Monday, January 26, 2015

Luther and True

Just finished the Shitty First Draft (a technical term in the writing world!) of my novel Bay of Plenty. It's a mystery murder set in Oakland and Ohope Beach, New Zealand and featuring three bickering sisters. It's 69,989 words, 52 chapters. Fingers and toes crossed it's not a bunch of bollocks (again with the technical terms) and that someone other than my mother might want to read it.

Me and my Shitty First Draft. Jackson, 15, did the cover page for me.

I figure I've got six months re-writing in front of me. I already plan to chop the first 10 chapters and radically change the main character.
"She's so whiney and annoying," I said to my husband.
"But, um," he said warily. "Didn't you base her on yourself?"

I never had to wear glasses before. But after spending so many hours at the computer, I now need these. As my friend Kathy says, its nice to see all the leaves on the trees but Before Glasses I thought everyone was so much prettier than they actually are.

How many of you have hopped on the hamster wheel? I now have a trainer called Liam and I can now do two sit-ups. I'll aways love my cardio hip hop though and I wrote a piece about it for Oakland Magazine this month. You can read it here.

Foster, instructor, and Corey, director of New Style Motherlode

Another thing I wrote about was a few tips on how to spruce up your laundry. Groovy wallpaper, light, lucite chairs for a start. Read here if you like. Ours is a glorified cupboard crammed with fluff and pennies and candies that have been through the wash and drier. Le sigh.


Two of my great friends from 'varsity, Georgina and Snow came to stay with their son, William. They were friends for years and then ended up getting married - don't you just love that? A local friend recommended a new beer garden in Oakland called Plank which turned out to be incredibly hectic with fried food and video games and bowling alley and bocce ball place. Sensory overload and I hate video games. I was about to majorly meltdown when I recovered my sense of humour, played the video games and we ended up having fun. George-Snow-William bring out the best in people. Also, endearingly, they loved our dog Teddy, calling him Lord Teddington and one night Snow said: "I can't wait to get home and see Teddy."

Georgina and me playing the game which takes you on a ski ride

George, nicepoliceman, William, nicepoliceman, me and Snow at Plank, Oakland. (Is it a good sign if there are police in a restaurant?)

It was a bit of a Kiwirama as our friend Angus came to town too. You might remember Angus - he manages the business end of things for the band Kiss so he has some good tales to tell. He is obsessed with Shakespeare and was in San Fran talking to a conference. He has a plan for a portable theatres made from containers - see here -  so we can all get to experience the Bard, which is what he intended. What I learned: Shakespeare would have been boring to meet as he was a workaholic. Some say the plays were actually written by a local Lord. "Rubbish," said Angus.

Angus and me. Okay, that's way too many photo of me in one post, sorry


Harley, 17, will be graduating high school this year and this is his yearbook photo. Apparently the clothing is an all-in-one shirt, tie and jacket. I love America!

Harley, 17

As the mama I am fully expected to purchase a good frock for his graduation and I have been busy researching. I think I will get more use out of a white suit than a dress. I do like this Donna Karan frock worn by Jen Aniston in the latest In Style, though bit pricey and I don't have the swan neck for it. One of you has, though, and you should buy it.


Another good Donna Karan for some Mama at the graduation.

Donna Karan

Or this one from Tors, though model looks blimim' pissed off.
Victoria Beckham


It's Cy's 11th birthday today. He was supposed to be born on Martin Luther King day hence his middle name is Luther and we added True because that was Cy Young's (famous baseball player) middle name. Cy was born in a hospital in Berkeley where you are positively bound to give babies names to live up to. Any story how you got your name?

Cy age 2. The kid that keeps on smiling and keeps on writing on himself. Not sure why this photo is ripped, a disaffected sibling I would imagine.
If only I could extract a tenth of what Cy gets out of life; he bounds down the steps in the morning, can't wait to see Teddy and doesn't stops smiling through the day (except when he's howling).  It's something he was born with and miserable gittettes  like moi have to work at.  

Presidential Elect conferring with Lord Teddington


Last week Cy ran for President of Fifth Grade, after losing last year. He was surprised to hear that he had tied and there was going to be a runoff vote. Turned out his campaign manager and best friend had not voted for him.
Campaign manager: "I listened to your speech and there was something in it I didn't like. I had to vote for the other guy."
President Hopeful: "Sounds fair."
They wrote his second speech and Cy won. 

