thing. The thing is, I (yes..yes..make it all about ME..blah blah)..anyway, 'I' have had it..up to here..(hand saluting the sky..) with nits and every one that trys to give me advice about what to do. The so called 'remedies' I have listened to I could write a boring book about. (I wont). Drew bought nits home from school the day she started about seven years ago and they have been our wee pesky pets ever since. In fact, the day Paloma was born, she came home and Izzy said, (looking at her quizzically) ..."has she got nits yet?". I replied, "No", but knew in my heart it wouldn't be long.

And Yes...(for all you worry wart readers who are about to phone child welfare and send me to prison)..we keep the 'pets' under control with what I have found to be the best solution for us.

Life is a bit of a jumble at the moment..(it is momentary, I will accept the 'jumble' and let it pass). I am dropping things, slicing my fingers, grating my fingers, and generally may hemming it up a bit. will tell you a great story of me being Michael Angelo.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Wedding photos, Halloween, gale force breeze

Above is the littlest goth on the evening of her first Halloween outing! The twelve year old dressed her, 'blood' oozing from the corners of her mouth, white face, with a bag at the ready. They all marched down the streets prying lollies from the house holders of Hataitai. Her cute factor worked and they returned sugar laden and jittery about one hour later. One of the challenges of a larger family is..(wait for it)...the amount of lollies that come into the house on Halloween! I try to hide them, donate them, dump them; while the older kids are attempting to squirrel them away from me. Lets call it 'the lollie dilemma'.

The morning following Halloween, I eagle eyed them as they drank green juice to counteract the sugar. I do not know if it worked but it made me feel better.

The line of kids are, in order, Rose, Harry, Paloma, Drew and Isobella. They were waiting for us to arrive so they could walk with us, up the aisle to where we were to be married. They all look lovely shiny and clean! It is not often they are sparkling at the same time so I love this image!

As for 'normal' life, well-I have only meditated once in the past month, my running has turned sporadic disappointing non-story, and as an artist-I am non-existant! I have hope that Deane will build my studio on the section. He actually bought the windows for the studio last weekend. They are leaning on the outside wall of the house...umm..well they were-until the 140kph gale force 'breeze' flipped a few of them on their faces. Yep...I like pieces of glass..there are so many mosaic. I guess I could match the shards up with the broken le chamba wedding present and make a lovely gift for someone. Maybe Julia.
On a political note, (but it feels personal?) I am Happy Mr Obama won the American election. It was absolutely historic, it bought tears to my eyes. For some reason- I have hope. Weird huh!
And here I am sharply changing the subject-(because apparently it isn't good to talk politics);I am enjoying delving into raw food and juices and noting the way it all makes me feel. I have more recipes and experiences at

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cuban coffee, more on the digger

Cubitta cafe (Taranaki street, opposite Les Mills extreme) is most definately the best little cafe in Wellington. They make a perfect short black, soy latte, soy flatwhite, long black and their hot lemon juice is pretty good as well. (The afore mentioned are the ones I regularly inhale). Cubitta charges at least fifty cents less than everyone else and cubitta fluffies are big, chocolaty, and free. The cubitta people always smile and dont seem to have the attitude a lot of cafe workers do. (confession: I worked in cafes for around 10 years and I realise I had 'the attitude'...). The only coffee to have is a good coffee and this is most definately a place to get yours. And NO! I do not know the owners or have part shares in the cafe or the coffee they use. By the way they use their own cuban blend.

As for life, the digger incident continued on, ( )Deane fired it up (finally) and drove it up the terrace which took all of 25 minutes but on his way up, the 'neighbours' surrounded him and heckled him and called him names and took photos. They really stressed him-and we are still trying to figure out what exactly led to this 'mob' action! Shame on them! Maybe it is a pack sort of excersise, one neighbour sparked the others?; they were bored on their long weekend off?; they dont like us? I could go on, but I think it all has to do with individual frames of seeing and being (living)-NOT the actual 'digger incident'. It is just a digger after all. Driving a digger up the terrace was just a bit different. (Bring on white middleclass New zealand!!).
The incident made me question my self. If someone was doing something I was uncomfortable with-would I let them 'be', or would I let them know and turn up with sticks and stones?. Certainly, if the 'something' was going to harm my kids, I know I would be vocal, but the 'digger incident' was not harmful to anybody else.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

healthy food, rescue coffee, broken stuff

What a weekend of broken things and 'mishaps' it has been thus far! (read about the digger at ). To begin with, Isobella somehow dropped my brand new unused la Chamba square baking dish onto the floor smashing it into about fifty broken hearted pieces. Julia had given it to us as a wedding gift not even one week previously. I was so angry I could not speak. I swore. I cried, but whatever I did/do, the dish is till in pieces.

I made the kids promise not to tell Julia. I think she would be more upset than me. (But if she reads this,... ummm...)

We had the pleasure of Deborah staying with us for the first two days of the labour weekend so she was witness to all the mayhem around us. Never one to shirk, she and I cooked amazing feasts through it all. I made a beautiful white bread dough,shaped it into four substantial sized pizza's, threw canned spaghetti and grated cheese on two, and tomato paste, sun dried tomatoes, capers, capsicum and grated cheese on one, the remaining one I stretched to the max and smeared it with ample truffle oil and a sprinkling of maldon salt. The kids wolfed the spag pizza down while the adults ate vegetarian curry and raw cabbage coleslaw (hold the mayonnaise, add a mystery 'Deb' Thai dressing.) I bought the vegetarian pizza out from the oven,followed by the truffle oil bread, hot, piquant, enticing!. I could not resist! Neither could Deborah. So there we were, two wheat intolerant scoffing white flour bread...but my god! It was the perfect balance of truffle to salt to thin base.

I paid for it later, sore tum, slightly sad.

After the la Chamba incident, Deb and I and Harry went to the Yatra-photos of India (Karim Sahai) photographic exhibition in the Michael Fowler center. I enjoyed the images, but we had arrived a tad too early and the images were not completely installed. We only had a small window, so missed a lot. On our way home, the Pajero stalled about nine times. just stopped. I think it has something to do with the battery. I can't drive my VW because we are waiting for a switch to arrive from France to enable the brake lights to work.

