What ten hours of sleep can do

Today I slept until 7:40 am. For over ten hours. Uninterrupted!

It's been more than two years since I last slept like that. I feel spectacular today!


I sometimes feel a little guilty - I know I shouldn't, but I do - knowing that if it weren't for Christchurch earthquakes I probably wouldn't be in New Zealand today. Or even if I were - it would be on much different terms, maybe planning a leave to... wherever. Somewhere.

I wouldn't have a dog. I wouldn't be part of SAR. And I definitely wouldn't be thinking in terms of where I'd like to live in the future because I'd be bound to Wanaka by my work permit and going through yearly immigration applications.

I can plan for a summer's holiday this year because of Christchurch earthquakes. I work a job where people are allowed time off in summer. (Summer!) My days off work are on a weekend. (Weekend! For family!) I have money that can be spent on holidaying - nothing fancy, but still.

So many great things in my life have been brought on by the same event that has hurt others. And as I keep on hearing/seeing/feeling the things that one will quite certainly hear/see/feel if one lives in/near Christchurch, I think: thank you.

It's by no means diminishing the hurt I can see in people's stories - I can see it's real to you - but to me, I am grateful.

How's your Saturday afternoon

A window seat of New Brighton library is in no shortage of characters to look at. There's a guy raking a 30m+ message onto sand, another walking the length of the beach with a metal detector (looking for jewellery, maybe?), a woman in pink princess dress just got her photos taken at the edge of water, Chinese-looking families are crayfishing off the wharf, a group of preschoolers alongside their parents recently finished building a dozen or so big*ss castles and now there's a group of teenagers who, I think, are about to start destroying them.

Where do they go then?

An old guy with a mid-age son - visibly Down - in hand walked past the window here and I am wondering: when parents that have taken care of their children all throughout their lives, die, what happens to their children?

When there is other family to (want to) step in, of course, it's pretty straightforward - but if there isn't, where do they go then?

Good morning!

Mocha with her favorite toy: a frozen piece of cow poop

That's a contented smile right there

I should really rename these posts from "Good morning!" to "What my walk with The Dog was like".


Some people like going to different places all the time. I'd be perfectly happy going up to Brewster hut again to see what it's like =)

Previous 3 years:

I don't know what's with the affinity, but I love that place.


I was walking The Dog this morning and went past a patch of pretty darn prickly Matagouri bush we have a little way up the hill, and then I thought: I remember when I first came to New Zealand reading various hiking stories and authors saying how in order to get somewhere they had to fight their way through Matagouri. Matagouri!

But I had no idea what Matagouri was. Some sort of a bush plant, I guessed.

For people that have grown up in New Zealand and are familiar with the concept, it's probably easy: someone says, "And he fell into Matagouri!" and everyone goes, "Ouch. How did he get out?!" But to me, without a dramatic description of what it actually means - to fight through Matagouri and how ripped the clothes and, heck, the skin end up - these stories were a little low on excitement and high on what-other-stuff-is-there-to-read-please.

And it reminded me to think about who the text goes to and what's their background, because if I describe seeing a cattle track through our Matagouri and thinking, bet it's wide enough for me and The Dog, and then thinking, sh*t, I'm wearing shorts, it was a bad, bad idea - the reader is gonna do the same thing as I did back then: go, "Huh?" and turn the page to see if I finish talking about Matagouri anytime soon or not.

On staying here

I think yesterday was, quite possibly, the strongest I've felt about staying in New Zealand since I, well, got to New Zealand four years ago.

It was the first time I was with my SAR team.

There was a truck engineer and a slaughterer and an ex-soldier and a dairy farmer and a college student; a bit rough around the edges but fun. Fun!

There were gumboots, loads of gumboots behind the door, and some tattered old jumpers inside. There were traffic cones and head torches and high-vis vests and muddy roads.

The Kid's calling, gotta go. Talk later!

