Not Washed Away Yet

Auckland continues to get more than its fair share of water. Almost every day there’s been a downpour and I go nowhere without my umbrella! It means – as I’ve said before – that I’m absolutely ripping through the reading and the library here must be having to employ a part-time worker to deal with the transfer of my books in and out of the slot.

It wasn’t quite so bad today, which meant I got out to have coffee on two separate occasions, both very Outlander-related. The first was a lively catchup with a friend just returned from the other side of the globe, who shares my love of the books and the series. I was wearing my Outlander top I’d designed, and my friend Rhonnie had sewn up for me, so I was dressed for the occasion. We jabbered on about almost everything, cutting over the top of each other, wandering off on tangents, and ending up somewhere completely different. I’m putting up a meme I did of a scene I hope to see in the coming Season, just to prove I do more things than just read the books.

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After that coffee, I headed home and an hour later was back out to have lunch with my oldest niece, who has just discovered the Outlander books herself. I’m delighted to say she has good taste in reading and is totally hooked. In fact, I believe that even as I type this, she is lolling on top of her bed with a cup of tea reading ‘Voyager’. SO NICE to babble on about travel and our shared love of Scotland, and all the exciting ways to grasp life and live it to the full.

Last Friday, despite my best intentions to eat few carbs and no sugar, I was thwarted at work by turning up on ‘July Birthday Cake Day’. Once a month everyone who has a birthday that month gets treated to a song and a sizeable slice of some exotic confection. I couldn’t disappoint those who had gone to such trouble to provide – even though it wasn’t my birthday. I mean, there were TWO cakes and brownies. Here’s a wee glimpse:

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I hope I fit the airline seat when I depart for Australia in September for a week.

One of my favourite activities in the weekend is to drive somewhere in my car. I went further North than I usually go this Sunday and made it up to Matakana, where I saw a movie, went to the local pottery gallery, and stopped in a bakery for an almond croissant. It was so very nice to leave the city, and almost felt like the sky cleared as I drove along the bouncy roads of the Kaipara Flats, seeing the glistening harbour to my left.

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Tomorrow I head by bus back into the city for three days of work. Pleasant enough when I’m not driving and can just listen to audiobooks and ease my way into the working day that way. I’ll stop at the cafe in the heart of Aotea Square and have a large flat white before I go up to the office and turn on the computer.

Usually I’m the first one in, and so have the office to myself for a while. Perfect.Office

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What a difference 6 months makes

You won’t find this ‘spot the difference’ hard. Pic One: the view from the porch chair in December, when we still had the tree . . .and flowers, sun, leaves, shortbready-type cookies. Pic Two: same view six months later, on a carb-free diet, no tree, and kind of bare of other items too. Hey, but for a brief moment I sat out there with my coffee and pretended it was warm. Roll on summer.

We’re slowly getting longer days, but it’s become much colder. If only the fireplace worked, I’d have fired up logs last night, and nestled in with my sister to watch ‘Outlander – end of season two’ in comfort along with the required beverage:

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Instead we sniffed our way through the 1.5 hours of the show, sipping and sorrowful, but thoroughly enjoying the end of an excellent series. I am heartened to know that they are doing two more seasons at least, and starting to shoot the next soon.

Winters, for me, are very weather-dependent. Rest assured, if it’s NOT raining in the weekend, I am out on my bike getting a rare amount of exercise and not adding to the buildup of traffic on the road. (Auckland is not keeping up with the influx of people moving here, and it really shows now on the roads in the weekend particularly). If I can I get out in my car and go for a drive – North usually – the closest country to home, and pretend I’m still cruising Scotland. It usually involves a coffee or lunch somewhere. Or I go to movies with friends or my sister – even on my own – and am willing to see almost anything for the pleasure of getting out of the house.

We’ve had the roof removed and redone last week. It meant a little readjustment of parking and taking a cheesecake down to the neighbours who were also put out by the blocked driveway for a while.

And the mortar that holds all those activities together, are BOOKS. In between eating, and the rare bit of socialising, and movie going, or cycling, or driving, my head is buried in a book. Sometimes I reluctantly push the vacuum cleaner around, or do the dishes. In fact, on a recent shopping spree in a mall (another place to go in winter) I purchased a clever duster, with hollow handle into which one can squirt water or cleaning fluid, and presented it to my flatmate in case he wanted to try it out on dusting. I haven’t yet, but I FEEL like I’ve done the whole house just because I purchased it. Ken?

Alright I’m finishing now. See – nothing much to report. Hope your week was more lively.

 

50 shades of Grey

Monday morning and time for my blog and ‘thought for the week’. Bear with me. I’ve come back from my early morning walk, having stumbled along it looking like the Michelon Man in my puffer jacket and scarf – I was the ONLY one on the trail. It was a beautiful crisp morning too, but verra cold, ken?AucklandWinterMorning

I had my coffee at my local cafe and read the paper and am now home considering all the things I need to do in the next two days before going in to work on Wednesday.

In the meantime, I want to talk about a matter close to my heart – or should I say, head – right now.

I’ve been a blonde most of my life, except for a brief spurt of red hair in my late thirties. Lately, in order to maintain those flowing golden locks, I’ve kept up a steady practice of applying various shades of blonde to the roots. And okay, it looked fine and for a few years now I’ve loved the iconic plait and colour and thought I’d just keep doing it ad infinitum. But more recently I’ve found my feelings change about all that. They went something like this: I wonder what I really look like under all this bleached goldenness? Is it doing my scalp any good? My skin and face are showing the signs of my long experience on this earth – something I don’t mind too much, because much of that is laughter lines – but my hair does not. In fact, they are matching less and less. Am I happy with that? I felt more and more trapped in routine of maintaining a ‘look’ rather than going with my growing sense of breaking free and being me. The rest of me is excited about the future and the places I want to travel, and not being so concerned with what others think I should do or be, and feeling like grabbing life by the coattails and leaping off into the unknown. It’s a great place to be! I have no children and am not tied down to house or hubby, and have some good close friends and family. . .

So, the getting the hair back to its natural state is part and parcel of that modus operandi. I want to spend my time doing the things that matter to me, and I begrudge every moment I am wasting doing things like putting on hair dye and waiting! I’m still not completely comfortable with the ‘look’ just yet. I believe that stripping the hair of colour and adding the tones that are making it grey right now, has probably damaged it and until it grows out into it’s own shade of greyishness, it’ll need plenty of conditioning. (I’ve just read up about it). And sometimes I feel like Medusa with stringy grey rats tails instead of those long golden locks I had. But I’ll live.

And yes, in the big scheme of things, the colour of my hair is a very small thing compared to the real issues going on in this world right now. But my wee blog is a place I share my emotional journey, as well as the bigger picture, and this is the part of the road I’m on.

It’s been a week of horrendous change OUT THERE – earthquakes and landslides of political upheaval. BREXIT and the present protests, the ongoing refugee crisis, endless ISIS horror, the shaky state of Australia’s leadership . . . homelessness in Auckland. By no means can I address any of these issues with any real grasp of the answer or depth of understanding of the causes. And in fact, for most of that I can do absolutely nothing but look on in dismay. (Fortunately, this is the real grey area, and something we all come to terms with individually, responding as our personalities and consciences dictate.) In the face of all that, for me, there IS a small comfort in dealing with my own personal challenges, and feeling empowered in doing so, that gives me courage to move on and tackle things of greater importance. I hope that these small personal rambles strike a chord with one or two others.

HAVE A GOOD WEEK ALL!