Category Archives: Life in words

Doing words for July

  • Bookmarking:
 Auckland café & restaurant review sites
  • Buying:
 a stand-up paddle board! Crikey!
  • Considering:
 buying some skis
  • Cooking: with a full complement of utensils and appliances once again, thank goodness!
  • Drinking:
 beer in the spa…. Probably not great for the waistline!
  • Enjoying:
 exploring new places on the weekends, like Hunua Falls.
  • Feeling:
 a whole load of different things from day to day.
  • Getting:
 to know my way around. Slowly.
  • Giggling:
 at Modern Family. We watched Season 2 while waiting for our TV to be hooked up.
  • Hoping:
 to make some friends.
  • Liking:
 my new job.
  • Looking: 
for some stools for the cubby house.
  • Loving:
 how the beaches here are so dog-friendly.
  • Making:
 baby number 3. Hopefully.
  • Marvelling:
 that I squeezed into a size 10 wetsuit!
  • Playing:
 on the trampoline with Master L (when it’s dry and Miss L’s asleep).
  • Pondering:
 things to do with each set of grandparents, the first arrive next week.
  • Needing:
 to register the dog with the council, I just found out!
  • Reading:
 the world’s worst novel on my eReader. Still.
  • Smelling:
 another slow-cooker meal- let’s hope it tastes alright!
  • Thinking:
 about my Grandma and her celebration service tomorrow.
  • Waiting:
 for Miss L to start walking- still!
  • Wanting:
 so inspiration for Mr L’s birthday present!
  • Watching: the days slowly getting longer.
  • Wearing:
 my skinny jeans and ankle boots to death.
  • Wondering:
 how I’ll go at my SUP lesson tomorrow!

Doing words for May

  • Admiring:- anyone who runs a sub-100 half
  • Bookmarking- 
cake websites. 2 June birthdays… although one is my own so the pressure’s off
  • Buying:- as little as possible given that we’re moving in 4 weeks!
  • Cooking- an awesome new slow-cooker chicken curry recipe
  • Deciding- what food we should have at our farewell BBQ
  • Drinking- something new: Bascand Estate 2012 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough NZ)
  • Enjoying- 
the weather- it’s beautiful- mid twenties, dry, sunny- lovely!
  • Feeling- 
a bit on the chubby side- feels like I’ve been eating cake since Mother’s Day!
  • Getting- 
ready for my last week of work
  • Googling- 
strawberry allergy- I think Master L has one
  • Hoping- we find a great Nanny in Auckland
  • Knowing- 
I only have two more evening shifts….
  • Liking- tonight’s newest find- “Chocolate Mug Cake”– if the mother of invention is necessity, the savior of desperation is Google. (I left out the coffee- it wasn’t bad)
  • Looking:- forward to seeing Chinese Puzzle– the third in the Spanish Apartment Trilogy. I loved the first two, hope the third dosen’t disappoint.
  • Loving- 
the Maya Fiennes- Yoga for Real Life, which I borrowed from the library, just wish I had made time to do some!
  • Making- lists galore!
  • Marvelling- 
at how many Gumtree enquiries never amount to anything- are these people just trying to find something to do?
  • Playing- trains, most days
  • Pondering- where to go for my birthday/farewell Sydney dinner
  • Needing- more sleep- is this the same as April?!
  • Noticing- that Adam Sandler plays essentially the same character in every movie (but I still find myself reluctantly laughing)
  • Reading- something on my ereader…. I forget what, it’s so long since I picked it up
  • Smelling- 
less than perfect thanks to Miss Ls upset tummy
  • Thinking- how crafty all these cleaning businesses are who keep sending us junk mail, having seen our “For Lease” ad on the internet
  • Waiting- for my new roster
  • Wanting- my friend to get through her leukaemia treatment in one piece
  • Watching- Offspring Season 4, which just started
  • Wearing- t-shirts still, it’s unseasonably warm for May!
  • Wishing- 
to one day run a sub-100 half!
  • Wondering- 
how long my 95 year old Grandma’s got left..

 

Doing words for April

So I guess this is a bit of a cheat post… New at this whole blogging game, I find myself very good at writing blog posts in my head, not to good at making the time to get them down on paper (or its electronic equivalent).

Also I found my last post quite onerous to write (emotionally) and then I proof read it about 4 times as I wasn’t too sure it was exactly what I wanted to post- was it in-keeping enough with my other posts, was I just having a bad day and would look back at it and worry I was being too negative? Etc etc etc. So I thought something lighter and fluffier was in order.

