Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thinking

Having completely stuffed our stomachs, Vincent and I are now trying to feed our brains. We've both been a bit disappointed in ourselves and the limited reading we've done this year in favour of watching movies and television, and are both resolved to begin the new year differently. I have a pile of books I have bought or been given during the year, some of which have not even had their cover cracked (I definitely judge books by those), and Vincent has just downloaded about thirty e-books for the e-reader he got for Christmas two years ago. I've started on Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, which was a birthday present from my boss, and Vincent on Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, which I have read before and some of which he too has read, but still has us fascinated and talking about everything in it. We're huge fans of Malcolm Gladwell's; my favourite of his books is Outliers, which I consider life-changing and full of things everyone (particularly right-wing conservatives) needs to know, and I love how his writing is so interesting and accessible, and how practical and important his subject matter is. Vincent has been reading his blog, Gladwell dot com, which includes an archive of his New Yorker articles. They're excellent. And since he mentioned the part in Blink about implicit associations, I've done about five Implicit Association Tests (IATs) here, and I highly recommend doing a few. 

Some of my results have been unsurprising, some I feel are reflections of what I perceive to be the experience of a given group rather than my personal feelings towards the people within it, and all have made me question my associations, and what I might need to work on. My most interesting result? In the black American vs white American test, I showed a strong preference for black Americans, the options being a strong preference for white, moderate preference for white, slight preference for white, no preference, slight preference for black, moderate preference for black, and strong preference for black. About 70% of respondents are in the strong, moderate, or slight white preference groups, whereas the group I am in comprises only 2% of those who have taken the test. Why is my preference for black so strong? Vincent and I both frequently talk about positive discrimination. Black people have a history (and present) of oppression, and since I was a child, brought up on a heady mixture of Dickens, The Power Of One, and soul music, I have felt a lot of love and sympathy for those whom I consider to be in that group. Am I being racist? I don't believe so, but maybe I am wrong. As long as the world is so obviously biased towards white people, I feel as if positive discrimination is an important way of making a stand; of acknowledging the inequality, and doing something small to lessen it. For example, I truly believe that it is more important to give way to a person who is black than one who is white. Whether I like it or not (and for the record: I hate it), in my country (like many others) white is the default. So when I give way to a white person, I am perceived simply to have given way. On the other hand, if I give way to a black person, I am perceived to have given way to a black person. When I do this, I feel as if I am making a public statement that I respect black people, in direct contrast to the majority who, as the results of this test demonstrate, have (or at least show) less respect for a person who is black, and are less likely to, for example, give way to a black person.

I hope I'm making sense. I feel similarly about women. Obviously, I love men. But in relation to women, I have less love and less sympathy for men, and for the same political reasons, I favour women, and I won't stop until the world treats us equally. The same goes for poor people (though, as a group, I have little love for rich people).

I don't even know what I was planning to say about this now. But take the tests, and think about what your results say about you, and about the world. Not all of our associations are necessarily about our own beliefs, but they do reflect what we see, and if they're not pleasing, we have to do what we can to make a change. And if you're willing to share, put your results in the comments! I'd be very interested to know them.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas!

To all of you. I hope you get to be with the people you love, and that the memory of the day keeps you warm for years afterward. I am sending lots of love out into the world tonight, and I hope it gets to the people who need it most. Hurray for Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve Eve

I think we're going to make it.

I had a glass of wine with lunch (rose, which I don't actually like that much, but seemed more festive than just red or white), in spite of having every intention of getting messy tonight with the girls from work (last year's Bowie impression and Vincent and me falling through one of our chairs being a tough act to follow), and it's made my head a bit fuzzy, but I wanted to show you this video that Vincent showed me yesterday. We've pretty much finished our shopping; all but one present is wrapped and under the tree, which I would like to show you but can't be bothered getting off the bed to take a picture. I've made my cards, although the Kama Sutra Christmas concept came off more creepy than funny... maybe time to buy a new book to tear up, and accept the fact that not everybody finds eighties sex against trees and kitchen benches hilarious.