On SAR dogs

I've heard firefighters say that being a firefighter involves a lot of waiting - watching TV, reading, solving crosswords - and then, when the alarm goes off, a few hours of action.

Being part of SAR, I imagine, will be similar.

Every morning I grab the lead, the collar, a packet of treats and head out the door with The Dog. We learn about each other and we work. "Otsi!" I say to her, "Otsi!" and she explores the scentbox. Basic, repetitive work, every morning the same thing, again, and again, and again.

It'll be like this for months and then we'll progress a little further, and then we'll repeat that next thing for months. Again, and again, and again.

And even if one day we do qualify as a dog team, we'll be called out, say, two, maybe three times a year. And sometimes we'll get called and we'll head out and we'll arrive and then - we won't even make it past the parking lot because we'll be called off again.

Mostly, it's about patience, at least in this beginning stage here - about patience to head out and make the damn scentbox and when The Kid has gone down for a nap, to go grab the collar and the lead and head out again for another 15 minutes, even if the dishes are waiting to be washed and it would really be much easier to sit down and stretch out and just breathe for a change.

My workmate often laughs at me when I tell her about our doggie antics. She got herself a puppy first, as sort of a test to see what having kids would be like, and then, later on, she had children.

I, on the other hand, am doing it "the wrong way around", she says. I got a kid and returned to work and then, to make it even more interesting, got a puppy I'm intending to work with. She says I'm a bit crazy.

And to that I think: maybe. Probably am.

But here's the thing: I really wanted a kid, and as far as I was aware, it was better done sooner rather than later because not everyone can go and get a kid, snap!, just like that when they finally decide they're ready. I much rather preferred having one now rather than possibly banging my head with fertility treatments later in life and that was that.

And with The Dog, it's sort of the same.

I don't have many illusions about The Kid becoming drastically easier in the next few years and I was definitely not interested in postponing The Dog by another, say, ten years so it really didn't matter if I was going to do it now or slightly later - it was gonna be hard anyway, and so I did it. And I didn't want a lap dog, I wanted a working dog, even if this one here I sometimes look at, with almost tears in my eyes, and think: where the f*ck do you get all that energy from?!

And so this is what we do here. The Kid has gone down for a nap, I've gone and worked The Dog and now I've been lucky enough to sit here for half an hour and write, and breathe. And for all this work we  do here we won't actually get to do real SAR work a lot, but the thing that matters to me is: me and The Dog will have our mission and we'll always have something to do and one day we'll possibly have that hour or two in the bush when the work we do will actually matter.

And maybe there will never be that moment, at least not with this dog here, but at least we'll always have something to work on. And that, I think, keeps me busy. I feel like I've got a purpose here.

I'm done with no for a while now

For a while I kept hearing no, no, no in my head.

Want to do x, but ain't gonna happen. Would be reaaaaaaally good to do y, but, f*ck, ain't gonna happen either. Along those lines.

And sometime last week I'd had enough of no. I cried and I stomped my feet and I sulked and I had a bloody good argument with The Man, and when all that anger had steamed its way out, there was suddenly silence - God, it's been such a long time since I last had silence in my head that at first I felt like cocking my head to the side, like The Dog does, and looking at this weird new thing expectantly and then I demanded to know, what the hell is this thing, this absence of noise?! - and then the next morning solutions started popping up. Just like that.

And I was, like, dude, this is awesome.

And now I'm sitting in the kitchen typing away, The Kid has been a right grump (got up at five, then at six, wouldn't eat his porridge but would scream over porridge bits on his fingers - you know the drill) and yet it's not getting to me today. It's not... silence today, but it's a stillness of sorts.

It's almost like I'm half-expecting this anger and confusion to blast out of the microwave or the window or whatever, and start building barriers again - but it's not happening. There's no-one in the microwave. There's no-one behind the window, I checked. No-one is ripping my new-found solutions away from me.

