Saturday, January 31, 2009

Me and my pick axe...

Yes folks! I have begun to use a pick axe.( Oh...And before you all start to wonder at my fantastic looking boobs in the above image... especially knowing I have five children, I have a berlei sports bra on. I knick name it my 'neveroff'. It is such a good supportive bra, I just fold the boobs up into it and...wowza!.) I digress. Anyhoo...I am so desperate to begin painting in my studio, I have begun excavating the hill myself. Deane marked it out for me, the city council 'legal' ten by pathetic ten. I have a lot of dirt and rock to move, I dont quite know where to put the dirt. Anyone want some? Tell you what-the worms I am slicing in half (or there abouts) are the biggest I have seen. They are quite oozy and disgusting.
The view from my space is pretty special. It's sort of like being in my own mini forest complete with bird song and amazing ocean views. I anticipate long years of productivity from my space.
Paloma will start school in a year and a half. Therefore,I have been going through the obligatory mid life crisis,...( not another one Catherine!, I hear you cry.) I was talking with Deane attempting to explain how I feel I am not progressing with my life...errr...I am not living my life, I said to him.
"Yes you are" he simply replied.
"No I'm not" I said.
etc etc....
He tried to be helpful and suggested I retrain. You know, to get back into the workforce. At that point we both started laughing...what am I going to 'retrain' as...a waitress?...telemarketer?
I want to paint full time, I always thought I would....but I have a need of a thing called money. So the question regarding my life shapes itself into... should I paint and my art, or should I turn to catering? Ta dahhh!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Camping at Whakapapa...

It feels like summer...the kids and I have been walking down to the beach nearly every day the sun shows its fiery face. I wouldn't say the water is that warm..the kids sort of turn blue, but they insist on staying in. I sit and watch and yell a bit when I sense danger...there usually isn't any.

We returned from a two day camping trip on Sunday night. I had packed all day on Thursday while Deane was working, so we could leave that evening and get to Whakapapa camp ground that night, spend a leisurely Friday preparing for the Tussock Traverse run on Saturday. (Check out to get the traverse 'inside story'.)

However, cars being what they are...errrr...unreliable, complicated and badly coloured, the vans rear lights for some stoopid reason, would not work. We were towing the camper van, and that did not have rear lights either. We left Wellington anyhow, and by the time we arrived at Levin, it was dark. We decided to play it safe and camp there. Deane put the walls of the camper up, we settled the five tired ones in it and flattened the back seats of the van, lay the mattress, followed by our bodies - on the seats and slept like the proverbial baby's.

On awaking, we quickly packed up and headed off to find somewhere with good coffee and food. But what did we find? A place called, Sugar Plum, (to which I will devote an entire paragraph.) It is on state highway one, in the Marton district. It was lovely and clean, the staff friendly. The kids ordered two plates of pancakes with bacon and banana between them, with toast to share, a drink each. Deane enjoyed a date scone, which actually was good. There was nothing I could eat (I admit it, I'm a pretty fussy thing)- I asked for fruit salad, but they only had banana's. I settled on a coffee. The girl did not know what brand of coffee they had, or where it was from. (She read it was called 'ebony', maybe a Palmerston North coffee?)

The coffee was so bad, insipid, with not a drop of crema. I didn't drink it. It cost us a whopping $59!!. Okay, so I'm whinging.

Anyhoo, we arrived at Whakapapa camp ground.

We set up camp in a nook amongst forest with a view of Ruapehu. The kids spent an age climbing trees and exploring. The camp kitchen was fabulously set up including Internet service. The bathrooms even had a bath. The only thing that gave me a few day mares, was the fact of the ummm....raging river not even ten feet across, and twenty feet straight down, from where we camped. Scary stuff with young kids.

We did a small bush walk with the kids. Then we set to finding a babysitter for Saturdays race. I had been trying to find one online and on the phone from Wellington with no luck. The Chateau would not help because we were not staying with them. Funnily enough, we 'happened upon' one of the young staff, who was eager to earn extra money on her day off.

The following day, race day, the kids had a great day while Deane and I were out suffering. They watched a movie in the Chateau theater, they played tennis on the Chateau courts, they ate the chateau nachos and generally had a ball. Thank you Chateau!

The kids were out on the golf green in front of the Chateau to greet and 'yell' me in across the finish line of what was a gruelling run.

Five minutes after I had finished, Izzy was asking me if I would take them for a swim, Paloma was jumping all over me as I lay on the ground, Rose massaged my feet, Drew got water and Harry kept an eagle eye out for Deane.