I have discovered (and started following) a couple of new blogs recently and I must admit that while I find them entertaining and fun to read (and often quite inspiring in many ways) they do leave me feeling slightly inadequate as many of them add new posts daily, sometimes several times a day.

I must confess, I’ve been a little disappointed that in my blog’s shortish history I have so far received only ONE comment. (Not counting about a million spam messages- I never even knew blogs were spammable- but evidently they are. Very much so.) I’ve assumed a lack of comments means a lack of readers, (although surely I should be able to see how many people are visiting my site… Technoparesis strikes again.) I took a look back at my First Post, where I pondered why I decided to start a blog in the first place…. “I’m not doing this primarily to win readers, or earn money, or educate people”. It’s true, I’m not doing it to acquire a following or make a living (FYI those blogs that post daily are generally run by people who are blogging to make a living, which makes me feel slightly better about the paucity of my posts).

Anyway, to gain more readers you’re apparently supposed to post shorter posts more often, I suspect mine are a bit prosaic. Again, care factor- well, clearly not zero, but minimal. I can vouch for the fact that the more often a blog posts something, the more likely I am to keep following it (to a point, if they’re rubbish posts I lose interest).

And so as a bit of a filler while I created actual ones from my mental ones, here is a list of my present participles (or doing words) for April. (Sincere apologies for not crediting this to its original source, but I didn’t note it down and now I can’t find the blog I got the idea from in the first place. If they find out, maybe my second genuine comment will materialise, albeit an accusation of plagiarism.)

  • Admiring- Master L’s endless energy reserves
  • Bookmarking- Quilting & crafty sites
  • Buying- new winter wardrobe staples post last spring’s weight-loss and in anticipation of the NZ weather
  • Considering- buying a sewing machine
  • Cooking- healthier dinners this week after the excesses of Easter
  • Deciding- whether to go back to my old hairdresser one more time before we move
  • Drinking- Lipton Green Tea with Jasmine
  • Enjoying- my days off this week- no work and no kids
  • Feeling- Tired. Constantly.
  • Following- a link I saw on FB this morning- 4 scarves 16 ways– well, trying to!
  • Getting- frustrated with the dog’s constant stopping to sniff around this morning on our run
  • Hoping- for an uninterrupted and lengthy night’s sleep
  • Knowing- my sister needs to ditch her loser boyfriend
  • Liking- everyone’s comments on the photo I posted of our Year 7 high-school class play
  • Looking- for a new preschool, new swimming school, new nanny, new house!
  • Loving- everything about autumn in Sydney- cooler days, winter duvet, autumn leaves
  • Making- dinner out of what’s in the cupboard and freezer wherever possible
  • Marvelling- that Master L broke out into “You are my sunshine” unprompted on the way home. Word perfect. And I’ve never even sung it to him….
  • Needing- to pack for Friday’s trip to NZ
  • Noticing- how much I love my job- is this just because I’m leaving?
  • Opening- our Wiggle order that arrived this morning- new running stuff, yes!
  • Playing- outside more now that it’s cooler
  • Pondering- when best to try for baby number 3
  • Reading- Spot’s Fun Week. Over and over and over again
  • Smelling- of Estee Lauder Emerald Dream for the last time (I ran out this morning)
  • Thinking- of ways to use up the 5 different types of rice in the pantry before we move
  • Waiting- for someone to buy the stuff we have listed on Gumtree
  • Wanting- More sleep
  • Watching- Puberty Blues Season 2 (streamed from the internet as Mr L hates it)
  • Wearing- Layers (usually leggings, long singlet, t shirt)
  • Wishing- we didn’t have to leave our nanny & preschool
  • Wondering- how my “taking stock” session will go this week

Changing Country

All Good Things Sarah Turnbull- a review

 I’ve almost finished reading All Good Things at the moment, by Sarah Turnbull. She’s also the author of Almost French, which I read at uni (almost 20 years ago) where, as a late twenty-something Australian woman, she moves to Paris and describes her experience of trying to adapt and live alongside “les Parisiens”. When I discovered she had a new book, I resolved to re-read Almost French and remind myself of her experiences and her writing style, but I was caught by surprise when All Good Things popped up in the Sony reader store on special, and I was too impatient to go and source a copy of her earlier work first.

All Good Things has taken me a long time to read. As with everything nowadays, some of that can be blamed on situational factors (too tired, too busy, the kids, conflicting electronic demands (ie too much time on the internet) but I can’t help but feel that for a really compelling read I’d put these things aside. I didn’t really know what to expect of the book, I knew that Sarah and her French husband leave Paris to move to Tahiti and that was it. If I’d thought about it, I suppose I’d have realised that a personal memoir of life on Mo’orea was probably not going to be particularly fast-paced.

 But overall I’ve enjoyed reading it. There are several aspects of her story that I was able to identify with- her experience of Polynesia, her journey to becoming a mother, even her scuba-diving adventures are all things I can relate to although perhaps in rather different ways to her.

 However there are two things that really appeal to me. The first is her writing style. Much of what I’ve read over the last few years has been, quite frankly, trash. Predictable, formulaic, albeit page-turning chick-lit. In some ways I’m a bit of a literary wannabe. I like to appreciate good writing, I enjoy thinking about themes and imagery and all that stuff, but I don’t want to have to think too hard about it. I want it to be there for me to appreciate without having to expend too much mental energy. And All Good Things allows me just that. Sarah Turnbull writes beautifully. Admittedly her subject matter (mostly the history and natural environment of Tahiti) lends itself to vibrant prose and imagery but her descriptive passages are so… vivid (fortunately she has a far broader vocabulary than mine) and her command of adjectives (although the excerpt below isn’t actually great example of adjectives per se) is astounding.

“Waves pounded the reef, sending white caps scudding across the lagoon and vibrations travelling through the air. Ferns shimmied and shook, coconut palms tossed their heads like impatient ponies, the rubbery papaya tree arched acrobatically. When the rain fell the power of it was thrilling. Water rolled down our iron roof, falling over the eaves in fat glass ropes that glittered under the bright garden lights. The percussive din was so load we had to shout to be heard.”

My English teacher, Mrs Wade, would have been in heaven with all this imagery, albeit a rather frustrated one due my inability to understand the difference between a simile and a metaphor.

While reading passages such as this and in particular her descriptions of her lagoon and ocean forays (swimming and scuba diving), I often wondered how Sarah translated her observations to paper. Did she take notes as she was pottering around the island (surely she must have)? Sitting on a beach with a notebook I can easily imagine, but scribbling notes straight after a scuba dive, all sandy and salty and dripping water on the paper? Did she ponder for hours searching for the perfect adjective or did they all just pop into her head? (Actually an early passage describing some of the writing drills she attempted to overcome her writer’s block would suggest there wasn’t a lot of popping. Nevertheless, I was impressed!)

The other angle that seems particularly pertinent to my own experience is her perspective on moving countries. She describes perfectly (I cannot find the passage at this point- annoying e-reader) how she felt on a brief visit to Australia after some time living in France, how she somehow expected everything to be the same and felt quite indignant that, in her absence, people had dared to move on. I clearly remember having the same feelings during my first trip back to England after we had emigrated to Australia. It was 4 years before we returned which, in anyone’s book, is quite a long time, but in the crucial years of adolescence, may as well be a lifetime. I remember naïvely expecting the comfortable niche I’d left as a 12 year old to be there when I returned at 16 and all my friends just sitting around missing me, as I had missed them since I’d left. Realising they hadn’t been doing that at all and that my niche had been solidly filled in for some time generated such feelings of sadness and loss that I found my visit really difficult in some ways. (Actually it was also exactly what I needed to realise where home really was now and get on with life instead of wallowing in sentimental thoughts of where I’d be now if we hadn’t moved).

Of course, with our imminent move to NZ, this theme becomes relevant again. At the end of the book, Sarah moves back to Australia with her husband and son, and in the final few chapters she describes the physical steps that contribute to such a life-change:

“Changing country requires commitment and energy. Finding or starting work, making friends, developing new rituals, locating favourite restaurants and pastimes- the process of settling in, or “blending in”, as my mother used to say, takes time and energy. Finally, if you’ve been diligent and your efforts prove fruitful, you end up with precisely what you left behind: routines and a regular life.”

As an adult, fortunately, these steps are easier. Not just because they are conscious but because you feel more in control of them than when you are dumped in a foreign country at the age of 12. The fact that you’re the one choosing to move in the first place probably has a lot to do with it as well. So does the fact that you feel much more confident in who you are and all these new discoveries are accessories to your life rather than the definition of it.

So I’m sorry it took me so long to get through the book. Whilst I can’t help but feel a little disappointed that I wasn’t compelled to read it faster, I think the fault was largely mine rather than the author’s. I’d be keen to go back and visit Almost French again. It did spend many years sitting on my bookshelf, only to be discarded in a fit of de-cluttering. But hey, that’s what a library is for, right?