New Year Resolution #1. Get back to writing.

I’m getting a head start on my resolutions and looking back over the old 12 months.

January: I didn’t want to start so negatively but I read this poem in early Jan 2019. I won’t mention him again, hopefully.

February: Now that’s over with, I’m moving on to more joyful things. Auckland traffic is hell. Me coming home from work. Love my commute.

March: To heck with the budget. Call me materialistic. Timothy Oulton, you are my main (furniture) man. Hey, it’s now a family heirloom…justify, justify. Now saving for the (small, come on I’m reasonable,) gyro chandelier and maybe the infinity mirror…or not.

April: Happy birthday to me. Will there be enough food? You can’t eat flowers. (Or can you?)

April was also rat catching month.

I know I shouldn’t look so gleeful and evil.

May: Friday Poem book, edited by Steve Braunias. A great buy. Paula Harris you make me guffaw in an unseemly kind of way.

June: A Little Sortie to Samoa.

A little sortie to Samoa.

July: A spot of winter knitting. Paige has duly arrived now and is entertaining my BFF, a doting new Grandma.

August: Sam secured a Kiwibuild apartment that is supposed to be finished soon…it was all that smashed avocado he cut down on. He didn’t even use the Bank of Mum, so very proud of his frugal ways and savings record.

Also in August was the Women’s Bookshop birthday celebration. A great afternoon of women’s stories. Name drop alert, my friend Fiona Farrell was the best!

September: they finally started on my possible next move…. 15 months late so I’m still deciding. the Shexit survey is underway. Should I remain or should I leave?

October: Poppy season, my number one favourite. I love to watch those furry testicles drop and the papery flowers emerge. Note to friends, these and violets only at my funeral please.

November: an act of kindness. I came home to find that a friend’s husband had water blasted my deck. So delighted and grateful.

December: Scaling down on Christmas decorations.

December was also when family and a friend had a perfect day out to Fleur’s Place in Moeraki. By (blue)cod it was good!

December culminated in a wonderful Christmas at Waipu. Christmas Eve elves were out and about, walking with dinosaurs.

These are of course, mainly the lovely things. Call it fake news I guess. It wasn’t all elves and poppies. My dearest friend is now in a home with Alzheimers, the fires raging in Australia are unimaginably horrible, Whakaari, a nightmare. Every day we hear of another unbelievable rant from a mentally unstable orange man who is now joined by another bad hair day bloke. If only it was just the hair. In the face of mortality, though, onward we go and I am now attempting to fill in the required Christmas card official form.

Wish list: This is purely indulgence on my part, I am not wishing for peace on earth or an end to child poverty and a miraculous miracle for the climate crisis, though I do wish all these things. This is all about me….and I can’t get number 1 to justify. Argh technology! I also can’t resize the pictures so sorry about that.

  1. Paris for ten days, a walking or cycling stint of ten to fifteen kms a day on a flat surface with great food breaks at regular intervals and a stay with old friends in the Pyrenees. See what I did there? Got three wishes in under the one wish category.

2. Retire completely, although this may be a bit unrealistic.

3. Transform Jacob Putker’s print into a full-sized wall paper. He has given me permission! I am keeping which one a secret. But here is a sample.

4. To love and be loved. That’s all. I know Leunig’s record is blemished this year and I agree with the women who called him to account but..

5. That those around me; my book club, walking group, other friends and family have lives of meaning and bouts of happiness amidst the chaos of the everyday, oh and eat some really good food and drink some great wine and read some inspiring poetry and some brilliant books and laugh quite a bit after the crying bit and watch the Black Caps win a test (well it is wishful thinking). Oh and flowers, every day.

Lastly, favourite stuff this year

TV series -Fleabag,

and in second place to Phoebe, the hot priest.

Movie Bellbird, who needs dialogue? Brilliant.

Non fiction, The Art of Travel Alain de Botton,

” A momentous but until then overlooked fact was making its first appearance: that I had inadvertently brought myself with me to the island.”

Fiction, Grief is the Thing with Feathers. Don’t know how but somehow, Porter nails grief.

Poetry- The Friday Poem

Finally, take your pick from this year’s crop of quotes:

  1. Every New Year is the direct descendant, isn’t it, of a long line of proven criminals? ~Ogden Nash
  2. For last year’s words belong to last year’s language/And next year’s words await another voice./And to make an end is to make a beginning. ~T. S. Eliot

With love and hope and a glass of bubbles, happy new year! FGx

Brain overload

Even though I only work two days a week at a university, the last two weeks seem to have caused brain overload. I am juggling a few different things right now with two friends very ill with dementia, helping with the rat catching programme at Hobsonville Point, running the book club, working casually but more often at the info centre, collecting for the Aunties , writing a monthly article for The Westerly and being MC for the New Horizons for Women-Hine Kahukura ceremony last Saturday.

Sorry to look so gruesomely pleased but I am siding with our native birds even though I know the poor rats were brought here.

I am not complaining, I like my busy life but I find myself getting brain overload so I was lucky enough to have a couple of days in Waipu. I spent two great days feeding ducks, admiring gardens and new planting, listening for kiwi at night, walking in brisk conditions, petting two dogs, eating great food cooked by the hostess with the mostest, overdoing wine and chocolates, sitting by a roaring fire and generally doing nothing much. In a ten minute window of blustery rain, I picked daffodils. It is so satisfying picking them in a beautiful wee glade on the farm, the crisp stems snapping and the electric fence zapping…

Since returning home I have been enjoying Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travelling. He takes one chapter to explain Wordsworth’s love of nature and its curative powers. He says, “The poet proposed that Nature, which he took to comprise, among other elements, birds, streams, daffodils and sheep, was an indispensable corrective to the psychological damage inflicted by life in the city.” I think he is onto something right there.

In the earlier section of the book he also curbed my romanticising of another holiday in France by reminding me of something I have always known but which I carefully lock away in the back of my mind and forget about a month after I have been anywhere. He was discussing a visit to a particularly idyllic beach resort in the Carribean.

A momentous but until then overlooked fact was making its first appearance: that I had inadvertently brought myself with me to the island.

However, a tree in blossom, laden with little ballet girls may be all I need to restore myself to myself.

I am trying to be more Wordsworth-like and notice the small joys around me. I am always enamoured by poppies at this time of year. I love the way their furry “testicles” split open to reveal the gorgeous papery flower. I get a seriously good dose of pleasure from that small Spring phenomenon. I can’t say truthfully though, that I have stopped romanticising about another holiday in France

I have had this post sitting around a while as I was having so much trouble loading images but it may be fixed!

Happy October, it’s about now we start saying to one another, “Good grief, it’s nearly Christmas!!” belatedly, FG