I spoke to a woman who sat by me under the shade cloth - she had run the traverse because her husband had talked her into it. She had never run any distance except 5 or 6 kilometers at a time. She said she did a lot of running at the small distances. She pulled a 'gu' out of her goody bag and asked me what it was for! She was waiting for her husband to finish, she thought he would be gutted that she came in first!

Deane came in about thirty minutes later. Once he recovered enough, we grimaced our way back to the camp. After the.. best shower in the universe..we made our way to the prize giving in Whakapapa village. I was craving hot chips with we ordered some. But they arrived at our table as big greasy wedges, covered in melted cheese, sour cream and salsa. Why would someone do that to a chip! For gods sake!...errrr...I did get a bit antzy about it, the hunger talking. I cant and wont eat shite like that no matter what!

We did not get a prize at the prize rude!

The kids got bored, after not eating their fries, and watching a bit of the big screen in the cafe/pub, so we hobbled to the car and returned to camp.

I could not sleep that night. At about 2am, Deane and I ratted around in the caravan, without waking the small fry, found tea bags, milk and walked to the camp kitchen. We had a dark tea, and dark chat, (we couldn't find the light switch).

I took panadol at around 4am and slept till 7.

We had booked into the Chateau for breakfast by 9, so after the kids were dressed, we all had to pack. The breakfast was satisfying. The kids ate a LOT...they love a good buffet! I ate sliced fruit, followed by mushrooms and grilled tomato, followed by a croissant, and two coffee's. Well done me!

We treated the kids to a ride on the chairlifts up to the top cafe of Whakapapa ski ground. It goes without saying the landscape is magnificent. We walked around the moonscape so the kids could play in the snow...

I want to camp at Whakapapa again, for longer, in Autumn perhaps...

Monday, January 19, 2009

I resolve to....

Well, as we move into the..not-so-new-year, I am slowly forming my new years resolution/s. I know what I need to do, but find it challenging expressing them succinctly.


  • I want to begin yoga and be consistent with the practice of it.
  • I want to exhibit my paintings in a gallery...oh yeah, and sell them.
  • I want to get my studio up and running and paint every day. (Deane is building it. He says it will be finished by late February.)
  • I want to do one life drawing session a week. (To do the life drawing, Paloma will have to start morning kindergarten, which wont happen at least till she turns four in May. Then I will have to pay someone to pick her up and look after her for a few hours.)
  • I want to train for a half iron man and compete in the half IM either late in the year or early next year.
  • I want to complete a full marathon this year.
  • I want to eat more raw food, less cooked.
  • I want to get over my fear of Kayaking.
  • I want to meditate every day.

These aforementioned, are goals that I will need to do consistently throughout the year. Of course, they will be 'chunked' into bite size...especially the ironman training, the marathon training.

My short term goals for...errr..lets put a ceiling on the time mid Feb, I will have had my car fixed. I will sell Drew's 3/4 size violin, the horrible blue rocking chair, the stoopid space waster treadmill, and the disgusting blue couch on trade me. (Does anyone want any of the preceding list?)

Of course, it is always a goal of mine to be the best parent I can, or at least get through the parenting thing with an acceptable outcome, i.e the kids talk to me, or acknowledge me in the street, at least.

To commit to these goals, I need to focus my attention on them. I find this difficult, and this is not a flimsy excuse, folks, its my life at the see, there is so much I want to do, but I seem to spend a lot of my time with rubber gloves on- cleaning, or doing the washing, or picking tiny pieces of Lego off the floor. Or I just referee stoopid arguments...'he breathed on my littlest pet shop'.., 'she looked at me'.., 'she said Blake was her fwend and he's my fwend'...etc.

It is all bollocks. I need to do what I can when I can. I need to get up earlier, (nuthin' wrong with 4.30am??), and I need to do stuff instead of watching the dumb box. As I read somewhere,...'working all day only to sit on your couch and watch TV will not get you where you want to be. You must take action to manifest your goals..'

Till next time folks, my dear avid readers....

Monday, January 12, 2009

The other wedding of the century, and certainly the wedding of 2009

Well! what a fantastic weekend I have just returned from. My sister Justine was one of the bridesmaids for Hannah and Deans wedding. Hannah had, oh, about one hundred thousand in her wedding party, Dean had one. From the wee flower girls, (two thousand of them), to the older bridesmaids, (three thousand and fifty of them), to the 'golden girls', (Justine included)-they were all dressed wonderfully, the adult ones all champagned and ready-to-go by the time they walked down the human isle for the wedding service. Dean was resplendent in long shorts, jandles, a matching shirt and hat with jewellery, while Hannah the magnificent glowed in glamorous white-as all virgins with three children should.