Alright, I did have a few more things to say but I'll go play with the little one now. But before I do that: I don't know if people who haven't got toddlers they share their homes with will really get me on this one, but

You know the feeling when you've gone to use the toilet and you've done your business and fixed your clothing and flushed the damn thing and you suddenly realise: oh, wow, I am still alone! Somehow it has happened this time that there's no-one banging away at the door, and no-one's driven their plastic truck into the room and then demanded to see what it is that you're doing on the toilet, and it's just... wow. The beauty of being able to go to the toilet uninterrupted.

Simple pleasures of parenthood, eh.

PS. On another note: there is someone banging his plastic truck into my chair as I'm typing this, and he looks sort of pissed of that my chair is in the way of his truck, even if I'm sitting in the corner of the room and to reasonable people, I'm not in the way of anything, but here you go.

Note to self

It was such a brilliant idea, Maria, having an espresso at 6 o'clock in the evening. Such work of genius.

(Laying in bed at ten, thinking, oh I am so tired and yet I am not falling asleep. Care much?)

I've got a duck pond

I don't know if I've showed you this before, but you remember the fire pit I dug back in summertime for leisurely campfires and just, well, relaxing?

With the amount of rain we've been having recently - you know where the water table sits now?


I think it'll be some time before there's any fire happening in this pit.

That's a pretty accurate depiction of what our morning walk was like

Oh, and have I already mentioned this? Blue skies.

Thank God!

On medical procedures and social concepts

I've heard before how Janet Frame was due to be lobotomized the next day after winning a major literary award and the procedure got cancelled precisely because of that award, but

did you also know that the guy who came up with lobotomy... got a Nobel prize for it? (Lobotomy!?)

I've sometimes wondered about that: how not so long ago certain medical procedures - or social concepts - have been widely recognized, even mainstream, and a generation or two later seem... silly. Sort of like wtf? silly.

It makes me aware of the fact that, I bet, there are medical procedures and social concepts out there now that a generation or two from now, people will look back on and think, wtf?

It reminds me about the importance of listening to myself more than listening to other people.

A walk down

A walk down the hill through tussock, The Dog ahead of me on a leash. Seven o'clock, dark outside. Raining.

Lyttelton lights are brightly lit ahead of us. Then the lights dim a little, I squint; still dimming. And then I understand: oh, the clouds are coming down. That's why the lights are dimming.

Within a minute, I'm inside a cloud. I can definitely not see Lyttelton anymore - heck, I can hardly see the rock formations 50 metres to the side.

And yet it's not entirely dark - the cloud itself is lit dimly, sort of like a milky soup would be. Where's it coming from, I wonder.

And then it comes to me. The moon! I haven't seen the moon in what feels like a fortnight, and yet it's lighting up the clouds.

The Dog and I continue on down through tussock, then onto grazed down, soggy grass - and then, tarmac, through our gate, and home.

It's the little things that stick out.

The most awesome thing your washing machine can do

A workmate showed me this yesterday and today, I tried it on ours.

Shit me, it works!

A grump

Oh come! On!

Snow in Christchurch - but not up here?!


Observations on weather

If it were five degrees colder it would make for a spectacular blizzard, but as it stands it's simply cold, wet and loud.

I see there's half a metre of snow in Tekapo. I'd take that any day instead of this saturated driving wind we have here.

A(nother) cold and wet morning

The ground is so saturated it's not funny.

Or, actually, it is.

Every step I take leaves an indent. It's humble compared to the craters cows leave or the Grand Canyon of Mud my neighbor's 4WD has gauged, but still - there's hundreds of footprints of mine here. Hundreds.

Even The Dog leaves footprints on the ground, and she's like, what, 13 kg? 14?

It's nuts.

Talking of The Dog: she's such a grand character I sometimes wonder, did I overestimate how grand of a character I am, seeing how overwhelmingly pain in the a$$ she sometimes is to me?

