Left Out

 "My husband’s been away on business. Again. Back Sunday. I can’t wait to see him. In the meantime I have introduced two of my single women friends to each other so they can have company at a Love Match evening. Kind of like speed dating but a bit classier, I’m led to believe. If it turns out to be a dud and all the men there are, shall we say, not quite what either of them are looking for (duds), then they can back quietly out the side door and adjourn to a warm, cosy bar and cackle/commiserate into a glass or two of wine. Thing is, I’m now feeling left out.

"You’re married," they reminded me.

"Oh, yes, that’s right. I forgot there for a moment. Well then, where is he?!"

"Nearly home and probably with a big present for you," they assured me.

"Right. Ok then. Just as well. The Love Match evening was beginning to sound fun!"

"Oh, shutup. You’ve got your man. Leave the others for us."

"I don’t want another man but what a lark it would be, the three of us."

"Stop it."

Fine. Good luck to them. I’m definitely joining them for that drink afterwards though.

Gratitude's The Key

Where’s my willpower gone? Did I ever have any? I seem to remember days gone where I raced out of bed and into walking shoes to pound (plod) the streets before the hubbub of the day began. And enjoyed it even. All that flowing blood and fresh air. I was a saint. These days the thought of a morning constitutional has me clutching the bedclothes up around my neck and scrunching up my nose. Too cold, too wet, too early, too late, too tired, too hungry. Knees hurt, shoes too old - not enough support left in them (for the poor, sore knees). Gotta write, gotta feed the animals, gotta…

I bore myself to tears. Literally. I actually do get upset with my never-ending list of excuses. Because in summer, y’know, it’s too hot, etc. So how do I access this elusive willpower I once owned? I’ve tried “Just Do It", dragged my sorry, shivering body out from under the blankets and gotten dressed  but haven’t managed to venture out the door yet. Given myself a darn good lecture about self worth and integrity and practise what you preach to no avail. Just makes me more sniveley and miserable.

What a drip, I am. Honestly, if I was someone else I’d give them a good smack.

So, onwards and upwards. Tomorrow is a new day and I am going to cheerfully pull on the new walking shoes I will purchase today and march on out that front door with gratitude in my heart for the fact I can still walk (painful knees aside) and smile from ear to ear knowing I am being integrous to myself while I just do it.

Promises, Promises...

I used to loathe breakfast and never used to eat it - except on a Sunday around 11.30am in a cafe up the road. Now, it’s a different story. I only ever miss it on the odd occasion. Do I enjoy it? That would be stretching the truth but I know I’m doing my body such a massive favour having brekkie.

I have a couple of options I throw down the hatch but nine times out of ten it’s a green juice. Not always a “yum" moment on cold winter mornings, especially the trek (few steps) out to the vegie garden in the rain. Also not the prettiest sight first thing for the neighbours - me cluthching my dressing gown up from the sodden grass, mauve, fluffy bottom ( dressing gown again) in the air, hair every which way but the right way, as I pick spinach, kale, sorrel, parsley, dandelion leaves and twist an icy lemon off the tree, shaking raindrops down my once warm, dry arm, on my way back inside.

But, OH, it makes me feel so virtuous. All those leafy greens and lemon juiced up with turmeric root, fresh ginger and a pear or some pineapple. Health heaven.

My insides gurgle with anticipation followed by appreciation and are oblivious to my thoughts of bacon and eggs and toast. No - crumpets. Dripping in butter. Later, much later on.

As I swallow down the last bitter drop along with some omega 3 capsules, I think: “Well done, you. Another step to ongoing health and well-being." Because that’s the promise, isn’t it? In all the books? Radiant skin, toned, slender body, gleaming organs, ecstatic arteries, increased libido, even.

How long have I been doing this?

I'm Just Going To Say It...

My son looked gorgeous this morning (most mornings, in fact).

He turned my head as he came into my office to say goodbye. Breathing in his soapy/cologne scent, I appraised him — black Paul Smith shirt with tiny white spots, grey sleeveless hoodie underneath a black leather jacket reminiscent of James Dean. Skinny black jeans and new ankle boots. All topped off with the coolest haircut - blonde and his natural black coming through. Blue eyes to die for. So grown up. So handsome. 

“Bye, Mum.” He rushed out, bag flying off his broad shoulder.

