Regular stuff


Maybe I am watching too many movies lately, but the seagulls that have started hanging around my house the last few days are really starting to creep me out. There are hundreds of them and I’ve no idea where they came from, one day there were none and the next they were everywhere!

I’m hoping that it’s not some kind of animal kingdom sixth sense warning thing about the next big flood, like the way dogs can predict earthquakes. The lake has been steadily rising the last few weeks and I’m really starting to get nervous that we might get flooded out. The last big flood was in 1996 and the water level was so high that our loungeroom was completely submerged – obviously we weren’t living here then, so technically it wasn’t “our” loungeroom but you know what I mean.

The big flood before the last big flood was about 200 years ago though so I’m hoping we have another century or so to go before we really have to start worrying, but I just can’t help but sneak a peak at the water level each time I walk through the house, just in case.

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Jan 13th and I’m only just getting around to writing my first blog post for the year! What a slacker! 2010 got off to a great albeit slightly belated, start with a glass of champagne with Luke when he got home from work at 1am. Before he got home, I had spent the night skyping with friends all over the place and listening to my favourite songs (and feeling a little sad, if I’m honest!). There were loads of people along the shore of the lake huddled around driftwood fires and setting off firecrackers, it was all very festive. After our glass of champagne to celebrate not only the new year, but also our 7 year anniversary, we snuggled up in bed and watched a movie and then fell asleep.. what party animals we are!

Jan 1st I woke up all motivated and ready to get started on my new years resolution to somehow figure out how to climb the damn mountain near my house and get to the lookout at the top. I figure if I can climb just a little bit further each day then I will eventually get there. I took a photo for you, but it doesn’t seem to truly illustrate just how high that thing is.. oh well,  it will give you an idea!

So for three days I walked and climbed for as long as I could and then had lunch on whichever comfy rock I could find, before walking home, exhausted. So far so good (well except for the fact that I’ve been sick and unable to get out of bed!, back to it tomorrow!).

Jan 3rd was our first wedding anniversary, Luke worked again but when he got home we celebrated with a midnight picnic by the lake which was very lovely, if a little chilly. Summer seems to have passed us by here on the South Island, much to the disappointment of all the summer folk who had plans for a long relaxing summer and have all abandoned their summer houses and headed back home because it’s been so cold.

Jan 4th, after our very lovely midnight moonlit picnic, I promptly fell sick and didn’t get out of bed for days and days and days. Lots of movie watching and herbals teas later, I’m finally feeling half way normal and so here I am finally updating! I hope you are all having a safe new year so far!

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Well the rain may have brought the mice, but it was also responsible for some more glorious new flowers blooming in our yard so perhaps it can be forgiven. I did manage to get outside this afternoon but I’m back to hiding out in my bedroom at the moment.. there hasn’t been another mouse sighting yet (although this probably has more to do with the fact that I am hiding out in the bedroom than the mouse being gone) but I’m not taking any chances.

In non rodent related news, there is only 28 hours left until the NaNoWriMo kick off. For those of you who aren’t in the ‘Wrimo loop, basically the challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, starting November 1st. Here is the lowdown from the website:

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2008, we had over 119,000 participants. More than 21,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

So, through the month of November one of two things will happen, either I will be so focused on my ‘Wrimo novel that you won’t hear a peep from me, or I will be so hell bent on procrastinating that I’ll be blogging, tweeting, commenting and facebooking like never before. Either option is fine, last year during a fit of NaNoWriMo procrastination I started my vegetarian food blog and I’ve managed to keep that alive now for the whole year, so good things do come from endless procrastination, even if it doesn’t happen to be the thing you are actually supposed to be working on.

Last year I didn’t make it through to the 50,000 finish line but this year I’m hoping to be a ‘Wrimo winner.. especially since successful completion means I can cross something new off my 101/1001 list, which I haven’t done in a really long time and really need to start working on again.

Anyway, wish me some novel writing luck!

I think I may have jinxed us with my Springtime post last week. Yesterday afternoon we were unexpectedly enveloped in a snowstorm. Out of nowhere the temperature dropped, and the rain – which has been falling non stop for days and days and days – suddenly turned into snowflakes.. it was pretty spectacular actually. Unfortunately I was only able to get a couple of photos before my camera ran out of batteries, so I didn’t get to take any shots of the storm in full force but here are a couple of pics anyway:

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A not so nice side effect of the strange weather was finding a mouse in my kitchen today. It’s pretty usual really, considering we live in the country, and it’s been raining for a week, and I’m sure that a regular person wouldn’t find it all that troublesome but I am not a regular person when it comes to mice. When it comes to mice I am a fully fledged scream-like-a-girl-and-jump-on-a-chair lunatic. The way I feel about rats and mice is almost bordering on a phobia actually and I’m ashamed to admit that when I saw the mouse I didn’t just scream like a girl and jump on a chair, in fact, I screamed like a girl, jumped on a chair and then ran away and locked myself in the bathroom for half an hour. I’m not really sure what the logic behind the bathroom escape was, but what can I say? Fear is not rational!