I have a whole collection of dinosaur toys with missing legs. Boots with chewed tops. Muddy prints on the kitchen door. Scratchmarks on the outside door. (Talking of which: dog, can we make a deal that when you're outside and I call you in and you don't want to come inside, then when you do change your mind, how about you let me know by doing one short, high-pitched bark? How about you don't try to scratch your way in straight away?) I have a child who's learned to throw himself against the wall when he hears this train of a dog coming down the hallway.

There's also a whole array of "Aww" moments when she sits in front of the sink, with her head between my knees, whilst I do the dishes; and the way she sprawls out in front of the fire in the evening.

But, man, does she have energy or what.

I know I wanted a working dog, but a working, working, working, working, working dog? She's the sort of a dog that, I can imagine when she's older, would be perfectly happy trailing through Newfoundland swamps retrieving ducks during hunting season, or being up in the mountains 24-7 helping her handler dig out avalanche victims. That sort of a dog.

Peeved off? Too bad. Not interested.

There's (at least) two types of complaining: one is where the point is to relieve some pressure and simply get it out - and it that case I'm all yours, provided I find you interesting - and another is where the whole purpose of this thing is to peeve someone off or hurt them, the more the better, and in that case I simply shrug, lift one eyebrow and ignore the thing.

Go make someone else's day, darling.

He did what?

The Kid's making sure our nanny's days stay filled with excitement.

Today, for example, during naptime - or shortly thereafter, but before he'd made any noise - he stripped off his clothes, took off his nappy, pooped in the bed and then peed off the bed onto the floor.

'nuff said.

Sometimes, it works.

via Rockstar Ronan

Conversations with The Dog

"Oh, so you're gonna do dishes now? Cool, I'll lay here in front of the sink then. Mocha a good dog." ("Oh come on, dog! Do you really gotta lay here? Now?")

"Hey, I saw you! You threw some stuff into the compost bin! I'll go see if I can fish some of it back out again. Mocha a good dog." ("Cheers, you've brought banana peels onto front steps. Again. Why?")

"Banana? You gave The Kid banana? I want a banana! Kid, give me your banana. Now!" ("Leave him alone! Mocha, leave him alone! Go chew your own stuff!")

"Throw the ball! Throw the ball! The Kid's in the way? Ah no worries - I'll just run through him!" (Sound of a crying kid.)

"I bet I can lick myself out of this dog cage." lick lick lick "Dammit, doesn't seem to work." lick lick lick "Oh well, I'll just keep on licking it regardless." lick lick lick ("Yuuuuuk! It's covered in slobber! Ew....")

Life. With a dog. And so it continues.

Every. Day.

On upcoming snow

One forecaster said this (memorable) sentence that upcoming snow this week might be the worst Canterbury has seen in 20 years - and now everyone is quoting him. Including me here. (Because after everyone kept saying to me, "worst snow in 20 years" yesterday, I went and googled to see where the hell have they all picked that sentence up from.)

Well, I bloody well hope I can find my camera before it hits because I'd be very pissed off if I didn't get to get any photos of the thing when it arrives Thursday and apparently continues on through Friday. It'll be 20 centimeters down to sea level, they say; 40 centimetres above 200 m and we're sitting at 230+ here.

I'll go through our cupboards today and see if anything needs stocking up on. We've already got lots of tin food and other relatively unperishable food - because if you ask me, food that doesn't go off at all is probably not so much of a food, but rather an edible item, sort of like a tableleg might be edible if you're really, REALLY hungry, but I'm getting off the topic here - and water and firewood and candles. The only thing I'm missing is a sledge, but I bet I can turn my boogie-board into a sledge if I want to, and then try to aim towards areas without those prickly bushes that grow around the perimeter.

Either way, Thursday might be a day off work depending on how it's looking and Friday will most certainly be a day at home. Fingers crossed we'll have electricity throughout.

See you on the other side! (Of snow.)

PS. Oh, and don't you just love when Kiwis talk about bitterly cold winds and bitterly cold weather and bitterly cold temperatures - and it's looking to go down to about zero, or maybe -5 C. Amusing.