The following morning, I dressed for a rainy cold run and actually persuaded Deane to run with me. It was a short, invigorating run around our 30 minute block. Once home I made Deane and I and Harry and Drew a juice (with my new OSCAR juicer!) of carrot and garlic. Harry and I then, warmly dressed- drove to the Sunday morning market. We were there by about eight a.m and got the perfect park. It was reminiscent of our winter mornings. Quickly we gathered our fruit and vegetables. Harry scoffed his pain au raisin and I waited patiently for my coffee at espresso rescue. They make a good strong coffee, worth waiting for on a Sunday morning. On our heavily laden way back to the van, a particularly strong gust blew coffee out of my cup! Harry was laughing as he supped his hot chocolate using me as a wind break.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Food, and the sweetness of the honeymoon...

Above is the surprising waterfall, my famous (in my head) seaweed vegetable salad. And the mmmmmm...chick pea and roast pumpkin salad, in the salad bowl that Russell gave us for our wedding, beautiful isn't it?
Here, on the left is the wonderful carrot beet salad with ripped greens, chopped spring onion (from the garden). We had this, and other dishes for dinner with the extended family the night before the wedding. Read about the fabulous wedding in my blog

After checking in to the Wellington Intercontinental hotel at about eleven thirty the evening of the wedding, we made our way up to the fifth floor in the lifts leaving a trail of coloured tinsel. We both took off our dresses and collapsed in a heap on our bed. Then it was morning.

Breakfast saw us dining like royalty in the chameleon restaurant. I breakfasted on freshly sliced fruit and raw nuts. The coffee sort of sucked but I didn't mind too was my honeymoon after all.

We toddled home to the house full of kids, Elaine busy with the dishes. We packed for our ski trip to Whakapapa, made a few phone calls, paid a few bills, cuddled and kissed lots of short people and we were soon on our way. I drove. I like driving. An uneventful five hour road trip.

The Ruapaehu district is stunning. We went for a short hike ending up at a surprising waterfall...
The snow was low over the mountains, the sun shone, and the Chateau beckoned. We drove the smelly old van up to the gracious entrance doors of the Chateau. After throwing our shabby assortment of bags out, Deane drove through to park while a concierge carefully lifted the shabbys onto a trolley. A deodorant fell out of a plastic bag, a running shoe out of another. Mr concierge did not blink. The two days we had were a blur of skiing, soft hiking and eating great food. On our arrival back to Welly, we dined at Logan Brown. My God! The chefs of LB are the best! I totally did not live up to my food ethic. My downfall began with a round smidgen of some sort of piquant soft cheese topped with the most delicate sliver of salmon and something green. Then I opted for an entree of teeny paua ravioli with shards of toasted potato sprinkled over them like gold. I followed this slice of heaven with a main of salmon and seasonal vegetables. Now! I know that sounds boring, but Logan Brown salmon and seasonal vegetable is anything but. So there I was, eating dairy, and fish, and cooked vegetables. I wholy enjoyed the food. And the icecream afterwards.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

raw organic seaweed salad..the best!!

Yum!! I just made the best seaweed's the recipe:

  • put a cup of organic Arame seaweed (mitoku macrobiotic japan) in a small bowl and soak in not too hot water for about 20 Min's. (I guess any dried seaweed would do, but their tastes do differ.) Drain the soaked Arame in a sieve then chuck it back in the bowl.
  • Splish a medium amount of organic shoyu (a naturally fermented soy sauce) over it, add raw sesame oil and voila! Talk about yummy! fact it was so yummy I ate the whole cup so I made some more for dinner.
  • The second time though I added a taste of sexy black truffle oil and threw in chopped spring onion. The truffle oil - seaweed combo was glorious!

This is a raw food recipe, so easy. I havn't done the nutritional break down but it feels damn good. Go on!! Try it!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

wedding squirrels, marriage tests, watercress salad.

Here I am at one of my 'offices', organising the wedding with my sister. The princess was flying around and about..spilling drinks, chocolate smeared on her face. Yet! I appear so calm. (?!!)

O.M.G! I do not want to organise a wedding ever again. Thank god..that's the whole point of marriage isn't DON'T have to do it again! It isn't like there is a lot to do..i mean; there is and there isn't!..i think the wearying aspect is trying to remember the little things and it is always niggling away at my a little nibbling squirrel with a nut...nibble..nibble..nibble..

You get the general idea.

I dropped the four kids off at laser force this morning at 9. They were really enthusiastic about spending four hours playing game machines etc. They were offered the whole morning by friends who own the place...(i didn't say no). Then the princess and I went to 'births,deaths and marriages' and picked up our marriage license. I cant believe they give out license's for marriage without some sort of test...or course. For example, a course on anger management may come in handy, or perhaps a communication course. A wee emotional IQ test that a couple could take together to see if they match up could be applicable. What about a house keeping course? I also have an idea that it would be a good thing to sit down and talk about your individual beliefs about money-this is a big one...bigger than most of us credit.

After picking up the license, the princess and I drove around and finally found a park in town and I carried her on my shoulders, (the poor thing 'cant' walk, she says..shes 'toooo tired..') to the jeweller. I picked up my shiny wedding band (thin white gold) and my repaired necklace. We then (as one) moved on to a cafe; espresso republic. The staff their never fail to be friendly, no matter how many kids troop in, and the coffee is damn good! After we slurped down our coffee and fluffy and heart shaped shortbread, we footed it to the car.

After the supermarket run, I was waiting at the lights and a man pulled up beside me and informed me that my brake lights were not working at all and that I had..'better be careful cos a car is gonna go up ur arse..". I thanked him as I sped off with the car trimming flying in my face..(car trimming is surprisingly hard to repair. Its not just about glue apparently!).

We picked up the kids, three of them decided to walk to tepapa and then home by themselves so it was just the ten year old and I (and my side kick).

We dawdled home.

Last night for tea Drew made macaroni cheese which I supplemented with a huge watercress and spinach salad, peeled sliced raw zucchini and a cooked tomato sauce. Surprisingly, the zucchini was a big hit, I had scantily splashed some lemon juice and smoked paprika over it. They scoffed the lot. Nearly all of them tried the watercress salad but found it a bit hot! Watercress is quite peppery which was really lovely with the coolness of zucchini.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

unhappily cleaning the toilet, school holidays

School holidays are here, along with the rain. Yesterday, the kids were watching t.v, on the playstation while I was cleaning the house, in so much as it allows itself to be seems to drop items off bookshelves, return odd bits and pieces to place's whence recently 'cleaned' from. The house wets its floors and smears god-knows-what in weird places. The house likes to scruff it up a bit. I, on the other hand, am the cleaner. And it makes me mad. I put things in their right places, five minutes (give or take) the 'things' are back like I have never moved them. I wont mention the toilets. Okay...I will. Why is it that cleaning the toilet is like the green flag for everyone in the house to line up to take a dump in it? Try it at your house...go on. Clean the toilet beautifully and wait. Pretty soon you will have strangers banging on the door asking to use it.

Anyhow...I was cleaning up, a hopeless tedious sort of work, so I wasnt in the best of moods. I told the kids that they must clean their bedrooms before they spent anymore time in front of the t.v or computer, or playstation. They all turned sour. Like adding lemon to cream. It was a swift change. They did the passive aggressive thing, the outright angry thing and I was the cause of all of their unhappiness's. Paloma was fine. She played with the olive oil and discovered how to switch the tap so as to let the oil drip...drip...drip. (I discovered this about three hours after her discovery.)

The kids were so 'unpleasant', I tucked Paloma into her wee bed for her nap, grabbed my bag and left. All I heard as I was scarpering was a startled chourus of, "where are you going?"etc.

I went to the aptly named Salvation (our local cafe) and had a soy chai latte, read the paper and gathered myself.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vodka, celebrants and middle class authenticity!

We met our celebrant last night. She arrived at the front door, huffing and puffing, remarking about the steps up (as people do...). I poured her a vanilla vodka, she drank it as we talked. We are 'cutting it fine' but we are nearly sorted as far as the wedding organisation goes. By the time the celebrant left her face was flushed and she was a bit unsteady on her feet. Straight-up vodka will do that I guess.

After a good running week last week, I haven't run at all this week. Apparently it is unwise to run for a week after a chemical face peel ( ) because, they said, the sweat forming under the layer of dead skin can cause an infection. Barbaric huh!

Not being able to run, or work up a sweat in anyway is the worst aspect of having my face peeled.

I have not been very successful at eating raw this week. I have been having fruit salad for breakfast (with coffee). Twice this week, for lunch I have been to Maranui cafe and had salad. Yesterday the salad was wonderful - Puy lentils with walnut and fresh herbs. However, most of the maranui salads are cooked and the one that is not has feta in it. I still believe Maranui and Deluxe cafe make the best cafe food in Wellington by far.

I did a ten minute meditation this morning. This is good as I have not meditated for around three weeks.

One of my goals for this week is to be authentic, that is, to trust my intuition. I will do what feels is the right thing for me to do. I have made a decision to be myself and not cave to the heavy hand of middle class western socialization. Hows that!? (I am so white and middle class - a stay at home mother to boot. I find it ironic - I am also planning my wedding. I, however, have the degree in 'women's studies'. So I know where I am 'placed' in life. Ha!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

five runs down and its only thursday...

(Sailing for a three year old...)

Five runs!..and its only Thursday! That's my total since Monday. I did two runs on Monday and am planning for a second run today. I was pounding the pavement at 5.40 this morning. The birdsong was so amazing I didn't take my ipod with me. That time of the morning is pretty special-its all new, fresh and holds promise. I got home, the family still silent. I stood beside Deanes sleeping body and tapped his arm and yelled, "tag!". I told him it was his turn to go for a run. (I had informed him that I would be getting him up for a run after I had returned from mine, the evening before - I don't think he took me seriously.)

I had a wonderful juice last night. I juiced organic carrot, beetroot, garlic, apple and kale. Feels so good and I think the juice maybe off setting the coffee. I had four coffees yesterday-not good but could be worse. Obviously.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Attracting Boat hulls...the perfect nano second...

It was good, arriving home from our Christchurch 'boat' holiday.

We undertook the long journey to Christchurch because my love had bought yet another boat (a 55ft steel hull actually..that's it..a hull.). He needed to measure it up to start figuring out how to begin the ten years of building it will take to complete the thing.

I do not like boats yet they seem to be taking up more and more space in my life. Is it because I spend mind time disliking them so they manifest around me?

I accept that boats will be in my life - I just want time/space for me - too. I've read that... 'the more you can control your attention the more you attract only the things in your life that you really want'.

Does that mean I really want my life to consist of cleaning a house, a never-ending laundry pile, organising children, and all the little things that by themselves take up barely anytime but together take a life time! What is it I 'attend' to in my life that I am attracting...well, that is pretty obvious...with five children - this is the way it is at the moment. (However I do wonder if my life should be so enveloped by everybody else...)

Anyway, our arrival home was a beginning. I found it very difficult to continue raw food, running, meditating while on holiday, so it was with renewed even desperate focus I was to 'begin' living again.

The parts of my life I can do are running, eating well, and reading, (... reading in 'sound bites'). On Monday morning I woke early and ran out into the dawning day -beautiful!. I ran for thirty minutes feeling okay. After the kids had gone to school, Paloma and I headed to the gym and creche. I had a satisfactory weights workout, leg tingling so.

The afternoon went as afternoons do and then I took Drew to my singing lesson which it turns out wasn't on. This gave me time to do a small supermarket shop and once home, I went for my second run of the day at about 8.15pm.

The favourite part of my run was the perfect nano second. It was, as I rounded a bend... here it is..the perfect moment...the moon brightly reflected off the rippling sea on my left, while Dido played on my ipod. She sang out with the lyric..."its not so bad.." just at the point I was running the bend. (Dido Thank you No Angel) Yes, I know, Dido is surprisingly good to run with. Especially at night - you should try it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

blowing the raw food diet, Izzy reads Baxter.

I STILL have not a camera. If I had a camera, there would be a large bright image of last nights dinner - the colours were glorious. Imagine; colours of grated beet with carrot (madder rouge &rouge de cadmium clair in my paint box) piled next to pilaf the colour of turmeric- interspersed with pistachio (hints of bright green). To make the colours even more astounding, I had made a chickpea-pumpkin (mustard with bright yellow) salad with a sun dried tomato dressing. This was laced with freshly torn coriander. My raw food diet 'suffered' a little. The 'cooked' looked so inviting with the 'raw'-I ate the lot.
I ate too much.
The kids didn't seem to appreciate the colours as much as I, sort of 'ho-humming' my exuberance. All they wanted to do was eat I guess.

I discovered Baxter. James K Baxter. What a poet! I occasionally read poetry to the kids at meal times-just to add to the fun of it all. I have read Hone Tuwhare and Jenny Bornholdt to them. They seem to appreciate it and they make up poems for me.
So, last night it was J K Baxter's turn. Izzy read out this poem in her wee seven year old voice, (she chose it):
The Lion Skin
The old man with a yellow flower on his coat
came to my office, climbing twenty-eight steps,
With a strong smell of death about his person ("Yucky!")
From the caves of the underworld.
The receptionist was troubled by his breath
Not every morning tea break (The other kids started leaving the table about here, but Izzy was resiliant and kept reading...these 'hard words')
Does Baron Saturday visit his parishioners
Walking stiffly, strutting almost, ("whats a baron?")
With a cigar in his teeth-she might have remembered (ooooo..smokings bad mum..)
Lying away as if nailed by a spear
Two nights ago, with the void of her life
Glassed in a dark window-but suitably enough (Izzy starts mumbling-clearly bored but happy to please me..)
She preferred to forget it.
I welcomed him
And poured him a glass of cherry brandy,
Talked with him for half an hour or so,
Having need of his strength, the skin of a dead lion,
In the town whose ladders are made of coffin wood.

The flower on his coat blazed like a dark sun. ("can I have a banana?")

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Broken camera, feel good run, a sufi poem.

The camera is broken. It will cost $145 -straight up- just to get it sent away to be examined. The guy said digital cameras usually cost an average of $320 to repair. Our camera looks like it has been thrown around a bit..(kids use it, I will blame them), so I figured it's not worth the money as to get a new one of the same will cost $400ish. Damn! Now we need a new camera.
Today Rose and Izzy are home. They are not sick-sick. They are in recovery. I juiced beetroot, carrot and apple and made them drink a glass each. I have been giving them vitamin C and making them wear hats. (I am such a Mother. I smile to myself wryly...).
Harry and I went for a run on Wednesday night. He ran the entire 4 kilometers. I am grateful Harry seems to be taking health and fitness 'on board' and I'm happy he wants to run with me. (What a great boy! What a lovely Son I am blessed with!).
I left him at our stairs and I continued on for another 5k. The run felt the best it has for a while. I think the 80/20 raw food is making a huge difference to my energy levels and physical being. (I 'be' better!.)
Last night I did not run because I had to take Harry to his Intermediate School open evening. Except we arrived and the school was enveloped in darkness. The only traffic around were cars leaving. So Harry missed out 'cos I got it wrong!! I don't often get dates mixed up. He wasn't too upset, Drew keeps him up to date with what happens at the school anyway.
In trying to be conscious of my reactions to my children and the reasons behind those reactions, I am finding out more about them as the individuals they are. It is an interesting process. I feel I am more kind to them and myself. I am growing as a person, as a parent.

Rumi: say I am You (a sufi poem)

I am dust particles in
I am the round sun
To the bits of dust
I say "stay"
To the sun
"keep moving"
I am the morning mist
and the breathing of
I am wind in the
top of a grove
and surf on the cliff
helmsman and keel
I am the coral reef they
founder on
I am a tree
with a trained parrot
on its branches
and voice
The musical air
coming through a
a spark of stone
a flickering in metals
both candle and
the moth crazy around
and the nightingale
lost in fragrance
I am all orders of
The circling galaxy
The evolutionary
The lift
and the falling away
What is
and what isn't
you who know Jelludalim
you the one in all
say whom I am
say I am you

Monday, August 18, 2008

...selfish Mother, good's all in a day...

Today Rose is at home with some sort of sinus infection due to bad hay fever. I, selfishly, had been running around organising the other kids to school, dressing Paloma for creche, cleaning the breakfast dishes- all so I could get to the gym for my workout!. I had phoned the school to let them know Rose would not be coming in. I was going to go to gym, put Paloma in the creche and buy Rose a hot choc and cake while she waited for me at the gym cafe - that was the plan anyway. I finally slowed down a bit to notice that poor Rose was wilting even though professing to wanting to go out. I realised she was just saying that to please me-she could see I wanted to go out. I had a stab of mother-guilt and taking her shoes off, (we were all ready to walk out of the door), I told her we were to stay at home. Her face sort of melted with relief as I cosied her up on the couch with blankets and pillows. She fell asleep.

My kids teach me how to be a 'good' Mother.

Friday, August 15, 2008

wedding, raw food and rabbit in sauce

The wedding venue is confirmed and paid for so...thats it folks! We are being married on October the 12th. Phew! Thats off my mind. Now all I need to organise is the music, my dress, the girls dresses and kilts for Harry and Deane. Oh yeah...and the celebrant. Haha.
My raw food way-of-life is going well. A few nights ago I had a cooked vegan meal. It was really lovely and did not affect me in any noticeable way. I am eating about eighty percent raw. My need for coffee seems to be turning into just a 'want'.
Paloma wasn't well enough to go to creche or kindergarten. I took her to the Doctors on Monday morning resulting in the diagnoses of a strep throat. Poor baby! She mooched at home for three days, drinking her medicine, watching t.v, having cuddles and sleeping. Izzy joined her on the second day complaining of a sore throat. I think Izzy was faking it though.
This of course meant I did not get to the gym or go running during the day for three days.
Yesterday Paloma was well enough so I took her to creche, I went to the gym and did a good weights workout. Then she galloped into kindergarten, (she likes to think she is a horse) and I went home. I didn't go for a run. I made tea for the family. Drew had chosen the evenings dinner. It was rabbit cooked in a white wine sauce with green olives and fresh herbs. It sort of made me sick to cook it and I never will again.
After, I collected Paloma from kindergarten, the kids arrived home from school, well only one arrived. Harry phoned to say he was at a friends and would be home at five. Izzy was playing hockey at the sports center, (I had to collect her later) and Drew was at the library with her friends, (she rushed in the door at 5.20pm apologizing for being late. She had joined a book club that is run by the library every second Thursday so she was at their first club meeting. She is such a blessing.) Rose ran out the door for her hockey practice so for a wee while it was just the three year old and me again.
Anyhow, as far as rabbit for tea went...Drew devoured it but said she felt weird eating a 'bunny'. Harry stated he was vegetarian so he stuck with potato mashed with walnut oil and a big salad. Izzy declared she was also vegetarian and ditto. Rose decided she wasn't that hungry and Paloma ate the 'chicken'.
Once the dishes were done, most of the kids in bed, and Deane was home-I went for a run. It was an okay run, nothing to write about. I was just happy to be out.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

finding nemo...

This weekend, began on Friday early evening with the arrival of our babysitter. I convinced Deane that going for a run before going to the movies would be a good idea. With a reasonable amount (on his part) of cringing and statements regarding the weather, he complied. So we headed out into the hail, wind, in the dark of night and went for a 45 minute run. Deane did not complain too much, and when he did I explained exactly how much he would thank me for it when the run was over. The run did end and he did thank me. We dressed, still sweaty, and carefully made our way back down the slippery stairs.
The Dark Knight, I enjoyed! All though, I wont be letting my younger kids watch it. I always appreciate a good batman, spider man, or who-ever the classic superhero is- movie.
I had avocado sushi with a fresh dairy free smoothie chaser for tea. It felt light and right.

On Saturday after the girls hockey games, (the soccer games cancelled once again due to council grounds that have turned to cesspools), the babysitter arrived again. Deane's legs or hips were feeling a bit too sore to go for another run so we took the three oldest kids to Freyberg pool.
The kids did not need supervision which left us free to swim laps. It is the first time for about one year or maybe more that I have been in a pool. I had an entire lane to myself and swam for about one hour. It felt really good to stretch out. I did about ten of the laps using only the kick board and the rest I did freestyle. I must, nay! I am determined to swim at least twice per week. I need to get some serious scheduling into my life.
Saturday evening came and two friends picked us up, (yes another babysitter) and spirited us away see Mama Mia (again) at the empire movie center in Island Bay. Love it! The big couch-chairs, which two people fit into with lots of butt, and leg room. Love being able to take in wine, glasses food cups of tea. Deane enjoyed the movie and I was trying to talk him into buying a glitter suit. I don't think he will. Its worth a try.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

finding Catherine

I seem to be less satisfied with life (as we know it; Jim). I have a burn to do more, be more, run faster, longer and stronger. I ache to paint. I will label this non-painting time my incubation period. At this time where I am minus a space to paint I will continue to study my painting books and absorb sights and sounds. I carry plural notebooks with me to scribble my idea's. One of my practical goals is to not become frustrated and angry with myself for the lack of opportunity to paint. My family are just at the 'phase' where they need my time and energy resources. I need to be happy complying.

Or do I?

I believe if I am not physically painting; I am not a painter. I think about it alot. And thats where the beginnings of frustration lie. If only I could stop. If I could be in the 'now' -content with, and being my best with what life is for me-now.

But life is short.

I have been organising their lives and thus mine. Their five daily schedules are written on our family blackboard, (the laundry doors are a painted blackboard). I organise the weekly evening meals on each Sunday and those also are written on the blackboard, in a neat little grid. This week, I baked them Fougasse, and bacon and egg pie (organic) for snacks. I will be baking biscuits for school lunches this afternoon. I have decreed "No T.V or computer time", till music practice is done each night, (written on blackboard). I have been trying really hard to practice patience and loving-kindness.

I have been running, eating well (this week) and have done my les mills balance class. I am looking after myself, I know this is important-for me and my family.

But I still feel there is something missing.

I am meditating, mostly getting up early to do so. I am ruminating on what it means to me to be spiritual. I understand the import of finding the spiritual and I think it is a continual search and acceptance of 'what is'. It is found in simply -being.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Big bad runner

God! Im in such a bad mood. Im not sure why exactly, but my patience with the noisy children is measured in nano seconds. It is 5.23pm and I have let them, no, forced them to turn the dumb box on so I can have some peace. They are zombied out to the simpsons.

Earlier this afternoon, I dropped Paloma off at kindy and went for an angry run in the rain. I was unenthusiastic but did it anyway. I should have been satisfied and felt a teeny touch of pride that I was out running-but NO!. I was angry that I wasnt fast/happy/comfortable enough.

I ran for 40 minutes. I stomped up our stairs and had a hot shower (I couldnt find anything to grump about that). I dressed and coated up, grabbed the bent umbrella and walked to Vanita's. A 20 minute chat, hot drink later and I picked Paloma up and tried to beat the kids home from school,(not successful).

As for my 'raw food' fling, well! This morning for break fast I demolished a small fruit salad, then a piece of toast and honey,(not raw). Lunch was two pieces of toast with promite (not raw). Dinner will be home made-not-raw pizza. So tis not going fabulously but it is something to smile about.

That was yesterday and today held the promise of a new day and a better mood. So my raw food diet thus far has consisted of cooked porridge for breakfast, two black coffees, followed by a salad sandwhich for lunch, on bread (baked), no butter. Then, for my three O'clock sugar rush, i had 4 peices of a carob bar..(not good) and two peices of soft licorice. Its a laugh really.
The mood is a tad better.

Monday, July 28, 2008

raw food, chicken wings, rain.

I have read a few good blogs regarding raw food, and although I know myself well enough to know I don't want to give up lentils with hot chili sauce, chickpea and roast pumpkin salad with balsamic-sun dried tomato dressing, mashed potatoes with peas squished into them (when in need of comfort), cooked mushrooms drizzled with truffle oil ETC; I understand how the raw way of eating would be good for my health and energy levels. That being so; I am munching on a piece of raw sprouted bread with organic wild bush honey. Tastes great, feels good. I am also drinking herbal tea, (jasmine).

Last night we had friends for dinner. I, not wanting to force my newly found raw food ideals on them, made Asian chicken wings (except I couldn't find organic wings so they were actually drumsticks). The drumsticks were marinated in coconut cream blended with fish sauce, sambal orlak, spring onion, and a wee bit o' sugar. That was served with ginger rice -which was basmati chucked into a pot where onion, garlic and fresh ginger had been cooked till soft, chicken stock thrown in, lid on and left to do it's thing. Very tasty...

I don't eat meat however, so I also made some tomato lentils for me and chickpea and roast pumpkin salad which is so delicious I will give you the recipe. Its really simple and even the fussy young ones like it.

Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea Salad with sun dried tomato dressing.


  • half a medium crown pumpkin peeled and cubed.

  • olive oil.

  • chickpeas, 1-2 cans or 1 cup soaked overnight.

  • 2 Tblsp finely shredded coriander or mint.

  • Dressing.

  • half cup sun dried tomatoes.

  • quarter cup red wine vinegar.

  • 3 cloves garlic.

  • 1 Tblsp balsamic vinegar.

  • half cup olive oil

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • s & p

  • Preheat oven to 190c.

  • Toss pumpkin cubes in a little oil and roast for 35-40mins.

  • cool.

  • Drain chickpeas from soaking water and rinse.

  • Place into a large saucepan and cover with fresh water.

  • Boil for 40-50mins or until tender. OR:

  • Open cans of chickpeas an rinse.

  • Heat red wine vinegar and sundried tomatoes together, allow tomatoes to soak in the hot vinegar to soften.

  • Place all dressing ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and combine.

  • Toss Pumpkin and chick peas in dressing. Garnish with mint or coriander.

  • Eat.

I had also baked fresh organic rye fougasse which everyone ate practically hot from the oven. The house smelt yummy. Our guests had made a wonderful cake, full of dates and other moist stuff- god knows what the hell it was , but it was my downfall. I ate mine, then I finished off Deanes.

I am now (nearly) intent on following the raw food diet. I dont like the word 'diet'. It brings back memories of my younger self starving - on yet another false promise of eternal 'thin-ness' then blowing it all on the promise of a 'good time' in the form of chocolate, chocolate alias sugar/fat.

Anyhoo! Tonight for dinner I had brown rice (not raw-boohoo), greek salad and lots of raw red onion. So Im not there yet but 'raw' is in my head. will happen.

Weather wise; we have had so much rain even I am looking forward to summer. The kids soccor practice and games have been cancelled continuously for about four weeks because the city sports grounds turn to mud.

roll on raw food. roll on summer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mama Mia; mountain running; adidas; the wedding...

V and I went to see Mama Mia!. She didnt enjoy it, (actually a bit scathing of it). I really got into it. But then I have always rocked to Abba! (yes..I know...label it as you will. I like what I like..). V thought it a bit over the top or shallow or something which is all true. It was Fun, bright and made me want to skip off to a Grecian Island and buy a building- singing all the while.

Deane and I got a babysitter on Sunday and went for our first off road run together since the Coast to Coast! We walked/ran/crawled/slid through the bush, up the creek that had turned into a small fast river that flooded over the track, and up the steep mudslide they call a hill. At the top we were pelted with bullets of sideways rain. Love it. The force of the wind held me ( in seconds) when I balanced on the top rock, made like a starfish, and leaned into it. Gotta love it! Its only just over a twelve k run there and back but took us two hours.

Covered in mud, soaked and shivering, we sloshed into Mojo cafe in cuba street. A Ficelle and long black later, I was feeling good. Dirty good. We strolled filthly to a sports shop where I got new road running shoes (Adidas my favourites..). I got a new running jacket -Adidas clima365- which is technical fabric, light, windproof and looks cool. Very important!.

(As Im writing this I am realizing that Adidas does it for me. Over long years of running experience, that particular brand really works for me...from sunglasses to shoes).

I went to Les Mills yesterday(now school hols are over I can go! Yay!). Paloma happily attended the creche and I very happily did a good weights work out-and then snatched a half hour of coffee and reading trash at Dixon st deli.
I have organised our wedding a bit more and even booked The Pines!. So, all going to plan, we will be married on October 12th, this year. Wow. The thing with planning our own wedding, as I am discovering, is, it is important to be true to yourself. People can get insistant as to what is considered the "norm" ( or whatever...) . I found myself planning and stressing about an idea of what a wedding 'should' be till I pulled myself up and realized that it wasnt ours. Our wedding is pretty much stress free, (at this point).
Will keep all my avid readers out there up to date on the wedding.

Monday, July 14, 2008

mid-winter fishing

Yesterday, it was such a beautiful day, Deane moved to take the Ngaparata (a forty foot, forty ton cement trawler), out for a bit of fishing on the bay. I declined-(my fear-hesitancy-lack of faith in weather-diesel motors-kids at sea speaking). The kids also refused to go.

They were moping around, passive-aggressively cleaning bedrooms etc.

I looked at the pile of washing (haphazard on the treadstoopidmill), the dishes (lazing around grimy on the bench), more washing on the clothesline and general mayhem of five bored kids.

I decided that we also would go 'fishing'.

Deane was happy-the kids were not.

(Me-I'd prefer to go to my studio (oops...haven't got one) and paint all day).

The kids scrap their way to the car. We drive to the boat.

Rose is already in tears, repeatedly exclaiming," oh no! I'm going to die." and, "this is it! this is my night-mare". I tried to soothe her, for she was speaking of my undercurrent feeling.

The sky was blue, the gentle southerly was barely causing a ripple so the fear was irrational.

A friend and his two kids arrived, we all clambered on and motored out.

We 'motored' as only a boat of that size will do. I call it a truck.

We anchored and started fishing, kids throwing bait-stinking lines over, reeling them in too soon, and complaining about the lack of fish. Drew caught the first spotty -to applause. It was soon cut for bait while the eight year old boy gleefully practiced fish surgery with his dads filleting knife.

Boys laugh at blood and seem to enjoy poking fish eye-balls.

The first spotty was soon followed by two more. One was returned to its mother.

Our friend then caught 'the catch of the day'- a big kahawai. It was really, really impressive. Deane showed him how to kill and fillet it.

The few hours we were out was filled with lots of fish gut, excited buzzing kids. Paloma peed her pants and ate fish smelling nutella sandwiches. Rose calmed herself enough to engage in a bit of line dangling followed by playing.

Even I may have slightly enjoyed it, but don't tell anyone.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

scowling again

..that's me..scowling. I woke peacefully being school holidays an' all! I barefooted it into the kitchen to put the kettle on for the first bliss'd coffee. ..And there it was.
The much maligned space wasting-peace guzzling treadmill was fighting for space along with an overfull basket of washing, a tricycle, a vacuum cleaner and two dolls, in my so called studio- my work area. I flashed anger-scowled to myself and made a pot of coffee (multitaskingly making three different breakfasts for three little girls).
I scowled myself back to bed and picked up my book-'How to see Yourself as you really are' by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I was reading through it attempting to calm myself and understand within myself that a treadmill in the 'studio' is a small thing and I can make of it what I wish. I read on and quickly realised that who i really was-at that moment- was a bitch. An irate one at that.
Decisively I get out of my warm rumpled Egyptian cotton. My forty year old feet meet - middle-of-winter floorboards. I band my hair back -clip the fly-aways down and dressed, I start the day.
I open the studio side doors so I can push the easel out onto the deck, followed by the second easel and the trestle table and paintings on hardwood. I replace them with the treadmill, put my paints and pencils in their tool boxes and put everything away.
I have realised that labelling the area as 'my studio' does not make it so. I cannot get there to paint (sounds ridiculous). It is a great source of frustration to me. The fact that I cannot cede even the fifteen minutes i need to get into the 'flow'-generates anger. And I don't want to be angry (it turns me into a screechy unreasonable bitch-Mother) There fore the dismantling of the 'studio' is a good idea. Its for 'the good of the family'.

After the discombobulating of said studio, I whisked the kids into the car and to Palmer's garden center cafe where they swallowed three 'bratz' fruit juices, and three gaudy coloured, heavily festooned chocolate cupcakes. I had a soy chai latte, (twenty three dollars later...not kidding).
On sending them to the centers playground, I wandered around looking and trying to remember exactly what it was the garden-in-waiting needed. Hmmmm. So. I bought one ten kilo bag of organic gypsum, one ten kilo bag of lucern and peat pellets for conditioning the soil, a pair of gardening gloves,four packets of sweet pea's (the kids chose). Then swiftly to the hardware shop where i bought a spade (!!), then to commonsense-organics where i spent one hundred dollars on canned tomatoes, chocolate, salt, a sprouter, sprouts-to-be, milk, olive oil, peanut butter, honey etc. Homeward bound. I rather quickly built a new no-dig-garden. A layer of newspaper, water, a layer of compost, newspaper, a layer of lucern pellets, water, cardboard, water, composted leaves. I built this up to the height of two bricks, in the rough shape of a circle. I will leave it till spring. By then it will be beautiful soil, and I will then plant it out to feed my family real food...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Yesterday, Izzy was off school, cuddling up to her bucket, languidly staring the television down. Today, Paloma is lying on the couch like the sick baby she is. It means yet another day at home for me. At least today the winter sun is showing itself. I can hang washing out (like the good house wife I am).
Paloma and I usually go to creche, Les Mills, Kindergarten, visit friends, and shop at the supermarket during the mornings. In the afternoons, we come home, she sleeps and I paint till a) she wakes, or b) the kids arrive home.

These 'sick' days point out (with flippin' big accusing fingers)the housework that calls for me from distant corners.
I want a real job!.
No, actually, I want a real studio, where I can focus and work. It must have a high stud and wooden floor boards. I need to paint in uninterrupted blocks of time. (There-if I keep saying it-it shall be). I am so- over- painting in the dining area of our house, amongst the baskets of washing, dishes that need to be done, toys that need to be picked up and constant bleating from loved ones that interrupt my train of thought and flow of brush. (The image above is 'my studio'. It can be seen behind the kids who are munching at the kitchen bench last summer).
I am in the midst of organising our wedding. Its not as easy as it seemed nor as hard as people tell me it is. The kids are all very excited about it and have visions of big churches and fluffy dresses and ring-bearing cushions and black suits. (what are they watching on T.V?)
My idea is a tad more relaxed of course. Moulin rouge themed, with the Scottish edge (that being Deane, Reuben and Harry in kilts). I am thinking, opulent red dress, splits to thigh, crystal, too many flowers, candles, fairy lights, food,food, food and of course good music-drum beats. The next day, Deane and I will go for a celebratory 20k run up and around the Belmont regional park.
Sounds good.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Drew turns twelve.

From three p.m yesterday afternoon, the house has been full with the usual inhabitants, plus, six extra twelve year old girls.
It was Drews twelth birthday and she celebrated with a late afternoon Hells Pizza party, quickly followed by a store bought thickly coated-in-chocolate butter-icing cake. After the song-singing,and cake eating, the party migrated quickly to the downstairs area, (still noisy), where they consumed chocolate, assorted lollies, chips, apple juice and crackers and dip. They screamed, laughed, teased the younger kids and seemed to enjoy creating havoc.
Eventually, I organised them into the car, (no mean feat). We left Deane and the younger kids alone, in relative peace.
On parking the car, the twelve year olds tumbled out,giggling and yabbering. They flitted into Glassons, and Banks Shoes before chattering their way into the movie complex. Drew had been insistant on seeing a particular movie, The Zohan, or something like that. I sat about five rows behind the girls, who kept yelling " thats our Mother! Hi mum!" etc. I hunkered down in my seat. I spent the next two hours trying to stay awake during one of the most tedious, crotch shot movies I've seen. (Piglets big adventure was maybe a tad more boring..).
Afterward, I dropped a few girls off to their homes and then to the dvd shop, where the three sleep -over girls chose one each. I was pretty tired (of them) by this time and eagerly guided them home, settled them down stairs, told them I didnt want to hear from them. Deane and I went to bed.