“Bye, darling. Have a good (slam)… day.”

I sat and revelled in the joy of mother/son love, knowing full well that the moment I ventured upstairs I would grit my teeth and swear under my breath at the devastation he had left in the kitchen and bathroom. Not even going to venture into his room.

Enjoy the moment is my motto.

You Think You Know Someone

One of my best friends has curly blonde hair. Not just curly - sheep’s wool curly. It floats around her head like a crazy, happy cloud. If anyone asks me to describe her, it is always the hair first: “Well, she’s got really curly hair, she’s a great dancer, can sing and she’s a Virgo, so, you know what I’m saying…”  but always the hair first.

Recently she turned up at my door and she’d had her curls straightened. Once the shock had subsided and I’d collected my jaw from the doorstep, I had to question: Who is this woman? Do I know her at all? Will she still keep my secrets? Do I have to keep hers? Do curries remain her favourite food? Will she want to continue our book club going forward?

She looked so… straight-haired. I do not get it. I told her to stop it as I tentatively tapped her hair with a shaky finger and inquired how long before it would spring back to corkscrews. “I”ll see you in a week, when you’ve seen sense and are back to looking like my friend again,” I said. It is just not right. I need her curly when she’s encouraging my writing and gives me advice on life and won’t let me get a word in otherwise I may as well talk to the seagulls on the beach; who aren’t the slightest bit interested.

So, listen up my dear friend - I’m straight and you’re curly and that’s written in the stars. And, if you straighten those curls again, I’ll have a perm!

Love You Babe

Yesterday afternoon Daniel and I visited our new nephew at an after-hospital birth care place. It’s swish in there compared to a public hospital. There is wine on the menu - not recommended for nursing mothers it says. Which seems terribly unfair to me. I’m not saying nursing mothers should drink wine after a birth, though goodness knows how delicious it would be after such an ordeal and all the dry months before that. I am saying: why dangle the carrot? Like I said, most unfair. There’s my sister-in-law breast feeding her day-old son with a good, solid tumbler of water to sip on while my brother-in-law, to our giddy delight, broke open a vintage bottle of champagne and a $400 bottle of scotch. After a cuddle with the newbie and a flute of bubbles, I felt completely nostalgic over the birth of my son. He is 21 now and the wee babe in my arms yesterday, cooing and clutching my finger, brought it all back to me. The smell, the little black-haired head, the blue eyes. And most of all, the wonder and beauty when you realize you had not a smidgeon of an idea of how unconditionally you can love another human being. One of life’s precious gifts. Can’t wait to see the new family addition grow. Love you babe.

Tired But Happy

I had a great day yesterday amidst the nuttiness that has been in my life lately. Watched a friend consume great food at a new café in Ponsonby. I had already lunched on something dry and nutritious, and so wished I hadn’t after seeing her food arrive. Didn’t even have room for a cheeky little lunchtime glass of rosé.

Following that we both had our tarot cards read with a crystal reading thrown in free. Bargain. How could we turn it down? Then we trundled off secure in the knowledge my friend would meet a man with a Schnauser (not as random as you may think — she has one) and I would have the house of my dreams and go on a trip with my beloved. Excellent.

Anyway, we decided on a movie and chose Gatsby. Marvellous. A modern-day Fellini except that all the actors are dressed and don’t eat much. They do drink rather a lot though. And smoke themselves silly.

Someone should definitely “throw a shrimp on the barbie” for Baz Luhrman. He deserves it after producing such a spectacle. I adore the 1920s and could definitely see myself in the crystal dress Carrie Mulligan wore. Well, if I was 20 years younger and a few sizes smaller. I guess crystals don’t stretch?

We topped it all off with a wine and a pizza in a flash bar on the way home and called my beloved to give him the pleasure of collecting us and driving us home. Tired but happy. I’m hoping that wasn’t the trip the clairvoyant was alluding to.

Where’s My Brush?

I’m excited to be having a Skype call with my publisher tomorrow. I’ve neglected my social media practice seeing as my husband has returned after three long months. So after a week of catch-up with him, rejigging the rules and regulations (e.g. I NEVER want to cook again) and being grateful I don’t need to drag out the wynciette sheets now that he’s back to warm up the bed, I’m back onto social media learning and application. After firing loads of questions at my lovely publisher that is.