House of Cards this is not, people.










Thursday, January 8, 2015

This Is What Procrastination Looks Like...

Now. Before I do anything, I'll just take a little look at this photo. Wee bit of a click in before I get started. Old Ingrid looks great with these high waisted pants with the pleat. Is she wearing two belts with those strides? Interesting.



Oh here's another photo of Rita doing the high waisters, different look for her isn't it. I like it.



Wish Nicole would dye her hair back to real curly red: that extreme blonde she does now washes her out. Like this wild one because this seems to be the opposite of what she is...one director called her a thoroughbred. Not sure what that means?


Oh, look, there's a candid of Marilyn. Apparently someone took a snap of her while she was eating lunch at the staff cafeteria. People were always doing that to me too when I was at the caf scarfing down my bangers and mash. She looks hecka charmant as per.


Joanne and Paul with dog; he was very slim-hipped wasn't he? Paul not the dog...


And finally Rachel, all that without the aid of surgical pulleys, levers or pillows. Those were the days. Oh heck.


Where did I find these photos? Can't recall now. But these are the pretty faces of my most ugliest of bad habits. To borrow (or is it lend, I''ll just look that up..) a phrase from our Wendy, I'm a pro at procrastination.

Are you a fellow sufferer? Thoughts? Tips? Maybe we should think about it after lunch?


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ships Not Sailed

We returned home with seven bags of dirty washing. They are currently sitting on the floor gazing wistfully at the broken washer like a soiled French Lieutenant's woman. The shop tried to deliver a new washer and drier three times but first two times there was a part missing and third time washer was dented. We sent off the 17-year-old to the laundromat again. Not apropos of laundry, but Mum says the driftwood boat on Ohope Beach is now twice the size it was.

The driftwood ship on Ohope Beach

Jackson late evening


Mum's garden


Sign at bottom of Ohope Hill


This is the statue I was telling you about: Wairaka, the Maori teenage princess who grabbed the tapu (sacred) oar and paddled into shore, saving all the women and children.

Cy (right) last swim with cousin Finn
First Day ...arriving at Whakatane Airport



Still wearing those rings and just started this book - All The Light We Cannot See. Have you read it yet - everyone says it's incredible and poetic. In a couple of days I'm going to post on the best book I read last year,  Give Us This Day by Helena Wisniewska Brow.  Not saying this just because I know her. You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll might even look at your own family in a new way.


Was very happy with the way The Australian Woman's Weekly chose a swimsuit model with healthy-looking thighs.





In Auckland we found some Lewis Road chocolate milk (remember I told you... that stuff sells out immediately and kids wag school for).  I found it way too rich and can't imagine doing this concoction - Milk Chocolate with Killinchy Gold ice-cream, salted caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream -  bought to my attention by Kiwi friend Cheryll. Others have pronounced it the "epic creation of this summer."



Had smoked fish kedgeree for brekkie at a great place called Foxtrot Palour in Ponsonby Road, Auckland.


Kevin had Thai Chicken pie which was something to write home about all right.


They provided an appliance to squirt choccy and cream into the donut



Then we looked at jacarandas abounding

Tallulah and Pietra showing abounding jacarandas. Harley standing by.


Then Barby at my friend Diana's house - she won't let me post a photo of her on my blog so you'll just have to imagine what she looks like.

Louis, me, Carmel, Sue, Jill and Alan (who live part-time Auckland, part-time King's Cross)

Had a good giggle and reminisce with Sue about Louise who died suddenly in the summer. (By the way, Sue was the one who turned me onto the NZ face cream and supplements, Mitoq. I'm very skeptical of beauty stuff but it does seen to plump the epidermis nicely.)

Me, Sue and her husband Ian
Sue and Ian's wedding day 20 years ago, Louise far left.

Had a good scream and swear at Treetop Adventures in Auckland  - a ropes course amid the canopies -  on the way to the airport. Kevin and I are both terrified of heights so we stayed on Level Four while the kids raced off to Level Ten (50 ft!).


Ignoring the detractors I chose to do it with gracious wave and in third position (channeling our ballet mistress Mrs Shirley Dibble).

Keeping up appearances


By the way if you still haven't done your New Year's clear out of wardrobe, kitchen and garage, my latest article for the San Francisco Chronicle gives ten great tips from the pros, if I do say myself. Read here.  For more techniques on how to cull the clutter,  Heather has done a goody at her place.

Organizer Angela Hoxsey says people are either innies or outies when it comes to mess. I am definitely an inny as all the decks in our house are clear, but just open any drawer, cupboard and it's... What Lies Beneath. Which are you?

Who else is all caught up with Homeland and The Affair? The latter started out as queasy-making and dull by turns (who wants to watch anyone having an affair?) but it's taken a swerve for the interesting. Homeland really picked it up too  - and where on earth did they find a baby that looked sooo much like Brody?

I binge-watched House Of Cards when I was away. Gosh, Robin Wright has an amazing hairline...her hair falls perfectly from her crown and away from her face. Not being pervy but you can see her incredible physique in Adore (an otherwise disturbing and boring movie)


Her daughter Dylan got her jolly good genes... seen in WWD this month



Set my alarm for 6am for my inaugural pilates class ( I want this core that everyone keeps talking about!).  Saw a full moon in the sky and went back to sleep. Sometimes it's better to let that ship sail. Far, far away...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Year


Not skiting, but here in Ohope Beach we were first to see in 2015. Technically true as we are the easternmost place in the world. Actioned a spot of gold top from Giarda Forte for the ocassion...


I've always loved a pop o glitter. I fear these are flypoop in this photo...either that or i had some strange freckles


It was Mum's 76th birthday on Boxing Day which is the day after Christmas here, so called because back in ye olde mothercountry the gentry would box up gifts for the servants. Probably re-gifting. Here is Madeleine 54 years ago...


And today...(Dad looks happier after 53 years married)


Mum and her friend Pam with grandaughters 




Christmas Day was bright and wondrous and turkey co-operated.



We just did a $30 secret santa, jax was happy with his hat...as the priest said the two wise men must have been miffed at the wise man who bought gold, exceeding the agreed secret santa price


We've eaten loads... Including carrots in condoms as a friend calls vege spring rolls.


You always get a lolly with your latte here, non fat milk is called trim here which makes it sound very sportif i feel.


Mind you if you are a cream lover and this writer is, people line up all over the countryside for a whiff of this cream. Apparently school kids "wag" (skive off) the last period of school to get in line to buy it to put over their cornies or weetabix. 


Mum threw caution to the wind and purchased a store bought Pavlova.. Not sure if this was supposed to be public. Pavlovas were invented by Kiwis after the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova. 


Dad's friend Crash brought around his smoked Kingfish. Good? Bloody Oath.


There was a spot of purchasing from Linda at my other fave Ohope store, Art4Art Sake.



I bought this for the rope chest..think it will go??


Have not taken these rings off


We went mountain biking in the Redwoods at Rotorua, a stinky town with eggy geysers. I rode Mum's bike which is  addled with rust and i'm sure was used in the French Resistance.

Eating ham sambos


Then we drove to Minginui to cycle some more.. It's a tiny place and ages from anywhere and beautiful but poor in many parts so quite sad. Some of the furniture and appliances at Minginui Lodge where we stayed was from the 50's and 60's but not in a self conscious way. Still works so yeah all good said owner Garry. 

Garry the owner shows us the old stove. Mostly five day trampers (hikers) and wild pig hunters up this way. Not good to be tramping during The Roar. (The season)





The house down the road..,

The little church and the marae.


Kids at Galatea, further up the road.

New Years' I saw friends from more than 40 (!) years ago. Friend David had organised a 3rd Form ( high school freshman) reunion recently which I could not make. A lot of people told him they didn't like high school but they loved the reunion. I was okay with the classes but there was some horrible bullying which was pretty scarring. How did you survive high school?




We did a spot of kayaking around the inner habor to see the 800 year old Pohutukawas and the kids tried paddle boarding.




Phew that was a lot. I forgot to make resolutions....what about you?



Goodbye Ohope Beach, I'll miss you. Do you like to go back to your hometown?
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