I woke the next morning to a famous Wellington southerly. The rain was pelting sideways, it was gusting up to 120k.
I LOVE it.
Harry, (my ten year old) and I scuttled out into the dim light of the early morning storm to do our Sunday morning market gig. We negotioted the 135 slippery steps, and ran to the car. Heater on, we drove into town, and secured a park. Unfortunately, due to the storm, the market was only just coming to life. The trucks were still being unloaded, the fruit and vegetables still being set up. Nothing was ready. I decided we should fight our way to the marina side cafe's and see if anyone was open. (Harry was blown down, in a particulary wild gust, he weighs in at about 35 kilos..). Alas! No luck, so, no coffee.

We were shooed back to the car by the wind. We waited.
Eventually, after loading fruit and vege into car, a drive around Lyall Bay to see the extent of the storm, a coffee, a slightly warm, buttery pain-au-chocolat, Harry and I were home.

The girls still were not up. I remedied that and had them sitting at the breakfast bar, bleary with fatigue and chocolate overdose. Deane made them pancakes smothered in maples syrup, cream and sugar.
The house returned to normal by about 1pm, the weather still hasnt.

The storm made the six p.m news. It had grounded airplanes, stopped the interislander, and created floods.
I love Wellington on a good day.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My syrupy half Marathon

I ran, or rather sloughed my way through 21 K's of thick treacle yesterday. I shouldn't have been surprised at how hard it felt considering the lack of focused training. The needle sharp rain, the gale force gusts of wind, the people passing me by (with not a thing i could do about it), my sunblock (yes, I know...)that was being washed into my eyes by the rain, all conspired to make it a hell race for me. I 'ran' through the finish line in 2 hours and 3 minutes. I cried. I felt sick and sadly disappointed at the time it took, all though it was three minutes faster than last year.

It took me five minutes to trick the transponder off my shoe, another five minutes to fill up my goodie bag. The fifty dollar banana tasted like pesticide so i threw it out and ate my free peanut slab, (thick chocolate fill o' peanuts, thanks Mr Whitaker). I wandered around the stadium with 6-7 thousand other glazed, wet people hugging free yellow marathon towels, looking for a rubbish bin to put my free apple core. All the rubbish bins had the label: 'NO FOOD. RUBBISH ONLY". I left my apple core on a chair wrapped in a plastic bag. (sorry cleaning staff).

Deane phoned to say he was waiting in the car not too far away. Thank you Deane! My calf muscles and I hobbled down the stadium runway. Poor sods were still coming in, struggling the last few hundred meters. I threw words of encouragement at them, i.e "ya nearly there! free banana!".

I found my love and I sat in the warm car. I'm never going to do it again. All though I know the event will make a liar of me.

Running half marathons to me, is like having a baby. You swear you will never do it again, the pain is too much, its simply NOT fun. But the next day, you forget. YOu take panadol, You plan..... You do it again.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

on winter...

I guess the question i am churning over in my life at the moment is one of balance. How do i give time for my life while also making time for my family? I don't wish to devalue myself or them. The children are young, not yet teenagers. I have Deane, who I want to give my time to as well. Just the physical aspects of caring for them, cleaning, cooking, transporting, listening to them, the constant,'look at me, look at this, listen to this..'. I want to accommodate all, so they are content, while not putting my self on the back burner. I find it hard to even remember the frantic days and years while i had three then four pre-schoolers, all at the same time. We are in a different phase, it seems to be a tad more relaxed..(excluding saturday sports mornings...4 kids to four different games in 4 different suburbs all within ten minutes, not to mention the pick ups..). Anyhoo. To move on...

Right now, my garden is growing, winter weeds and all, the compost piles have turned into sodden piles of slop, the grass is too wet to mow and the lawn mower is too pathetic to use on such long grass,(it only bends it..). I have not been running for a week and a half now, even though i regard myself as officially 'better' as of yesterday. I have the capital half marathon to run in three weeks and I am aiming for 1hour and 50 minutes. (After much thought i have decided i will wear my black nike sports skirt and a black woollen singlet). Im not ready for it -but will be in three weeks. The power of positive thought astounds me.

I have sold three paintings in the last two weeks. It always feels good to get them out of my house (re studio), and i like the fact they have gone to loving homes.

Maybe in hindsight, my life hasnt completely ground to a standstill in the last few weeks. Mid winter tends towards hibernation-must-fight-it...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

the un-runner...

I'm hunkered down, wrapped in a green blanket, woollen hat, fluffy mismatched socks, two jumpers and track pants. I haven't been out running since last Thursday.'s OKAY!- I have a cold.! My excuse is my aching body, and head. Even my feet i will just let myself get over it. I drugged myself up on Saturday night to go to a neighbours dinner party. There was the promise of good food, and company, and of course, one thing I cant go past-SINGSTAR. So, I had a great time, cold and flu drugs, champagne cocktails chased by cosmopolitans,that had me singing and dancing till 2 in the wee hours. Afterwards, Deane and I dragged ourselves up our 135 stairs, (he much worse for wear). My cold and flu drugs wore off and i couldn't sleep for the ache and cough. Was it worth it? yes. (and NO...I did not spread it around, I caught it from these very friends two weeks beforehand..).
This was the weekend of the Queens birthday, hence an extra day..which was good timing considering illness. (Thanks Ma'am!)

I re-read my first post regarding the goals I was on the way to accomplishing. I no longer am sure about becoming competent in white water. The further I am removed from the kayak section of the COAST TO COAST race, the more terrified i am of the thought of getting into that water again. I keep asking myself, why the bleep would i put myself in that position again? I mean, isn't it common knowledge that you must do what you love to therefore have success and happiness. I don't 'love' kayaking white water. My fear rattles my mind. However-I want to complete the C2C and the kayak section is key. I will keep churning.

I am reading ebooks and articles and slow books on MANIFESTING. The phrases that seem to attach to me are about the importance of knowing what you want from your life. They talk about priority lists, which help identify your goals and find ways to take action. They talk about things you have a natural affinity for as being the things your should pay attention to. They say" Make a commitment to follow your gifts and talents , let them guide you. Don't let anybody tell you what you should do".
I find it heartening. I don't have to be an accountant or Doctor or computer programmer after all.