The only downside is that as we are “video conferencing”, I will have to shrug off the pj’s, get dressed and brush my hair.

Au Revoir

My absolutely lovely French visitors left this morning for the next phase of their travels through the world. I drove them to the airport in the cold and dark and rain. We will miss them, and Olivia’s tarts. Yesterday’s was a-mazing — crispy, buttery, paper-thin pastry filled with courgette, mushroom, cream and goat’s cheese. My usual green juices and salads have paled into insignificance, tho’ now Olivia has gone, I will have to reinstate them. Every cloud has a silver lining — at least I won’t have to deal with the butter slick around my mouth anymore.

Bon chance Olivia and Yohan. 

A Skewed Premonition?

Couple of days ago I found myself singing an old song that I hadn’t thought of for eons: Hole In My Shoe by Traffic. You know the one… I looked in the sky and saw an elephant’s eye that was looking at me and all that I knew was the hole in my shoe was letting in water… (clearly substances had been ingested)

So, last night there wasn’t a hole in my shoe that was letting in water. The ceiling in my spare room was another matter. Water pouring from a hole in it. Not a sign of an elephant’s eye, instead two sets of French visitors’ eyes, along with my startled pair, gazing ceiling-ward. Spooky.

Premonition? Albeit wonky? Or a coincidence. Didn’t someone say “there are no coincidences”? Whatever, I am going to be extremely careful what I sing from now on.

Seven Sleeps

Seven sleeps until my husband comes home from the USA. It will have been three months since we have breathed the same air. Way too long.

Someone asked me yesterday if he has begun wooing me from afar. It hadn’t occurred to me but he should be. He better not think he can just waltz in and there’ll be dinner waiting and welcome-home banners tacked to the wall — nigh impossible to read what with the dimmed lighting and tightly closed drapes.

There also will not be a provacative black, lacy thing barely draped over me. Too cold. I will, however, make an effort and take a trip to K’Mart for a new pair of wynciette pj’s. I’ll choose ones with a seductive satin trim around the collar, which will be buttoned up to the neck (the cold again).

The cat will be put out — he’s gotten used to the other side of the bed being his domain. We’ll adjust. if I’m honest, I’m getting quite excited. Nervous too: Will we recognise each other? Have we changed in three long months? Am I loving my independence? Yes to all three but above and beyond all that is the twenty-five years (this October) we have spent together loving, laughing, crying, bickering, spooning, making excellent and disastrous decisions, having a beautiful son and believing in one another.

Hmmm… I may leave the top button undone after all.

Little Toot

Determined rippling into shore is how the tide presented itself this morning. As always on these overnight-rain soaked clear Autumn mornings - any kind of morning in fact - the little white motor boat (reminding me of Little Toot from the Sunday morning radio stories of childhood. I always prayed that particular story would be over before we had to leave for church) bravely sped back and forth from around the western headland, past the houses on the cliff and over to the North Shore. It ferried passengers to and from work, school, who knows where. And, also as usual, the cosmic yellow azalea bush on the cliff edge seemed shocked.

My morning has been an industrious one: hair washed, bills paid, emails replied to, facebook/pintarest/twitter updated, greens juiced and drunk. Now, like the dogs, I’ve slipped back to bed for an hour of gazing out to sea, reading Case Histories by Kate Atkinson and drinking green tea before meeting up with a friend for a good old catch up. He’s leaving for Spain soon. I will miss him and his green/hazel eyes.

I’m beginning to like facebook.

One More Wine

I decided to pour myself one more wine last night. Well-deserved after another day of social media ending in what I like to think of as a coup: That is, I tackled it. If I stay quiet and listen hard, I’m almost positive I can hear applause from those as SM phobic as me.

One again my friend bravely (naively) offered help: “It’s easy. You’ve learnt so much already.” I hadn’t realised how easily fooled she was. We spent ages on my tumblr blog page, author page and I now know how to fill out a questionnaire on line for my publisher. And even send it back to them. There’s that applause again

My other friend (actually, I have more than two) poked his head in among the lessons and asked: “Are you having fun yet?”

Well, no. Don’t be silly. My mood lifted when he dashed up the road and returned with hot cheese scones and coffee. I don’t even drink coffee but it seemed so ‘writerley’, grown up and laptop-like. A couple of sips later I had to abandon it — hands began to shake. The cheese scone was heaven. Comforting and I didn’t have to click on it anywhere, just watch the butter soak into its middle and on to my hips. 