Hannah and Deane were married in Golden Bay at a place called 'the Grove', a private house, not a house exactly but an alternative mansion set amongst a park, pool complete with a poolside four post day bed, funky smaller 'chateaus', nocks set in towering rock formations, and other glorious-ness's. A very large white marquee was set up, complete with white tables, covered chairs, flowers, dance floor, and disco lights. Wine, champagne and margarita's were abundant and within easy access. Hannah, had family and friends arrive en masse from England, India and other far away lands. The British accent, slightly plummy, highlighted the evening till, before I knew it, I was accenting my vowels. I too, was a brit for the evening.

We all know the English look like a 'straight bunch', but they are usually errr...bent as all hell. It made for an interesting evening.

We started the music session off, with three of the silver bridesmaids, singing 'Honey honey' with Abba aiding them. We all sang 'you are the sunshine of my life'..oohhhhh-ahhhh..etc. (Yes. I was fantastic cos it's all about me..). Later, Dean-the groom, grabbed the guitar and he and a few others sang (very well) for us. The eighty or so in our wedding group, were ever so slightly trashed by the time the dinner was announced. I must say, I was starving; the food was brilliant. The 'Broccoli row' catered the wedding. It was the best wedding food I have ever had. I ate like a proverbial vegan pig. Except I ate scampi. After wolfing down my first course of salady stuff, I looked over to Justine, who was sitting behind me at a close table, and requested she come up with me to get seconds. She, at that point, licked her fingers and berated me for being so slow-her entire table had already finished seconds.

I sat through some of the funniest wedding speeches I have heard! Ugly laughing was the rule of the moment.

The bride and groom were basically only half way through their groovy first dance, when we all lept up to join them. I did not really stop dancing till not long before we left. (My neck and shoulders have been sore ever since-am I too old to dance with my head?)

I have enjoyed a lovely action packed thirty six hours with friends and without my children. Deane and I vowed we would take more weekends for ourselves-the weekend being only one of three that we have managed in our lives together to get away-without kids!

Yes, we understand that statistic is rather sad (in a pathetic way) and 2009 is the year we are beginning to right it. I actually find it difficult arranging child care for a simple evening out, let alone a weekend! I understand I need to grow a different mindset regarding childcare. I need to begin to unhitch myself from the proverbial umbilical.

As for my 'training', what happened with it during my umm...champagne fused weekend?


Monday, January 5, 2009

'tis all over for another year.....yay...

Christmas and the New year celebrations are over for another 12months.
We have... eaten, beachen, playen, dranken, walken, camp'd and a bit of runnin'. This year we had a 'one present ' policy. The kids were happy with their respective gifts and I was happy too. We only had a half of a yellow rubbish bag fill of wrapping and only one annoying cardboard box to be rid of. Paloma got a 'littlest pet shop' house which was fully wired and taped and plastiked into the box. She loves the 'littlest pet shop' big headed small bodied plastic animals. I think it is all just crap, but there I go...buying it for the wee tike...I mean...Santa bought it. Santa left the kids a pillow case full of goodies as well, he is such a lovely old man. I cooked up a proverbial storm, including meat for my little carnivours, and vegan dishes for the vegans amongst us. I finished them all off with a New York cheese cake from Nigella's Domestic Goddess book.
Thankyou Nigella, I love you and so does my family.
Deb and Don arrived to celebrate Christmas with us. We ate, drank, and then walked to Hataitai beach where the kids, brrr.., swam.
We have already dismantled the Christmas tree. Paloma helped by being the tinsel holder.
Our plan was to go camping locally on New Years eve. I spent the day shopping and packing the caravan and van, but Deane did not finish work till 5pm, by the time he arrived home the day had gone on toooo looong. So we invited friends over and drank french champagne, the kids did ABBA sing star and we danced a tad. We were in bed by 1am.
We left home for our camp site by eleven the next day. Because we were only going to Kaitoke, there was no time pressure. So a very relaxed family arrived at said camp less than one hour after leaving home.
Kaitoke regional park is a wonderful resource. It is a DOC camp area, so only has the basic facilities, which I like. The river has been damned with lines of river rocks slowing the flow. It is thus very safe for children. There is a huge expanse they can explore and swim in, a no-brainer that the kids loved the whole experience.
Friends arrived and camped with us overnight. They bought 'toys' which was very cool, because we never do. The kids manufacture their own fun, but a swing ball and Frisbee really helps! When it started raining, we crammed inside the caravan and we (the four adults) played scrabble! It was very classic and a lot of fun. Especially seeing I won. I did not cheat! There IS such a word as 'qi'. It means spirit and everyone wants a bit or has got a bit and doesn't know it yet. Either way its a word and it got me the winning 34 points.
My training for the tussock traverse has been thus: