Monday, January 31, 2011

Outdoor leisure

Surprisingly enough, this post does not contain photos of boxes - despite the fact that I am quite well aquainted with them at the moment. I'm glad I have spread my moving out over 2 weekends, it has meant I can still do other things, like...go to another of the concerts in the Botanic Garden for Adrianne's birthday in my new amazing Recycle Boutique 1950/60s dress!

And in keeping with the retro theme, I babysat on Saturday night at a house filled with art and NZ memorabilia.

I also loved their dinner set. I think Mad Men is really getting to me.

And no, it's not Crown Lynn. I checked.

Then on Sunday we didn't exactly have classic movie Sunday. But we did watch a cult classic...OUTSIDE!

We started off with a couple of short films, including Six Dollar Fifty Man, from which you can see a still. Then the main feature was Withnail and I. I took a while to warm to it - a few minutes in I said to Alex, 'Is this a dumb movie?' and she said, 'No, it's funny' and I said, 'Good.' But it didn't really get that funny for quite some time. But then it did get very funny. And I liked it. So there you go. A couple of people said that it was the second time they'd seen it and they'd enjoyed it much more than they did the first time. I don't know if I'll rush to give it a second viewing. But Richard E. Grant is pretty great in it.

I didn't go to knitting tonight. I had to pack up my wardrobe. Which has grown considerably. Woops.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Crowning glory

Yesterday my super speedy Wikipedia skills won me this poster:

It will go very nicely in my new room.

I am really looking forward to the Crown Lynn: Crockery of Distinction exhibition at the City Gallery, Crown Lynn is such a New Zealand institution and I love that the range of crockery they produced is so wide – from functional every day dinner sets to funky modern pieces that are more like works of art. And those swans, just screaming to be put on a mantelpiece in all their pristine glory.

I’m moving house over the next week which is exciting, but with rehearsals for our show’s Auckland Fringe season now in full (hysterical) swing, pilates, funding applications (also for the show), friends’ birthday picnics, babysitting, outdoor movies (as well as indoor movies) and theatre to see, I don’t know when I’m actually going to get time to pack. Plus that thing called work I have to go to five days a week. If only sleep was optional. Needless to say not much progress has been made on the second sock.

On Sunday we watched Arsenic and Old Lace for classic movie Sunday. It was referred to in a review of the original season of our show so I’d wanted to see it for a while. Unfortunately I was so tired after a bit of night out dancing that I had trouble keeping my eyes open at some points but I managed to keep up with the plot. Which basically revolves around two old women, poison, dead bodies, a newly married nephew and an estranged nephew, and a man who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt. It was crazy, but enjoyable. And it did have some similarities to our show – well as far as the two old ladies and poison are concerned. Cary Grant was really irritating though. I’d be interested to see him in a serious/romantic role because the way he played his comedic character was just too much for me. Still, I’m glad I saw the movie.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Let's do The Time Warp again

On Friday night my sister had her 21st birthday party. It was very different to the dinner I had for my 21st a few years ago, but then Megan and I are very different. Except for the bossiness. We are both very bossy.

Highlights included a massive family Macarena, followed by The Time Warp and the YMCA. Who knew synchronised dancing could bring a very disparate, large family together so effectively?

I was extremely delighted to see my little cousin wearing a dress my Mum and I bought her in Melbourne a few years ago, when she was just a baby. The didn't have any smaller sizes but it was so pretty we decided we had to buy it for her to fit into when she was old enough. And now she is! We can't take credit for the shoes though, even though they're so awesome I'd like to.

She loved dancing around in the dress (my friend Lauren and I taught her how to shimmy - even though I am probably the worst shimmy-er in the entire world) and a box of sparklers were a hit with her and everyone under the age of 12. If only they realised how much I burned my fingers trying to light them all!

Speaking of Lauren and I, here we are! This photo is mainly to document my dress - I bought it from Frutti for the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards back in December (that feels like such a long time ago) and I was glad to have an excuse to wear it again. It's very fitted and goes down just past the knee. Actually quite Mad Men-ish as well...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Red and Green

Inspired by my recent introduction to Mad Men, I bought this skirt for $15 on Sunday at the Recycle Boutique on Cuba Street. I LOVE it. It is the brightest thing I have in my's even brighter than my sunburn. Sigh.

Monday night Knitting Circle at the Southern Cross was pretty quiet in the weeks before Christmas and it hasn't exactly been crowded since I've been back. But a friend from my old work came along this week and has made excellent progress on socks she is knitting for her girlfriend. Apparently her girlfriend doesn't like the colour but likes the pattern. I like both! The colour makes me think of green apples - although the photos don't do the colour justice at all. It's much brighter in real life.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lovely lovely

If you look closely, those are bubbles floating in the sky on a perfect Wellington evening at the Botanic Garden during one of the ASB Summer Magic concerts. The concerts continue until the 30th of January so I am planning to attend a few more, hopefully on nights equally as still and warm.

After the Friday evening concert we went to a friend's friend's super cute courtyard garden, full of candles, fairy lights, and roses. Some very, very secretly strong punch may have meant I left the courtyard a little less idyllic by the end of the night, but we won't discuss that further. Some things are best forgotten to avoid having to lock yourself in your room forever out of shame.

Hydrangeas are out in force at the moment. For some reason they seem old time-y and dainty and quaint, but also wildly cheerful and bursting to be out and proud. Does that even make sense? Well it does to me.

Devon Street hydrangeas

Botanic Garden (I want to say 'Botanical Gardens' but apparently that is not actually correct) hydrangeas

On Sunday Janet and I went to high tea at Mojo on the waterfront (Kumutoto Plaza). It was delicious! The tiny slices of scone with lemon curd and cream were especially good.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


On my way to work last week. Sadly it was removed a day or two later - the little dog looks naked now and far less jaunty!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

View from my window

But not for much longer. I am currently undertaking the joyless task of finding a new flat. I'm looking for a room in an established flat which is like a mix of speed dating and a job interview - because even if I really like a place, there's no guarantee they'll like me.

Until this summer I had never noticed how many Pohutakawa trees there are in Wellington (there's one in the foreground of the above view, to the left). For some reason I always think of them growing by the sea, like this scene from my visit to Ngawi:

But actually they're everywhere. Outside my apartment:

And on my way to work:

There's a particularly impressive one in the grounds of the Beehive. But I don't have a photo of that.

Currently I am addicted to Mad Men. I got season one on DVD for Christmas and I. Love. It. The scandal! The decor! The hair! THE DRESSES.

I do love Christina Hendricks and her character Joan Holloway. Even though Miss Hendricks isn't really a redhead. Which is disappointing.

There are also some excellent dresses in Funny Face (not that you'd know it from the poster) - our choice for the first classic movie Sunday of 2011.

Because the opening sequence of the film is set in the offices of a fashion magazine it reminded me of The Devil Wears Prada and in both movies they go to Paris, so there are a number of similarities, but of course Funny Face came first. And it has Audrey Hepburn in it. I enjoyed the film - particularly Audrey's interpretive dance in an underground bohemian Paris club (the poster is depicting stills of her dance) - but overall I was too distracted by the fact that Fred Astaire looked old enough to be Audrey's father. The relationship between their characters wasn't romantic, it was just weird. I guess they thought they could get away with it because it was Fred Astaire.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Classic movie and reading round-up

Just in case it seemed classic movie Sunday had been forgotten, I can report that we watched the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup and All About Eve before 2010 bid us adieu. We were very, very underwhelmed by Duck Soup. None of us found it very funny at all. It seemed like so many jokes were fitted into scenes for the sake of it - many weren't particularly relevant in any way. And some of the things that were actually funny (like the scene where an intruder pretends to be the mirror image of the man whose house he's in to try to trick him into thinking he's looking in a mirror) went on too long and the humour got old. I guess it just wasn't our kind of comedy.

I did, however, really enjoy All About Eve, especially because I hadn't seen anything with Bette Davis in it before and it turns out she's great. She plays Margot Channing, a theatre icon whose place in the limelight is stolen by a younger actress who edges her way into Margot's life. Margot's biting wit and temper are so satisfying. The film also features Marilyn Monroe in one of her early roles as a young actress using all her charms to try to get work. It's quite long for the amount of story it tells and cutting some bits definitely wouldn't have done it a disservice. But we thought perhaps in those days going to the cinema was a bit of an event and people wanted to get their money's worth, so would have felt ripped off by a film that was less than 2 hours long. My only other gripe was that I do remember at one point saying, 'Well this script was clearly written by a man' because of some of the lines about what it is to be a woman, marriage etc. But such is the nature of movies of those times.

I just managed to read a book I got for Christmas in 2009 before Christmas 2010 rolled around. I always seem to have a pile of books waiting to be read and not enough time to read them, which I'm sure is the case for lots of people. This was Trust: A True Story of Women and Gangs by Pip Desmond. I was in the mood for some non-fiction and this was good because it was still very much storytelling, the stories just happened to be true. Aroha Trust was a work cooperative set up in Wellington in 1977, so I loved being able to picture lots of the places being mentioned - particular streets etc. It's pretty sobering reading about the upbringings of the women who became part of the work cooperative, many of whom had spent time living on the streets and were closely associated with gangs such as Black Power and the Nomads. The book also tells what the women involved in the Trust are doing now and some still live pretty hard lives. An eye-opening book that helps provide an insight into parts of New Zealand society, without being sensationalist or overly depressing.

On an entirely different note, following on from reading Little House in the Big Woods earlier in the year, I just finished Little House on the Prairie. It's so hard to imagine arriving in the middle of a giant prairie, setting up from scratch (with all the hard work and ups and downs that involves) and then having to unexpectedly leave again only a year later but still managing to stay positive about it all. I really loved the descriptions of the prairie, that feeling of being surrounded by grass, not a building in sight, with endless sky above. Their lives are lived so simply but they seem so satisfied - the girls are unspeakably thrilled when they get their very own tin cup each for Christmas, having had to share one previously. And the image of Pa playing his fiddle at night in the log house seems so wholesome and quaint.

I did wonder whether the way they speak about and view the Native American Indians on whose land they're settling (illegally it turns out) would make me so keen to read it to my or someone else's children. I guess because the Indians are seen by the family as this big threat (Ma is terrified of them) when actually the Ingalls family are the ones who are impinging on the Indians' territory. While killing all the settlers is not the best way of dealing with the situation (and the Ingalls call Du Chene 'a good Indian' because he stops this from happening), the Indians have every right to be angry about it and want to make them leave and this isn't really made clear in the book - naturally, because it's from the Ingalls' perspective. I guess as long as you talked about it with whomever you were reading it to it would be fine, I just don't like the idea of the countless children who've walked away from the book thinking, 'Poor Laura, the Indians made her and her family go away after all that work they'd done.' To be fair, Pa Ingalls does seem to have a pretty fair outlook on the situation and blames the Government for saying that that land would soon be opened to settlement as opposed to the Indians for trying to kick them out. But the situation isn't explicity explained and so it's definitely open to unfair interpretation of the Indians' actions.

Maybe I'm just being overly liberal and politically correct in my concerns. It's such a great book for describing life at that time and Laura is such an endearing character. Although Baby Carrie surely needs to stop being a baby now. She was already born in the Big Woods book and they're on the prairie for a year so she must be at least 2 years old.

Clearly I am overthinking these books!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Tides of Time

That title was really only to justify using this photo.

It is relevant though - today is my blog is one year old! 365 days, 168 posts. That's an average of a post every 2.2 days (although maths was never my strong point so I could be wrong).

I went back and read my first post and got ready to have a big cringe, but actually it's fine. In it I explained myself by saying: 'this blog has come into fruition not because of any resolution to share my life with anyone in the world who is remotely interested...but because I just completed my very first knitting project and am ridiculously proud.' And that mostly still holds true, although the blog has become about all aspects of my life as opposed to just knitting/sewing/craft times. And I love that even though I have been knitting for over a year now I still get ridiculously proud of successfully finishing something. It still surprises me that I can knit something and have it turn out pretty well. Okay, AWESOMELY (I mean, did you see the sock? The cupcakes?).

I went through a period where I wondered if anyone would ever read the blog and then when I found out some people were and people left a few comments I got really excited and felt a bit validated. At the time it felt like that kind of thing was important. But since then I have decided I couldn't care less if no one read ever this blog (although it's very nice that some people do, because it's become a really important record for me. What did I do in the first weekend of April 2010? I couldn't tell you off the top of my head, but through the magic of my blog, I can see that I was down in Christchurch, visiting Ursula Bethell's grave (I got no further with the correction of the spelling of her name on the headstone than a man who writes a book column in the Christchurch Press contacting me and me replying but him not following up, which still bugs me), Jo Seager's cafe in Oxford, and a house stuck in a 1970's time warp.

I love that! I kept a diary for a year or so when I was about 10, but since then I have tried again a couple of times and never stuck at it. But blogging seems to work because I can type so much faster than I handwrite. And I can have photos. Which is another thing I love about the blog, it has made me better at taking photos (not that I take great photos but I think about them more when I'm taking them) and it's made me take a lot more photos than before. I used to take heaps when I had a film camera but when I got a digital I really only took photos at family events. With film cameras it used to be so exciting getting the photos developed and remembering things that had often happened quite some time earlier and then putting them in a photo album (I have about 6 at my Dad's house). But with digital I would upload the photos and rarely get any developed and they would just sit there. Sometimes I would see them when my screensaver was scrolling through them. But now I have a wee album here with little stories attached, which is even better!

Anyway, so while I don't detail all the trials and tribulations of my life here (which I might do if I kept a diary I knew no one was going to read), I love that this blog has become a record of the good things that happen in my life. One of my favourite blogs is SouleMama and I really like this post she wrote about why she blogs. Obviously I'm not a parent so it's not entirely relevant to me, but the gist of what she's saying kind of sums up why I blog and why I blog about what I've ended up blogging about over the past year. Because it reminds me of the good things and makes me appreciate them more.

I love when she says that reading her blog could make someone think her life is "nothing but joy, and peace, love and knitting needles" when of course it's not. And of course mine isn't either. I have had one of the hardest times ever this year in some respects, but that doesn't make for good photos. And I'm not likely to forget about it anytime soon either. But all those little daily things (like Anita's unique booties) or the many many events that get packed into a year (like my great aunt's 80th birthday), I probably would forget about them in time if I didn't have such a handy dandy record!

Okay, so enough. I love my blog. I love it enough to admit to having it (for a while it was a secret that only one person knew about - aside from the people I didn't know who were reading it), although I still don't run about telling people that it exists. And that's fine with me.

Happy birthday Oui Cherry!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kia ora 2011

I never want to go back to work.

In the last 8 days I have hung out with both my families, stayed up until 11.30pm Christmas eve finishing a knitted cupcake for a 3 year old whose mother was more impressed by it than she was, had a very nice Christmas day, won $52 at the boxing day races (my first outing to the races...that it was so successful could be dangerous), played my first 9 holes of golf (I didn't keep count but apparently I wasn't terrible), taken my little brother horse trekking, FINISHED MY FIRST SOCK and cast on the second (a Christmas miracle if ever there was one), eaten so much good food, introduced some Wellingtonians to the joys of the Wairarapa (McDonalds at Queen Elizabeth Park - it's basically a Masterton rite of passage, the swing bridge, and paddle boats), spent an unexpected night at a bach at Ngawi where so many fences and houses are crumbling into the sea, discovered an amazing board game called Ticket to Ride, played an epic game of Celebrity/Names, star gazed in the clearest sky I've ever seen (so many shooting stars!), drank margaritas and danced the night away to see the new year in, then spent 12 hours straight in Ed's lounge eating the best cooked breakfast ever and watching episodes of Glee, Notting Hill, The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, and a documentary on Justin Timberlake to recover.

I have also taken so many photos it's ridiculous.

And because at this time of year restrospective navel gazing is inevitable: 2010 had one really hard bit but it also had many many really really awesome bits, so overall it was a great year. I can only hope the same of 2011. I also hope to finish my second sock.

(In the first photo I am wearing an amazing pink floral 70s dressing gown with bell sleeves that I bought at a second hand shop in Masterton. I wish I could wear it all day.)