PPS. On the other hand, bitter is a relative term and relatively to what the summers are, 0 degrees and snow is probably effin' bitter for a lot of people... Sorry, guys. Keep warm =)

On rain

The Man sends me a text message saying to be careful on the road, there's flooding down in the harbour. My reply?


On Arctic voyages and people crammed into tight spaces

I was listening to the CBS Massey lecture on Radio New Zealand just now, presented by Adam Gobnik and the topic - oh, bless you - was snow, the Arctic and the Antarctic, winter voyages, failed and successful expeditions and what drives people to do these silly things in the first place.

It was absolutely wonderful: captivating, funny. If you wish, I believe it is available at www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/massey-lectures/2011/11/07/the-2011-cbc-massey-lectures-winter/ 

It reminded me of two things. One was professor Peeter Tulviste at University of Tartu.

You see, at the time I started studying, social sciences (and law was considered one of them) freshmen were mass-lectured in epic, 500+ student arenas, for lack of a better word. From second year onwards specializing started, but those first year base lectures were given out - again, for lack of a better word - in massive chunks. It was something Tartu did. Maybe still does.

(You can probably already tell that I wasn't a big fan of those, but, hey, that's not the point here.)

Early on I learned that not all lecturers were created equal. Some just weren't... captivating enough, for me anyway, whereas others I could've happily listened to for hours.

Peeter Tulviste was one of the lecturers I enjoyed listening to, thoroughly, and the reason for that is - he told stories. Sure, he could also go into technical detail beyond my understanding - and interest, at the time anyway - but every little while he would pop up with an amusing story, often from his field studies in Siberia. He not only got the audience's attention, but he linked these stories to theoretical detail and therefore made the stuff memorable.

And this is why Adam Gobnik reminded me of Peeter Tulviste. His lecture was stories upon stories upon stories. Captivating!

And the other thing I thought of was my summer up on the glacier.

You see, Adam Gobnik told in his lecture how Arctic explorers' diaries were often published afterwards, but not before they were edited. In unedited versions the guys would've complained in long, drawn-out pages about crowded living conditions and how after a few months of voyaging another man's ears could become a thing of utmost annoyance, not unsimilar to Madame Bovary.

When he was talking about that I grinned, reminded how, pardon my English, bitchy we could all be to one another after two or three months of living in a glacier camp and not really having anywhere to go.

The setup was pretty straightforward: 270 sled dogs in their numerous little dog houses, and 24 people in ten or so tents. Here, I attached a video of what it looks like when coming in for a land.

Everyone shared the kitchen tent. Two outhouses (or bucket-toilets, whichever word you find more familiar). There was a tent for our command center, and another for supplies, and yet another for photography supplies. With the exception of two couples who had their own private tents earned by the commitment they had shown by returning year after year, everyone was "flatting", three-four people per tent.

Work was 6 days a week, 24 or 36 hours off a week (so either flying out, say, Friday afternoon and flying back on Saturday afternoon, or getting another night off ice and flying in first thing Sunday morning), and we could only leave camp area by pre-arranging it with the manager and doing it in pairs or, better yet, three or four people at a time.

Which was all awesome, except by about July - and we were there from May onwards - everyone was sort of peeved off by everyone else. It makes me laugh now to think about it, but it wasn't particularly funny back then.

It's a natural thing to do. Living on top of each other does that to (Western) people who are used to having quite a bit of personal space =)

And so I thought about that summer and grinned. Grinned about how naggly I was, and how naggly others could be. At little things that made for big, oversized problems.

And to be on Arctic voyages for months at a time, with tins of food and no tin openers (they bashed tins with hammers to get the food out), with twenty-something men crammed into cabins four bunks high - the men that did it and didn't bite each others heads off... Wow.