Vincent and I have caught up with pretty much everyone, including each other. One of the stink things about the lead-up to Christmas is how busy we both get with work, and then all the catching up with everything else we have to do when we should be doing our usual things. There are so many inconsistencies and hypocrisies about the season that seem so wrong but are also so unavoidable. We were talking earlier about when I was a theist child and demanded to be taken to church on Christmas day. It seemed so peculiar - and still does, in spite of my atheism - that Christians wouldn't go to church/their "Father's House" on Christmas Day/"Jesus' birthday" to say Yo God, thanks for sending Jesus, and Yo Jesus, thanks for leaving heaven to come to our shitty place and then let us kill you. I remember being taken one year, by my long-suffering sister, because everyone else was cooking, and then fainting during a hymn at the beginning of the service and having to be taken home. She thought I was trying to look at something in the pew in front of us and tried to stop me by hissing my name, until it became clear that if she didn't catch me church was going to see some Christmas gymnastics and probably some festive injury.

Anyway, I have less than an hour to nap, hydrate, and pretty myself up, so off I go. Enjoy this, and please will someone else wear red over the next few days? Thanks.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Smell Of Freedom

Friday. FRIDAY!!! Yesterday I came off my antibiotics (second round to follow shortly, but that's not today), and took a chunk out of my shopping. There have been testing times; fuckwit customers, fuckwit customers, lots of sweating, and fuckwit customers. But today is Friday, four days until Christmas, and two days left of work for me (and one for pretty much everyone else who doesn't work in retail). Today, friends, we celebrate.


Keep your chin up, and if the fuckwits try to bring you down, bring out your big guns.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Ones I Used To Know

Christmas madness has officially set in. This morning at five-thirty I was rudely awakened by the Ghosts of Christmas Things I Haven't Done Yet, and in a stupor arose and proceeded to transfer money, pay people, open parcels, and wrap presents (this last one was unsuccessful as the paper was in the bedroom); all in the dark, as our delightful little sauna has tinted glass bedroom doors, so if one of us is a'sleepin' (usually me), the other is a'knockin' around with limited vision (I don't know how Vincent does this nearly every morning). I even read some news, before slinking back to bed. The lady has done gone crazy.

I've started thinking about after Christmas. Vincent and I are counting down to the release of Django Unchained, the latest Tarantino film which we've been waiting for since it was first announced Aslan was on the move. It comes out in NZ on our settlement date, January 24th, and I can't think of a much better way to mark the occasion (except perhaps moving in). I'm also waiting (with more patience) for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. I've been gritting my teeth seeing its influence in fashion (because, it seems, in the fashion world, history and literature are not enough inspiration for a collection; it has to be spelt out, and everybody primed, by a film), and I know it will irritate me even more hearing fools reference the story without having read the book... but I'm not going to cut my nose off over this one. I'm also looking forward to summer outside the shop. Yesterday I bought a my new one-piece which can only be described as adorable (even though the top doesn't fit as well as it could because my bottom half dictated the size), and I can't wait to wear it every day, and nap in it, and eat fruit, and drink beer, and sleep in, and not have to be nice to people who aren't being nice to me.

I will reclaim my marbles, and all will be well.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Home/Christmas

It's been a long but lovely pre-Christmas day. Vincent took my mother and me out to Junk & Disorderly, where she and I were pretty sure we would find presents for each other, and hopefully some others as well. We were half right. Minutes after arriving, I lost my heart to a fifties two-seater sofa, made from the most beautiful fabric, and priced so that I thought it couldn't be right. It was, and we pick it up tomorrow; my present from my parents that will accompany me to my new home, live in the room looking across the yard which I have decided will be where Jimmy's desk, my sewing machine, and all of my journals will go, and on which I will sit and drink tea, and probably, at first, do a bit of crying. (It's good to know what one is in for.)

Mum in turn found a silver gravy boat (she already has one, but neither she nor I lets that stop us), and a sixties hat which Vincent tactfully describes as avant garde. There were about sixty-eleven other things she could have left with, had she the funds and the space at home; we have the same gift for finding a million things we love at secondhand stores. Sometimes I wish she was a rich society woman who had a huge house she could fill with lamps and sideboards and uncomfortable chairs that Dad can't fit on, but, I could never change their house. It is the perfect size for everybody; it swells just big enough to fit everyone in, but is small enough that it doesn't feel lonely when it's just Mum and Dad, and that her things clutter it a bit. I love clutter; I am my Mama's granddaughter, and my mother's daughter. I like to see my things, and I like to have everything I love about me, and everything I own has sentimental value to me. Everything.

