Saturday, 21 March 2015

With Wings or Without, That is the Question


Supermarket. Monday morning. Minding my own business. Purchasing ingredients to make two times bacon and egg pies for a school trip, when something sticky and wet sloshed onto my be-jandal-ed foot. I looked down at my freshly moistened iridescent orange toenails. Urghh. Wassat? Instantaneously I wiped my foot on the back of my opposite jeaned leg (I’d spilt coffee on myself in the car earlier, they were already SOILED).

Something pale pink and insipid looking was dripping from my trolley. Like a gloved, but un-gloved forensic expert I took a closer look. The bag of the Pam’s free range butterflied chicken size 14 on special $13.97 had split.

‘Your trolleys leaking,’ offered a helpful female shopper.

‘You need to find someone,’ offered another.

I thought of the poisonous chicken juice blood mixture spoiling my vegetables and tried and failed to isolate its dripping-ness with an old dried tissue from the bottom of my handbag. All women carry them.

Around the corner, I summoned a helpful young man in a black V-neck jumper restocking an impulse purchase full price display of salt and vinegar chips.

‘I have leakage problem,’ I announced, quite loudly.

His hair was darkish, shoulder length and limp.

The first helpful female shopper, pushing her snow haired son towards us, burst out laughing. Then she corrected me authoritatively. ‘Your TROLLEY has a LEAKAGE problem.’

Given my age I’m technically a peri-menopausal woman. This means I could be suffering forgetfulness and memory loss. I also became the proud owner of my first Mirena in 2007 and have not had a period since. Perhaps that is why, I had no idea for at least 15 seconds what the young mother was actually referring to.

When I clicked. I did not apologise. Because I was not embarrassed or perplexed by my supposed fem faux pas. It was my chicken that was leaking. Right there in nasty soupy baby pink pools on the highly polished white linoleum. Not me.

More importantly, I do not look upon the female race as a bunch of LEAKERS.

The man in the black V-neck removed the offending bird in an enormous clear plastic bag. And replaced it at my behest.

This isn’t the first avian run-in I’ve had at the supermarche. Though I’m glad this wet one wasn’t with the stout girl at the deli counter. Once, I’d asked her over the expansive glass frontage of cold cuts, ‘what’s in the chicken roll?’ Its sign read, “Honey Chicken Roll”. It looked boned. It was oblong. Probably full of flavours, preservatives. But which ones? Deli-girl looked at me as though I was a bit dim, or from Gore, flicked her bulbous stainless steel tongue pierce a couple of times and replied, ‘chucken.’

Anyway. Monday. Moving on, I hoped that my spillages were not going to come in threes. I walked quickly past the helpful shopper lady chatting to another mum, head down, busily consulting my list written on the back of an old envelope. Frozen pastry sheets. Two packets.

I thought about a line in a film I’d watched the night before. This awful male teacher, greeted a bunch of male music students, “Morning GIRLS”, by way of intense insult. That line still annoyed me. Girls are cool. And I’m flippin chuffed if I get called one. Just don’t call me mam. I’ll slap.

I guess some men may be equally incensed when their superior officer tells them to grow some balls, when faced with an arduous task like deactivating a large marsh full off landmines. Testicles are delicate unprotected objet. They are not strong. They hang about and get hurt easily. As Betty White, veteran US actress suggests, those blokes would be better off ‘growing a vagina’. They’re tough, resilient and bounce back. (Okay that was a bit crass, but you should have heard what Betty said). Testicles - Vagina. Arm wrestle vs Centurion Crossfit. Sort of.

What a world full of clich├ęd nonsense children have to grow up in. Small boys told to man-up when they’re worried about something. And the necessity of campaigns like run-like-a-girl to let little girls know it’s empowering and okay to be a girl and run like one.

Perhaps it’s because I’m cruising on out of my reproductively viable years that I’m not fixated on, ahem, leakages, as perhaps a young girl embarking a seemingly endless road-testing of sanitary products might. I recall my young sister lamenting over endless Libra adverts in a magazine once. ‘Do you use these when you get fluffies on your bum?’ she asked. Fraid so babes. Once a month, for about 35 years.

Some readers may still be wondering what a Mirena is when it’s at home? A Mirena is a hormone releasing IUD. It prevents pregnancy and stops monthly womb shedding. My local GP recommends them to any woman who has finished making babies and can no longer be bothered mucking about with PMT and plasma. If your iron levels are low these little darlings are partially funded by the NZ government.

On odd occasions, as I skip through the sanitary gismo aisle, I hope like hell us sheilas don’t get a new form of lady bits cancer ten years down the track, due to the slow release Levonorgestrel from our T-shaped intrauterine system, that last a freaky FIVE years. A piece. They are SO convenient. Admittedly, having them put in is a bit like having an extremely painful albeit, quick birth. In reverse.

On the up side I have not had a murderous spousal thought for at least eight years. I do have occasional bouts of crabbiness. Who doesn’t. Saint whatshername.

Just think of the savings I’ve made avoiding all those artfully packaged, individually wrapped designer cotton products, that offices full of graphic designers have slaved over.

With wings. Or without. I’m on another journey. 

**(Artwork by Saskia Leek, photo taken my moi Dunedin Art Gallery)
Brilliant blog posts on

Friday, 13 March 2015

Make mine a crappacino

Things I know. That you might not:

*It is weirder than weird to drive down the road and see your 16.6 year old daughter behind the wheel of the oncoming car. Alone. For the first time. The passenger seat, you have spent the last year perched in with mild motion sickness while trying to be civil and kind with helpful driving tips like SLOW DOWN, is empty.

*I can spend an entire week worrying my writing is total crap. That it has craps and craps are very contagious and spread like wild fire. And therefore, from this moment on I will never write a craps-free sentence again. I feel so craps about this crappiness I have not re-read my WIP for fear of passing on edit-craps. This is a worser form of craps simply because it can make the original dose way way more crapsville. I’d like to know if any other writer has experienced craps recently?  If craps go round and round like nits at a birthday sleepover? If they eventually go away by themselves or require an embarrassing trip to the side room of your local pharmacy. Shirt up. Or must you incorporate them into your life and simply get along – make mine an organic coconut milk mocca soy decaf trim crapsacino please in a sippy cup. LARGE.

*Sorry enough of the C word. What about the T word. I enjoyed reading what, Kiwi children’s author Melinda Szymanik wrote about TALENT this week. And writers.

*Now local readers. The Queenstown Lakes District Library used to send very friendly, 3-day-advanced-warning-your-books-are-due-back to absent minded borrowers. Since they introduced this helpful approach to book loaning, staff numbers have been drastically reduced thanks to DUMB council restructuring (just wanted to mention that). And I have reduced my hefty fines to one amnesty can of baked beans each Xmas. Until today when collecting Mal Peet’s, Life: An Exploded Diagram, highly recommended by Brit YA writer Anthony McGowan. ‘You owe $5.25.’ They said.  ‘I do?’  Appears the LDL ping you straight aways now, without warning.’Everyone’s getting stung, I’ll drop the 25 cents.’ That's council cutbacks for you.

*My horse Star and I have a combined age of 72. You could call me a cougar in this respect. My mount is less than half my age. He’s 22. Here he is. Post gallop up from the Shotover river. I let him get his breath back these days. Horses live till their mid-thirties. Star is technically a senior and about 65 in human years. I just googled that last bit. I'm not really Madonna. On horseback.

*This amazing natural phenomenon of YEARS will rise to 73 on Sunday. I’m a Piscean. I'm also a champagnean (they're new). So my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw Ruinard on sale at my local supermarket, while stocking up on low salt low sugar packaged food for school lunches. Did my crazy French girlfriend suggest they stock it? Is she coming out for a month? This champagne is what I imagine Dom Perignon would taste like. Dry, warmly fruity with ultra fine endless bubbles that sound a whole lot better under your tongue, than any wave in a shell on your ear. Merci Madame Caroline. For the introduction. Or ruination of a quiet girl.

*I’ve had no close-up encounters with nasty vermin this week. Much to this birders delight I spied a South Island Robin while out on my daily run. Obvs I was walking up a REALLY steep hill at the time. Not running. First of all I saw a fledgling robin so wasn’t clear on my identification until I came back down the track and mum (or dad) had appeared. These birds are very friendly. And teeny tiny with yellowy breasts and a white band over their beaks. Ohhhh. The Stewart Island robins are so friendly they will hop on your boot if you sit down for a chat. You should go there. See Stewart

*I must out myself. I post pictures of my cat. Mostly on twitter. One of the all time zaniest bloggers in the blogosphere is Jenny Lawson @TheBloggess. She posts way odder stuff. This is one of her recent posts about embroidered cats called Good luck satan. 

I do like a little craft, I knit, I sew. I hand stitch. I used to have a designer cushion label.Some readers may recall I created a teen fashion fiction character about 800 years ago. Well 8 to be precise. Called Lily Max. She is still alive and kicking and really enjoying the endless fashion weeks. She's planning on making a #week of her own #bfw I just can't tell you what it stands for. Just yet.

Maybe it’s time to take up embroidery. I'm sure it's very therapeutic. Cathartic also.  


Friday, 6 March 2015

Pop Goes the Weasel

The writer pressed ‘print’ and walked away from her computer. She stepped out of her clothes after catching sight of a worn rather OLD looking person in the mirror. Lank hair. Sallow skin. Very large bags. Not of the IT kind.
The shower pressure was crap but she washed her hair. And conditioned it, pulling her fingers through the knots that had gathered. She had not a creative thought. Nary a best seller idea. Bugger. She did however have an interview with Kim Hill which did not go to well.
Mostly she applied herself to the task. Exfoliation. With her lovely Bodyshop loofah gloves and her Antipodes Nirvana hand & body wash wild blackcurrant, spearmint leaf and cardamon. Her skin tingled. She smelt divine. Cleaner than clean.
Scoured skin was then anointed with every possible plumping, brightening, tightening, antioxidant Vitamin C packed serum she could lay her hands on. She dressed in lavender scented clothes. No leggings, baggy t-shirt, comfy bra, nana undies or sloppy slippers in sight. A floral blouse, jeans, boots. She does purport to like FASHION. She blow dried her hair. Plucked bits. Filled in the sparse prairie of her eyebrow (she’s written that line before, but doesn’t care). She coaxed on mascara. Age-not-appropriate lipstick. God. Watch out.
Her character cried out to her. You’ve missed a bit.  She said sorry I’m off to Twizel, the land of lazy boys and big skies, for a weekend of rowing. She still doesn't know regatta rules. Etiquette. But she does know the coaches’ lasagna she made last night, along with the family dinner the lemon biscuit home-baking fudge and the coxswain child’s macaroni cheese, weighs at least 5 kgs.
She also knows it's #worldbookday and she intends to read some over the weekend. Then she’ll be back in her office, behind the bookcase door on Monday, with her characters. And the world will continue on. Without her.
Have a great weekend folks!

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