And yet Adam Gobnik talked about the romantic ideas that have now for centuries accompanied trips like that, how afterwards they'd talk about the courage and the beauty, even if whilst pulling the sledges the thought that kept them going was dollars they would receive once back home in New York.

Radio New Zealand's awesome, man.

On dreaming

It's been haunting me all day today.

I had a dream that a boy - a man, I don't even know how to call him anymore as he's more of a man now, but was more of a boy back then - came to visit me in a place I was at. He was the way I know (of) him now - busy, a beautiful girl at his side, a self-reliant maverick - and when he left, I sobbed.

God, how hard I sobbed. It just kept on coming, and coming, and coming. I sobbed on the railing and sobbed on the stairs and sobbed when looking at him leave with his life ahead of him.

I sobbed for the life I'm not having, and for the life he's having without me in it. I felt so utterly... desperate in that dream, like a chance at a life had been drawn out from underneath me and there was no going back anymore. A done deal. Gone.


It's the parallels I live through in my dreams - I try on things I wouldn't otherwise.

Sometimes I wake up rested and grateful for the things I've experienced, feelings as if I've had a holiday and have gone off on little adventures. On a few occasions I've been able to do what they call, I think, lucid dreaming - I get to choose the dreams to have as, on those few occasions, I've happened to be aware of sleeping and understand that technically I can go do... whatever.

In those restful dreams I've gotten to skydive. I've gotten to be childless. Alone.

And then in other dreams by brain puts me through events I've let go of in real life, as if to remind me what's on the other side of my choices and to check that I do actually know what I'm doing.

I've had my mother die in those dreams, far and unexpectedly, without having had a chance to say, you're a pain, sometimes, mum, but you're also awesome. You're awesome more often than you are a pain.


I've gone off with that boy - a man - on adventures, making passionate love in a tent, in a heap of sleeping bags.

I've left The Man and The Kid in my dreams sometimes. Sometimes I've been terminally ill. I've even died myself in those dreams.

I'm repeating myself here, but sometimes I feel grateful for the opportunities I get in my dreams and sometimes I wake up angry. I think, why do I have to live through these memories/experiences so vividly? Why do I have to be reminded of my choices like that? Why do I have to keep on re-evaluating my life? Can't I just, you know - be?

With a few exceptions of lucid dreaming, the topics that get thrown at me in my dreams come at what feels like a random selection. Rather than go to a therapist and say, okay, today I'd like to discuss my love life or, say, my hunger for skydiving, I end up in that dream-therapist's chair and get bombarded with whatever that therapist has come up with, whether I want to evaluate that part of my life - or not - and unlike a real therapist, my dream-therapist makes me live through these events. Not just watch on a screen or think about, but I live through the stuff in my dreams because in my dreams, I'm doing, and feeling, and smelling. I'm in the f*cking center of the thing.

And on those occasions I feel cheated.

Which is sort of ridiculous because it f*cking happens inside my own head. All of it.

Stupid neurons.

Brits say, Americans hear

I'm sorry to say but... I've lived with my, ahem!, British husband long enough now that all these British phrases sound fine to me.

Which is sort of a shame, because I do remember being baffled when a Brit said "How do you do" and I started telling him (something along the lines, "Yeah, okay, been a bit tired though because...") and he glazed over leaving me wondering, why the hell did you ask, mate, if you're not interested?

But have a read yourself, you might find it amusing.


"What we say: “Sorry”
What Americans hear: “I sincerely apologize.”
Saying sorry is like a national tic, which means we Brits rarely use the word to convey a heartfelt apology. This is baffling to Americans who will, on occasion, reply with something like, “Why, exactly, are you sorry?” “I’m not,” you’ll say, confused. “Sorry.”"

Updates from the medical field

So, have spoken to the doctor again. It's now looking like it's either absent seizures or - wait for it - some common Joe, middle-ground, housewifey panic attacks which come unconnected to daily activities and simply present themselves as a sign of some "background stress" which sounds very similar to "There's a two-year-old kid and a four-month-old puppy in my house".

So, yeah. Don't even know which option to root for now =P

Basically, if you suddenly go weird and start looking fainty and cannot really speak whilst it's happening and have no idea what's happening - and a cardiologist has given you a clean bill of health - then chances are you'll get "panic attacks" written in your medical chart. Awesome.

But on another, more cheerful note, and to repeat what I said to my doctor yesterday: look, I've had this thing since last July now and it hasn't actually done any damage. It's scary and unsettling when it happens, but as long as I stop my car if I happen to be driving, it doesn't really seem to do much, so as long as my heart's looking good now I don't really see much point in worrying about it.

Which is not to say that I won't worry because when I do get these bloody things it's hard not to, but at least I don't see much point in doing it.

And how's your weekend going? =)

PS. Does anyone happen to be selling their camera? I've put mine somewhere... safe, I think, because I haven't seen it in a week. So if I don't see it for another week or two I might be interested in buying one.

A good moment

This here - this.

The Kid is asleep. The log burner's going. The Man isn't home yet. It's quiet. I'm sprawled out on a sofa.

The Dog is sleeping on top of me - well, was sleeping on top of me because when I lifted the laptop to take this picture of course she plopped up with 'Oh what's that do?"

I like it here.

On internet. Again.

Oh for f*ck's sake...

Today the internet guy came 'round our place and installed his new system. His new expensive system. (The one, may I remind you, we had to get because the alternatives were either (even more expensive) mobile internet or not having internet at all.) (The latter which we considered.) (Seriously.)

And what do I get? I get a fancy-looking router with rounded corners and pretty lights - someplace there's a guy who wears tight jeans and a pink shirt who probably designed the thing - and the signal doesn't f*cking reach the back of the house, now does it.

I e-mail the internet guy saying so, to which he suggest I rotate the router and put it up on the table. To which I think: yeah, right, so it can get chewed/clawed/pulled/destroyed by a team of rascals ie a 4-month-old labrador and a 2-year-old boy. Tempting, but no, thanks, because then I will not only have no internet but I will also owe you money for destroying the said router.

He then suggest he rents me the old router at $x a month. To which I think: right, so the fancy router is included in the (expensive) monthly fee, but if I want that old router back I need to pay extra. You're awesome, man. It makes so much sense.

What is usual

Search & rescue dogs website looks light and airy. Colorful pictures, snow, smiles. White background. Lovely.

The work (as in, training) me and Mocha do in the morning is different. It's still dark outside, often cloudy. Tussock is covered in dew, I'm in gumboots, with a headtorch on. We're out by 6:20 am, back by about 6:45.

By 6:50, maybe 7:00 am at latest The Kid is up and then the usual day starts.

Though what is usual anymore?

Finishing a blog post quickly - because The Kid is awake and is shouting for me to come pick him up - is usual. Being asleep by 9:30 in the evening is usual.

On euthanasia

I am fairly certain that in near(ish) future - say, a decade from now, two at most - euthanasia will be legally available. I am, personally, looking forward to that.

This morning there was a discussion on Radio New Zealand National about euthanasia's availability in New Zealand. I recommend listening, both sides are well articulated.


PS. I don't know how long they'll keep that audio up there so I'd say at least download now, listen later.

On not being pregnant

Disclaimer: I'll be writing about bodily functions here so if you're not interested, I suggest you skip right over.


I wrote a while ago about heart palpitations I've been having since last July, and dizzy spells. Well, now there's an addition of vertigo.

It's pretty confusing, really, because I'll be, say, sitting behind this kitchen table, feeding the kid some pasta and, whumph!, suddenly I observe myself leaning forward as if I'm about to fall onto the table because for that second or two, I simply haven't been feeling where my balance is and so I, literally, start toppling over. It's happened two times, once behind this table here and once whilst sitting on the floor playing with the dog, and both times it's been a second or two, meaning, I right myself, look around as if to say, wtf was that?, and then go on living my life.

F*cking weird.

Oh, and no period. Again.

If I didn't know any better I'd say I'm pregnant. (Last time I was pregant I stood up from the bed to go pee and woke up in a cupboard whilst The Man scrambled towards me with a frantic "ARE YOU ALRIGHT!?" because, hello!, I'd just passed out and fallen into a cupboard.) (And funnily enough, during pregnancy all sorts of sh*t like that gets bypassed with a simple nod of "Yeah, that happens" as in,

"I've been vomiting every day for two months." - "Yeah, that happens."
"I dislocated my hip." - "Yeah, that happens."
"My tailbone hurts so much I can't stand up from this sofa. I just crawled to bathroom to go pee." - "Yeah, that happens.")

But I know I'm not pregnant, so that's not it.

So... whatthehell!?

Wear where?

I have this favorite fleece, alright - technically stolen from The Man, but I liked it and it fit me and now I'm wearing it almost all the time because it's functional.

But here's the thing: I can either wear it at home or I can wear it to places where I need to look presentable, and I can't do both because at home it gets covered in baby snot and pumpkin puree and all sorts of other things inflicted by parenthood. And these things don't rhyme very well with "presentable".

Each week when my fleece comes out of the wash, I have this little discussion in my head: where would I like to wear it this week? Would I like to be cozy outside of home, or at home? Sometimes I make a deal with myself that I'll wear it outside for the first few days and in the end of the week I'll have it at home.

This - this is the sort of a thing that never happened before The Kid and The Dog.

I can see bits of...

It's like we're re-playing scenes from the book "Marley and Me" around here.

You remember that bit where John Grogan was describing finding all sorts of things from Marley's poop - Lego blocks, plastic soldiers, grocery bags? Even down to his wife's beautiful necklace they knew Marley had swallowed and so John had painstakingly probed through Marley's poop for a whole week to get it back again?

Well, around these parts it's more like:

"Honey, I know she's been eating rubber underlay from underneath the carpet. I don't know where she gets it from, but I can see bits of it in her poop."

Bon appetit, in case you were eating whilst reading it.

Good morning

Before goats, these hedges used to be green. Now there's this brown zone around the house where everything within 1.8 metres from ground is eaten bare. Except grass, of course - lawn still needs to be mowed with a trimmer.

They climb hedges, trees, even roofs. 

Another clear day ahead, meaning - I did four loads of washing yesterday and will do another four today.

What does a black labrador look like when she's sprinting towards you across tussock?

Like this.

And almost a month later, this still smokes. A while ago it looked like this.

Yes, master

Before I explain what it is you're looking at here - do you remember Doug the dog from Pixar's movie "Up"? He was, like, all the time "Yes master" and "I'll do that, master" and "Master wants something, Doug will go do it." That sort of stuff.

Well, Mocha the black lab - also known as The Dog - has started doing something similar, except she's found a way to get into our compost bin and now brings it all, dutifully, onto our front steps.

And she's probably thinking, Mocha a good dog, I bring orange peels to master, and banana skins, and I even found a cardboard box someplace. Yes, master, Mocha a good dog. Pat Mocha now?

What did life use to be like before The Kid and The Dog? Do I even remember?


For several years I've walked by old National Geographics in thrift shops and thought, one day when I have my own home - which then became, one day when I know I'm able to stay in one place - I will have a shelf with old National Geographics on it. And I'll walk up to that shelf, pick a topic I want to know more about, and read.

And I swear, every time I see this old shelf in this old cupboard now, I smile, inside.

I read up on Lake Baikal this morning.


I tidied the saucepans away into a cupboard and The Kid promptly dug them out again and started matching lids to pots.

And then I made pancakes. The Dog looked up at me, oh, so you're gonna be in this one place for quarter an hour? Right, I'll lay down in front of here then. Yup, I'll do that.

And then she started farting. Oh joy.