Smiling, I licked the crumbs of crispy cheese off my lips and clicked on post, send, save. I felt simultaneously modern and very full. Of course my guilt went through the roof. A scone, a cheese scone, a cheese buttered scone. No! I deserved that scone. Look at what I’ve achieved today, I tut tutted the guilt bunny and sent him hopping.   

Now, I’m comfy on my couch, snoring dog beside me, one more wine poured and hoping my friend has her bottle of Rescue Remedy handy when I tell her I need a refresher of what I learned today. Cheers.

Young Reflection

There was a full moon last night and the man in it took no prisoners.

I sat on my couch watching American Idol with my two Jack Russells snoring beside me. My husband is away overseas on business and if he was here his head would shake but he can go whistle because he isn’t here and I am comforted by their little legs pushing into me as they stretch in happiness.

Yesterday the sun shone in that baby-blanket blue way it has and the trees gave us a preview of autumn.

I am negotiating a book publishing contract. Just typing that sets butterflies aflutter in my chest and arms. 

I have wanted to write a book since I was around five years old: after I had decided, on young reflection, that I did not want to become a nun after all. Letting go a future filled with long black skirts and clanking, shiny rosaries with gleaming crucifixes bashing my white knees was a sacrifice I was prepared to make. I could offer that sacrifice up to God which would give me points at the pearly gates.

In my fifties now, the book has taken what seems like many lifetimes to complete. Of course it has: now is perfect. From around five to 50-plus has become me and my writing. Never think age is a barrier. Dream on.

In And Out...

I’ve been sitting marveling at how my body keeps breathing in and out, in and out even though, right now, I don’t particulary care seeing as I’m feeling blue.

Luckily, two of my precious women friends are seated around me. Each of us has a sleepy dog in our lap while we drink Kumeu River chardonnay and eat buffalo brie and fat, bright green Sicilian olives. And talk. Mostly I listen.

We’ve been mulling over my situation, and whether perhaps God has shown a touch of fallibility in his creation of the male species in a couple of ways. One of my friends shouted a catagorical “YES! Definitelty a cockup on His part." Her words, the volume of which the dog on her lap didn’t seem to appreciate. I don’t know what I know at the moment so I just laugh a little, settle the startled doggie and feel that determined breath trudging on its weary way.

I am so grateful for my friends. Especially the female variety. I doubt a male friend would have thought to bring olives, especially Sicilian ones, let alone a small, delicate, eggshell green oval dish for the pips. I could be talking out of turn and giving all the lovely men in the world a bad rap. Like I said - I have no idea what I know these days. All I can manage is to watch the breath - in and out.

I

In And Out...

I’ve been sitting marveling at how my body keeps breathing in and out, in and out even though, right now, I don’t particulary care seeing as I’m feeling blue.

Luckily, two of my precious women friends are seated around me. Each of us has a sleepy dog in our lap while we drink Kumeu River chardonnay and eat buffalo brie and fat, bright green Sicilian olives. And talk. Mostly I listen.

We’ve been mulling over my situation, and whether perhaps God has shown a touch of fallibility in his creation of the male species in a couple of ways. One of my friends shouted a catagorical “YES! Definitelty a cockup on His part." The volume of which the dog on her lap didn’t seem to appreciate. I don’t know what I know at the moment so I just laugh a little, settle the startled doggie and feel that determined breath trudging on its weary way.

I am so grateful for my friends. Especially the female variety. I doubt a male friend would have thought to bring olives, especially Sicilian ones, let alone a small, delicate, eggshell green oval dish for the pips. I could be talking out of turn and giving all the lovely men in the world a bad rap. Like I said - I have no idea what I know these days. All I can manage is to watch the breath - in and out.

I

White Noise

My friend, who is a computer whizz (some would say geek - not me) has been attempting to guide me around my lapop so as I can be social media savvy. She is fantastically polite and patient, brilliant, and I have only once seen a drop of blood on her bottom lip from gnawing it in what must be utter frustration. The crashing white noise and slamming down of brick walls I hear when someone says: “Just cut and paste it” or make a pdf and attach it to…” has quietened down to a mere din and a sliding closed rather than a slamming, through her tutoring. tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest here I come.

Publishing contract signed, the next part of my journey begins…