I spent most of the rest of the day outside on the deck, wilting in the greenhouse created by their new clear deck-blinds. I didn't think about not being there in a few months time, but I did think about how much I like being around everybody. I used to love Saturday mornings at home, when everyone was up and having breakfast and Dad had already been out and Mum was still in her pajamas and we would all come and go like a hive of bees. I've spoken to a friend before about the habit of sleeping on couches in rooms where people go in and out constantly. She also comes from a family that feels big, even if it isn't so big written down, and we laughed about how it's always preferable to be in a room where you will frequently wake to voices or crashes in the kitchen or the phone ringing and Dad yelling Get The Phone to a quiet secluded bedroom, where most people would choose to nap. When I first moved out into a house without any of my family, it took a lot of adjusting to get used to the quiet; no-one closing the bathroom door loudly, or coming in the gate every five minutes. I love the peace of our apartment, and I've grown to rely on time in it with only Vincent or myself, but I think I will always be a train station kind of person.

Next Christmas Vincent and I would love to have everybody come to our house. I've pictured it; with and without a baby, with us staying with his parents, someone else staying with his parents... But we both know it probably won't happen, and that's fine. Christmas is full of magic, and it would be special anywhere, but it wouldn't be Christmas without my family. I don't know how I'll define home come February, but Christmas is wherever my family is, and December 25, any year, that is where I'll be.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bad Mother.

I don't mean a bad mother like James Brown. I mean forget-your-kid's-in-the-car-while-you're-having-a-cup-of-tea-with-your-sister, bad mother. Yesterday my blog turned two. I had planned to celebrate here, with a special post and maybe some sparkling grape juice since I am off the turps for another five days (no Christmas happening here), but instead I came home and fell asleep. It's not quite the same the day after, but I do want to say thank you to all of you guys who come back week after week and read my blog. This thing has become really important to me, and I love doing it.

The other bad mother is mother nature, although her bad mothering might have something to do with our (we in developed countries) bad behaviour. Whatever the cause, she is wreaking havoc across the Pacific, and yesterday hit Samoa in the form of yet another cyclone. Places Vincent and I saw and loved only a few months ago are broken and flooded, and so, so sad. We don't know about the people we met: the staff at Aggie's who were so good to us, the little girls selling the seafood we couldn't make out, the kids near Scoops.  We don't know about the people we saw: the children walking home from school, men with containers slung over their shoulders on their way to the markets, the women sitting near the kitchen at the hotel talking about us when we sloshed back from the pool.


This is how the seawall looked then. Pictures I've seen today show the driveway to Aggie's covered in deep, brown water. The driveway slopes downwards to the hotel, which is lower than the street, and on that level is the fale restaurant that was was just redone last year, the pool, and the ground floor of rooms and guest fale. As long as guests are there, staff will be taking care of them, in spite of having their own families, and their own grief.

Samoa has survived cyclones, a tsunami, an influenza epidemic, the Germans, the English, and New Zealanders. Cyclone Evan will do its worst; Samoa will rise.

I think that's all I want to say today. If you've been to Samoa, you'll know why I've chosen this song.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

J + Y = 4eva

I try not to harp on about it because I don't want to a) be sickening, b) be a show off, or c) make it seem like I think a person has to be in a relationship because I absolutely don't, but I think I am the luckiest woman in the world to have Vincent, and a love that seems Austenian, and Salingerish, and Vonnegutian, a bit Harry Potter, sometimes science fiction, and occasionally even a little biblical.

Which is kind of how I view the love between John Lennon and Yoko Ono. They are my all-time favourite couple, and I love looking at pictures of them, and hearing songs they did together. I just saw the video for Stand By Me on tv (bad cover, wonderful video which doesn't seem to be on YouTube) and was reminded of the line Yoko put out last month through Opening Ceremony, which I had meant to share here. When they married in 1969, Yoko gave John a book of sketches of clothes she had designed to celebrate his "sexy bod", but the clothes were never made... until now. They include a jockstrap and a pair of open-toed knee-high lace-up boots. The bandeau pictured below features a flashing LED bra, and please note this pair of boots have incense holders on the toes. I hope you get as much enjoyment from them as I did.


























Like a lot of what she does, the line has been widely misunderstood, but I don't imagine she cares. She's a performance artist, and she and John clearly had so much fun together. I think the fact that Opening Ceremony did this with her would have made him happy and very diverted. Just look at them.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Wrong Star

Who knew those weren't rocks?! Today we hit rock-bottom, but after two litres of fluid pumped into me by IV (miracle stuff), and my first proper meal since Saturday (which my beloved did not have to feed me, as he has been doing), and antibiotics, I think we're on to greener pastures. You got it, pal.

Last night we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas (and The Snowman, but that's barely worth mentioning), and I loved it. I've been getting really angry seeing ads on tv for really expensive shit that is supposed to be reasonable Christmas expenditure; $300 headphones, and I don't even know how much for those hideous pandora bracelets. And it makes me feel sad knowing that some people will believe that these things are reasonable, and that what they can afford is inadequate. I've spent entire holiday pays on Christmas presents in the past, and when I look back, it just seems crazy. I just wanted to give, but I didn't realise I could tone it down, and that it would still be Christmas. It seemed worth it to me at the time - and maybe it was, but it wasn't right. "From each according to his/her ability" applies to so many things, and presents are one. And when you know someone isn't giving you more than they can, you don't feel wrong about accepting it, or giving them what you can.

I'm not really up to writing what I wanted to about what I think Christmas is about, so I'll do that another time, and let Billy say his bit.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Christmas, Your Arse

Still sick. I woke up to pee in the middle of the night and then my thermostat went haywire and, in spite of being a particularly balmy night, I had chattering teeth and a shivering body under two duvets, two blankets, and a hot water bottle. Fever sucks.

I realised today that I haven't had a drink this December. That is both un-festive and depressing. Add to that the fact that we still don't have our tree, and I might be very upset... but I'm so relieved not to feel the way I did last night, and that Vincent hasn't said anything about me not being up to Freddy Kempf tonight (even though I'm not completely sure I am; but he won't see this until Monday!), that I'm not very upset, and am comforting myself with the knowledge we will get our tree tomorrow, and as soon as I feel better I will drink like Shane MacGowan. (Probably not quite.)

Anyway, I have to get up and shower soon, because as we learnt from the Billy Bragg gig, when the Town Hall says 8pm, they mean 8PM SHARP, BITCHES! and I fear it's going to take some time to transform this under-bridge-dwelling creature into something that looks like it should be in the same room as the NZSO. So I'm just going to leave you this short documentary we watched last night. It's not amazing, but it's very watchable, and it gets more and more exciting as it all comes together.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The weather outside is frightful...

Today I walked up High Street in the rain whistling Let It Snow, while I dodged awnings to ensure maximum exposure. As soon as the rain became torrential, I came alive (no mean feat after an interrupted night's sleep and hayfever that has developed into a sinus infection, plus an early visit from Aunt Flo because, in last week's distraction, I accidentally started on the sugar pills six days early), and went racing out into Freyberg Square to be one with the elements and bask (in both the rain and, subsequently, bewildered looks of the pedestrians huddled against shops on the other side of the street, waiting for a reprieve so they could carry on, and wondering where my minder was). There is something so festive about proper December rain; when the air is hot and humid, and the rain cool and fresh. It's like confetti, and I don't mind looking a few bottles short of a crate while enjoying it. However, I probably could have thought about the consequences of a rain-dance when one still has two hours of work to get through in sodden clothes and hair so wet it drips onto the counter while one wraps presents and tries to distract people by telling funny stories, except that sleep deprivation means the stories don't exactly make sense. The consequences are spending the evening on the couch with body-aches, blocked sinuses, and a slight fever. Although who is to say those things wouldn't have happened anyway; I did already have the sinus infection.

At work I have been gorging on Christmas cake, made by my loving boss and packed full of cranberries, and nuts, and candied orange, and ginger. Growing up, Mum always made what looked like about ten Christmas cakes every year, both for us and to give away as presents. I can remember the square tins - always square, or rectangular, with butter-paper sticking up the sides, and the spicy smell, and how stiff and ivory the mixture looked. It was always late at night; my mother does everything late at night. I was never particularly interested in Christmas cake - maraschino cherries are one of childhood's disappointments, except for one Christmas as my aunt's house when no-one had noticed how full of port the cake was, nor how much brandy (or sherry?) had been put in the custard, nor how much my cousin and I were putting away in the little basement apartment. It was Diana and the raspberry cordial all over again... I doubt we got drunk, but I do know neither Christmas cake nor custard have ever tasted that good.

My first memory of drinking alcohol was Christmas day, when I was about six or seven. I don't remember where everybody had gone, but the dining table was set - I don't remember whether or not we had eaten, and nobody was in the room. The plates were white, and so was the tablecloth. The adults' places had little glasses of port which I had been eyeing up; they looked like the wine version of a child's tea-set, and when everyone was gone, I went around the table knocking back what was in the glasses. I don't remember if they were full, or half-full, or barely full at all, but I do remember the indescribable, sweet taste, and how wonderful it was. From such innocent beginnings...

I don't think anyone marries Let It Snow to drinking better than Dean Martin. So listen here, while you marvel at these socks...

Workers' Christmas

This is just a short note that I wanted to be separate from the rest of today's post.

Today it was announced that the government is taking legal advice on introducing corporate manslaughter. Theoretically, this criminal charge would protect workers' safety by holding organisations accountable when their negligence results in death. That makes me really happy, even though it is too late for many workers, like the Pike River miners, and the people in the CTV building.

Today two men died as a result of the tornado in Auckland. They were construction workers, building a new secondary school, and were both only in their twenties.

Death is inevitable, and never easy. But when people die when they are doing their jobs... it just makes me feel so sad, and so mad. Every/any day will be heart-breaking for their families, but I still really wish it wasn't Christmas in a few weeks.

This song is my tribute to those men.



update: yesterday's news confirmed it was three men working on the school, one of whom was twenty-two, and the others forty-two, and sixty.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Flowery


I wasn't sure what to write about tonight as my default thoughts are CHRISTMAS!!! and I don't want to wear that topic out for you (for me that would be nigh impossible), and Vincent suggested I say it with flowers. So I will. These are from Saipua, a lovely blog I follow by a very talented floral artist with one of the sweetest dogs on the internet.

Sometimes I forget I like flowers. Then my Dad will make me go out into the garden with him to see his roses, and he'll look so pleased and they'll smell so delicious and look so remarkable, these delicate things on long green stilts, and he'll send some home with me, and they'll make my natureless little apartment look transformed, and I'll still enjoy them as they wilt and brown... and realise I like flowers very, very much. In fact, I am going to ask my Dad to bring me some cuttings when he comes to visit me at my new house (if he comes to visit; we've lived here going on three years and in spite of dropping me off and picking me up numerous times, he is yet to cross the threshold), and I am going to plant them, and tend to them, and become a sort of gardener, even though I really have no interest in gardening. Maybe that makes it more of a utilitarian pursuit; like someone growing veges solely to eat, not for the pleasure of gardening. Although I'm not sure flowers are very utilitarian... I know Mao didn't think so.

I hope owning some land changes me. I used to think it was wrong for people to have individual ownership of land; maybe I still do. I'll have to think about it. In any case, I hope I become more personally connected with the land, and that my love for it becomes less of a feeling, or something theoretical, and more practical; like I water you, and you flourish. I think, after killing many pot-plants including the beautiful little bonsai my sister gave me one Christmas, I may be ready to let live.  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Closer and closer it comes!!!


Last night we watched our first Christmas movie, Die Hard. It was hilarious, and an excellent start to the celebrations of the season, which I'm afraid is going to get away from me because it's ALREADY THE THIRD!!!! What happened?! I was putting off a rep on the phone today when I realised; it's three weeks until Christmas Eve. Three weeks!!! It looks as if I am going to have to seriously take time by the fetlock, and life by the ping-pongs. THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO!!!

This year there will be a few new additions to the list. These are:
1. Icing superwines in red and green (hoping this is more likely than the non-shortbread making of the last three years which has seen much custard powder find its way to landfill).
2. Get drunk at home with only Vincent. (This was actually a fail from last year; I managed to do it on my own, but we never got around to doing it just us too because we were too busy. Too busy! To get drunk with your beloved! At Christmas! I ask you.)
3. New movies. Not to replace the old ones; Christmas would not be Christmas without Meet Me In St Louis, While You Were Sleeping, Home Alone, Little Women, or It's A Wonderful Life (although actually, last year Christmas had to be Christmas without It's A Wonderful Life, because we were too busy. Too busy! To watch It's A Wonderful Life!). But Christmas is ever-evolving. New traditions must be begun. So I have added Die Hard, Scrooged, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Snowman, and Miracle On 34th Street. (There are also several back-ups, but we'll see what we have time for/Vincent can bear.)

Lots of blogs have been doing very pretty gift guides. I thought about doing one too, but my design skills leave too much to be desired, besides which I could never suggest things that cost hundreds of dollars, because I think that's totally excessive unless you are buying for your beloved, your parents, or a very, very broke person, (in which case you probably know what you want to buy them) or you are very rich, or very stupid. Which I assume you are not. So here are my gift suggestions:
1. Trade Aid. Apart from the fact that they sell beautiful, unique things, buying from Trade Aid never feels excessive or wasteful because everything you spend goes to people who need it. It's foolproof. And you don't have to feel shitty about child labour, or wasteful materials, because at Trade Aid there isn't any. Look at this rug!!! If anyone is stuck on my present...


2. Books. I know it probably seems like my gift guide is all just things I would like myself, but that's just a coincidence. Who has enough books? Who could not be improved by reading something? (I should qualify that; I don't believe there is any improvement to be had from reading Fifty Shades Of Grey or the like, but I could be wrong.) And if people don't read, and they won't read, who doesn't like having people think they read? Books make beautiful ornaments, they are ideal for levelling uneven tables, and they can even be fashioned into tables. The only things I can think of right now that rival books are dogs.
3. Things that can be used up. Most people have a lot of stuff, and unless they are hoarders like me, they don't necessarily appreciate having more foisted upon them. You can give them useful things, which are good. Or you can give them things that don't last. Baking. Fancy tea. Bath products (which I usually consider to be a dud, but am becoming a woman so quickly that who knows? Maybe this year I'll start using the ones given to me since I was supposed to be a woman, as long as they haven't gone off). 
4. Something you made. Unless you are really, really shit at making stuff, no-one is ever unhappy with a self-made gift. It says I Thought Of You The Whole Time I Made This. It also says I Am Talented And Creative And Resourceful. Having said that, I made my Mum a fimo brooch two years ago, and not only did it not say those things, I have never seen her wear it. Maybe I am the person who shouldn't be making things. Hmm.
5. Time. Last year, having learnt from the brooch incident (which wasn't all I gave her that year, but I vaguely remember the hat I gave her being appropriated by one of my sisters), I asked my mother what she would like, and she said a plant. So one Saturday before Christmas, Vincent and I picked her up and took her out to her favourite garden centre, Rogers in Mangere (which, by the way, is the loveliest garden centre in Auckland). We spent the morning humming and hahing over the subtle differences between shrubs, and breathing in the lovely air, and when we gave her the plant, we also all gave each other a memory. (Trademark! I am selling that line to Hallmark. You can keep your vomit.) This year we're going to a big junk shop I just found out about.

Here is an early gift for all of us, which was on Campbell Live tonight. I've said it before, but it's like a theist professing their love for god; it can't be said enough. I love dogs. I LOVE DOGS.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Delayed News

I know I promised to come back on Friday to tell you what I was so stressed about, but then life got in the way, and I had to take myself off the grid yesterday to focus Missy's 8th birthday (and not throwing up at it) (success, although arriving early to help was a shameful fail. However, one does not often buy their first house).

Yes, friends. Vincent and I have bought ourselves a house. Furthermore, said house in not in my beloved Auckland. We are "taking time by the fetlock", and moving my teacups, records, coats (most necessary), and books to Port Chalmers.

I hear the Where? Port Chalmers is a small community about ten minutes from Dunedin's city centre, but although it is so close, it is its own distinct place, and if you wrote to me and put Dunedin on the envelope, I wouldn't get the letter.

My little house has views from three sides, and a lovely big yard where I can grow vegetables if gardening should suddenly become an appealing way to spend my time, but where I'm really more likely to lie on the grass when it's sunny and have naps with my dog. When I wake up in the morning and open the curtains, I will see Back Beach. When I go to the kitchen to make tea, I will see Dunedin Harbour. It's going to be very strange seeing things that are green, and blue, and grey, and not the off-white walls of my apartment building, and the windows of the apartments across the light-well.

Right now, I feel very odd about the move. I feel lovely about my house; having a house, and such a perfect little one that I can paint, and have space to put up pictures, and enough distance from my neighbours that I can play music without closing the windows. But I feel sad, and scared, and strange about leaving my home, and transplanting myself to a place where I know four people.

However, I have a house. And I don't know why, but when I think about it, this song comes to mind. It could be simply because it's a work of genius. Or it could be because I am about to branch out, and I hope it turns out as well as it did for Jack and Meg. (Professionally, of course.)