I haven’t been back into the kitchen yet, when I finally managed to coax myself out of the bathroom I was only able to get as far as the bedroom and that is where I have been for the rest of the afternoon. Luckily my laptop was already in here otherwise I’m not sure what I would have done with myself, although I have to say I’m starting to get a bit hungry!!

On the up side, I have managed to spend a lot of time researching happy vegan ways to get rid of the mouse. I did consider trying out Hugh FearnleyWhittingstall’s method of burning sage and asking him to leave, but I can only spend so many afternoons locked in the bathroom before I start to lose my mind – and to be perfectly honest, I’m kind of afraid he will smell my fear and decide to get his friends to gang up on me if I take that approach – so, as an alternative to the sage burning hippie method I have ordered myself one of these.

It fulfills my requirement that the mice don’t die, and it’s non toxic, chemical free and environmentally friendly (aside from the small amount of electricity required to run it I suppose).. and Michele, the customer service lady has assured me that she will mail it tomorrow so that I can come out of the bedroom and start roaming around the house as soon as possible.

It’s just a pity that tomorrow is Friday.. looks like I’ll be spending my weekend in bed!

Yesterday I emailed my Dad.

Just seeing that typed there makes my heart race a little and I still haven’t quite decided if it was the right thing to do or not. We haven’t spoken in over 12 years so it’s a pretty significant event.

I don’t even really know where the impulse to contact him came from, it isn’t something I have been thinking about or agonising over for a long time, I was just lying in bed when it occurred to me that it was time…

The last time I saw him I was 17 years old and he was putting me on a plane in Singapore.. well, actually that isn’t entirely true. The last time I saw him was about a year ago when I was on an escalator in Sydney and he was standing a foot away from the top of it, talking on his mobile phone. I’ve never felt so terrified in my life as I was in that moment, with the escalator moving closer and closer towards him even though I was willing it with every fibre of my body to go the other way.. my life was in slow motion that day. He didn’t see me then though, so as far as he is concerned the last time I saw him was 12 years ago when he was putting me on a plane to Sydney.

The story of my Dad and I is a long and tortured one, and since I sent that email yesterday in the spirit of moving on, I won’t go into details. Needless to say, I’m really afraid of where we go from here and of what this might bring up for me in terms of fears and hidden childhood issues. I wonder how he will feel about the fact that I’m a married woman, or how he feels about the fact that I didn’t go to my own brothers wedding simply because I couldn’t bear to be in the same room as him. For that matter, I wonder if he will even reply.

I don’t even really know what to hope for, the idea of seeing him terrifies me to my core, even the thought of hearing his voice on the other end of the phone makes me panic a little. Am I hoping for reconciliation? Or just closure? I don’t know but either way, the small act of hitting send on that email was something really significant for me and I thought it was worth a blog mention.

A little while ago my friend Frankie wrote a guest post over at blog-of-nathan, giving us a photo tour of their beautiful garden. It inspired me to do a similar thing with our house, so this morning I took a walk around the house and took photos of various bits and pieces, it’s not quite as impressive as all the great finds in the Natholini household, but it will have to do! 🙂

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Yesterday was the 4 week anniversary of my leaving work so I thought I would commemorate the occasion with a list (of course!)

10 things I really love about our life in New Zealand

  1. Walking along the beach in the morning collecting kindling for our fire
  2. Finally having time to make my own iced tea and muesli and cakes and cookies
  3. Being able to spend so much time with my hubby
  4. Our incredible view
  5. Sleeping in, every.single.day.
  6. The masses of people here who have dreadlocks.. In Miranda I think I was the only one!
  7. The happy vibe in Queenstown – almost everyone is on holidays!
  8. The fact that I live in a town that doesn’t have infrastructure for town water, but has high speed internet
  9. Having all the time in the world to finally read all those books I’ve been buying
  10. Having the freedom to finally figure out what I am passionate about instead of working 9 – 5 in an uninspiring job

Cheers to freedom and beauty and relaxation!

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